When Is A Project Delay Material and Actionable?

By Rick Erickson Welcome to 2022!  This year, the construction industry will undoubtedly reflect on the last two years as unprecedented times plagued by construction project delays.  The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to suspension of work and closure of construction projects … Continue reading

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Can a Home Builder Disclaim Implied Warranties of Workmanship and Habitability?

By:  Kevin J. Parker In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, Zambrano v. M & RC II LLC, 2021 WL 3204491 (7/29/2021), the Court of Appeals addressed the question whether a home builder’s attempt to disclaim implied warranties of … Continue reading

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Tort Claims Against an Alter Ego May Be Considered an Action “On a Contract” for the Purposes of an Attorneys’ Fees Award under California Civil Code section 1717

By: Tony Carucci California Civil Code section 1717 entitles the prevailing party to attorneys’ fees “n any action on a contract,” where the contract provides for an award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party, regardless of whether the prevailing … Continue reading

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More Help For Arizona’s Restaurant & Hospitality Industry On the Way

By Patrick Paul On January 5, 2021, Governor Ducey announced the allocation of $2 million in additional funding to assist local restaurants and other dining establishments expand outdoor dining, protect patrons and staff, and limit the spread of COVID-19. Consistent … Continue reading

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California Judicial Council Votes to Rescind Prohibitions on Eviction and Foreclosure Proceedings

By:  David Rao and Lyndsey Torp The California Judicial Council’s emergency rules staying evictions and judicial foreclosures are coming to an end. On March 27, 2020, the Governor of California issued executive order N-38-20, giving the Judicial Council emergency authority … Continue reading

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Does a Landlord’s Violation of the Arizona Residential Landlord-Tenant Act Constitute Negligence Per Se?

By:  Kevin J. Parker In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, Ibarra v. Gastelum, 2020 WL 4218020 (7/23/20), the Court of Appeals addressed the question whether – in a tenant’s personal injury claim against the landlord – a landlord’s … Continue reading

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Does a Broker Forfeit His or Her Commission for Technical Non-Compliance with Department of Real Estate Statutory Requirements?

By: Kevin J. Parker In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, CK Revocable Trust v. My Home Group Real Estate LLC, 2020 WL 4306183 (7/28/2020), the Court of Appeals addressed the distinction between “substantive” and “technical” statutory requirements for … Continue reading

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Arizona Governor Ducey’s Executive Order on Residential Eviction Actions

By:  Bob Henry As part of the State of Arizona’s response to the current public health crisis, on March 24, 2020, Arizona Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-14, titled “Postponement of Eviction Actions.” A copy of the Executive Order is … Continue reading

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A Landlord’s Guide to California’s New Statewide Rent Control Laws

By: Colton Addy Applicability of California’s Rent Control Laws:  California Civil Code Sections 1946.2 and 1947.12 took effect on January 1, 2020, and implement statewide rent control in California for most residential properties.  The rent control laws, however, do not … Continue reading

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Short-Term Rental Legislation & Litigation On the Way!

The advent of the shared economy in the real estate context has provided homeowners and investors alike with expanded opportunities to generate revenue from the use of their real estate. Airbnb and VRBO are two of the most popular companies … Continue reading

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CCP 998 Does Not Confer an Independent Right to Attorneys’ Fees

By: Tony Carucci A so-called “offer to compromise” under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998 can reverse the parties’ entitlement to costs after the date of the offer, depending on the outcome of the litigation. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. … Continue reading

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That’s Common Knowledge! Failure to Designate an Expert Witness in a Professional Negligence Case is Not Fatal Where “Common Knowledge” Exception Applies

By:  Lyndsey Torp In reversing summary judgment for defendants, the California Fourth District Court of Appeal recently held that homeowners suing their real estate broker for negligence did not need an expert witness to establish the elements of their causes … Continue reading

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Appellate Court Affirms Medical Marijuana Variance in Phoenix

By:  Patrick J. Paul On May 2, 2019, the Arizona Court of Appeals in a memorandum decision, upheld a superior court judgment affirming a variance granted by the City of Phoenix Board of Adjustment (Board) to allow the operation of … Continue reading

