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About this Blog

Welcome to the Snell & Wilmer real estate litigation blog. Check back here often for useful news and information about current topics involving real estate litigation. We hope that you will find the blog both timely and helpful, and we invite you to join the discussion by posting comments about the articles and contacting the authors with your thoughts about the posts.

“Rip and Tear” Damage Remains Covered Under CGL Policy as “Accident”—for Now.

By: Michael Lindsay and Luke Mecklenburg The Colorado Supreme Court has approved a settlement between the parties to an appeal of the 2012 Colorado Pool Systems v. Scottsdale Insurance Company Court of Appeals case, leaving that ruling intact.  The ruling parses a fine line between uncovered costs of repairing defective work and covered costs of […]

| 3 min read

Landlords Must Not be Arbitrary When Denying a Tenant’s Request To Sublease or Assign

By:  Richard Herold So, you’re a landlord who’s entered into a 30-year lease, the lease has rent escalation clauses which are dramatically out of step with the market, and it’s your view that you are therefore losing money every month. The tenant is closing its business and wants to sublet or assign the lease to […]

RH
Former Partner

Hold that paintbrush! A glimpse into design-control in planned communities

By: Erica Stutman You are choosing a new paint color for the outside of your house, and you think, “Since all the other houses are beige, I’ll do mine purple.” Not so fast – you better check your community’s governing documents before brushing on that first coat of paint. If you live in a planned […]

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ES

Common Law Indemnity Claim Affirmed on Justifiable Beliefs

By Rick Erickson https://www.swlaw.com/people/rick_erickson Yesterday, the Arizona Court of Appeals issued an interesting opinion in Hatch Development v. Solomon. Hatch illustrated two key points in real estate and construction litigation: (1) a contractor’s indemnity does not always require an expressly written obligation; and (2) when facts are undisputed that a contractor is solely at fault […]

RE

California’s One-Action Rule May Apply to Federal Lenders

By: Anthony J. Carucci California’s one-action rule provides that “[t]here can be but one form of action for the recovery of any debt or the enforcement of any right secured by mortgage upon real property or an estate for years therein . . . .” Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 726(a). In other words, the […]

Governor Ducey Vetoes Water and Development Bills

By Patrick J. Paul With the second regular legislative session of Governor Doug Ducey’s tenure complete, the Governor exercised his veto pen rejecting several laws impacting water and land development. On May 9th, Governor Ducey vetoed two measures that could have allowed developers to manipulate the requirements of Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act of 1980: Senate […]

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Applying New California Rules to Your Real Estate Litigation Practice

By: Lyndsey Torp Several new California procedural rules went into effect on January 1, 2016. While we are several months into the new year, litigators may need a reminder of these new rules.  The list below summarizes several of the notable new rules. Pleading Stage New California Code of Procedure section 430.41(a)(2) mandates that the parties […]

LT
Former Senior Attorney

California Case Deals with Nuisance Lawsuit Intended to Delay Foreclosure

A recent California case provides good precedent for dealing with nuisance lawsuits that are intended to delay valid foreclosures. In Brown v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company —Cal.Rptr.3d—, 2016 WL 2726229 (May 9, 2016), plaintiff sued defendants to stop them from foreclosing on her home.  The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer without leave to amend, […]

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Special Rules for Eviction Actions

By:  Kevin Parker In a recent case, the Arizona Court of Appeals addressed the special rules of procedure for eviction actions. The eviction rules became effective January 1, 2009.  In Sotomayor v. Sotomayor-Munoz, 735 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 28 (March 28, 2016), the court addressed the question of whether the evicted tenant had timely appealed.  The […]

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KP
Former Counsel

Nevada Supreme Court Holds that Foreclosure Of HOA Lien Extinguishes Equal Priority HOA Lien.

By: Bob L. Olson In Nevada’s master-planned communities it is common for one home to be in multiple homeowners’ associations.  In such cases there is generally a master association for the master-planned community and then sub-associations for specific developments within the master-planned community.  The liens of the master association and the sub-association have equal priority […]

BO

Examining Denver’s new construction defect reform ordinance

Construction defect reform is a hot-button issue in Colorado.  This is especially true along the booming Front Range, where rapidly increasing population has driven the prices of renting and buying property a mile high.  Developers maintain that building condominiums is just too risky given their exposure to lawsuits from dissatisfied owners under current state law, […]

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Eminent Domain: Be Careful What You Ask For

By:  Richard Herold and Patrick Paul The condemnation[1] of property for public works may not always be as clean and easy as the government would like.  Although local governments are often critical players in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties, contaminated property can: (1) trigger disclosure requirements; (2) lead to environmental liability, for example, […]

