Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Landlord - Tenant
58 Swansea Mall Drive LLC v. Gator Swansea Property LLC
In this contract dispute between Landlord and Tenant that arose under their lease to a shopping center premises the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Tenant on one claim and to Landlord on another claim, holding that any purported errors were harmless.When Tenant sought mortgage loan from Bank and offered its leasehold interest in the premises as collateral, Bank requested that Landlord execute a "section 3(n) agreement" pursuant to article 6, section 3(n) of the lease. Landlord did not sign the agreement. Bank then terminated the proposed mortgage loan. Tenant sued Landlord for breach of contract. Landlord countersued, claiming that Tenant had violated the lease through its subtenant's use of a pylon sign on the premises. The district court granted summary judgment to Tenant on Landlord's counterclaim. After a trial, the court found that Landlord had no obligation to execute the section 3(n) agreement. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not clearly err in finding that Landlord did not breach the lease by not signing the section 3(n) agreements proposed by Bank; and (2) the district court did not err in ruling on summary judgment that Tenant's subtenant's use of the pylon sign did not breach the lease. View "58 Swansea Mall Drive LLC v. Gator Swansea Property LLC" on Justia Law
Phillips v. Equity Residential Management, LLC
Plaintiff brought this class action against his former landlord (Landlord) alleging that Landlord violated several provisions of the Massachusetts Security Deposit Law by impermissibly deducting certain charges from his security deposit and failing to return the deposit within thirty days after he moved out of his leased apartment. Plaintiff sought recovery under the Security Deposit Law’s penalty provision, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 186, 15B(7), which includes the availability of treble damages. The district court concluded that Plaintiff was entitled to recover his security deposit but was not entitled to recovery under section 15B(7), and denied Plaintiff’s class certification motion on mootness grounds. The First Circuit certified a question regarding the relevant provisions of the Massachusetts Security Deposit Law to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and refrained from deciding the merits of Plaintiff’s other claims until that question was resolved. View "Phillips v. Equity Residential Management, LLC" on Justia Law
Posted in: Landlord - Tenant
DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Auth.
In 2013, Plaintiff, a participant in the Section 8 Federal Housing Choice Voucher Program, listed among her assets a trust that had been established in 2010 to hold Plaintiff's proceeds from a series of tort settlements. The Brookline Housing Authority (BHA) subsequently determined that Plaintiff was “over-income” for continued participation in the Program, as locally administered by the BHA. Plaintiff appealed, requesting that the BHA exclude at least some of these trust disbursements from its income calculation in reasonable accommodation of her disability. The BHA reaffirmed its determination. Thereafter, Plaintiff sued, alleging that the BHA had violated state and federal law by incorrectly calculating her income under the relevant federal regulations and by engaging in disability-based discrimination. The district court ruled in favor of BHA. The First Circuit (1) reversed the district court’s ruling on Plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim brought under the Housing Act, holding that the BHA misconstrued federal regulations in calculating Plaintiff’s income; (2) vacated the district court’s ruling on Plaintiff’s state and federal discrimination claims and remanded with instructions to dismiss those claims as moot; and (3) affirmed the district court’s denial of Plaintiff’s remaining claims. Remanded. View "DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Auth." on Justia Law
Batista v. Cooperativa de Vivienda
Appellant had leased the same apartment at a San Juan, Puerto Rico housing cooperative (Cooperative) for several years. While living at the cooperative, Appellant received benefits under the Section 8 federal housing assistance program, which enabled her to pay her rent. When the Housing Finance Authority concluded that Appellant’s apartment unit was “over-housed” for Section 8 purposes, the Cooperative informed Appellant that she would have to pay market-rate rent without the Section 8 assistance. Appellant subsequently submitted a request to the Cooperative for reasonable accommodation on account of her disability, stating that she could not move to a different unit without compromising her health. The Cooperative denied Appellant’s request. After filing an administrative complaint without success, Appellant filed suit in federal court, alleging that the Cooperative had violated the Fair Housing Act by failing to provide the requested accommodation, by engaging in a pattern of discriminatory actions against her, and by retaliating against her because she had recently prevailed in a separate HUD proceeding against the Cooperative. The district court (1) found in the defendants’ favor regarding the reasonable accommodation and disparate treatment claims; and (2) concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to decide the retaliation claim. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment on the reasonable accommodation and disparate treatment claims; and (2) reversed the district court’s decision to dismiss Appellant’s retaliation claim, holding that the district court had jurisdiction to decide this claim. View "Batista v. Cooperativa de Vivienda" on Justia Law
One & Ken Valley Housing Group v. Me. State Housing Auth.
Plaintiffs were five limited partnerships that owned multifamily housing rental projects in Maine. Plaintiffs entered into housing assistance payments (HAP) contracts with the Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing) in order to participate in the Section 8 program. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in conjunction with state and local public housing agencies. Landlords participating in the program receive partial rent from their tenants and the remainder of the rent from the relevant public housing agency, who is, in turn, reimbursed by HUD. Payments from state and local agencies to the Section 8 landlords are adjusted periodically according to guidelines promulgated by HUD. In 2009, Plaintiffs sued MaineHousing in federal district court for breach of contract, alleging that MaineHousing had wrongfully refused to grant them certain annual increases in their Section 8 payments. MaineHousing impleaded HUD. The district court granted summary judgment for MaineHousing and HUD. The First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that each of the housing assistance payments contracts at issue allowed MaineHousing to withhold automatic annual adjustments on contract rents where MaineHousing determines that further adjustments would result in material differences between contract rents and market rates. View "One & Ken Valley Housing Group v. Me. State Housing Auth." on Justia Law
Rared Manchester NH, LLC v. Rite Aid of N.H., Inc.
Developer and Tenant had done business for many years and had established a template for future transactions. A dispute arose when Tenant forwarded to Developer a commercial lease containing a material term that deviated from the parties' previous leases without specifically drawing Developer's attention to the change. Developer signed the lease without reading the proffered lease line by line. Years later, when Developer discovered the new term, it filed suit against Tenant. The district court, without passing on the merits of the dispute, entered summary judgment against Developer on the ground that the action was time-barred. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the district court appropriately determined that Developer's action was brought too late. View "Rared Manchester NH, LLC v. Rite Aid of N.H., Inc." on Justia Law