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Colorado Court of Appeals clarifies that a finding of irreparable harm is not required to enter a permanent injunction to enforce an easement

On March 21, 2019, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rinker v. Colina-Lee, holding for the first time that the “irreparable harm” element typically required to grant a permanent injunction is not needed for injunctions issued to … Continue reading

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Estoppel Certificate? Estop and Check Your Lease

By:  Lauren Podgorski If you are leasing space in a building, there may come a time when you receive a request from your landlord to fill out and sign an estoppel certificate. Estoppel certificates are usually sent to tenants in … Continue reading

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Land Banking. Why Consider It?

By: Lauren L. Munsell For homebuilders, financing a real estate transaction, oftentimes via an institutional lender, is common place in the industry.  But what is land banking and why should it be considered by homebuilders? Land banking is an off-balance … Continue reading

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Am I Still Covered Under the Title Insurance Policy?

By: Ian Douglas When transferring property for corporate restructuring or estate planning purposes, an important issue to consider is whether the successor owner will be covered by the grantee’s title insurance policy.  Because title insurance policies insure only the title of … Continue reading

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Recording “Un-Neighborly” Documents

By: Bob Henry In September 2018, in Baumgartner v. Timmins, 245 Ariz. 334, 429 P.3d 567, the Arizona Court of Appeals provided further clarification on what constitutes an “encumbrance” on a property for purposes of Arizona’s statutory scheme prohibiting the … Continue reading

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“Bee” Careful: Unique Considerations When Negotiating a Bee Storage Lease Agreement

By: Colton Addy As demand for commercial bees used to pollinate crops (such as almond trees) has grown, so has the demand for facilities to store bees.  Entering a lease agreement for the storage of live bees presents some unique … Continue reading

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What If Your CCP 998 Offer is Silent on Costs?

By: Tony Carucci In California, the “prevailing party” in litigation is generally entitled to recover its costs as a matter of law. See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1032. But under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998, a party … Continue reading

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Condemnation Actions: How Valuable Is Your Evidence of Property Value?

By: Erica Stutman When a government condemns (takes) private property for a public use, the property owner is entitled to receive “just compensation” equal to the property’s market value. Value is typically determined by appraisals, but if the parties cannot … Continue reading

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Ten Years After Colorado’s Adverse Possession Amendment: a brief look backwards and forwards

In response to national outrage over an infamous adverse possession case in Boulder, Colorado, in which a lawyer and a judge intentionally took their neighbors’ undeveloped land through adverse possession, the Colorado legislature amended the state’s adverse possession statute (C.R.S. … Continue reading

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Cybersecurity on Your Project: Why Not Follow National Security Strategy?

By Rick Erickson In its recent Cybersecurity Strategy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defined “cyberspace” as “the independent network of information technology infrastructure, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computers, information and communications systems, and embedded processors and controllers.”  … Continue reading

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California Supreme Court Clarifies Deadline to File Anti-SLAPP Motions in Light of Amended Pleadings

By: Tony Carucci California’s “anti-SLAPP” (“SLAPP” is an acronym for strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute—codified at California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 et seq.—is the primary vehicle for defending against any action involving petitioning or free speech. The … Continue reading

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Under Colorado House Bill 17-1279, HOA Boards Now Must Get Members’ Informed Consent Before Bringing A Construction Defect Action

By: Luke Mecklenburg Last year, I wrote a post calling attention to stalled efforts in the Colorado legislature to pass  meaningful construction defect reform.  Shortly thereafter, the legislature got it done in the form of House Bill 17-1279.  This bill creates … Continue reading

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When Does a Contractor Legally Abandon a Construction Project?

