Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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Arkansas’s Rules of Professional Conduct do not require attorney disqualification simply because the attorney had access to client information but did not gain actual knowledge while practicing at her former association. Appellee filed a complaint against Appellants - The Park Apartments at Fayetteville, LP, The Park Apartments at Fayetteville Management Co., and Lindsey Management Co., Inc. (Lindsey) (collectively, the Park), alleging that the liquidated-damages clause in her lease agreement was unenforceable and constituted an illegal penalty. Appellee later filed a motion to disqualify the Park’s attorney and Lindsey’s entire in-house legal department, alleging that Summer McCoy, a staff attorney for Lindsey, had a conflict of interest and that the conflict of interest should be imputed to the Park’s attorney and the entire Lindsey legal department because McCoy was now a part of that department. The circuit court granted the motion to disqualify. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in applying Norman v. Norman, 970 S.W.2d 270 (Ark. 1998), when it concluded that access to client information alone was sufficient for attorney disqualification. View "Park Apartments At Fayetteville, LP v. Shilah Plants" on Justia Law

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The circuit court correctly determined that the immunity provisions of Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 barred Appellants’ noise-based lawsuit against Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc. (the Legion) and correctly found that the immunity statute did not constitute a taking under the Arkansas Constitution. Appellants filed a complaint alleging that noise from a shooting range that the Legion had built interfered with the use and enjoyment of their land and constituted a nuisance. The Legion filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because it was based only on noise, and Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 grants shooting ranges immunity for noise-based lawsuits if the range is in compliance with local noise-control ordinances. The circuit court granted the Legion’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Legion was entitled to immunity as long the shooting range did not violate any local noise ordinances; and (2) section 16-105-52 did not violate Appellants’ constitutionally protected property rights. View "3 Rivers Logistics, Inc. v. Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the circuit court permanently enjoining the Vera Lee Angel Revocable Trust, through trustees Johnny Angel and Paula Napper (“Angel”), from using for short-term rentals a house situated on a lot in the Jeffries and Norvell Subdivision. Appellees, the other landowners in the Subdivision, filed a complaint seeking to enjoin Angel from using the premises for short-term rentals. The circuit court granted a permanent injunction. On appeal, Angel argued that the circuit court’s construction of the bill of assurance for the Subdivision was erroneous. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that the lack of a specific restriction against rentals of the property required reversal and dismissal of the circuit court’s injunction. View "Vera Lee Angel Revocable Trust v. O’Bryant" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s judgment and decree of foreclosure finding in favor of Bank and against Appellant on his counterclaims against Bank and his third-party complaint against the former vice president of commercial lending at Bank (“VP”). The court held (1) the circuit court erred in failing to submit Appellant’s legal counterclaims and third-party claims to the jury; (2) the circuit court erred in granting Bank and VP’s motion to strike Appellant’s jury trial demand based on a predispute jury-waiver clause contained in the loan agreement; and (3) Marvell Light & Ice Co. v. General Electric Co., 259 S.W. 741 (1924), is overruled to the extent that it holds that there is a per se new business rule preventing lost profits unless the business is an old business. View "Tilley v. Malvern National Bank" on Justia Law

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Eugene Pfeifer and the Pfeifer Family Limited Partnership #1 (Pfeifer) petitioned the City of North Little Rock to create Northshore Lane Multipurpose Municipal Improvement District No. 36. Pfeifer claimed to be the majority owner in the assessed value of the property within the district. Also included in the proposed improvement district were two properties owned by the City. The City’s attorney opined that Pfeifer’s petition did not contain the requisite signatures from a majority of owners and that the City was the majority owner of the land within the proposed improvement district. Pfeifer filed a complaint and a petition for writ of mandamus requesting a court order requiring the City to enact an ordinance to establish the proposed improvement district. The circuit court granted the petition and ordered the city council to make a finding that the petition was signed by a majority in assessed value of the property owners and to take necessary steps to establish the district. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of Pfeifer’s petition for writ of mandamus but modified the circuit court’s order to provide that mandamus is granted only to require the city council to make specific findings pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 14-88-207(a). View "City of North Little Rock v. Pfeifer" on Justia Law

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Washington Regional Medical Center (WRMC) filed a petition to quiet title in certain property, claiming to be the legal owner of the property after having acquired fee-simple title from the City by quitclaim deed and filed of record. The Stone heirs responded that title should be quieted in them, filed a cross-claim against the City, and asserted a counterclaim for breach of trust. The circuit court granted WRMC’s motion for summary judgment, quieted title in WRMC, dismissed the Stone heirs’ counterclaim, granted the City’s motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the Stone heirs’ cross-claim against the City. The Stone heirs appealed, presenting six allegations of error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly granted summary judgment in favor of WRMC. View "Stone v. Washington Regional Medical Center" on Justia Law

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The City of Hot Springs passed an ordinance annexing two tracts of property under Ark. Code Ann. 14-40-501. Certain property owners filed a complaint to set aside the annexation, arguing that the statutory scheme authorizing the annexation was unconstitutional and, alternatively, that the annexed area did not fall within the statutory range. The circuit court dismissed the complaint with prejudice, concluding that the statute was constitutional and that the annexed area met the requirements set forth in section 14-40-501. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statute is constitutional; and (2) the annexed area was properly annexed under the statute. View "Pritchett v. City of Hot Springs" on Justia Law

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Larry Teeter, Donna Teeter, Amy Teeter Thomas, and Kevin Teeter (collectively, the Teeters) were awarded attorneys’ fees in a judgment arising from a condemnation proceeding. The City of Benton appealed, challenging the circuit court’s award of attorneys’ fees on the grounds that there is no statutory authority for awarding such fees against a municipality in a condemnation proceeding. The Teeters cross-appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying their request for payment of expert-witness fees. The Supreme Court reversed on direct appeal and affirmed on cross-appeal for the reasons stated in City of Benton v. Alcoa Storage Inc., handed down this same date. View "City of Benton v. Teeter" on Justia Law

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Alcoa Road Storage, Inc. was awarded attorneys’ fees in a judgment arising from a condemnation proceeding. The City of Benton appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in awarding attorneys’ fees because there is no statutory authority for awarding such fees against a municipality in a condemnation proceeding. Alcoa cross-appealed, challenging the circuit court’s denial of its request for payment of expert-witness fees. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) erred in awarding attorneys’ fees because attorneys’ fees are not expressly provided for in Ark. Code Ann. 18-15-307(c); and (2) did not err in finding that expert-witness fees incurred by a landowner to establish the calculation of its just compensation are not “costs occasioned by the assessment” pursuant to section 18-15-307(c). View "City of Benton v. Alcoa Road Storage Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellees, class representatives of property owners located in a subdivision, sought declaratory judgment that certain “tie-in rights” were unenforceable. During the suit, Appellant filed an interlocutory appeal of the circuit court’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration with the unnamed class members. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded case number CV 14-618 to rule on whether there was a valid agreement to arbitrate between Appellant and the unnamed class members. The mandate issued pursuant to an opinion that ordered Appellees to pay Appellant $5,091 for costs in the appeal. Appellees subsequently filed a motion regarding costs and a motion to recall and amend the mandate. Both motions were denied. The Supreme Court recalled the mandate in case number CV-14-618 and directed the clerk to amend the mandate to reflect that each party is to bear its own costs, holding that the circuit court was without jurisdiction to award judgment for costs. View "Dye v. Diamante, a Private Membership Golf Club, LLC" on Justia Law