December 2014

Fair Housing Act's Disparate Impact Claims at Issue

The Supreme Court has taken certiorari in a Fifth Circuit case to address the question of whether disparate impact claims are available under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq. Tex. Dep't of Hous. & Comty. Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 46 (2014), on appeal from The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. v. Tex. Dep't of Hous. & Comty. Affairs, 747 F.3d 275 (5th Cir. 2014). All federal Circuit Courts to address the issue have...

Read more about Fair Housing Act's Disparate Impact Claims at Issue

City can demolish blighted structure it believes is financially unreasonable to repair

The Michigan Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that had held it to be unconstitutional for a city to demolish a structure that the city believes is financially unreasonable to repair even if the owner claims to want to make the repairs. The court held that it does not constitute a deprivation of due process of law to require the demolition given the fact that the owner allowed the property to become dilapidated and the city could rationally believe that demolition was the best remedy to remove the public nuisance....

Read more about City can demolish blighted structure it believes is financially unreasonable to repair

Servient owner entitled to change easement location

The Vermont Supreme Court has adopted the rule promoted by the Restatement (Third) of Property (Servitudes), §4.8(3), allowing the owner of a servient estate to relocate an easement if this does not reduce the utility of the easement to the owner of the dominant estate. Roy v. Woodstock Cmty. Trust, Inc., 94 A.3d 530 (Vt. 2014). The case concerned an underground easement for water lines.

The court also held that the dominant estate owner was...

Read more about Servient owner entitled to change easement location

Easement by necessity implied over government land

A Hawai`i court has recognized an easement by necessity over government land when the landlocked parcel was separated from land belonging to the state. Malulani Group, Ltd. v. Kaupo Ranch, Ltd. 329 P.3d 330 (Haw. 2014). The court held that the intent of the parties determines whether an easement exists over remaining land of the grantor to ensure access to a public road from an otherwise landlocked parcel. The court also held that no statute of limitations bars assertion of an easement by...

Read more about Easement by necessity implied over government land

New Jersey Supreme Court confirms state constitution's grant of free speech rights to enable a coop owner to disseminate written information to co-owners

While the US Constitution's free speech provisions in the first amendment apply only to state action, both California and New Jersey have interpreted their state constitutions to grant individuals free speech rights in some cases in relation to private parties. In both states, citizens have the right to distribute leaflets in shopping centers. In Dublirer v. 2000 Linwood Avenue Owners, Inc., 2014 WL 6777311 (N.J. 2014), a resident wanted to run for a seat on the Board...

Read more about New Jersey Supreme Court confirms state constitution's grant of free speech rights to enable a coop owner to disseminate written information to co-owners

New York law protects inheritance rights of children conceived after the death of their biological parents

New York state has adopted a statute that defines procedures for ensuring that children conceived after the death of their biological parents can inherit property, receive Social Security survivor benefits, and benefit from trusts established for them. The law applies to  ova or sperm that are stored for use after the death of a biological parent, usually when that parent knows his or her lifespan is limited. The law requires a written declaration of the purpose for which the biological material was stored, recording of the document in public records, and requires the...

Read more about New York law protects inheritance rights of children conceived after the death of their biological parents