RH
Former Partner

Tips on Pursuing and Defending Complaints against Contractors

By Rick Erickson firm bio The often staggering cost of litigation has prompted an equally staggering amount of regulatory complaints against contractors in recent years. Why? Because filing a complaint against a contractor may not cost a complainant anything but time. And any litigation expenses are mostly borne by the contractor/respondent, who is anxious to defend and protect […]

RE

Lenders Should Contract for the Right to Recover Lost Goodwill Proceeds when Commercial Property is taken in Eminent Domain

By: Anthony J. Carucci Business Goodwill Generally In California, the “goodwill” of a business “consists of the benefits that accrue to a business as a result of its location, reputation for dependability, skill or quality, and any other circumstances resulting in probable retention of old or acquisition of new patronage.” Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § […]

Guarantors’ “Lost Profits” Completely Offset Lender’s Deficiency Claim

By: Ben Reeves Believe it or not, lenders can breach loan agreements too…and when they do, there can be significant consequences. In Great Western Bank v. LJC Dev., LLC, 726 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 21 (Ariz. Ct. App. Nov. 10, 2015), the Court of Appeals affirmed that guarantors’ “lost profits” resulting from the lender’s breach of […]

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BR
Partner

The Uniform Law Commission Approves the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act

By: Ben Reeves As we previously reported here, several years ago the Uniform Law Commission (the “ULC”) (the organization that drafted such favorites as the Uniform Commercial Code and the Uniform Arbitration Act) determined that states would benefit from a model act that would govern the powers, rights, and duties of receivers appointed over commercial […]

BR
Partner

School district’s condemnation of a private road passes the test

By: Erica Stutman   The power of eminent domain allows a government or quasi-governmental entity to condemn (take) private property for a public use upon a showing of necessity.  In exchange, the property owner must receive “just compensation” equal to the property’s fair market value, and may be entitled to additional damages, such as […]

ES

Property Taxes: A Shopping Center May Not Always be a Shopping Center

By:  Rick Herold, Craig McPike & Ben Reeves In the world of real property taxes, Valuation + Classification = Assessed Valuation.  Sounds simple, right?  The County Assessor determines the first factor, valuation (subject to certain guidelines under applicable Arizona law).  The Arizona State Legislature determines the second factor, the property’s legal classification and corresponding assessment […]

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RH
Former Partner

Statute of Frauds: (1) Email as “Writing” and (2) Email Signature as “Signature”

By:  Kevin J. Parker Arizona, like most states, has a Statute of Frauds that essentially requires real estate related contracts to be both (1) in writing and (2) signed by the party to be charged.  A.R.S. § 44-101.  Questions often arise as to whether an email can satisfy the “writing” requirement, and whether an electronic […]

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KP
Former Counsel

It just got a little bit easier to enforce judgment liens

By:  Ben Reeves Last year, we posted It just got a little bit harder to enforce judgment liens, which analyzed a Court of Appeals decision that invalidated a judgment lien against third-party purchasers due to the judgment creditors’ failure to record an information statement along with the judgment.  Lewis v. Debord, 236 Ariz. 57, 335 […]

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BR
Partner

Offensive Discovery after Strudley and Changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure

By: Neal McConomy Toxic tort cases often involve real property, especially in areas with large mining and energy sectors like the West and Southwest. The cases frequently have large potential damage values and require extensive discovery. Numerous expert witnesses, vast amounts of real property testing, and significant document production are common. The cost of engaging […]

NM
Former Associate

Homebuilders Welcome Recent Court Decisions

By:  Patrick Paul Arizona homebuilders will welcome with open arms two recent legal rulings of substantial impact to their industry. In the first decision, on July 28, 2015, in Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 1 CA-CV 14-0199, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that homebuilders do not owe a duty of care to subsequent […]

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Does a title company owe a duty of care to third parties in the recording of legal instruments?

By: Ben Reeves This is precisely the question that the Ninth Circuit recently certified to the Washington Supreme Court in Centurion Properties III, LLC v. Chicago Title Ins. Co. Facts of the Case In this case, Centurion Properties III, LLC (the “Borrower”) purchased a tract of real property in Washington with a loan from General […]

BR
Partner

HOA Super Priority Legal Battles Continue in the Silver State: What Senate Bill 306 Means for Nevada HOAs, Lenders and Homeowners

By:  Aaron D. Ford and Karl O. Riley In 1991, the Nevada Legislature enacted the Uniform Common-Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA) which had been promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) (the Statute).[1] This law provides that a homeowners association (HOA) may record a lien on each home in the community […]

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BR
Partner

New Landlords Should Not Ignore Arizona’s Requirement To Register With The County Assessor’s Office

By: Cory L. Braddock With ongoing price volatility in Arizona’s residential real estate market, homeowners may be tempted to become recreational landlords. Anyone considering renting their home, however, should be aware that Arizona law requires residential rental property owners to register their residential rental property with the county assessor’s office, presumably so that assessor can […]

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CB

Are Short-Term Vacation Rentals Legal?

