May 2019

Wedding planning website cannot refuse to serve same-sex couples

A Web-based graphic design company that intends to design custom websites for customers planning weddings sought to place a statement explaining the owner's intent not to serve same-sex couples. A federal court has held that this violates the state's public accommodations law because it constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. ...

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"Condition" language creates executory interest, but new executory interests banned unless held by public or charitable entities

In White v. Auger,2019 N.H. LEXIS 4 (N.H. 2019), the grantor conveyed property to a grantee "on condition that" the grantee build on it (or on adjacent land) and live there (within 10 years) created a fee simple subject to executory limitation. State statutes abolished possibilities of reverter, rights of entry, and...

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New York landmarks commission approves electrifying historic clock and denying public access to the clock tower

In Save America's Clocks, Inc. v. City of New York, 2019 WL 1385906 (N.Y. 2019), the New York Court of Appeals overturned lower court rulings that invalidated a decision of the local historic landmarks commission to allow changes to a clock that had been designated a historic landmark both as part of an historic buliding and in its own right. The buyer of the building proposed to privatize the room on the...

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Shooting range may be a nuisance unless state statutes say otherwise

Construing a state statute, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that a shooting range cannot constitute a nuisance if it complies with local noise ordinances. However, that statute could not be applied retroactively without violating vested property rights so the plaintiffs in the case were entitled to damages but...

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Fifth Circuit rules that landlord rejection of Section 8 housing voucher recipients does not violate the Fair Housing Act by imposing a disparate impact on the basis of race

Persons in need of financial assistance to afford housing are in a variety of categories of persons protected by the Fair Housing Act. African Americans are more likely than white persons to be poor; women of all races are more likely to be poor than men; persons with disabilities are more likely to need government assistance than...

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Courts continue to get property law wrong when trying to apply it to the Fourth Amendment

As happened in the Supreme Court cases of Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006) and United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), the Sixth Circuit has used property law concepts to interpret the Fourth Amendment while misunderstanding what the property laws in force. US v. Jones held that the fourth amendment was violated when...

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