By Rick Erickson Lately, we’ve been spending more time as litigators pursuing and defending claims of abandonment against contractors. It has become apparent that abandonment is often misinterpreted in its legal meaning and effect.  Here are some thoughts on abandonment … Continue reading

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Withdrawal of an Admission in California May Shift Costs—Including Attorneys’ Fees—Incurred in Connection with the Withdrawal

By: Tony Carucci Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.300, a court may permit a party to withdraw an admission made in response to a request for admission upon noticed motion. The court may only do so, however, “if … Continue reading

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Is the Issuance of a City Use Permit Referable? Not When It Is an Administrative Act

By: Adam E. Lang Arizona’s Constitution gives electors in cities, towns, and counties the ability to refer legislation that was enacted by their local elected officials to the ballot for popular vote. Ariz. Const. art. IV, Pt. 1 § 1(8). … Continue reading

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The Contributors to This Blog Are Pleased to Announce That….

Snell & Wilmer’s Real Estate Litigation Group, which provides the content for The Real Estate Litigation Blog, is pleased to announce that it has been recognized in both the national and metropolitan rankings by U.S. News Media Group and Best … Continue reading

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RICO Madness: The Nuisance of Owning and Operating a Marijuana Facility

By:  Bob Henry On June 7, 2017, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Safe Streets Alliance, et al. v. Hickenlooper, et al., (No. 16-1048), an opinion that could open the doors to property use litigation involving … Continue reading

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California Supreme Court Hands Victory to Private Property Owners Over Public Use

By:  Sean M. Sherlock In 1970 the California Supreme Court held that, under certain circumstances, private property owners impliedly dedicate their property to the public if they permit the public to use it. Gion v. City of Santa Cruz (1970) … Continue reading

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Does Your 998 Offer to Compromise Include Attorneys’ Fees and Costs?

By: Anthony J. Carucci In California, the “prevailing party” in litigation is generally entitled to recover its costs as a matter of law. See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1032. But under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998, a … Continue reading

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Landlords Beware: Subordination Agreements

By: Kevin J. Parker In the recent Arizona Court of Appeals case Earle Investments, LLC v. Southern Desert Medical Center Partners, 762 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 12 (2017), the Court of Appeals addressed the question of the scope of a subordination … Continue reading

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Arizona Supreme Court Holds a Credit Bid at a Trustee’s Sale Should Not be Credited to a Title Insurer Under a Standard Lender’s Title Policy To the Extent the Bid Exceeds the Collateral’s Fair Market Value

By:  Richard H. Herold The Arizona Supreme Court recently addressed what impact, if any, a lender’s credit bid at an Arizona trustee’s sale has on an insurer’s liability under Sections 2, 7 and 9 of the standard’s lender’s title policy … Continue reading

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Forcible Entry and Detainer Actions: Courts May Not Consider Tenant’s Hardship

By: Erica Stutman If you own property and a tenant wrongfully refuses to vacate the premises (for example when the lease expires or after proper written notice of termination), you may have a quick and easy remedy to have the … Continue reading

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Franchisors Should Consider Signing a Conditional Lease Assignment Rather Than a Franchisee’s Lease

By:  Richard H. Herold In Franchise & High Properties, LLC v. Happy’s Franchise, LLC, a 2015 decision issued by the Court of Appeals in Michigan, the franchisor, Happy’s Pizza Franchise, LLC, signed a five-year lease for the commercial space to … Continue reading

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Sierra Pacific v. Bradbury goes unchallenged: Colorado’s six-year statute of repose begins when a subcontractor’s scope of work ends

It’s official: the October 20, 2016 deadline to petition for certiorari  to the Colorado Court of Appeals on its decision in Sierra Pacific Industries, Inc. v. Bradbury has passed, so it appears that decision will stand. In Sierra Pacific, the … Continue reading

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Avoiding Lender Liability for Credit-Related Actions in California

By: Anthony J. Carucci Aside from general statutory prohibitions on lender discrimination, there are certain circumstances under California law in which lenders may be held liable for credit-related actions, such as negotiating or denying credit. See generally 11 Cal. Real … Continue reading

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What Do I Do With This Stuff? Dealing With Abandoned Property After Foreclosure

By: Lyndsey Torp You’ve successfully foreclosed on a commercial building in California, and, thankfully, the borrower moved out after foreclosure or after a period of tenancy. But the borrower left behind all sorts of property – furniture, filing cabinets, records, … Continue reading

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Developer Awarded Cost of Preparing Administrative Record in CEQA Lawsuit

Lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) typically proceed as petitions for administrative mandamus. This means the petitioner is asking the court to review an agency’s decision and ultimately issue a mandate directing the agency to set aside its … Continue reading

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“Rip and Tear” Damage Remains Covered Under CGL Policy as “Accident”—for Now.