By: Ben Reeves The recent explosion in popularity of short-term vacation rentals through services such as Airbnb.com and VRBO.com not only provides terrifying horror stories about problem renters (google it if you’re interested), but also raises serious questions about the legality of the practice. Many cities are currently struggling with this very issue. Opponents to […]

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BR
Partner

Guarantors Can Waive Anti-Deficiency Protections

By:  Richard H. Herold and Ben Reeves In Arizona, guarantors can now be held liable for deficiencies even where borrowers avoid liability due to Arizona’s anti-deficiency statute. Arizona courts have been active in the last few years in addressing the law governing post-trustee’s sale deficiencies under Arizona’s anti-deficiency statute, A.R.S. §33-814(G), which provides that no […]

BR
Partner

Upheld: Injured Subcontractor’s Lent Employee Has No Claim Against Landowner or General Contractor After Choosing Workers’ Compensation and Failing to Prove Landowner Controlled the Work

By Rick Erickson (http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/rick_erickson) On this Memorial Day 2015, I write in honor of my U.S. Marine Corps colleague, Megan McClung, who was killed in Iraq nine years ago this December.  Major McClung and I served together in Anbar Province in 2006.  She was the first female Marine Corps officer to be killed in Iraq […]

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RE

The FDIC Reigns “Supreme” in Nevada

By: Nathan Kanute For several years, Nevada Courts have considered a myriad of issues related to how Nevada law applies to loans made by banks that are later take over by the FDIC. In the past eight months, the Nevada Supreme Court has addressed two of those issues. See Munoz v. Branch Banking and Trust […]

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NK

Successful Laches Defense Becoming Commonplace in Colorado

By: Neal McConomy Boiler plate language in responsive pleadings often includes “Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the doctrine of laches” (or “The doctrine of laches bars Plaintiff’s claims” if you prefer the active voice).  However, litigation of a laches defense is fairly rare, and a defendant successfully arguing a laches defense is something of a […]

NM
Former Associate

Nevada Supreme Court holds that Voluntary Payment Doctrine Prohibits a Party from Recovering Amounts Wrongly Paid to Homeowner’s Association in Order to Prevent Foreclosure

By:          Bob L. Olson On September 30,2014, we posted “Lenders Beware: the Nevada Supreme Court Holds that Foreclosures of Homeowner’s Association Liens May Extinguish First Priority Deeds of Trust” which discussed the recent decision of SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 75 (Sept. 18, 2014) (“SFR”).   At the […]

BO

Federal Courts to Apply More Protective State Law when Analyzing Validity of Pre-dispute Jury Trial Waivers in Diversity Jurisdiction Cases

By Anthony J. Carucci The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction must apply the underlying state law to determine the validity of pre-dispute jury trial waivers where the state law is more protective than the federal law. In re Cnty. of Orange, No. 14-72343, 2015 WL 1727240, […]

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Arizona Courts Lacks Authority To Stay Forcible Entry And Detainer Judgments When The Judgment Itself Is Not Pending Appeal

By: Nicholas Kunz Can a court stay the execution of a Forcible Entry and Detainer (“FED”) action when the FED judgment itself is not appealed? The Arizona Court of Appeals recently addressed this question, holding that the court did not have the authority to stay the execution of the FED judgment, because only the denial […]

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NK
Former Associate

A Purchaser Who Doesn’t Inquire May Be Teeing Up For Failure

  By: Erica Stutman Picture this:  While on the hunt for new development opportunities, you stumble across a golf course in the middle of a high-end community, and you think this would be the perfect spot for more houses, or a retail center, or a movie theater, or …oh, the possibilities are endless!  Better yet, […]

ES

If Receiver’s Sales Aren’t Foreclosures, What Are They?

By:  Ben Reeves & Bob Olson When no statute specifically authorizes a court-appointed receiver to sell real property, what type of sale is it?  The Supreme Court of Nevada recently addressed this question, holding that “a receiver sale of real property that secures a loan is a form of judicial foreclosure.”  U.S. Bank v. Palmilla […]

BR
Partner
BO

Injunctive Relief for Building Encroachment. Do I Have to Move the House?

