All states have different ways of handling abandoned, or unclaimed, property. Last week, the Seventh Circuit had to examine Indiana law, and reached a conclusion contrary to the district courts. In doing so, Judge Posner also pointed out an area of the law that may need additional legislation.
Recent Property Law Decisions
Lacey Phillips and Erin Hall are an unmarried couple who decided to purchase a home together in 2006. Their first application for a mortgage was rejected by Associated Bank. They next applied to Fremont Investment & Loan ("Fremont"), through a referral, Brian Bowling, one of Hall's clients. Unbeknownst to Phillips and Hall, Bowling was a "crook" (Judge Posner's words), "who brokered fraudulent loans."
Fremont accepted loan applications based on "stated income," that is, they didn't verify applicants' income. And you've probably heard the rest before: Hall and Phillips couldn't make loan payments, they defaulted and lost their home. What you've probably not heard before is this little twist: Bowling's testimony helped convict Hall and Phillips for mortgage fraud, in return for a smaller sentence.
Do bears poop in the woods?
The Seventh Circuit must assume so, because the court agreed with the Environmental Protection Agency that campsites with water sources should test their water for contaminants.
The EPA can regulate “public water systems,” and it turns out that putting “non-potable” on your spigots isn’t enough.
Everyone gets excited about clean energy sources these days. Who wants to be stuck in the coal age when there's wind power to be harnessed?
Several years ago, Winnebago County, Illinois answered the wind power siren song by making wind farms a permitted use within the zoning ordinance without the need for a special use permit.
Since no good deed goes unpunished, Patricia Muscarello sued the Winnebago County Board, the County Zoning Board of Appeals, and some County officials, (along with several affiliated companies that operate wind farms), to challenge the ordinance as a taking.
The courts and the defendants were left scratching their heads with the same question: What's her damage?
Estate of Davis v. Wells Fargo Bank, 10-1549, concerned a plaintiff's suit against Wells Fargo Bank, which later bought her mortgage loan from the original lender whom plaintiff won a judgment against in her suit for predatory lending, and against Litton Loan Servicing, which later took over the servicing of her loan, asserting various claims including unconscionability and fraud claims under state law, as well as federal claims for violations of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and race discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).
Heyde v. Pittenger, 09-1388, concerned a plaintiff's suit against members of a county Board of Review (BOR) and town's assessors, claiming that by setting his property's assessment at levels grossly disproportionate to its fair market value, the BOR and the assessors deprived him of his equal protection rights, and retaliated against him for previously exercising his right to challenge assessments.
Catalan v. GMAC Mortgage Corp., 09-2182, concerned plaintiffs' suit against defendant mortgage companies under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and under Illinois law for gross negligence, breach of contract, and willful and wanton negligence.
Restaurant owner's suit against a town for constitutional violations
LaBella Winnetka, Inc. v. Village of Winnetka, 09-3297, 09-3297, concerned a plaintiff's suit against a town and the town manager, claiming various constitutional violations and a state law claim for intentional interference with its lease and its prospective business expectancy, claiming that defendants prevented plaintiff from reopening its restaurant following a roof fire.
Khan v. Bland, 09-1735, concerned a plaintiff's suit against the Housing Authority of Champaign County (HACC), Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other HACC officials, for violation of his substantive and procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983, claiming that defendants wrongfully terminated his existing HAP contracts and debarred him from the Section 8 program without due process.
Bankruptcy court's denial of debtor's motion to reopen his case in a bank's foreclosure suit affirmed
Redmond v. Fifth Third Bank, 08-4288, concerned a challenge to the district court's affirmance of a bankruptcy court's denial of a debtor's motion to reopen his bankruptcy case, claiming that a bank's foreclosure suit was in violation of the bankruptcy court's orders.