By: Michael Lindsay and Luke Mecklenburg The Colorado Supreme Court has approved a settlement between the parties to an appeal of the 2012 Colorado Pool Systems v. Scottsdale Insurance Company Court of Appeals case, leaving that ruling intact.  The ruling … Continue reading

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Landlords Must Not be Arbitrary When Denying a Tenant’s Request To Sublease or Assign

By:  Richard Herold So, you’re a landlord who’s entered into a 30-year lease, the lease has rent escalation clauses which are dramatically out of step with the market, and it’s your view that you are therefore losing money every month. … Continue reading

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California’s One-Action Rule May Apply to Federal Lenders

By: Anthony J. Carucci California’s one-action rule provides that “here can be but one form of action for the recovery of any debt or the enforcement of any right secured by mortgage upon real property or an estate for years … Continue reading

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California Case Deals with Nuisance Lawsuit Intended to Delay Foreclosure

A recent California case provides good precedent for dealing with nuisance lawsuits that are intended to delay valid foreclosures. In Brown v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company —Cal.Rptr.3d—, 2016 WL 2726229 (May 9, 2016), plaintiff sued defendants to stop them … Continue reading

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Eminent Domain: Be Careful What You Ask For

By:  Richard Herold and Patrick Paul The condemnation of property for public works may not always be as clean and easy as the government would like.  Although local governments are often critical players in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated … Continue reading

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Tips on Pursuing and Defending Complaints against Contractors

By Rick Erickson firm bio The often staggering cost of litigation has prompted an equally staggering amount of regulatory complaints against contractors in recent years. Why? Because filing a complaint against a contractor may not cost a complainant anything but time. And … Continue reading

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Lenders Should Contract for the Right to Recover Lost Goodwill Proceeds when Commercial Property is taken in Eminent Domain

By: Anthony J. Carucci Business Goodwill Generally In California, the “goodwill” of a business “consists of the benefits that accrue to a business as a result of its location, reputation for dependability, skill or quality, and any other circumstances resulting … Continue reading

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The Uniform Law Commission Approves the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act

By: Ben Reeves As we previously reported here, several years ago the Uniform Law Commission (the “ULC”) (the organization that drafted such favorites as the Uniform Commercial Code and the Uniform Arbitration Act) determined that states would benefit from a … Continue reading

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Property Taxes: A Shopping Center May Not Always be a Shopping Center

By:  Rick Herold, Craig McPike & Ben Reeves In the world of real property taxes, Valuation + Classification = Assessed Valuation.  Sounds simple, right?  The County Assessor determines the first factor, valuation (subject to certain guidelines under applicable Arizona law).  … Continue reading

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Homebuilders Welcome Recent Court Decisions

By:  Patrick Paul Arizona homebuilders will welcome with open arms two recent legal rulings of substantial impact to their industry. In the first decision, on July 28, 2015, in Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 1 CA-CV 14-0199, the Arizona … Continue reading

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Does a title company owe a duty of care to third parties in the recording of legal instruments?

By: Ben Reeves This is precisely the question that the Ninth Circuit recently certified to the Washington Supreme Court in Centurion Properties III, LLC v. Chicago Title Ins. Co. Facts of the Case In this case, Centurion Properties III, LLC … Continue reading

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Upheld: Injured Subcontractor’s Lent Employee Has No Claim Against Landowner or General Contractor After Choosing Workers’ Compensation and Failing to Prove Landowner Controlled the Work

By Rick Erickson (http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/rick_erickson) On this Memorial Day 2015, I write in honor of my U.S. Marine Corps colleague, Megan McClung, who was killed in Iraq nine years ago this December.  Major McClung and I served together in Anbar Province … Continue reading