By Kevin Parker When a land owner mistakenly builds a house or other building or structure that encroaches on a neighbor’s property, what is the remedy?  Does the offending land owner have to physically remove the structure from the neighbor’s property?   Is the harmed neighbor entitled to a mandatory injunction against continuing trespass?  Can the offending […]

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KP
Former Counsel

Inverse Condemnation: When is Your Claim Precluded by the Arizona Statute of Limitations?

By:  Richard Herold An inverse condemnation of a landowner’s property can occur when a governmental entity: (1) physically takes the property without compensation; or (2) passes a new law that has a serious impact on the value and/or utility of the property.  At times, the taking may be obvious, for example, if the governmental entity […]

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RH
Former Partner

Are Vacant Lots Protected Under Arizona’s Anti-deficiency Statutes?

By:  Ben Reeves No, of course not.  Arizona’s anti-deficiency statutes only prohibit deficiency judgments after a trustee’s sale of a “dwelling”.[1]  Under no definition can a vacant lot constitute a “dwelling”.  This was the Arizona Supreme Court’s holding in BMO v. Wildwood Creek Ranch, LLC. In BMO, Shawn and Kristina Rudgear (through their company Wildwood […]

BR
Partner

Can an Unsigned Minute Entry Create a Judgment Lien?

By:  Ben Reeves It appears that 2014 was a banner year for Arizona law on judgment liens.  Indeed, we recently posted about the Lewis v. DeBord decision, which invalidates judgment liens vis-à-vis third-party purchasers if the judgment creditor fails to record an “information statement” with the judgment.  The Court of Appeals has again tackled the […]

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BR
Partner

Transfer of Property Title to a Holding Company Did Not Divest Landowner of Owner-Occupant Status Under A.R.S. § 33-1002(B)

By:  Richard G. Erickson Recently, in Marco Crane & Rigging Co. v. Masaryk, 703 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 29 (Dec. 30, 2014), the Arizona Court of Appeals established that a subcontractor on a residential project has no lien rights against an owner-occupant, even though the homeowner transferred the property’s title to a holding company (an Arizona […]

RE

Update – Prospective Waivers of “Fair Market Value” Hearings are Definitely Void.

By:  Ben Reeves In 2013, we blogged about the Arizona Court of Appeals’ determination that prospective contractual waivers of “fair market value” hearings are unenforceable as a matter of public policy.  The link to our prior blog post is here.  Although we noted some deficiencies in the Court of Appeals’ reasoning, we recognized that the […]

BR
Partner

Beneath the Surface: Entek GRB, LLC v. Stull Ranches, LLC and the Continuing Battle Between Surface Owners and Subsurface Owners

By: Neal McConomy On August 14, 2014, the Tenth Circuit vacated and remanded the lower court’s decision regarding a dispute between a surface owner’s and a subsurface owner’s respective rights to access and enjoy land and property rights.  Entek GRB, LLC v. Stull Ranches, LLC, 763 F.3d 1252 (10th Cir. 2014).  The decision reached in […]

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NM
Former Associate

Guarantor Waivers Narrowed

By:  Lyndsey A. Torp and Sean M. Sherlock A general waiver by a guarantor of “all defenses” does not actually waive “all defenses.”   California Bank & Trust v. Del Ponti, — Cal.Rptr.3d —, 2014 WL 6908141 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.).  That was the holding in a recent opinion wherein the California Court of Appeal affirmed judgment […]

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It just got a little bit harder to enforce judgment liens

By:  Ben Reeves Introduction As everyone knows, the enactment of the Statute of Westminster II in 1285 ushered the concept of a “judgment lien” into English law.  The statute – for the first time in English legal history – authorized a judgment creditor to obtain a writ of elegit (as opposed to a writ of […]

BR
Partner

California Case Requires Arbitration Despite Lack of Actual Controversy

  By:  Lyndsey A. Torp and Sean M. Sherlock For parties to litigate a contract dispute in a court of law, the parties’ disagreement must have ripened into an actual controversy presenting more than a mere academic difference of opinion.  But under a recent California Court of Appeal opinion, no actual controversy is required to […]

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Nevada Supreme Court adds New Elements to Constructive Eviction Claims.

