Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

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Petitioners executed a promissory note secured on a mortgage on their residence from a California corporation. The mortgage stated that Respondent, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, listed as mortgagee and nominee, held legal title to the interests granted by Petitioners in the mortgage. After Petitioners failed to make payments pursuant to the terms of the note, Respondent, acting as nominee, filed a complaint against Petitioners seeking foreclosure of the mortgage and sale of the property. The circuit court granted Respondent's motion for summary judgment and entered a foreclosure judgment. Petitioners' property was then sold to Respondent. The circuit court confirmed the sale despite Petitioners' assertion that Respondent lacked standing to bring the foreclosure action. The intermediate court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Petitioners were precluded from raising the issue of Respondent's standing where (1) a standing objection is not unique to a confirmation of sale proceeding from which Petitioners appealed; and (2) Petitioners' failure to appeal the foreclosure judgment barred challenges to Respondent's standing under the doctrine of res judicata.View "Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v. Wise" on Justia Law

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In dispute in this case was whether Plaintiffs were entitled to attorneys' fees and costs in litigating the underlying case. In the underlying case, Plaintiffs sued the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and the State, arguing that the State violated its constitutional duty to sufficiently fund DHHS in order to rehabilitate native Hawaiian beneficiaries and that the DHHL breached its obligations to the beneficiaries of trust lands for several reasons. The first issue in the instant case was the extent to which Plaintiffs "prevailed" in the underlying case. The Supreme Court denied Plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees and costs, holding (1) Plaintiffs prevailed on appeal; (2) Plaintiffs arguably established an entitlement to attorneys' fees under the private attorney general doctrine; but (3) Plaintiffs' request for appellate attorneys' fees was barred by the State's sovereign immunity.View "Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Comm'n" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a Hawaii non-profit corporation, entered into a lease agreement with Defendant, the trustee of a trust. Plaintiff subsequently began renting cabins on the property to the public. After a dispute arose between the parties regarding the terms of the lease, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the circuit court seeking a declaratory judgment that its commercial uses of the property and rental of cabins to the public was permitted under the lease, among other things. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff's claim regarding cabin rentals but granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on Defendant's counterclaims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) vacated summary judgment as to the issue of cabin rentals. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the ICA regarding cabin rentals, holding that the portion of the lease delineating permissible uses of the property was ambiguous; and (2) reversed the ICA's judgment regarding Defendant's counterclaims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment because the issue of whether Plaintiff was prohibited by the lease from renting cabins to the general public had yet to be resolved on remand. Remanded.View "Hawaiian Ass'n of Seventh-Day Adventists v. Wong" on Justia Law

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The Waikoloa Beach Villas condominium project was developed by Respondent, Sunstone Waikoloa, LLC. Petitioner, the Association of Apartment Owners of the Waikoloa Beach Villas, contacted Respondent to resolve issues resolving purported construction defects. Petitioner then filed a motion to compel mediation and arbitration. Respondent argued that it could not request arbitration because it had failed to comply with the requirements of the Declaration of Condominium Property Regime for the Villas. The Declaration imposed numerous requirements that Petitioner must meet before initiating arbitration or litigation proceedings against Respondent. The lower court granted Petitioner's motion. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) reversed. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the ICA, holding that section R.4(c) of the Declaration violated Haw. Rev. Stat. 514B-105(a) because it imposed limitations on Petitioner in arbitration or litigation more restrictive than those imposed on other persons. Remanded.View "Ass'n of Apartment Owners of Waikoloa Beach Villas v. Sunstone Waikoloa, LLC" on Justia Law

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Respondent awarded Petitioner a contract to develop an affordable housing development project. The parties entered into a development services agreement (DSA) that contained a provision stating that the parties would proceed to arbitration under state law in the event of a dispute. Petitioner was subsequently terminated from the project. Respondent filed a complaint against Petitioner asserting several causes of action, including intentional misrepresentation and negligence. Petitioners counterclaimed. Petitioners later filed an arbitration motion, which the circuit granted. The intermediate court of appeals denied Petitioners' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) the order compelling arbitration in this case was sufficiently final under the collateral order doctrine to be appealable under the general civil matters appeal statute; (2) the scope of the arbitration clause contained in the DSA encompassed all claims of Respondent and counterclaims of Petitioners; and (3) the circuit court correctly granted the motion to compel alternative dispute resolution and to stay proceedings. Remanded.View "County of Hawaii v. UniDev, LLC" on Justia Law