Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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This appeal stemmed from a trial court order quieting title in favor of TDGA, LLC. Appellant Peter Mancuso argued, inter alia, that he did not receive proper notice from TDGA regarding the foreclosure of his right of redemption. After review of the trial court record, the Mississippi Supreme Court found the evidence showed TDGA met its burden as required by OCGA 48-4-45(a)(2) by sending notices to Mancuso's known addresses via certified mail. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court's order. View "Mancuso v. TDGA, LLC" on Justia Law

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Lowell and Janice Register were shareholders of Register Communications, Inc. Green Bull Georgia Partners, LLC threatened to foreclose on property that had been pledged to secure the debts of Register Communications. The Registers sued Green Bull. In connection with their lawsuit, the Registers sought an interlocutory injunction to prohibit any foreclosure pending final judgment. At first, the trial court provisionally granted some injunctive relief, but after further consideration, it concluded that an injunction pending final judgment was not warranted, and it set aside the injunction that it previously had entered. The Registers appealed the order setting aside the interlocutory injunction, and they asked the trial court for an injunction at least to prohibit any foreclosure pending the resolution of their appeal. The trial court granted an injunction pending appeal, and in this case, Green Bull appealed the entry of that injunction. The Georgia Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion in the grant of the injunction, and affirmed the trial court. View "Green Bull Partners, LLC v. Register" on Justia Law

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Joshua Martin sustained life-changing injuries in a brutal attack at a bus stop outside the Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park in 2007. A jury determined that Six Flags was liable for those injuries, along with the four named individual defendants who perpetrated the attack. The trial court apportioned the jury’s $35 million verdict between the parties, assigning 92% against Six Flags and 2% each against the four assailants. On cross-appeals by Six Flags and Martin, a majority of the twelve-member Court of Appeals found no error in the jury’s determination regarding Six Flags’ liability but concluded that the trial court had erred in its pretrial rulings regarding apportionment of fault, necessitating a full retrial. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine: (1) whether Six Flags could properly be held liable for the injuries inflicted in this attack; and (2) assuming liability was proper, whether the trial court’s apportionment error does indeed require a full retrial. After review, the Supreme Court concluded: (1) because the attack that caused Martin’s injuries began while both he and his assailants were on Six Flags property, Six Flags’ liability was not extinguished simply because Martin stepped outside the property’s boundaries while attempting to distance himself from his attackers; and (2) the trial court’s apportionment error did not require a full retrial, but rather required retrial only for the apportionment of damages. View "Martin v. Six Flags Over Georgia II, L.P." on Justia Law

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Appellee M7VEN Supportive Housing and Development Group (“M7”) failed to pay taxes on two properties in Carroll County, and, consequently, the Tax Commissioner conducted a tax sale. The properties were purchased by Appellant DLT List, LLC (“DLT”), for a total of $110,000, and the tax sale resulted in excess funds of approximately $105,000. The Commissioner notified M7, DLT, and others of excess funds, and, M7 filed a certificate of authorization seeking to receive the excess funds. Though there were no other claims made on the funds, the Commissioner did not release the funds. Appellee Design Acquisition, LLC, as a lienholder against M7, redeemed the properties from DLT, and DLT issued quitclaim deeds of redemption to M7. Design Acquisition filed a declaratory judgment action claiming entitlement to the excess funds, and the Commissioner filed an equitable interpleader action for the purpose of distributing the excess funds. The two actions were consolidated. The trial court determined that, because M7 was the only entity to have made a claim for the excess funds or to have had a recorded interest in the properties at the time of the tax sale, the Commissioner should have timely released the excess funds to M7. DLT and Design Acquisition appealed, arguing that Design Acquisition had first priority to the excess funds as the redeeming creditor. The Court of Appeals overruled the controlling case law in this matter, applied OCGA 48-4-5 (a) to the question of excess funds and determined that Design Acquisition had no claim to the excess funds because it was not a lienholder at the time of the tax sale. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether a redeeming creditor after a tax sale has a first priority claim on excess tax-sale funds. Though the Court disagreed with the rationale employed by the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court nevertheless affirmed its decision. View "DLT List, LLC v. M7VEN Supportive Housing & Development Group" on Justia Law

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After the Merle and Lesia Long and their business Water Park Properties, LLC dismissed their most recent lawsuit against the City of Helen with prejudice, the trial court awarded more than $17,000 to the City for attorney fees and litigation expenses pursuant to OCGA 9-15-14. The Longs and Water Park appealed, contending that the award of fees and expenses was improper because those fees and expenses actually were borne by the City’s insurer, not the City itself. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the award. View "Long v. City of Helen" on Justia Law