By Bob L. Olson Nevada, like many jurisdictions, has recognized the ability of a tenant to vacate property if it becomes unfit for occupancy for the purpose for which it was leased.  This is commonly known as a “constructive eviction.”  Traditionally, to establish a claim for or defense of constructive eviction, the tenant had to […]

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BO

Landlords Need Not Deny Puppy Love

By: Erica Stutman Dog-lovers will be happy to know they may rent property to a tenant and the tenant’s dog without necessarily being subject to strict liability if man’s best friend turns out to be not-so-friendly after all.  In Spirlong v. Browne, the Arizona Court of Appeals decided that the strict liability for injuries or […]

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ES

General Contractor’s Prospective Waiver Of Its Lien Rights Is Enforceable In California

By: Lyndsey Torp http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/lyndsey_torp In another decision favoring lenders (See http://www.swlaw.com/blog/real-estate-litigation/2014/08/29/arizona-supreme-court-to-contractor-sorry-but-equitable-subrogation-of-a-banks-later-deed-of-trust-trumps-earlier-mechanics-lien-rights/), the California Court of Appeal, in an opinion published in September 2014, entitled Moorefield Construction, Inc. v. Intervest Mortgage Investment Company, et al., D065464, held an original contractor can contractually waive or impair its own lien rights, even before it gets paid or performs […]

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LT
Former Senior Attorney

Arizona Chamber of Commerce Forms Policy Group for Real Estate and Community Development Issues

By:  Bob Henry The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry has formed a new policy committee for “Real Estate and Community Development Issues.”  The Arizona Chamber’s policy committees—now 16 different committees that cover policy areas ranging from “Budget & Government Reform” to “Workplace, Workers Compensation and Insurance”—are actively involved in supporting and opposing legislation on issues […]

BH
Partner

Vendees’ Liens—Construction Lenders Beware!

By:  David A. Sprentall A recent Arizona Court of Appeals decision highlights a lien priority risk for secured construction lenders when the financed project fails. The problem—known as a “vendee lien”—is most likely to arise when up-front deposits are paid by buyers of units in condominiums or similar projects. The case, Rigoli v. 44 Monroe Marketing, […]

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BR
Partner

Homestead Exemption Cannot be Denied on Equitable Grounds

By Kevin J. Parker Arizona’s homestead exemption allows a person to protect from certain creditors up to $150,000 of their equity in their residence (dwelling house, condominium, or mobile home).  A.R.S. § 33-1101 et seq.  This homestead equity is exempt from non-consensual liens, for example recorded judgments against the owner.  The homestead exemption does not […]

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KP
Former Counsel

New California Case Illustrates Peril of Full Credit Bid

By: Sean M. Sherlock In a new California case, a lender that made a full credit bid at a foreclosure sale lost its right as mortgagee under a lender’s insurance policy for damage to the property that occurred prior to foreclosure. This was so even though the lender held multiple deeds of trust, and foreclosed […]

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Lenders Beware: the Nevada Supreme Court Holds That Foreclosures of Homeowners’ Association Liens May Extinguish First Priority Deeds of Trust

By:  Bob L. Olson Nevada has adopted the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act of 1982 (the “Act”) which governs homeowners’ associations (“HOA”). One particular provision of that Act, enacted by Nevada in 1991 and later amended, and codified as NRS 116.3116 (the “Statute”), states that HOA liens are “prior to all other liens and encumbrances […]

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BR
Partner

Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

By: Richard H. Herold Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to obtain easements across private property when those easements are necessary and cannot be obtained consensually (by contract) from […]

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RH
Former Partner

Social Media Concerns Potentially Affecting Arizona’s Real Estate Industry

By:  Jefferson R. Hayden  http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/jefferson_hayden A growing number of governmental authorities are cracking down on the use of social media with regard to commercial transactions.  In Arizona, for example, legislation was proposed restricting an employer’s right to access social media account information of its employees.  Though SB 1411 was not passed in 2013, the Arizona […]

| 4 min read

Arizona Supreme Court to Contractor: Sorry But Equitable Subrogation of a Bank’s Later Deed of Trust Trumps Earlier Mechanics’ Lien Rights

By Rick Erickson http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/rick_erickson The smoke has finally cleared in a hard and long-fought battle between a bank and contractor both claiming priority to foreclose millions of dollars on a Phoenix condominium project. The project, well-known as Summit at Copper Square in central Phoenix (“Summit”), went broke in 2007. The foreclosure case began in 2008, […]

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RE

Nevada Supreme Court Clarifies Mechanic and Materialman Lien Issues

By:  Nathan Kanute and Bob Olson On August 7, 2014, the Nevada Supreme Court issued two opinions dealing with the priority of mechanics’ liens and the proof required for a materialman to establish a lien.  These cases provide valuable guidance to lenders, materialmen, contractors, and subcontractors operating in Nevada. In Byrd Underground, LLC v. Angaur, LLC, […]

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NK

A Subsequent Developer has no Ability to Force a Public Body to Call an Abandoning Developer’s Performance Bonds for Infrastructure Improvements.

