DENVER - Real estate appraisers were not required to evaluate comparable sales before deciding to apply a before-and-after property valuation formula, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 16 in affirming a U.S. Tax Court valuation of an easement (Trout Ranch, et al. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Nos. 11-9006, 14374-08; 10th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17198)
OAKLAND, Calif. - In a suit in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the receiver for a failed bank, sued a real estate appraiser for alleged negligence, a federal judge in California on Aug. 10 granted the FDIC's motion to dismiss the appraiser's counterclaims (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Eric K. Hsing, No. 12-01530, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 7 partially granted JPMorgan Chase Bank's (Chase) motion for partial summary judgment in an action in which a consumer sued to quiet title in real estate, finding that Chase is entitled to an equitable lien against the consumer's property (Yelena Shchekina v. Washington Mutual Bank, et al., No. 08-06094, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110492).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 found that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in granting a real estate developer relief under Federal Rule 60(b) of Civil Procedure, affirming the lower court's decision to reinstate the developer's professional negligence claim against its insurance agent in a Hurricane Katrina coverage dispute (Lowry Development LLC v. Groves & Associates Insurance Inc., No. 11-60670, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16136).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on July 16 found that an insurer has satisfied its burden of showing that there is no coverage under a real estate errors and omissions liability insurance policy for claims arising from the sale of six allegedly defective homes, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (General Star National Insurance Company v. Michael D. Higginbotham, et al., No. 10-cv-03162-LSC, N.D. Ala.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98257).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 11 affirmed the dismissal of a suit arising from JP Morgan Chase Bank's (Chase) assumption of a loan from the failed Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu), finding that amendment of the plaintiffs' Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA) claim would be futile and that their non-RESPA claims are barred by res judicata (Christopher Hintz, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, et al., No. 11-1560, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14121).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court today dismissed an appeal of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a plaintiff's right to sue banks and title insurance companies accused of paying kickbacks for fees and services in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (First American Financial Corp. v. Denise Edwards, No. 10-708, U.S. Sup.; See December 2011, Page 5).
(Order available. Document #85-120727-003Z.)
In a one-page per curiam opinion, the high court concluded that First American Financial Corp.'s writ of certiorari was "improvidently granted."
Denise P. Edwards sued First American in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that it violated RESPA's anti-kickback provision by entering into exclusivity agreements with thousands of title insurance agencies authorized to sell First American title insurance policies. Under RESPA's remedies, Edwards seeks treble damages for the $455 cost of her title insurance.
The District Court denied First American's motion to dismiss for lack of standing. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed.
First American asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit's ruling, and the high court granted its petition for a writ of certiorari. On Nov. 28, 2011, the high court heard oral arguments on two issues: whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that Edwards has standing to sue under RESPA when she does not claim that the violation affected the price, quality or other characteristic of the settlement services, and whether Edwards has standing to sue under Article III, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution when she does not have an injury in fact.
Aaron M. Panner of Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel in Washington is counsel for First American. Cyril V. Smith of Zuckerman Spaeder in Baltimore, Jeffrey A. Lamken of MoloLamken in Washington and David Adam Reiser in Washington represent Edwards.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 dismissed an appeal of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a plaintiff's right to sue banks and title insurance companies accused of paying kickbacks for fees and services in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (First American Financial Corp. v. Denise Edwards, No. 10-708, U.S. Sup.).
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PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 25 preliminarily approved a $4 million settlement to resolve a putative class's claims that Washington Mutual Bank FSB violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by collecting kickbacks and fees in return for referring customers to certain private mortgage insurance companies (Robert Alexander, et al. v. Washington Mutual Inc., No. 07-cv-04426-TON, E.D. Pa.).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on June 15 awarded judgment to Wells Fargo Bank N.A.'s loan-servicing arm after finding that in addition to a couple's lack of standing to bring their wrongful foreclosure action, they failed to state claims against the loan servicer for alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) 12 USCS § 2607 and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq. (Paul B. Witek v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., et al., No. 11-CV-216, W.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83029).
