Nordbye v. BRCP/GM Ellington

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 05-13-2015
  • Case #: A153436
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J., and Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In an action for declaratory relief for an owner's violation of restrictions in a declaration resulting from participation in the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, a plaintiff's claim becomes moot where the plaintiff is no longer a qualified low-income tenant.

Plaintiff was a qualified low-income tenant residing in an apartment complex owned by Defendant that was subject to restrictions in its declaration because former owners had received tax benefits in consideration for participation in the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. A prior owner had entered into a release agreement that purported to release the property from the restrictions, and after acquiring the property Defendant evicted Plaintiff and other similarly situated tenants. Plaintiff filed a declaratory action, which included no damages, but prior to moving for class certification both parties filed for summary judgement; the court granted summary judgment to Defendant. On appeal, the Court reversed and remanded, holding the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to Defendant; rather, it should have granted summary judgment to Plaintiff because she was a third-party beneficiary of the declaration, regardless of the release agreement. On remand, before the trial court entered judgment for Plaintiff and before Plaintiff moved to certify a class, Plaintiff stipulated she no longer qualified for low-income housing under the LIHTC program and no longer intended to move back to the property. Defendant moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing Plaintiff lacked standing and her claims were moot. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss but allowed Defendant to seek the present interlocutory appeal. The Court held that because Plaintiff no longer qualified for low-income housing, and had expressly denied her intention to seek money damages, Plaintiff's claims were moot; therefore, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider subsequent motions by intervenors and for class certification. Order vacated; remanded for entry of judgment dismissing the case as moot.

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