California Appellate Court Affirms Adverse Possession of Parking Easement

The California Court of Appeals recently held that a party adversely possessed an exclusive parking easement by using it for 17 years, even if it did not erect any physical barriers.  See Valles v. Kim, 2020 WL 5088021 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020).  In 1999, M & R Investment Company created an exclusive easement for parking in its parking lot, for the benefit of a related entity that owned property nearby.

Ninth Circuit Holds Nevada HOA Statute Giving HOA Liens Superpriority Did Not Violate Takings Clause or Due Process Clause

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a District Court’s dismissal of a lender’s claim, holding that the Nevada statute allowing for the HOA sale of a property that extinguished the lender’s deed of trust did not violate the Takings or Due Process Clauses.  See Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Mahogany Meadows Ave. Tr., 2020 WL 6498000 (9th Cir. Nov. 5, 2020).   In 2008, the borrowers purchased a home with a loan from Wells Fargo, and recorded a deed of trust against the property.

Massachusetts Appellate Court Allows Foreclosure Judgment to Stand Based on Judicial Estoppel and Equitable Subrogation, Despite Owner Not Being Named on Mortgage

The Appeals Court of Massachusetts recently affirmed a lender’s judgment of foreclosure against a homeowner based on the doctrines of judicial estoppel and equitable subrogation, even though she was not named as a borrower on the mortgage.  See 21st Mortg. Corp. v. Lapham, 98 Mass. App. Ct. 1112 (2020).  In 2002, a husband and wife encumbered their home with a mortgage securing a note for $160,000. 

New York Court Holds Principal of Title Agent Could Not Claim Fraud Against Title Insurer for Guaranty

The Supreme Court of New York, Kings County, recently dismissed a fraud claim brought by the principal of a title agent against a title insurance company, finding that any claim that the insurer misrepresented the terms of the guaranty—and there was no evidence supporting this claim—was irrelevant because the principal reviewed the guaranty before signing.  See Chicago Title Ins. Co. v. Brookwood Title Agency LLC, 2020 WL 5369206 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Sep. 04, 2020).  

New Jersey Federal Court Dismisses Defamation Claim Against Title Insurer for Letter to Prior Property Owner Regarding Unpaid Mortgage

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recently dismissed a prior property owner’s defamation suit brought against a title insurance company after the company sent a letter regarding a mortgage the seller failed to disclose or discharge.  See Ezeiruaku v. Fid. Nat'l Title Ins. Co., 2020 WL 5587438 (D.N.J. Sept. 18, 2020). 

New Jersey Court Holds Surplus Proceeds From Foreclosure Sale Should Be Used to Pay Judgment Lien Against One Spouse

A New Jersey trial court recently held that the surplus proceeds from a foreclosure sale should be used to pay the judgment lien recorded against only one of the spouses when the other spouse failed to contest the judgment creditor’s pre-sale motion, and only objected after the sale.  See Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, as Trustee of Stanwich Mortgage Loan Trust v. Schneeweiss, et al., F-13586-17, (N.J. Ch. Div., Aug. 25, 2020). 

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Time-Barred FDCPA Complaint, Despite State Renewal Statute That Allows Plaintiffs to Refile Within Six Months of Voluntary Dismissal

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of a FDCPA claim as untimely, holding that a Georgia statute that allows a party to voluntarily dismiss a timely action and then refile it within six months could not overcome the FDCPA’s one-year limitations period.  See Edwards v. Solomon & Solomon, P.C., 2020 WL 5816754 (11th Cir. Sept. 30, 2020).

Ninth Circuit Holds HOLA Preempted California State Law Regarding Escrow Interest, Even After Assignment of Mortgage to National Bank

In a split decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently found that the Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1933 (“HOLA”) and its regulations preempted a California state law that required banks to pay borrowers interest on escrow accounts, even after the original savings association assigned the mortgage to a national bank. See McShannock v. JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, 2020 WL 5639700 (9th Cir. Sept. 22, 2020).