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Nevada Supreme Court holds that Voluntary Payment Doctrine Prohibits a Party from Recovering Amounts Wrongly Paid to Homeowner’s Association in Order to Prevent Foreclosure

By:          Bob L. Olson On September 30,2014, we posted “Lenders Beware: the Nevada Supreme Court Holds that Foreclosures of Homeowner’s Association Liens May Extinguish First Priority Deeds of Trust” which discussed the recent decision of SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC … Continue reading

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Federal Courts to Apply More Protective State Law when Analyzing Validity of Pre-dispute Jury Trial Waivers in Diversity Jurisdiction Cases

By Anthony J. Carucci The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction must apply the underlying state law to determine the validity of pre-dispute jury trial waivers where the state law is more … Continue reading

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Church Property Tax Liability in Arizona for Commercial Leases

By: Bob Henry Arizona House Bill 2128, which was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on March 23, 2015, has potential impact on the commercial real estate leasing market.  The bill enables owners of real property that is leased … Continue reading

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A Purchaser Who Doesn’t Inquire May Be Teeing Up For Failure

  By: Erica Stutman Picture this:  While on the hunt for new development opportunities, you stumble across a golf course in the middle of a high-end community, and you think this would be the perfect spot for more houses, or … Continue reading

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Inverse Condemnation: When is Your Claim Precluded by the Arizona Statute of Limitations?

By:  Richard Herold An inverse condemnation of a landowner’s property can occur when a governmental entity: (1) physically takes the property without compensation; or (2) passes a new law that has a serious impact on the value and/or utility of … Continue reading

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Guarantor Waivers Narrowed

By:  Lyndsey A. Torp and Sean M. Sherlock A general waiver by a guarantor of “all defenses” does not actually waive “all defenses.”   California Bank & Trust v. Del Ponti, — Cal.Rptr.3d —, 2014 WL 6908141 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.).  That … Continue reading

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California Case Requires Arbitration Despite Lack of Actual Controversy

  By:  Lyndsey A. Torp and Sean M. Sherlock For parties to litigate a contract dispute in a court of law, the parties’ disagreement must have ripened into an actual controversy presenting more than a mere academic difference of opinion.  … Continue reading

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Nevada Supreme Court adds New Elements to Constructive Eviction Claims.

By Bob L. Olson Nevada, like many jurisdictions, has recognized the ability of a tenant to vacate property if it becomes unfit for occupancy for the purpose for which it was leased.  This is commonly known as a “constructive eviction.”  … Continue reading

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General Contractor’s Prospective Waiver Of Its Lien Rights Is Enforceable In California

By: Lyndsey Torp http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/lyndsey_torp In another decision favoring lenders (See http://www.swlaw.com/blog/real-estate-litigation/2014/08/29/arizona-supreme-court-to-contractor-sorry-but-equitable-subrogation-of-a-banks-later-deed-of-trust-trumps-earlier-mechanics-lien-rights/), the California Court of Appeal, in an opinion published in September 2014, entitled Moorefield Construction, Inc. v. Intervest Mortgage Investment Company, et al., D065464, held an original contractor can … Continue reading

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New California Case Illustrates Peril of Full Credit Bid

By: Sean M. Sherlock In a new California case, a lender that made a full credit bid at a foreclosure sale lost its right as mortgagee under a lender’s insurance policy for damage to the property that occurred prior to … Continue reading

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Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

By: Richard H. Herold Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to obtain easements across … Continue reading

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Nevada Supreme Court Clarifies Mechanic and Materialman Lien Issues

By:  Nathan Kanute and Bob Olson On August 7, 2014, the Nevada Supreme Court issued two opinions dealing with the priority of mechanics’ liens and the proof required for a materialman to establish a lien.  These cases provide valuable guidance to … Continue reading

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Colorado Supreme Court Revisits Rule Against Perpetuities

By: Ginny Olmstead   http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/virginia_olmstead In March of this year, the Colorado Supreme Court revisited a fundamental doctrine of property law, which it described as “long cherished by law school professors and dreaded by most law students: the infamous rule against … Continue reading

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Guarantors Score Two Victories Before the Nevada Supreme Court.