SALT LAKE CITY - In a suit in which the receiver for a company that was operated as an alleged Ponzi scheme sued to recover commissions on real estate transactions related to the alleged scheme, a federal judge in Utah on June 11 granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling that the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (TUFTA) does not give the receiver the right to seek a judgment that would result in retention of value above what was initially contemplated by the transactions (Roger J. McConkie v. Rice Properties, et al., No. 09-00275, D. Utah; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80902).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 29 denied review of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that two real estate leasing companies were jointly and severally liable for the withdrawal liability of an insolvent affiliate under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (SCOFBP, et al. v. Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension, et al., No. 11-1181, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on May 24 upheld a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority decision to award summary judgment to Quicken Loans Inc. after finding that plaintiffs must show that parties split fees from settlement services in order to pursue a claim under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) 12 USCS § 2607. (Tammy Freeman, et al. v. Quicken Loans Inc., No. 10-1042, U.S. Sup.; 2012 U.S. LEXIS 3940).
NEW ORLEANS - A group of Florida condo owners and a real estate developer filed a joint motion in a Louisiana federal court on May 14, seeking preliminary approval of a $4.8 million settlement to fund remediation costs of units affected by defective drywall (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:09md02047, E.D. La.). Subscribers may view the joint motion available within the full update.
FRESNO, Calif. - A business liability insurance policy's professional services exclusion precludes coverage for an insured's liability for underlying wrongful death claims that resulted in a $29 million judgment, a California appeals panel ruled May 14, affirming a lower court's ruling that the insurer has no duty to indemnify the portion of the judgment attributed to its insured (Golden Eagle Insurance Corporation v. Lemoore Real Estate and Property Management, Inc., et al., No. F061735, Calif. App., 5th Dist.; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3584).
RICHMOND, Va. - Purchasers of real estate brokerage services in South Carolina who brought two putative class actions against licensed real estate brokerages that served as board members of the local multiple listing services (MLSs) stated plausible claims that the defendants conspired to unfairly restrain market competition in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 14 in affirming the denial of the defendants' motions to dismiss ( Albert Robertson, et al. v. Sea Pines Real Estate Companies, Incorporated, et al., Nos. 11-1538, 11-1540, 4th Cir.; Thomas Boland v. Consolidated Multiple Listings Service, Incorporated, et al., Nos. 11-1539, 11-1541, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9694).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on April 6 granted various motions for summary judgment in favor of the sellers of a home that allegedly contained mold, their real estate agents and others, finding no evidence that the defendants concealed water and mold damage from the purchasers (Jason A. Milner, et al. v. Robin Biggs, et al., No. 2:10-cv-00904, S.D. Ohio). Subscribers may view the opinion within the full update.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Coverage for underlying claims stemming from the economic failure of a 216-unit apartment complex is barred by three exclusions in a real estate professional errors and omissions insurance policy, an Alabama federal judge ruled March 29, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend against the underlying claims (Continental Casualty Company v. HomeCorp Management Inc., et al., No. 2:10-CV-566, M.D. Ala., Northern Div.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43210).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on March 28 partially granted a motion to dismiss in a suit accusing Wachovia Mortgage Corp. of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) after an error was made regarding the plaintiffs' loan (Konieczka, et al. v. Wachovia Mortgage Corp., No. 11-00071, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42675).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 27 entered final judgment in favor of a real estate errors and omissions liability insurer, finding that because claimants gained their right to sue the insurer through an assignment in a fraudulent settlement agreement with the insured, they have lost their standing to sue the insurer for the resulting $3.3 million default judgment (Ron Carlson, et al. v. Century Surety Co., No. C 11-00356 SI, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40986).
LAS VEGAS - A federal judge in Nevada on March 20 dismissed a man's lawsuit alleging that Bank of America N.A. and its subsidiaries' violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) caused him to suffer denial of credit and damage to his credit score, after finding that the alleged injuries were too speculative to support his claims (Gregory LaPorta v. Bank of America, et al., No. 11-CV-01094-KJD-CWH, D. Nev.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37287).
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PHOENIX - Real estate company Granite Dells Ranch Holdings LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 13 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona as one of its creditors foreclosed on a $90 million secured loan and called for the appointment of a receiver (In Re: Granite Dells Ranch Holdings LLC, No. 12-04962,D. Ariz. Bkcy.).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 12 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an underlying negligence lawsuit against an insured is not covered under a real estate agent and broker professional liability insurance policy because the insured failed to comply with the policy's 30-day reporting requirement (RE/MAX Mega Group v. Maxum Indemnity Company, No. 11-55142, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 5117).