Real Estate

Lawsuit Involving US Nitrogen Pipelines Settled for Undisclosed Amount

A longstanding legal battle between landowners and builders of a double pipeline connecting the Greene County US Nitrogen plant to the Nolichucky River ended this month with a confidential settlement, The Citizen Tribune reports. The landowners initially filed a petition asking Davidson County Chancery Court to stop the installation, with some residents claiming the company trespassed on their property during construction. The pipelines, which are used to transfer water from the river to the plant for use in manufacturing liquid ammonium nitrate then to discharge effluent water back into the river, also came under fire from The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation earlier this year for negatively impacting water quality in the area.

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U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal Regarding Real Estate Search Patents

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month shot down a petition related to the ruling of a Federal Circuit Court regarding Real Estate Alliance Ltd.’s (REAL) search patents, according to Inman.com. The ruling affirms a Feb. 1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that its real estate search tools are not, in fact, patent eligible. The dispute arose in 2007 when Move Inc. filed a lawsuit against REAL seeking a declaratory judgment that the patents were invalid.

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Nashville MLS Stadium Approval Spurs Quick Fairground Reconstruction Plans

Nashville’s fairground reconstruction plans are moving forward following last week’s Metro Council approval of a $275 million Major League Soccer stadium, The Tennessean reports. Construction to begin the consolidation of multiple buildings into a newly transformed expo center is slated to begin mid-October. The new expo center will sit on a currently vacant, lower-elevation piece of fairground land, and it will house the Nashville Flea Market as well as other events. Demolition and construction for the MLS stadium are scheduled to begin after the expo center is completed. The future 30,500-seat stadium and 10-acres of mixed-use private development are planned to sit on higher-elevation fairground land.

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Construction on Nashville's Broadwest Two-Tower Development Scheduled for Fall

The West End Summit site, home to the infamous and recently drained ‘Lake Palmer,’ may see construction beginning as soon as this fall, The Nashville Post reports. Huntsville, Alabama-based Propst Development plans to build two mixed-use buildings which will be called Broadwest and encompass a collective 1.2 million square feet at 1600 West End Ave near the split with Broadway. Local partners on the project include:

  • Chartwell Hospitality, a Franklin-based hotel operations and development company, to co-own and operate the 14-floor luxury hotel;
  • Parks Realty, a Nashville-based real estate agency, to lead condominium sales;
  • The Nashville office of Jones Lang Lasalle for office leasing;
  • Atlanta-based Cooper Carry as the lead architects of Broadwest;
  • The local offices of Turner Construction Company and Hoar Construction as general contractors;
  • Nashville-based Premier Parking to oversee the parking component.

The project could carry a price tag upwards of $500 million.

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Legal Practice Tip: Slander of Title – Clouds on Property Owned by Public Officials

What are your rights if a false lien is filed against property you own

On May 21, Gov. Haslam signed into law Public Chapter No. 1042 which immediately created a cause of action providing for remedies for the successful challenge of the validity of a lien against a property. The real property owner that prevails in challenging the validity of a lien or a slander of title proceeding may recover:
  1. The owner's reasonable attorney's fees; 
  2. Reasonable costs incurred by the owner to challenge the validity of the lien; 
  3. Liquidated damages in an amount equal to ten percent (10%) of the fair market value of the property not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000); and
  4. Any actual damages incurred by the owner.
The provisions of the act do not apply if the lien is based on a loan agreement which lists the property as collateral to secure repayment of the loan. The statute became effective on signing.
 
What if you are a “public official?"
 
A separate act was signed by the governor on May 1, which took effect on July 1. Public Chapter No. 913 provides a way for “public officials” to administratively challenge the filing with the register a cloud on an interest in real property by way of an affidavit by the official which sets into motion a process to remove the cloud. This procedure is reasonably complicated but may provide the local and state officials with alternative methods for removing the clouds in a more expeditious and less expensive way and may force the hand of individuals filing such false claims.