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The Community Bank loaned money to several entities (“the Borrowers”) over the course of several years. The Borrowers executed five promissory notes, granting the bank a security interest in real estate located in three different counties. To further secure the loans, the Guarantors signed commercial guaranties (“the Guaranties”) in which they guaranteed full payment of the notes. In 2011, RES-GA foreclosed on and bought the properties that were serving as collateral. It then filed confirmation actions in the three counties in which the secured properties were located. In each instance, the court entered an order refusing to confirm the sale, finding that RES-GA had failed to prove that it obtained the fair market value of the property in question, and refusing to allow a resale. RES-GA appealed two of those orders, and the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed in each case. Last year, the Supreme Court held that compliance with OCGA 44-14-161, Georgia’s confirmation statute, “is a condition precedent to the lender’s ability to pursue a guarantor for a deficiency after foreclosure has been conducted, but a guarantor retains the contractual ability to waive the condition precedent requirement.” The Court granted certiorari in this case to consider additional questions regarding creditors’ ability to pursue deficiency actions against guarantors. The Court concluded that Jim York and John Drillot (“the Guarantors”) waived any defense based on the failure of creditor RES-GA LJY, LLC (“RES-GA”) to confirm the relevant foreclosure sales, and thus affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision that upheld deficiency judgments against them. View "York v. RES-GA LJY, LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellant La Chona, LLC, brought a quiet title action asserting that it was the owner of property located in the City of Decatur, because it had purchased the property at a tax sale and had barred the right of other interested persons, including appellee Haddis Aberra to redeem the property pursuant to barment notices that it had sent those parties under OCGA 48-4-45. The trial court ruled in favor of Aberra, concluding that, when La Chona sent the barment notices, it did not hold a record interest in the property, was therefore not authorized by law to send the notices, and, accordingly, had not barred Aberra’s right to redeem the property. The trial court also ruled that, even if La Chona had been authorized to send the barment notices, La Chona had waived the requirement of tender as to Aberra. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that La Chona did not have the right to send the barment notice to Aberra, and because of that ruling, it did not decide the tender issue. View "La Chona, LLC v. Aberra" on Justia Law

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This case centered on the procedure by which a local zoning board’s quasi-judicial decision on a variance request could be appealed to the superior court. Kerley Family Homes, LLC was granted a variance by the City of Cumming’s Board of Zoning Appeals (“BZA”). Neighboring homeowners aggrieved by the variance sought to appeal the BZA’s decision by filing a complaint seeking a writ of mandamus and an injunction with the superior court. The defendants argued that they were entitled to summary judgment against the homeowners because the zoning variance decision was a quasi-judicial decision that could be challenged in the superior court only by a petition for certiorari under OCGA 5-4-1. The Supreme Court concluded they were right, and therefore reversed the trial court’s denial of summary judgment. View "City of Cumming v. Flowers" on Justia Law

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Appellants Ken and Rochel Parker and Appellees Andrew and Penny Leeuwenburg were neighbors with a contentious relationship. Appellees first sought to have Appellants secure a good behavior bond in 2011, but the parties reached an agreement without the issuance of the bond. Appellees again sought a good behavior bond in 2013; the parties agreed to a six-month bond, which was later extended for an additional six months, and that bond expired in December 2014. Appellees sought a second bond in January 2015, alleging that Appellants had: installed security cameras aimed at Appellees’ property; conversed with and “objected to the activities of a tree service hired by [Appellees]”; and used flashlights in a manner that disrupted the sleep of Appellees. Following a hearing a magistrate court issued a bond enjoining both parties from: having direct or indirect contact with the other. Appellants sought review of the bond by way of a petition for certiorari with the superior court. Later, however, Appellees agreed to dismiss the bond, and Appellants agreed to dismiss their appeal; a consent order memorializing the parties’ agreement was filed in June 2016. In that same month, Appellants filed a complaint in the superior court seeking, among other things, a declaration that OCGA 17-6-90 was unconstitutional. The trial court concluded that the statute was constitutional and granted summary judgment to Appellees. On appeal, Appellants continued to assert that OCGA 17-6-90 was unconstitutional. In response, Appellees argued that Appellants lacked standing to bring their challenge. With that contention, the Supreme Court agreed. View "Parker v. Leeuwenberg" on Justia Law

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In January 2016, the Superior Court of Chatham County granted a petition for an interlocutory injunction, pursuant to which it removed Leonard McCoy as President of the Board of Directors of the Willow Lakes Plantation Homeowners Association. McCoy and the Association appealed, but upon its review of the record and briefs, the Supreme Court found no error and affirmed. View "McCoy v. Bovee" on Justia Law