Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

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Plaintiffs Frank Schmidt Sr. and other former parishioners of the St. Paul Catholic Church in Pass Christian appealed the second dismissal with prejudice of their claims against the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, Inc., Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi, and Rev. Dennis Carver. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The storm caused extensive damage to the St. Paul Catholic Church and its ancillary properties. The actual church building was also damaged, although the extent of the damage is disputed by the parties. Plaintiffs insisted that the church remains structurally sound, that many of its sacred articles were unharmed, and that repair costs should be less than $2.5 million. Church Defendants maintain that the church and its most sacred places were “destroyed in large part.” Bishop Rodi issued a decree merging the St. Paul and Our Lady of Lourdes Parishes to form a new parish called the Holy Family Parish. The decree stated that the Holy Family Parish would maintain two church edifices, St. Paul Church and Our Lady of Lourdes Church. A number of St. Paul’s former parishioners, including some of the Plaintiffs in this case, filed a canonical appeal through the Roman Catholic Church’s ecclesiastical tribunals. In 2007, the Vatican issued a decree which stated that Bishop Rodi had acted in accordance with the requirements and procedures set forth under canon law. While the canonical appeal was pending, 157 former parishioners filed suit asserting, in part, that Bishop Rodi held the St. Paul Church property in trust for the members, that any financial contributions designated for reconstruction of the church were held in trust for that particular purpose, that Church Defendants had violated said trusts, and that Father Carver had made misrepresentations in soliciting donations for the rebuilding efforts. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed in part, finding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to assert the St. Paul property was held in trust for their benefit. However, the Court reversed and remanded the chancellor’s dismissal of the diversion-of-designated funds claim, as well as the claim against Father Carver for intentional misrepresentation, finding subject-matter jurisdiction existed over these claims. On remand, the chancellor denied Plaintiffs’ motions for additional discovery and granted Church Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice. Plaintiffs argued on appeal that the chancellor erred in dismissing their claims for diversion of designated funds and intentional misrepresentation. Because none of the Plaintiffs established the requisite elements for a diversion of designated funds, the Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on this issue. In addition, because no Plaintiffs could establish a claim for intentional misrepresentation, the Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on this issue. Therefore, the Court affirmed the Chancery Court's judgment. View "Kinney v. Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, Inc." on Justia Law

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Roy and Mitzi Conn sued their neighbor Joel Misita, who had placed a structure on his land. The Conns sought to enforce a warranty deed restriction placed by their predecessors in title that prohibited Misita from erecting any “structures” on three acres of his land. The chancery court ruled in favor of the Conns and ordered the removal of the structure. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Conns’ authority to enforce the restrictive covenant but reversed the chancery court’s determination that it was a structure. After review of the facts of this case, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court found the structure was indeed a structure. View "Misita v. Conn" on Justia Law

Posted in: Real Estate Law

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Tom and Consandra Christmas own property neighboring an alligator-infested, waste disposal site owned by Exxon. They sued Exxon, claiming the alligator infestation was a nuisance. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Exxon, based on the statute of limitations and the prior-trespass doctrine. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded based on a factual dispute as to when the Christmases had learned of the alligator infestation. The Supreme Court found Exxon was entitled to summary judgment because it cannot be held liable for the presence of wild alligators on its property. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ judgment and reinstated and affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Exxon. View "Christmas v. Exxon Mobil Corporation" on Justia Law

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The residence of Brent and Amy Hubbard secured a note and deed of trust held by Trustmark National Bank. Additionally, the Hubbards obtained a second loan, which was secured by a note and second deed of trust held by BancorpSouth on the same residence. Trustmark foreclosed on the first deed of trust and sold the property. More than a year later, BancorpSouth sued the Hubbards for money due under the second note. The Hubbards admitted they were in default, but asserted as an affirmative defense that BancorpSouth’s claim was time barred under the one-year statute of limitations prescribed in Mississippi Code Section 15-1-23. After a hearing on the motion, the circuit court found Section 15-1-23 inapplicable and ruled instead that Mississippi Code Section 15-1-49 provides the proper limitations period (three years). The circuit court entered judgment in favor of BancorpSouth. On appeal, the Hubbards argued that the circuit court erred in granting BancorpSouth’s judgment on the pleadings because the action was barred by the one-year statute of limitations prescribed by Section 15-1-23. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of judgment on the pleadings. However, the three-year statute of limitations provided under Section 15-1-49 was inapplicable in this case; the proper limitations period for suits on promissory notes for nonforeclosing lenders is Mississippi Code Section 75-3-118, which provided a six-year statute of limitations, rather than the three-year statute of limitations set forth in Section 15-1-49.View "Hubbard v. BancorpSouth Bank " on Justia Law

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BancorpSouth Bank filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, judicial foreclosure, and other relief against Van Buren Group, LLC, a corporation that organized the construction of thirty condominiums in Oxford. Four purchasers and two members moved for summary judgment, which the chancellor granted. The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to the four purchasers; however, it reversed and remanded as to the two members. The Supreme Court granted BancorpSouth’s subsequent petition for writ of certiorari. After review of the matter, the Supreme Court held that that an issue of material fact existed with respect to the purchasers. Therefore, the Court reversed the chancery court’s grant of summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "BancorpSouth Bank v. Brantley, Jr." on Justia Law