Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment for the Town of Hebron on this complaint brought by Plaintiffs seeking damages for a temporary taking, temporary nuisance, and tortious interference with Plaintiffs’ business expectancies. The trial court concluded that Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata because they arose out of the same operative facts as Plaintiffs’ earlier-filed claim for injunctive relief against the Town. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to identify a sufficiently compelling reason to exempt their claims from the preclusive effect of res judicata. View "Wellswood Columbia, LLC v. Town of Hebron" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court awarding Plaintiff $899,480 in damages plus prejudgment interest for his claim that Defendant, the city of Norwalk, inversely condemned a commercial building by taking, through the power of eminent domain, Plaintiff’s parking lot located across the street. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court properly found that Defendant inversely condemned the commercial building because, after Defendant took the parking lot, the use of the commercial building was substantially destroyed; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Defendant’s judicial estoppel claim. View "Barton v. Norwalk" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a developer, appealed a decision of Defendant, a planning and zoning commission, denied Plaintiff’s application for an affordable housing subdivision pursuant to the Affordable Housing Appeals Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-30g. The trial court sustained Plaintiff’s administrative appeal. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the commission was required to grant Plaintiff’s application for subdivision approval despite the application’s lack of compliance with a municipal road ordinance; and (2) the trial court properly ordered the commission to approve Plaintiff’s application “as is” rather than for consideration of conditions of approval. View "Brenmor Properties, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission of Town of Lisbon" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether a conservation restriction on private property was violated by the owner of that property and, if so, whether the remedies ordered by the trial court were proper. The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with the trial court's interpretation of the conservation restriction and its consequent finding that defendant had violated it in multiple respects, and the court saw no impropriety with respect to the portion of the trial court's judgment awarding plaintiff equitable relief. However, the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with defendant that the trial court's award of punitive damages was noncompliant with the authorizing provision, General Statutes 52-560a(d), and that its award of attorney's fees, in one respect, was improper. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Lyme Land Conservation Trust v. Platner" on Justia Law

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Defendant, the owner of real property, filed a subdivision map that purported to subdivide the property into three new parcels. Defendant, however, did not obtain permission from the city planning and zoning authorities before filing the revised subdivision map. Defendant subsequently obtained a mortgage loan from a predecessor-in-interest to the substitute plaintiff. The loan was secured by a mortgage on two of the tracts. Defendant later defaulted on the mortgage loan, and plaintiff’s predecessor-in-interest commenced this action to foreclose on the mortgage. Defendant objected to the foreclosure, arguing that a judgment of foreclosure would have the effect of validating an illegal subdivision of property. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff and ordered a strict foreclosure of the two tracts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a trial court may render a judgment of foreclosure on mortgaged property that consists of parcels of land within a subdivision that has not been approved by municipal zoning authorities. View "ARS Investors II 2012-1 HVB, LLC v. Crystal, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, Kettle Brook Realty, LLC, owned real property in the Town of East Windsor that that was assessed for purposes of the October 1, 2012 grand list. The Board of Assessment Appeals denied Plaintiff’s request for a reduction in the property’s assessed value. Plaintiff subsequently filed a complaint in the superior court alleging that its property had been overvalued. The Town filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because Plaintiff did not serve the appeal papers within the two-month period allotted by Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-117a. The superior court granted the Town’s motion. The Appellate Court affirmed. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that, under the plain language of section 12-117a, its appeal was timely commenced upon the filing of its appeal documents in the superior court even though the appeal was not served on the Town until a date beyond the expiration of the two-month appeal period. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff failed to serve its appeal on the Town within the two-month limitation period, the trial court properly dismissed the appeal as untimely. View "Kettle Brook Realty, LLC v. Town of East Windsor" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, Chestnut Point Realty, LLC, owned real property in the Town of East Windsor that that was assessed for purposes of the October 1, 2012 grand list. The Board of Assessment Appeals denied Plaintiff’s request for a reduction in the property’s assessed value. Plaintiff subsequently filed a complaint in the superior court alleging that the property had been overvalued. The Town filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because Plaintiff did not serve the appeal papers within the two-month period allotted by Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-117a. The superior court granted the Town's motion. The Appellate Court affirmed. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that, under the plain language of section 12-117a, its appeal was timely commenced upon the filing of its appeal documents in the superior court even though the appeal was not served on the Town until a date beyond the expiration of the two-month appeal period. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff failed to serve its appeal on the Town within the two-month limitation period, the trial court properly dismissed the appeal as untimely. View "Chestnut Point Realty, LLC v. Town of East Windsor" on Justia Law

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Defendants were the beneficiaries of a trust settled by the decedent. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment determining the rights and ownership interests of Defendants in a certain parcel of real property. The trial court awarded summary judgment in favor of Defendants, determining that the decedent’s failure to record a separate document limiting his powers “as trustee” in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. 47-20, when the decedent quitclaimed the real property to himself as trustee, did not have the effect of nullifying the transfer of the property to the trust corpus, thereby disallowing the decedent, as an individual, to subsequently devise that property to Plaintiffs through his will. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 47-20 did not apply in this case. Therefore, section 47-20 did not nullify the decedent’s quitclaim deed to himself as trustee, the property was a trust asset, and the specific devise in the decedent’s will was adeemed. View "Lackman v. McAnulty" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the owner of a parcel of land in the Town of Colchester, challenged the Town’s assessment of the property for the tax year 2011. The Colchester Board of Assessment Appeals upheld the Town’s original valuation. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the Town had used an improper method for valuing the property. The trial court upheld the Town’s original assessment, determining that Plaintiff had not established that it was aggrieved by the Town’s valuation because it found that Plaintiff’s expert was not credible. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court applied the incorrect legal standard of valuation to the subject property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court’s determination that Plaintiff failed to establish aggrievement was not clearly erroneous, and the trial court properly rejected Plaintiff’s appeal. View "Nutmeg Housing Development Corp. v. Colchester" on Justia Law

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In 1989, Connecticut National Mortgage Company brought this action seeking to foreclose a mortgage on a parcel of real property owned by Defendant. The trial court rendered a judgment of foreclosure in 1994. That judgment has been opened and modified several times over the years. In 2012, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. was substituted as the plaintiff. On June 8 2015, the trial court entered a new judgment of strict foreclosure extending defendant’s law day to August 4, 2015. On June 18, 2015, the trial court denied Defendanat’s motion to vacate the new judgment. On June 26, 2015, Defendant filed an appeal. On January 13, 2016, the Appellate Court dismissed the appeal as moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the June 8, 2015 judgment triggered an automatic stay and that the appellate stay prevented title from vesting in the plaintiff by operation of law when Defendant failed to exercise her right of redemption on August 4, 2015. Therefore, the case should not have been dismissed as moot. View "Connecticut National Mortgage Co. v. Knudsen" on Justia Law