Issue No.237, August 4, 2021

Look For NEW Events Posted Since The Last Issue!
Riker Danzig Releases Episode 2 Of Title Insurance Podcast - Insurance - United States
On July 29, 2021 Riker Danzig released Episode 2 of “Title Nerds,” the Firm’s title insurance podcast. Title Nerds hosts Mike O’Donnell and Bethany Abele welcome fellow Riker Danzig attorneys Ron Ahrens and Mike Crowley to the podcast. In the first segment, Mike O’Donnell and Ron Ahrens talk about coverage investigations in the context of title insurance, drawing on some of their experiences in uncovering fraud and collusion, as well as issues in more routine fact-based investigations.

USDA taps $67M for heirs' property lending program
USDA is making $67 million available to help landowners struggling with heirs’ property resolve ownership and succession issues.

Maryland Announces Temporary Suspension of On-Site Audit Requirement for Title Insurers
On March 5, 2020, Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. declared a state of emergency and catastrophic health emergency (the “SOE”) for the entire State in order to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the State. The SOE declared on March 5, 2020 has been renewed multiple times, most recently on June 12, 2021.

Real Property, Financial Services, & Title Insurance Update: Week Ending May 28, 2021
Foreclosure / Return of Original Loan Documents: Foreclosure plaintiff entitled to return of its original loan documents in absence of final judgment canceling note – Wilmington Sav. Fund Soc’y FSB v. Morroni, No. 2D20-3085 (Fla. 2d DCA May 28, 2021) (reversed and remanded with instructions)

37 States Now Have RON Legislation
Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon became the latest states to pass remote online notarization legislation. There are now 37 states that allow this type of digital closing. Legislation in New York and New Hampshire is pending, while awaiting the signature of each state’s governor. The number of title and settlement companies offering digital closings increased 228% compared to 2019, according to ALTA’s 2021 Digital Closing Survey

Connecticut state lawmakers work to strip old 'whites only' covenants
While the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948 ruled such racially restrictive housing covenants unenforceable, many remain on paper today and can be difficult to remove. In Connecticut, David Ware asked legislators to help homeowners strike the language, and a bill ultimately was signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, in July.

Revised Tidal Wetlands Guidelines for Virginia: A New Mandate for Living Shoreline Use and Sea Level Rise Adaptation
Can you still build a bulkhead along the shoreline in coastal Virginia to protect your property? Well, it depends, but now the answer is more likely to be “no.” Major changes to how Virginia tidal waterfront property owners and operators can protect their shorelines were recently adopted as part of a revised version of Virginia’s Tidal Wetlands Guidelines (“Guidelines”) issued by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (“VMRC”).

Right-Of-Way Width – Not Set In Stone
Determining the width of a right-of-way may be more difficult than you think, even when the dimensions are specifically defined. New York courts take the approach that elevates the right of passage over full use an easement described by deed.

Sovereign Immunity Barred Quiet Title Suit Against Indian Tribe
The First Appellate District held that tribal sovereign immunity bars a quiet title action to establish a public easement for coastal access on property owned by an Indian tribe. Self v. Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community, 60 Cal. App. 5th 209 (2021).

How Can the Same Right Create 2 Separate Property Interests?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can file a lien and levy on any and all of a taxpayer's property (and rights to property) regardless of how the property is held or titled. 26 U.S.C. § 6321. Whether the item is a taxpayer's property is a subject of continuous and contentious litigation between third parties and the IRS.

Mediating and Settling Real Property Cases
Just as there are a myriad of real property interests, there can be disputes involving any of those interests. Controversies regarding rights and interests in property include circular priority among lienholders, boundary disputes, unrecorded instruments, probate matters, lien validity, forgeries, mistaken legal descriptions, insurance coverage, the Uniform Commercial Code, and claims between buyers and sellers—just to name a few.

Navigable Waters Protection Rule – What’s Going on with WOTUS?
The scope of the federal government’s regulatory authority via the Clean Water Act (CWA) over “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) has been controversial for many years. What’s the current status of the law on this issue? It’s an important issue for farmers, ranchers and rural landowners.

Poverty: Beyond the Matthew Effect
Poverty and inequality in capitalist society often find cruel justification in enabling theologies. Says the Christian gospel according to St. Matthew: “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken away from them” (Matthew 13:12).

States Weigh Bans on Ransomware Payoffs
As ransomware attacks continue to wreak havoc on police departments, school districts and city and county governments, some state legislators say they’ve had enough.

‘Holy Moly!’: Inside the Fight Against a Texas Ransomware Hack
It was the start of a steamy Friday two Augusts ago when Jason Whisler settled in for a working breakfast at the Coffee Ranch restaurant in the Texas Panhandle city of Borger. The most pressing agenda item for city officials that morning: planning for a country music concert and anniversary event.

Glen Oaks began accepting Bitcoin in 2018 and sees the loan as proof the cryptocurrency’s value proposition is becoming clearer to debtors and creditors.

Sheriff Warning Residents Of Real Estate Scam
Lyon County Sheriff Brent White tells the News Edge several residents have contacted them over the last several weeks about a land purchase agreement they have received. He says that property tax information is accessible via the internet, which, unfortunately, is also accessible to scammers. He adds that this particular scam is a letter to a property owner from a company in Florida offering to purchase the property.

Fish and Game: River Dave is not on our land
A New Hampshire Fish and Game Department employee on Thursday refuted statements made by David Lidstone, 81, who appeared in Merrimack County Superior Court via a video link from jail Wednesday. Lidstone has been jailed since July 15 for refusing to leave the property along the Merrimack River in Canterbury.

A little slice of history: The Lemp Triangle
Boise has played the waiting game several times in its history. Citizens have waited for a promised project for decades while staring into a hole or across a dusty gravel parking lot. "The Hole" at Eighth and Main gaped there on the verge of great things for more than 20 years. Zions Bank opened its new tower in 2014, finally fitting into the footprint of the old Eastman Building that burned in 1987.

The High-Sea's Mystery Of A Found Ship ... With No Crew Or Passengers
On the 10th of November, 1955, Captain Gerald Douglas of the merchant ship Tuvalu was en route from Suva (the capital of Fiji) to Funafuti (the capital of Tuvalu) in the South Pacific when he spotted something odd. He saw a ship drifting out in the sea, tipped so heavily to one side that the port-side deck rails were dipping in and out of the water.

What Do I Do With My Workplace Drug Policy Now That Cannabis Is Legal in Illinois and My Employees Are Remote?
In January 2020, Illinois legalized the use of recreational marijuana through the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“the Act”). Two months later, many employees began working remotely because of the pandemic. Today, work-from-home continues to blur the lines between “work” and “home” in countless ways, and employee drug policies are no exception. The new world of remote work has left many employers wondering what to do with their drug policies now that cannabis is legal and their employees are remote or hybrid. Can an employer lawfully prevent their employees from using cannabis while working from home?

SF/Fantasy Bookstore Sues Neighboring Hotel, Includes Comic Book Version of Factual Allegations in Amended Complaint
As you might gather, this sort of filing can be risky, if the judge thinks it's undignified or just a waste of time. On the other hand, it's the Third Amended Complaint, so they know who the judge is (Judge Mike Engelhart), and presumably know something about his sensibilities.

Hart Island’s Last Stand
After years of study, the city has declared an emergency to bulldoze most of the buildings on the city’s potter’s field, without following the usual environmental review process.

“You go look upstairs Sandra, I’ll check out the stables”
Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs

Marianne Mathieu, NTP
Vice President/National Agency Accounts
Fidelity National Financial
(347) 987-0677