Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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This case arose from a mortgage foreclosure petition filed by FV-I, Inc. The dispute in this case was between FV-I and Bank of the Prairie (BOP), a bank with junior mortgages on the same property. The parties agreed to sell the property and place the proceeds in escrow pending resolution of this case. Summary judgment was initially granted in favor of BOP. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a trial to determine whether FV-I had possession of the promissory note underlying the mortgage at the time it filed the mortgage foreclosure. After a trial, the district court concluded that FV-I lacked standing to file the petition because it did not have possession of the original note prior to filing its petition and that BOP’s mortgages were superior to FV-I’s mortgage. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that evidentiary rulings excluding endorsements on the promissory note require a remand for a rehearing regarding standing and the panel’s priority determination. Remanded. View "FV-I, Inc. v. Kallevig" on Justia Law

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In 2010, the City of Mission passed a Transportation User Fee (TUF), which is assessed on all developed real property based on a formula that estimates the number of vehicle “trips” a particular property generates. The revenue raised by the TUF is used for the maintenance and upkeep of the City’s streets. Plaintiffs challenged the TUF as an impermissible excise tax levied by the City in violation of Kan. Stat. Ann. 12-194. The district court granted summary judgment to Mission. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the TUF is an impermissible excise tax. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mission is prohibited from levying the TUF because the City’s TUF is an excise tax that does not meet any of the exceptions in section 12-194. View "Heartland Apartment Ass'n v. City of Mission" on Justia Law

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Adam Pener was the trustee and personal representative of a trust and estate that owned property condemned by the Kansas Department of Transportation for a highway improvement project. The district court found the damages from the taking were $295,702. Defendant appealed, arguing (1) the district court gave insufficient weight to the replacement value for a fence and to a comparable sale when it calculated the property’s value, and (2) the district court should have awarded him attorney fees and expenses. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the compensation award was supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the district court did not err in denying attorney fees and expenses. View "Pener v. King" on Justia Law

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This case arose from an eminent domain proceedings in Douglas County. The Secretary of Transportation condemned a property in Lawrence owned by Doug Garber Construction, Inc. (Garber) to facilitate construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT). Garber disputed the amount of compensation, and the case proceeded to trial. The jury determined that the value of the property was $112,000. Garber appealed, arguing that the district court erred by issuing two orders in limine that excluded certain valuation testimony. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the testimony at issue. View "Doug Garber Construction, Inc. v. King" on Justia Law

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Water District No. 1 (WaterOne) of Johnson County filed an eminent domain petition seeking to condemn ten tracts of land. WaterOne pleaded that its interests would be “‘[s]ubject to existing easements of record.’” The district court granted the petition. D.P. and Wanda Bonham and their trust (collectively, the Bonhams) owned an easement in one of the ten condemned tracts. The Bonhams appealed the condemnation award and moved to void the district court’s order, asserting that WaterOne took their easement without complying with the Eminent Domain Procedure Act (EDPA) as to their easement. The district court denied the Bonhams’ motion to void, concluding that WaterOne did not condemn the Bonhams’ easement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that WaterOne’s petition contained no statutory defects; and (2) the Bonhams failed to establish an error in the journal entry. View "Water Dist. No. 1 of Johnson County v. Prairie Ctr. Dev., LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Johnson County appraised the value of Kristin Wagner’s property at $569,000. Wagner filed a protest form with the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA), which determined that the appraised value for tax year 2011 should be reduced to $553,600. Wagner appealed. While the 2011 appeal was pending, the County appraised Wagner’s property for the 2012 tax year at $537,000. Wagner challenged the 2012 appraisal. On remand, with regard to the 2011 tax appeal, COTA established the the value of Wagner’s home at $494,200. COTA then established the value of Wagner’s property for the 2012 tax year at $494,200 - the same amount as the property’s 2011 final appraised value. Wagner filed a petition for judicial review. The court of appeals affirmed COTA’s decision, ruling that COTA properly used the 2011 valuation to determine the home’s value for the 2012 tax year. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that COTA ignored evidence in the record establishing that Wagner’s home suffered a 2.94 percent decrease in value between 2011 and 2012. Remanded with directions that Wagner’s home be valued at $479,600 for the 2012 tax year. View "In re Equalization Appeal of Wagner" on Justia Law

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Carol Einsel filed a petition for partition against Rodney Einsel, her ex-husband. The ownership interests at stake involved the Einsel family ranch, which consisted mostly of land and mineral interests. Carol’s claim derived from a journal entry of divorce in the parties’ earlier divorce proceedings. The judge had awarded Carol forty percent of Rodney’s remainder interest in the inheritance he received during the marriage. Before the partition court, the parties primarily argued over whether Carol’s award was an interest in a money judgment or an interest in real property. The partition court found that Carol’s interest in Rodney’s inheritance was $27,521 and granted her a judgment in this amount. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the award was an interest in real property - not a money judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals reached the correct conclusion regarding the nature of Carol’s award - an interest in real property. Remanded. View "In re Estate of Einsel" on Justia Law

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At dispute in this case was the statewide directive issued by David Harper, the Director of Property Valuation, to county appraisers requiring compliance with Kan. Stat. Ann. 79-1460. Under the statute, when a property owner successfully appeals a property valuation, the valuation may not be increased during the next two years unless certain conditions are met. In general, all other taxable real property is reappraised at fair market value annually. Petitioners, twenty-one boards of county commissioners, filed this original action in mandamus to challenge the constitutionality of section 79-1460 and Harper’s directive. The Supreme Court granted the writ of mandamus, holding (1) the statute is unconstitutional to the extent it prevents appraisers from valuing real property at its fair market value in any tax year; and (2) the constitutionally offending provisions are severable from the remainder of the statute. View "Bd. of Johnson County Comm'rs v. Jordan" on Justia Law

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In 2012, Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCPL) condemned a power line easement bisected to tracts of land owned by the trusts for Daniel and Evelyn Strong. The jury awarded the Strongs $1,922,559 in compensation for the taking. Earlier, court-appointed appraisers had awarded the Strongs $96,465 in damages. The Supreme Court affirmed the jury award and the judgment of the district court, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying KCPL’s motions to exclude or strike the expert testimony evidence offered by the Strongs; (2) the district court did not err in permitting the Strongs’ experts to testify pursuant to a common-law “development approach”; and (3) the district court did not err in admitting evidence regarding a 2004 option contract the Strongs entered into with a developer. View "Kansas City Power & Light Co. v. Strong" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was the ownership of a 5.5-acre tract of real estate. Keith Elliott at one time deeded away the land to his then-wife’s daughter, Polly Grant, but continued living on the property. After Keith died, his daughter, Suzann Elliott, took possession of the disputed tract. The district court concluded that Keith regained possession of the disputed tract by adverse possession, which he then passed to Suzann by intestate succession. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the district court’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Suzann did not carry her burden to present clear and positive proof that Keith’s possession was knowingly adverse, and therefore, her adverse possession claim failed. View "Ruhland v. Elliott" on Justia Law