Partners from Riker Danzig’s Real Estate Practice join Title Nerds hosts Mike O’Donnell and Bethany Abele for the fourth episode, along with fellow Riker Danzig attorney Kevin Hakansson. In the first segment, Mike and Bethany have a conversation with Real Estate partners Josh Greenfield and Jim Maggio about working with title insurance underwriters on big commercial closings. Along with discussing Schedule B exceptions, recommended ALTA endorsements and leasehold policies, Josh and Jim share some thorny title issues they’ve resolved with good title underwriters. They stress how critical the service component is for title companies as a differentiating quality, given that fees are regulated in New Jersey. Next, Kevin Hakansson, a Riker Danzig associate who recently joined the Firm, discusses the case Amran Property Investments, LLC, et al. v Fidelity National Title Group, Inc. in federal court (2021 WL 3883087) in which the plaintiffs, foreign real estate investors who had acquired housing properties in Chicago to lease to tenants, alleged claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation by Fidelity, seeking to recover their entire property investment amount. Following closing, plaintiffs were notified that the properties were uninhabitable and would require $1 million+ in repairs to be made rentable. The Court granted Fidelity’s Motion to Dismiss and found that the plaintiffs failed to show that Fidelity aided and abetted the buyers’ fraudulent investment scheme, and had no duty to ensure the funds were not misused, as well as failing to state plausible tort claims.
Title Nerds hosts Mike O’Donnell and Bethany Abele welcome special guest Mike Ham, the “Coolest Guy in Title Insurance,” to the podcast, along with fellow Riker Danzig attorney Desiree McDonald. In the first segment, the Title Nerds hosts interview Mike Ham, who is a commercial real estate title insurance sales executive with Fidelity National Title Group and hosts a wildly popular podcast, “The Morning Spotlight Podcast,” in which he brings on interesting guests in real estate and other industries. Mike talks about how he started in the title insurance industry, what sparked his podcast, how he helps his clients, and what it takes to be a successful title insurance salesperson.
Then, Riker title team associate Desiree McDonald discusses the case of U & Me Homes, LLC v. Cty. of Suffolk out of New York State (148 N.Y.S.3d 682 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. July 16, 2021)) in which the Court held that a purported restrictive covenant on the property was void and granted the property owner’s motion for summary judgment. In the case, the plaintiff had purchased an undeveloped parcel of land in Southampton that was split-zoned, with both portions permitting residential development. When the plaintiff decided he wanted to build a single-family home on the property, he learned of a developmental restriction that would make his property of zero value. The deed and title search report, however, had not contained any reference to any development restrictions, and indeed, the property had been transferred numerous times previously with no reference to a restriction. The action was brought alleging that the covenant failed to run with the land and that the restriction was against public policy. The Court, very displeased with the County and Town, found no intent for the restriction to run with the land, and said the County and Town had overstepped their bounds and had reversed the role of government. The Town and County then went after the title companies for coverage, and the Court decided that if money was ever to be paid, it should be by the government, not by the insurance companies, something not seen very often in Court’s opinions.