The Arizona Court of Appeals decided on July 22, 2014 that a developer cannot compel a public entity to call its performance bonds to complete infrastructure improvements on a construction project that a prior developer abandoned due to bankruptcy.  Ponderosa Fire Dist. et al. v. Coconino County et al., 1 CA-CV 13-0545. – See more […]

BR
Partner

Colorado Supreme Court Revisits Rule Against Perpetuities

By: Ginny Olmstead   http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/virginia_olmstead In March of this year, the Colorado Supreme Court revisited a fundamental doctrine of property law, which it described as “long cherished by law school professors and dreaded by most law students: the infamous rule against perpetuities.”  The rule applies an unusual formula to prevent property from remaining “tied up” by […]

| 7 min read

Guarantors Remain Liable for “Carve-out” Obligations, Despite Non-recourse Loan

By:  Ben Reeves Introduction Believe it or not, guaranty contracts mean what they say.  If a guarantor agrees to reimburse a lender for misappropriated security deposits, unpaid taxes, and the cost of enforcement, then – not surprisingly – courts will hold the guarantors liable for these expenses. In Investors Warranty of America, Inc. v. Arrowhead […]

BR
Partner

Governmental Power and Property Lines

By: Neal McConomy On May 27, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Town of Dillon v. Yacht Club Condos. Home Owners Ass’n, 2014 CO 37.  Overturning the rulings of both the trial court and the Colorado Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court reaffirmed the long-standing deference Colorado law shows to state […]

NM
Former Associate

Real estate salesperson succeeds in mission to collect commission

By: Erica Stutman A.R.S. § 32-2152 allows a real estate broker or salesperson to file a court action to collect earned compensation if he was a “qualified licensed broker or salesperson at the time the claim arose.”  In Focus Point Prop., LLC v. Johnson, 689 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 4 (June 19, 2014), plaintiff Cleo Johnson […]

ES

Nevada Supreme Court and District Court Issue Decisions Regarding Nevada’s Limitations on Deficiency Judgments.

By:  Bob Olson and Nathan Kanute In 2011 the Nevada Legislature enacted Assembly Bill 273 (“AB 273”) which amended NRS 40.459 by limiting deficiency judgments to the difference between the amount the lender paid to acquire the loan or obligation and the larger of the market value of the property or the amount paid for the […]

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BO

Unmitigated Waivers: Guarantors Remain Liable Despite 4-Year Delay in Foreclosure Sale

By:  Ben Reeves If a lender delays foreclosure allowing years of default interest to accrue such that a guarantor’s obligation increases from $6 million to $12 million, should the guarantor remain on the hook for the full $12 million?  In Pi’ikea, LLC v. Williamson, 683 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 32 (Ct. App. 2014), the Arizona Court […]

BR
Partner

Seller Liability for Disclosures (or Non-Disclosures), Part 2

May 12, 2014 By:  Kevin J. Parker In our blog post dated April 29, 2013, Matthew Fischer discussed the case Lerner v. DMB Realty, LLC (Arizona Court of Appeals, November 27, 2012).  In that case, the Arizona Court of Appeals addressed, among other things, the viability of a claim wherein a buyer of residential real […]

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KP
Former Counsel

Amendments to Arizona’s Anti-deficiency Statute Exclude Homebuilders from Anti-Deficiency Protection

By:  Ben Reeves Last Tuesday, April 20, 2014, Arizona’s Governor, Jan Brewer, signed HB 2018 into law.  This bill closes a long-standing loophole that allowed commercial homebuilders to take advantage of Arizona’s anti-deficiency statute, even though the statute was originally enacted to protect only homeowners.  In sum, for loans secured by residences that are originated […]

| 3 min read | Tagged: , , ,
BR
Partner

Legal Pot Leads to Possible Nuisance Suits, but Viability is Unlikely

By: Neal McConomy Almost four months into Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana for adults aged twenty-one and over, the weather is warming, windows are opening, and outdoor spaces are getting more use.  All the while, a segment of the Colorado population, especially in the City and County of Denver (“Denver”), is exercising its new-found legal […]

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NM
Former Associate

Arizona Supreme Court Holds That Property Owner Who Quarreled With Light Rail Construction Should Be Compensated For Lost Access

By Eric H. Spencer Late last week, the Arizona Supreme Court handed down a decision that clarified the rights of property owners who lose access to an abutting road and, in the process, reinforced the principle that both elimination and substantial impairment of access is compensable under the Arizona Constitution.  But perhaps more significant, the […]

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ES

Sellers Cannot Look to the Appraiser When Lenders Pull the Plug on a Prospective House Flip

By:  Eric Spencer An outgrowth of Arizona’s housing downturn in recent years has been the proliferation of would-be real estate investors who purchase, renovate and flip residential properties.   On the other hand, in part to prevent the next downturn from occurring, lenders have tightened borrowing requirements and balked at financing any purchase of a “flipped” […]

