Articles Posted in Real Estate Law

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The Fort Worth Diocese was formed in 1982 and was admitted into union with The Episcopal Church (TEC). The Fort Worth Corporation was formed the next year. After a doctrinal controversy arose within the TEC, the Forth Worth Corporation filed amendments to its articles of incorporation to remove all references to TEC. The Fort Worth Diocese then voted to withdraw from TEC. TEC later filed suit against the Fort Worth Diocese, the Fort Worth Corporation, the former Bishop, and other former TEC members (the Diocese) seeking possession of the property held in the name of the Diocese and the Fort Worth Corporation. The parties disagreed whether the "deference" or "neutral principles of law" methodology should be applied to resolve the property issue. The trial court agreed with TEC that deference principles should apply, and after applying deference principles, granted summary judgment for TEC. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) based on the Court's decision in Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas, the trial court erred by granting summary judgment to TEC on the basis of deference principles; and (2) the case must be remanded for further proceedings under neutral principles. Remanded.View "Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church" on Justia Law

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Title to property of a local church (the Good Shepherd) was held by a Texas non-profit corporation (Corporation). The Corporation was formed as a condition of Good Shepherd's congregation being accepted into union with the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas (Diocese). After members of Good Shepherd's parishioners began to disagree with doctrinal positions adopted by The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC), a majority of the congregation voted to amend Good Shepherd's articles of incorporation and bylaws to withdraw God Shepherd from communion with TEC and the Diocese. The Corporation and the withdrawing faction maintained possession of the property. The Diocese and leaders of the portion of the congregation loyal to TEC and the Diocese filed suit seeking possession of the property. The trial court granted summary judgment for the loyal faction, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the legal methodology called "neutral principles of law," rather than "deference," should be applied in this case; and (2) applying neutral principles of law to the record, the trial court erred by granting summary judgment. Remanded.View "Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas" on Justia Law

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The City of Lorena approved a subdivision plat. The City, however, subsequently enforced a moratorium against the property, citing the municipality's additional sewage system capacity requirements. The landowner sued for a declaratory judgment that the moratorium did not apply against its approved development and for damages, alleging a regulatory taking under an inverse condemnation claim. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the moratorium could not apply to the property because the property had been approved for development before the moratorium took effect. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the moratorium did not apply to the property because the City approved the property for subdivision before it enacted the moratorium; and (2) in regards to the inverse condemnation claim, the trial court needed to resolve factual disputes before the merits of the takings claim could be judicially addressed. Remanded.View "City of Lorena v. BMTP Holdings, LP" on Justia Law