Property Law

Recently, an Illinois appellate court affirmed a ruling an insurer did not owe coverage for damage to a building from a bursting frozen pipe. On appeal, the Fifth District agreed with the reasoning employed by the lower court, resting its decision on the warehouse owners’ failure to “maintain heat in the building or structure” to the best of their ability, as required by the policy.  The pipe burst occurred in February 2011. After this event,…
Here’s the latest complaint in a long train of complaints alleging that a COVID-related shutdown or moratorium is a taking or damaging of private property for public use. This time, it’s from Northern California wine country (Napa County Superior Court, to be specific), and the taking claims (skip to page 19 if you want to cut to the takings chase) only seeks relief under the California Constitution (“Private property may be taken or damaged for…
Mention the term “PASH” to any dirt lawyer in the 50th State, and they’ll nod in understanding. It’s an 808 shibboleth — a kind of local property password — that signals that you’ve been around the block and know your stuff. On one hand, it is simply an acronym for Public Access Shoreline Hawaii, the plaintiff/petitioner in the (in)famous case Public Access Shoreline Hawaii v. Hawaii Cnty. Planning Comm’n, 903 P.2d 1246 (Haw. 1995).…
Another invasion-by-sewage claim, another opportunity for bad punning. What do you do when a municipality’s wastewater system malfunctions and “strew[s] [your] yard with condoms, toilet paper, raw sewage, and feminine hygiene products and force[s] [you] to endure ‘horrendous odors.'”” According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Stringer v. Town of Jonesboro, No.20-30192 (Jan. 18, 2020), you don’t “seek help from the Town and its Mayor,” you sue for inverse…
There are two main rationales supporting the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s opinion in Pileggi v. Newton Township, No. 1279 CD 2019 (Jan. 5, 2021), holding that the Township’s denial of a permit was not a taking. The first, in our view, is simply wrong. The second is perhaps more supportable, but still troubling. This is a case about a gong. No, not the brass instrument gong, but the other type. Pennsylvania law requires the…
A federal court has found that the insurer of a non-profit is not liable for a $67,097,998 judgment awarded against its insured for a fatal 2017 apartment fire in Oakland, California, due to the insured’s failure to disclose that it was the landlord of the apartment building on its insurance application, rendering the policy void ab initio. Atain Specialty Insurance Company v. Dignity Housing West, Inc., No. 19-CV-07296-LB, 2020 WL 7868127 *1 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 29, 2020).  The insured operated…
If you “get” this, you should be registered for the 38th Annual Eminent Domain & Land Valuation Litigation Conference, to be held remotely on Thursday and Friday, January 28-29, 2021. The list is growing rapidly, and you need to join us! This is the “big one” where the nation’s best practitioners, scholars, jurists, and other industry professionals gather to talk shop about the subjects we know and love. We’re having programs with intriguing subjects such…