Montana Court Affirms Summary Judgement for Title Company in Conveyance Dispute

The United States District Court for the District of Montana recently upheld a Magistrate Judge’s recommendation for summary judgment for a title company, finding that coverage terminated when the insureds conveyed the property to their trust. See Green v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 2021 WL 4476446 (D. Mont. Sept. 30, 2021). In this case, William Green and his wife Esther (“the Greens”) had purchased land in Montana in 1989 as joint tenants with right to survivorship, and purchased title insurance from defendant shortly thereafter.

New Jersey Adopts Legislation Requiring the Removal of Discriminatory Restrictive Covenants in Deeds and Association Documents

On November 8, 2021, the New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation, A-5390/SB-2861, that requires the removal of discriminatory language restricting the ownership or use of real property as prohibited by the Law Against Discrimination from all deeds recorded on or after January 1, 2022, and further requires homeowners’ or condominium associations to immediately review their governing documents and remove such language. Although these covenants already are illegal and unenforceable, the bill aims to remove them entirely. The bill takes effect immediately.

Florida District Court Finds for Mortgage Provider in RESPA Claim

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, recently found for a mortgage provider in a dispute over whether the mortgage provider properly applied a customer’s mortgage payments. See Munoz v. CitiMortgage, Inc., 2021 WL 4133748 (M.D. Fla. 2021). Sheila and Raymond Munoz (“Plaintiffs”) executed a note and mortgage on their property in 2006, and CitiMortgage (“Citi”) serviced the mortgage from 2008 to 2019, at which time Cenlar began servicing the mortgage.

California Court Finds for Defendant Bank in Adverse Possession Dispute

The California Court of Appeals, Fifth Appellate Division, recently found for defendant Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”) in a dispute over the ownership of property in an unincorporated area of southern California. See Bailey v. Citibank, N.A., 66 Cal. App. 5th 335 (2021). Plaintiffs Charles and Kimberley Bailey took possession of property in Frazier Park, California (the “Property”) in 2013, and claimed to be rightful owners based on their alleged adverse possession thereof for a five-year period.

California Court Finds for Bank on Equitable Mortgage and Subrogation Claims

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Four, recently overturned a lower court’s summary judgment decision against a bank for claims of equitable mortgage and equitable subrogation. See HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Goldstein, 2021 BL 348985 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. Sept. 15, 2021). In 2006, Option One Mortgage Corporation (“Option One”) made a loan to Andrew Goldstein (“Goldstein”), and Goldstein executed a deed of trust to Option One as security on the loan. 

Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal in Overdraft Charges Dispute

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently affirmed a lower court’s dismissal in a suit in which a customer of a bank challenged the bank’s overdraft charge practices. See Johnson v. BOKF Nat’l Ass’n, 15 F.4th 356 (5th Cir. 2021). Plaintiff Sharonda Johnson, who holds a checking account with BOKF, National Association (the “Bank”), filed a putative class action challenging “Extended Overdraft Charges” assessed by the Bank, which were charged to her after she overdrew on her checking account in 2016. 

New Jersey Appellate Division Holds Purchaser of Property in Tax Sale Foreclosure Can Intervene Before Order Setting Redemption Date

In a decision approved for publication, New Jersey’s Appellate Division recently affirmed that a purchaser of a property in a tax sale foreclosure can move to intervene and redeem the property so long as the trial court has not entered an order setting the last date for redemption, and that a previously rejected attempt to redeem the property before intervening does not bar the right to move to intervene.  See Green Knight Capital, LLC, v. Calederon, et al., 2021 WL 4823495 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Oct. 18, 2021).

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).