By:  Bob Olson and Nathan Kanute On May 29, 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court issued two decisions that all real estate lenders need to be aware of because they have the potential to eliminate the ability of a lender to … Continue reading

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Nevada Supreme Court and District Court Issue Decisions Regarding Nevada’s Limitations on Deficiency Judgments.

By:  Bob Olson and Nathan Kanute In 2011 the Nevada Legislature enacted Assembly Bill 273 (“AB 273”) which amended NRS 40.459 by limiting deficiency judgments to the difference between the amount the lender paid to acquire the loan or obligation and … Continue reading

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Is the Future Bright for Commercial Real Estate in Arizona?

By Cory L. Braddock AZRE Magazine recently published an interesting article discussing the outlook for the commercial real estate market in Arizona.  To give it a read, click here.

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Borrowers Can Avoid Liability Even After a Trustee’s Sale

By:  Ben Reeves Since a lender must have a valid debt and valid lien to conduct a trustee’s sale, a borrower that allows the foreclosure sale to occur impliedly agrees that the debt and lien are valid.  In Madison v. … Continue reading

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Unmitigated Waivers: Guarantors Remain Liable Despite 4-Year Delay in Foreclosure Sale

By:  Ben Reeves If a lender delays foreclosure allowing years of default interest to accrue such that a guarantor’s obligation increases from $6 million to $12 million, should the guarantor remain on the hook for the full $12 million?  In … Continue reading

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Arizona Supreme Court Holds That Property Owner Who Quarreled With Light Rail Construction Should Be Compensated For Lost Access

By Eric H. Spencer Late last week, the Arizona Supreme Court handed down a decision that clarified the rights of property owners who lose access to an abutting road and, in the process, reinforced the principle that both elimination and … Continue reading

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The Registrar is Changing the Game for Complaints Against Arizona Contractors

By Rick Erickson http://www.swlaw.com/attorneys/rick_erickson Sweeping changes at the Registrar of Contractors have the construction and real estate industries concerned and curious.  The Registrar recently received some poor performance reports by the Auditor General and State Ombudsmen.  As a result, the … Continue reading

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Beyond Real Estate: Publicly Traded Homebuilders (And Other Public Companies) Must be Aware of Cybersecurity and Data Breach Disclosure Requirements Applicable to SEC Filings

By:  Richard H. Herold Generally speaking, publicly traded homebuilders and other public companies must disclose material information in their SEC filings.  “Information is considered material if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important in … Continue reading

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Frustration of Purpose: A Frustrating Doctrine

By: Erica Stutman Next Gen Capital, LLC v. Consumer Lending Associates, LLC illustrates the difficulty a tenant faces when trying to avoid liability for breaching a lease based on the “frustration of purpose” defense. No. 1 CA-CV 12-0624 (Ariz. Ct. … Continue reading

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Partition Disputes

Partition is a statutory procedure whereby co-tenants (for example joint tenancy, tenancy-in-common, community property) can file a court action to physically divide or sell the property.  See A.R.S. § 12-1211 et seq.  Unless the co-tenants have a private partition agreement, … Continue reading

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The Uniform Law Commission Makes Progress Drafting a Model Act on the Appointment and Powers of Real Estate Receivers

By:  Ben Reeves If all goes as planned, the Uniform Law Commission will finalize and promulgate a model act dealing with the appointment and powers of commercial real estate receivers at some point in 2015.  Last month, the Drafting Committee … Continue reading

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CC&Rs Remain Subject to Statutory Modification

By:  Andy Stone Future legislation may impact current CC&R obligations.  In an important decision for all communities, homeowner associations, builders, and developers, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently held that new laws may apply retroactively to modify or eliminate CC&R … Continue reading

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AZRE Article Discusses Social Media Resources for the Industry

By:  Matthew P. Fischer In the most recent issue of the magazine AZRE: Arizona Commercial Real Estate (September October 2013), reporter and former editor Peter Madrid wrote on social media coverage of the Arizona commercial real estate industry in his … Continue reading

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