ES

The Registrar is Changing the Game for Complaints Against Arizona Contractors

By Rick Erickson http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/rick_erickson Sweeping changes at the Registrar of Contractors have the construction and real estate industries concerned and curious.  The Registrar recently received some poor performance reports by the Auditor General and State Ombudsmen.  As a result, the Registrar overhauled its procedures for handling complaints and adjudicating contested cases against Arizona contractors.  You […]

RE

Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S. – the United States’ theory of land ownership derailed

By: Erica Stutman In Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S., the United States Supreme Court held that abandoned railway rights-of-way that had been granted to railroad companies under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 left underlying landowners with property free of the rights-of-way, and the United States government has no interest in the abandoned land. […]

ES

Lender’s Title Insurance: When Should Courts Measure the Fair Market Value of Property Affected by a Title Defect?*

By:  Andy Stone Title insurance is designed to pay for damages caused by any defects to title that the title company should have discovered but did not.  Lender’s title insurance protects lenders who lose money due to a title defect, which is distinguished from an owner’s policy that protects the property owners.  How to calculate […]

AS
Former Associate

Beyond Real Estate: Publicly Traded Homebuilders (And Other Public Companies) Must be Aware of Cybersecurity and Data Breach Disclosure Requirements Applicable to SEC Filings

By:  Richard H. Herold Generally speaking, publicly traded homebuilders and other public companies must disclose material information in their SEC filings.  “Information is considered material if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important in making an investment decision or if the information would significantly alter the total mix of […]

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RH
Former Partner

Not All Property Acquired Post-Petition is Safe from Creditors

By:  Ben Reeves Although property obtained by a debtor after filing for bankruptcy is usually safe from creditors, a recent case from the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel allowed a Chapter 7 Trustee to sell real property obtained by the debtors post-petition. In In re Jones, a debtor’s grandmother signed and recorded a “Beneficiary Deed” […]

BR
Partner

Bona Fide Tenancies for a Term Remain Protected

By:  Julie E. Maurer A recent California Court of Appeals decision determined that the federal Protecting Tenants Against Foreclosure Act (“PTFA”) impliedly overrides state laws that provide less protection to tenants, but expressly allows states to retain the authority to enact greater protection.  The PTFA was enacted by Congress in May 2009 (Pub.L. 111-22, Div. […]

JM
Former Counsel

Mortgage Lenders Can’t Jump Ahead of Mechanic’s Liens

By:  Ben Reeves In Weitz Co., LLC v. Heth, 223 Ariz. 442, 314 P.3d 569 (Ct. App. Nov. 26 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Arizona’s mechanic lien statute, A.R.S. § 33-992(A), does not allow a lender to jump ahead of a mechanic’s lien under the doctrine of “equitable […]

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BR
Partner

The EPA Approves New Environmental Due Diligence Standard

By:  Patrick Paul On December 30, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its final rulemaking recognizing the newly amended ASTM standard practice for Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments, E 1527-13 as satisfying the agency’s All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) rule at 40 C.F.R. Part 312.  Curiously, EPA did not remove the existing reference to the […]

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BR
Partner

California Amends its Anti-Deficiency Statute

By:  Ben Reeves As of January 1, 2014, California amended its anti-deficiency statute to stop mortgage lenders from “collecting” from homeowners on post-foreclosure debts.  Although the amendments were designed to tackle a purely consumer / residential real estate issue, only time will tell if the changes have unintended consequences beyond the consumer / residential realm. […]

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BR
Partner

Commercial Real Estate Broker Liens

Arizona, by statute, allows a commercial real estate broker in certain limited circumstances to record a lien against the owner’s real property which is the subject of the commission agreement, in order to protect the broker’s entitlement to their commission.  See A.R.S. §§ 33-1071 – 1076.  The lien rights apply only to commercial real property […]

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KP
Former Counsel

Arizona Court of Appeals Holds That Certain Residential Developers Are Not Protected By The Anti-Deficiency Statute After Foreclosure Of A Deed Of Trust On Vacant Land

By Eric Spencer and Adam Lang Nearly three years ago, in M&I Marshall & Isley Bank v. Mueller, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that the Arizona anti-deficiency statute protects a borrower who started, but never completed, construction of a single-family dwelling before defaulting on its loan. This week, the same appellate court limited those […]

AL

Arizona Residential Mortgage Brokers: Potential Additional Liability Exposure on the Horizon

by Bob Henry Arizona Senate Bill 1026, introduced by Senator Ableser, proposes some significant changes to the law governing Arizona’s residential mortgage brokers that could expand their potential liability arising out of their day-to-day business dealings. The bill proposes amendments to A.R.S. § 6-909, which currently sets forth various “prohibited acts” for those who are […]

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BH
Partner

Frustration of Purpose: A Frustrating Doctrine

By: Erica Stutman Next Gen Capital, LLC v. Consumer Lending Associates, LLC illustrates the difficulty a tenant faces when trying to avoid liability for breaching a lease based on the “frustration of purpose” defense. No. 1 CA-CV 12-0624 (Ariz. Ct. App. Dec. 19, 2013).  In 2007, Consumer Lending Associates (“CLA”) signed a five-year lease, which […]

ES

Developers and Homebuilders: The Ramifications of Yanni v. Tucker Plumbing, Inc.

