Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ denial of Appellant’s complaint for a writ of prohibition against Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard McMonagle, holding that the jurisdictional-priority rule has no applicability when the cases at issue are pending in the same court. Appellant, Consortium for Economic and Community Development for Hough Ward 7, owned real property (“the parcel”) in Cuyahoga County that was adjacent to property owned by the Oak Leadership Institute. Oak Leadership filed an action in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to quiet title to the parcel. Thereafter, a tax foreclosure suit relating to the parcel was filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Appellant sought a writ of prohibition against Judge McMonagle, arguing that, even though the quiet-title lawsuit was filed first, the foreclosure lawsuit had jurisdiction priority because it first perfected service of process over all the interested parties. The court of appeals denied the writ, thus rejecting Appellant’s theory of jurisdictional priority. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the jurisdictional-priority rule has no applicability when the cases are pending in the same court. View "State ex rel. Consortium for Economic & Community Development For Hough Ward 7 v. Russo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that denied a tax exemption for real property leased to a community school. The tax commissioner determined that for tax years 2008 through 2010, because the property owner had collected “substantial market-rate rent,” the property was leased “with a view to profit” for purposes of former Ohio Rev. Code 5709.07(A)(1), and therefore, no exemption was available. The BTA affirmed on the basis that the school’s rental payments exceeded the lessor’s expenses under the lease. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision and remanded the case, holding (1) the key inquiry in determining whether property is lease with a view to profit focuses on the intention of the lessor; and (2) the BTA unreasonably ignored evidence of the lessor’s intent in this case. View "Breeze, Inc. v. Testa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA), which adopted $8,492,910 as the property value for a thirty-seven-acre parcel of real property for tax years 2011 through 2013. The BTA based its decision on the purchase price that Buckeye Terminals, LLC, the landowner, reported on a June 2011 conveyance fee statement. On appeal, Buckeye Terminals argued that the reported price did not accurately reflect the true value of the real property. The Supreme Court held that the BTA’s decision to retain the Board of Revision’s valuation for tax years 2011 through 2013, based solely on the June 2011 conveyance fee statement rather than an independent determination of the value of the property, was unreasonable and unlawful. View "Buckeye Terminals, LLC v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part a writ of prohibition requested by Relators - Rocky Ridge Development, LLC and Stanley Industries, Inc. - against common laws court judge Bruce Winters after Judge Winters issued a temporary restraining order against Relators enjoining them from operating in Benton Township until “they are in compliance with the Benton Township Zoning Resolution and the laws of the State of Ohio.” Benton Township had filed a compliant for declaratory and injunctive relief against Relators, alleging that the companies were violating the terms of a Land Application Management Plan (LAMP), were in violation of local zoning ordinances and state law, and were creating a public nuisance. The Supreme Court (1) granted a limited writ of prohibition to prevent the judge from deciding any issues that properly belong to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, such as the wisdom or propriety of issuing the LAMP or Rocky Ridge’s compliance with the LAMP; but (2) denied the writ as to all claims involving alleged violations of Benton Township’s local ordinances or allegations that Rocky Ridge’s operations were creating a public nuisance. View "State ex rel. Rocky Ridge, LLC v. Winters" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that adopted an allocated portion of a bulk-sale price as the property value for tax year 2011 for two parcels of property along the Ohio River. The owner of the property appealed, arguing that the BTA erred in not reducing the sale price by an amount that was contractually allocated to goodwill. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the landowner’s burden was to show a proper sale-price allocation; (2) the BTA reasonably applied the evidentiary standard; (3) the BTA reasonably rejected the landowner’s appraisal; and (4) the landowner failed to state a constitutional claim. View "Cincinnati School District Board of Education v. Hamilton County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that valued the land underlying the North Bank Condominiums in Franklin County for tax year 2013. The BTA adopted the value found in an appraisal report submitted by the Columbus City Schools Board of Education (BOE). The unit owners appealed, arguing that the BTA should have adopted the land value in their appraisal report rather than the higher value in the BOE’s appraisal report. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the BTA did not abuse its discretion in finding the BOE’s appraisal to be more probative and in thus adopting the land value found in the BOE’s appraisal. View "NWD 300 Spring, LLC v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that increased the tax value of property owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. On appeal, State Farm challenged the BTA’s reliance on a November 2013 sale price in ordering an increase from the $14,000,000 value adopted by the BTA for tax year 2011 to $25,092,330 for tax year 2012. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the 2013 sale price was not indicative of value because it was not at arm’s length for purposes of determining property value. The court then ordered that the Board of Revision’s value of $14,000,000 be reinstated for tax year 2012. View "Columbus City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders issued by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) finding that the presence of stray gas near Appellants’ properties created a verifiable safety hazard that justified Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc.’s discontinuing gas service to the homes. Specifically, the court held (1) Appellants’ argument that PUCO misinterpreted Ohio Rev. Code 4905.20 and 4905.21 by permitting Columbia Gas to withdraw natural-gas service without filing an abandonment application was unavailing; and (2) PUCO did not err in determining that Columbia Gas did not violate Ohio Rev. Code 4905.22’s prohibition against furnishing inadequate service. View "In re Complaints of Lycourt-Donovan v. Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc." on Justia Law

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There was no error in the determination of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that the plan of the Illuminating Company to remove a silver maple tree located near the company’s transmission line was reasonable. The tree belonged to Mary-Martha and Dennis Corrigan and stood within the company’s easement running through the Corrigan’s property. The Corrigans appealed, arguing primarily that the evidence did not support findings that pruning was impracticable and that the tree posed a threat to the line. The Supreme Court rejected the Corrigans’ evidentiary challenges, holding that the Corrigans failed to show that the Commission’s decision was unlawful or unreasonable. View "Corrigan v. Illuminating Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that retained the reduced values that the Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR) adopted for eighteen condominium parcels in Franklin County for tax years 2011 through 2013. The BTA upheld the BOR’s valuation on the grounds that it found no evidence to counter the BOR’s decision to modify the auditor’s original assessment of the property. The Supreme Court held (1) the BTA erred by relying on a presumption of validity rather than independently weighing the evidence; and (2) under recent case law, the reduced values ordered by the BOR were properly carried forward from tax year 2011 to tax years 2012 and 2013. View "Columbus City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law