Decisions in Criminal, Immigration, and Land Sales Contract Matters - Contract Law - U.S. Fourth Circuit
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Decisions in Criminal, Immigration, and Land Sales Contract Matters

Torres v. O'Quinn, 07-7340, concerned a former inmate's motion for a refund of the fees collected from his prison trust account in excess of twenty percent, that were taken to satisfy the filing fee requirement for his two appeals of the dismissal of two civil actions against prison officials.  In denying the motion, the court held that 28 U.S.C. section 1915(b)(2) permits only twenty percent of an inmate's preceding month's income to be withheld from a trust account, notwithstanding that, as here, the inmate had two in forma pauperis appeals pending before the court.  However, under the circumstances of this case, the court declines to order a refund because the amount withheld from his account and remitted on his behalf during his incarceration were actually owed and properly collected.

Ni v. Holder, 09-1584, concerned a Chinese citizen's petition for review of a BIA's denial of his application for withholding of removal.  In denying the petition in part and dismissing in part, the court held that the petitioner cannot establish a claim for withholding of removal based solely on his wife's forced abortion.  The court also held that the BIA did not err in denying the claim as petitioner has not presented any evidence so compelling that no reasonable factfinder could fail to find that he has shown past persecution or fear of future persecution in his own right.  Lastly, the court dismissed petitioner's claim that he is entitled to remand in order to present additional evidence for lack of jurisdiction.

Long v. Crowley, 08-2371, concerned plaintiffs' suit against the developer of a condominium complex seeking to rescind their contracts and obtain refunds of their deposits, claiming violations of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSFDA).  In reversing the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court held that to qualify for the Improved Lot Exemption under section 1702(a)(2), the sales contract must obligate the seller to build and deliver the required structure within two years of the date that the purchaser signs the contract and incurs obligations, rather than within two years of the date that the seller signs the contract.  Here, the sales contracts for the 182 condominiums did not obligate defendant to construct the condominiums within two years of the date that the purchasers signed the contracts and incurred obligations, and as such, these contracts were not exempt from regulation under ILSFDA.  Therefore, because the 192 sales contracts were not exempt, the 100 Lot Exemption could not be relied on to exempt the remaining condominiums because there were more than 100 lots or units in the development that were not exempt.

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