Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Plaintiffs’ Aiding and Abetting and Negligence Claims Against Title Insurer After Plaintiffs Claim Fraud in Property Sale

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently granted a title insurance company’s motion to dismiss claims for aiding and abetting fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and negligence, finding that the plaintiffs had not alleged sufficient facts to sustain any of their claims. See Amran Prop. Invs., LLC v. Fid. Nat’l Title Grp., Inc., 2021 WL 3883087 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 31, 2021). 

Connecticut Court Holds Insured Not Entitled to Defense Costs for Uncovered Claims

The Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford, recently granted summary judgment in favor of a title insurer, finding that the insured was not entitled to defense costs where the underlying lawsuits did not concern matters on which the title insurer had a duty to defend. See Stewart v. Old Republic Nat'l Title Ins. Co., 2021 WL 3832354 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 10, 2021).

Ohio Court Finds Purchaser Did Not Suffer Damages Where Title Agency Failed to Include Lien on Closing Settlement Statement

The Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery County, recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of a title agency, finding that although a contract had been entered into between the plaintiffs and the title agency, the plaintiffs did not suffer any damages as a result of the title agency’s failure to include a lien on the closing settlement statement. Rassi v. Buckeye Title Agency, Inc., 2021 WL 2624660 (Ohio Ct. App. June 25, 2021).

NJ’s New Amendment to Tax Foreclosure Law: More Harm Than Good?

On September 24, 2021, Governor Murphy signed a law amending N.J.S.A. § 54:5-89.1, with the amendment preventing investors who purchase homes subject to a tax foreclosure for below fair market value from intervening in foreclosure actions to redeem those properties. The statute at issue addresses the rights of people with unrecorded interests in properties that are in foreclosure for unpaid taxes or municipal liens.

New York Court Holds Title Insurer Did Not Need to Inform Agent of Title Claim or Seek Agent’s Consent to Settle

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County recently granted a title insurance company’s motion to dismiss its policy-issuing agent’s counterclaim, finding that the title insurer had no obligation to inform the agent of a title claim arising from a policy the agent issued, nor did the insurer have to seek the agent’s consent before settling.  See Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. v. Rockwell Abstract, et al., 652588-2021 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Sept. 1, 2021).

Seventh Circuit Reverses and Remands FDCPA Claim for Lack of Standing

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed and remanded a plaintiff’s successful summary judgment motion for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”). See Wadsworth v. Kross, Lieberman & Stone, Inc., 2021 WL 3877930 (7th Cir. Aug. 31, 2021).  In the case, plaintiff Audrey Wadsworth had been hired by Pharmaceutical Research Associates, Inc. (“PRA”). The job offer included a signing bonus - $3,750 payable after 30 days of employment, followed by another $3,750 payable after 180 days of employment.

New York Federal Court Holds Insured Not Entitled to Coverage Under Title Policy When Statute of Limitations for Potential Challenge to Title Had Run

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently granted the defendant title insurance companies’ motion for summary judgment and found that the insured was not entitled to coverage when the action giving rise to the alleged title defect occurred in 1982 and the statute of limitations for a challenge to title had run.  See Morris Builders, L.P. et al. v. Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, et al., 2021 WL 4066725 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 2021). 

Washington Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Homeowner’s Prescriptive Easement and Nuisance Claims Regarding Septic Drainfield System

The Court of Appeals of Washington, Division Two, recently affirmed the dismissal of a homeowner’s prescriptive easement and nuisance claims, finding instead that there was an implied easement that allowed both the homeowner and an adjoining property owner to share use of a septic drainfield system.  See Conklin v Bentz, 2021 WL 2229818 (Wash. Ct. App. June 2, 2021). 

Fifth Circuit Holds Individual Guarantor Waived His Right to Challenge Guaranty in Forbearance Agreements

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently rejected an individual guarantor’s (“Lockwood”) fraudulent inducement and duress claims and held that the guaranty he entered was enforceable and that he waived any defenses to the same in subsequent forbearance agreements. See Lockwood Int’l, Inc. v. Wells Fargo, Nat’l Ass’n,, 2021 WL 3624748 (5th Cir. Aug. 16, 2021).