Joseph "Joe" Kirkland is an attorney and senior escrow officer at the East Memphis office of CloseTrak, Closing & Title Services. Kirkland is active in the Tennessee Land Title Association (chair of the standing Legislative Committee 2017-19, director of the Board of Directors 2018-19) and the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Real Estate Law Section.
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Cameras Catch Airbnb Guests Illegally Entering Neighbor's Home

Four men illegally entered a woman's South Nashville home last Friday while she was cooking dinner for her young daughter, WKRN News reports. The men were staying at an Airbnb on 9th Circle South in Edgehill, where they hopped over a barrier separating the third-floor balconies of the properties, breaking into the house of Amy Allen. Allen was notified of the intrusion by her security system, which also filmed the ‘bnb’ burglars in action. Allen said she called the police and began looking through her surveillance video when she discovered that the guests from next door had been in her home previously and had stolen a bottle of alcohol.
 
Airbnb rentals remain a contentious topic in Nashville, leading the city to establish a designated hotline to field complaints about short-term rental properties. Since September 2017, Metro Codes has received 1,581 calls on the complaint hotline.

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Remote Online Notarization and Electronic Notarization Now Possible in Tennessee

On May 15, Tennessee became the 6th state to enact legislation permitting the Remote Online Notarization (RON) of documents. Under Public Chapter No. 931, qualified notaries public will be allowed to electronically apply notary seals and additionally, to perform notarizations for individuals via two-way audio-visual communications.  
 
The act now defines “Appear” “Appearance” and “personally appear” to include: appearing before an online notary public by means of an interactive two-way audio and video communication that meets the online notarization requirements under rules promulgated by the secretary of state; these will include the standards that must comply with online notarization and “credential analysis” and “identity proofing” to ensure the proper identity of the party to be witnessed and preservation of the notarization act for a period of a minimum of five years.
 
The act also contains definitions for terms such as "Credential analysis," "Electronic document," "Electronic notarial certificate," "Electronic seal," "Electronic signature," "ldentity proofing," "Online notarization" and "Remote presentation," among others. The Tennessee Secretary of State will be administering and promulgating the rules for the orderly conduct of electronic notarizations and remote online notarizations. Public Chapter No. 931 will become effective on July 1, 2019.

Joseph "Joe" Kirkland is an attorney and senior escrow officer at the East Memphis office of CloseTrak, Closing & Title Services. Kirkland is active in the Tennessee Land Title Association (chair of the standing Legislative Committee 2017-19, director of the Board of Directors 2018-19) and the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Real Estate Law Section.
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TDEC Proposing Changes to Aquatic Resource Alterations

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is proposing changes to the permitting process when entities seek to divert a stream, pave over wetlands or otherwise alter the state’s waterways, The Tennessean reports. The proposed changes to Rule Chapter 0400-40-07 Aquatic Resource Alteration would stipulate where developers can mitigate the damage done to streams and would establish a baseline for pollution or alterations from which any harm would have to be offset. Comments on the amendments will be accepted through July 31 and can be submitted to Jimmy.R.Smith@tn.gov.

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Survey: Hot Topics in Real Estate 2018

Your executive council meets this month to begin the planning of the annual CLE forum. They want your input!

In preparation for the annual Hot Topics in Real Estate Forum in November, we have created a web form to ensure that all section members have a voice in programming. Completing this short survey will greatly assist the executive council in determining what topics and speakers will be included to produce a timely, substantive forum.

The council greatly appreciates your assistance with this endeavor. Please share recommendations for topics and speakers by July 13. You may also email me with your ideas or comments at jword@tnbar.org.

TAKE THE SURVEY

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Meet Your 2018–19 Real Estate Law Section Chair

J. David “David” Wicker is a Member in Stites & Harbison, PLLC’s Nashville office. Wicker practices all aspects pertaining to the development, acquisition, sale, and financing of commercial real estate, representing owners, developers, lenders, and other participants in a wide array of real estate transactions. David is active in the Davidson County community and currently is a member of the Margaret Maddox YMCA Board of Directors, the Nashville Downtown Partnership Board of Directors, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville. He has previously served on boards such as the Metropolitan Nashville Sports Authority, Friends of Shelby Park, the Tennessee Chapter of Community Associations Institute, the Nashville Education, Community and Arts Television Corporation and served on the MLS2Nashville committee. He is also an active fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. Wicker is a graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program and made the Tennessee Supreme Court’s 2017 Attorney for Justice Pro Bono Honor Roll. Wicker holds degrees from Southern Methodist University and Southern Methodist University Law School. Please join us in welcoming your 2018–19 Real Estate Law Section Chair. 

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