By Bob Henry On November 20, 2013, Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Yanni v. Tucker Plumbing, Inc., 2013 Ariz. App. LEXIS 235.    While the opinion was a victory of sorts for the real estate and construction industry generally in Arizona, the opinion could have long-term ramifications to developers […]

BH
Partner

Partition Disputes

Partition is a statutory procedure whereby co-tenants (for example joint tenancy, tenancy-in-common, community property) can file a court action to physically divide or sell the property.  See A.R.S. § 12-1211 et seq.  Unless the co-tenants have a private partition agreement, any co-tenant can compel sale or physical division of the property through the statutory partition […]

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KP
Former Counsel

Guarantors Beware! A.R.S. § 33-814 May Not Save You from a Deficiency Judgment

By:  Ben Reeves In First Credit Union v. Courtney, 309 P.3d 929, 669 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 18 (Ct. App. 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected three creative arguments that A.R.S. § 33-814 protected the guarantors from paying on their guaranty.  The opinion provides a stark reminder that Arizona courts will usually enforce a guarantor’s contractual […]

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BR
Partner

The Uniform Law Commission Makes Progress Drafting a Model Act on the Appointment and Powers of Real Estate Receivers

By:  Ben Reeves If all goes as planned, the Uniform Law Commission will finalize and promulgate a model act dealing with the appointment and powers of commercial real estate receivers at some point in 2015.  Last month, the Drafting Committee for this model act met in Minneapolis, MN to discuss and revise the latest draft.  […]

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BR
Partner

Bidding on State Land Trust Leases: Even the Top Revenue-Generating Bids Must be Balanced Against Qualitative “Best Use” Factors Designed to Protect the Land

By:  Richard H. Herold The Court of Appeals recently held that that the Commissioner of the State Land Trust Department properly balanced Wildearth Guardians, Inc.’s higher revenue-generating bid against “best use” qualitative factors set forth in the Arizona Administrative Code.  As a result, the appellate court affirmed the Commissioner’s decision to award a 10-year grazing […]

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RH
Former Partner

A Compilation and Summary of Real Estate Related Legislation Enacted by the 51st Arizona Legislature

On Friday June 14, 2013, at 12:59 a.m., on the 152nd day of the regular legislative session, the 51st Arizona Legislature adjourned sine die, or “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.”  Generally, except as otherwise noted in the act itself, legislation in Arizona is not effective until 90 days after the […]

AL

CC&Rs Remain Subject to Statutory Modification

By:  Andy Stone Future legislation may impact current CC&R obligations.  In an important decision for all communities, homeowner associations, builders, and developers, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently held that new laws may apply retroactively to modify or eliminate CC&R provisions. In Hawk v. PC Village Ass’n, Inc., No. 1CA-CV-12-0362 (Ariz. Ct. App. September 3, […]

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AS
Former Associate

AZRE Article Discusses Social Media Resources for the Industry

By:  Matthew P. Fischer In the most recent issue of the magazine AZRE: Arizona Commercial Real Estate (September October 2013), reporter and former editor Peter Madrid wrote on social media coverage of the Arizona commercial real estate industry in his article, “The Message Is the Medium:  Commercial real estate practice groups embracing social media as […]

Can You Waive the Right to a “Fair Market Value” Hearing?

By:  Ben Reeves We finally have an answer to the question of whether parties can contractually waive the right to a “fair market value” hearing under Arizona law – and the answer, according to the Court of Appeals – is “no.” In CSA 13-101 Loop, LLC v. Loop 101, LLC et al., No. 1CA-CV 12-0167 […]

BR
Partner

Suing a Licensed Real Estate Professional May Require You to Complete and Turn In Your Homework.

By: Cory L. Braddock A lawyer must have a good faith belief, after reasonable inquiry, that a lawsuit he files is grounded in fact and warranted by existing law.  Ariz. R. Civ. P. 11.  In other words, lawyers violate Arizona’s rules of civil procedure when they file frivolous lawsuits.  In Arizona, the legislature has, at […]

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CB