Real Property Lawyers win New Trial in Landlord “Bachelor Pad Ad” Case

Real Property Lawyers applied the Fair Housing Act’s section 3604(c)  to a Craigslist advertisement for a one-bedroom apartment. The Connor Group placed an ad on Craigslist for an apartment in Dayton, Ohio, advertising a “great bachelor pad for any single man looking to hook up.” The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center brought suit against the Connor Group for violating the Fair Housing Act. The case went to trial.  The jury found that the ad did not violate the act. Miami Valley appealed the district court’s denial of their  Rule 59 motion for a new trial. The Connor Group cross-appealed because after winning the trial they were denied a recovery of their attorney fees.   On appeal the court sent the parties back for a new trial.  The court ruled that the jury instructions improperly stated the law.  The full case can be found here.

If you are an Alaskan landlord, Alaskan property manager or Alaskan real estate agent and want to avoid Fair Housing Act violations call us at 907-375-9226 to review your advertisement policy.

Clayton Walker, JD

Anchorage Real Property Lawyer



Real Property Lawyer Wins Client a Right to Trial on HAMP Violation Claim

A real property lawyer filed a case to protect his client against a bank foreclosure action.  The homeowner lost the right to a trial on motion in the trial court.  The Real property lawyer appealed the case for the homeowner.

On August 8th, 2013, the 9th Circuit overturned the dismissal of a HAMP violation claim.  The court held that under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) the bank was contractually required to offer the homeowner a permanent mortgage modification after the homeowner complied with the banks Trial Period Plan (TPP).  The court held the homeowners complaint sufficient because they showed that the bank accepted and retained the payments demanded under the TPP, event though the bank failed to offer or notify the homeowner they were entitled to the modification as required by the TPP.

Corvello v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA doing business as America’s Servicing Company, Doing business as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage can be found here.


If you are an Alaskan homeowner, or a realtor with a homeowner listing, in default on a home mortgage or have recently received a notice of foreclosure and would like a Real Property Lawyer to help you consider your options give us a call at 907-375-9226 for an appointment.

Clayton Walker, JD


NO ATV ACCESS on Butterfly Lake Trail


Original Opinion JULY 20, 2013

Rehearing October 10, 2011







Supreme Court No. S-14541

OPINION No. 6800 – July 19, 2013

No. 6835 – October 11, 2013

The Alaska Supreme Court revoked Nancy Lakes area homeowner’s motorized ground based access to their properties along ATV trails by invalidating their special use permits as unlawfully issued easements.


Continue reading “NO ATV ACCESS on Butterfly Lake Trail”

Anchorage Municipality Property Tax Valuation Appeals


JULY 20, 2013

Anchorage Municipality Property Tax Appeals
Campbell Creek Trail, Anchorage, Alaska
C. Walker 2013, all rights reserved.

Municipality of Anchorage,

No. 1464 – July 17, 2013

The Alaska Supreme Court issued another decision addressing Alaska municipal real property tax valuation appeal. The case doesn’t break new ground. However, it stands as a reminder of the the appellate process on municipal tax appeals and the standards of review used by the courts. The matter arose from the Anchorage Municipalities appraisal assessment in January 2010. You can expect that the full appeal process from filing through a Supreme Court opinion may take as long as 42 months as it did in this case. That fact, combined with the review standards addressed in the opinion make it clear that the boards opinion is likely to stand if it is based on based on substantial evidence applied on a reasonable basis involving the agency’s expertise. These facts underscore why engaging tax counsel is necessary. Counsel can advise you on the merits of your case. Counsel can assist in determining the valuation method used by the municipality in your matter. Counsel can assist in creating a strategic plan for accumulating and presentation of your evidence before the board. They can also keep you from spending 42 months pressing a legal theory that was repeatedly rejected.

For an appointment call

How Long do Household Furnishings Last

Picture by C Walker all rights reserved 2013.

I frequently am asked by landlords and tenant how long different furnishings should last.  This question comes up frequently when a landlord wants to charge the tenant with the cost of repair or replacement of components in a rental property.  Landlords tend to want to charge the complete cost of replacement on the last tenant in possession before the item broke or was scheduled for replacement.  In contrast the tenant is not liable for mere ordinary wear and tear.  The closer the furnishing is to its life expectancy before failure or replacement the more it looks like the failure was simply ordinary wear and tear.  The parties could rely on pictures and anecdotal evidence of the life expectancy of home components.  Or they could hire an expert to give evidence and direction.  Or they could look to industry standard material.  A recent study was performed in  2006 by the National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America Home  — The Equity  Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. 


This information can also be used for scheduling maintenance and refurbishment of rental property or evaluating structures for acquisition.  Knowing the expected life of the residence components can also aid in forecasting future property maintenance expenses.  Using the list you can find which components are near their life expectancy and either negotiate a reduction in price on those components.

If you are an investment property buyer, landlord, tenant and want more information on how you can use this information in your business, give us a call at 907-375-9226 to schedule an appointment.


Equitable Division of Marital Assets in Alaska

By: Clayton Walker, JD
There are three basic steps in the equitable division of marital assets in Alaska: (1) identifying the property available for distribution, (2) determining property value, and (3) dividing property equitably.  See Doyle v. Doyle, 815 P.2d 366, 368 (Alaska 1991) (citing Moffitt v. Moffitt, 749 P.2d 343, 346 (Alaska 1988)); Wanberg v. Wanberg, 664 P.2d 568, 570 (Alaska 1983).

The first step, identifying the property available for distribution involves determining which property is a marital asset or separate asset.  Yesterday, the Alaska Supreme Court revisited the first step of the process.  Continue reading “Equitable Division of Marital Assets in Alaska”

Appraisal Valuation Clauses

In 2007, Deborah Kyzer Ivy, a shareholder of Calais Company, Inc. (Calais), filed a complaint against Calais seeking involuntary corporate dissolution. In May 2009, Ivy and Calais reached a settlement agreement (Agreement) with appraisal valuation clauses.  The clause provided that Calais agreed to purchase Ivy’s shares at “fair value” as determined by a three-member panel of appraisers. The appraisers disagreed over the fair value of Calais. Two of the appraisers agreed the fair value of Calais was $92.5 million; one appraiser dissented, valuing Calais at $43 million.

Calais sought to avoid the high valuation by  arguing the two majority appraisers had failed to comply with the appraisal procedure mandated by the Agreement and the Agreement’s definition of “fair value.” The superior court ultimately declined to rule on the issue, concluding that interpreting the term “fair value” was beyond its scope of authority under the terms of the Agreement. Consequently, the court ordered Calais to purchase Ivy’s shares based on the majority appraisers’ high valuation.

Calais appealed. The Alaska Supreme Court reversed the superior court’s final order and remanded for the court to remand to the appraisers with explicit instructions to calculate the “fair value” of Calais as defined by AS 10.06.630(a), as required by the Agreement.

Appraisal Valuation Clause
Calais Building.

With $50 million at stake, you can buy a lot of argument in six years.  Ivy sought a valuation in 2007 before the market meltdown and at the peak of the market.  Ivy is probably lucky she didn’t get stuck selling at the bottom of the market.

Continue reading “Appraisal Valuation Clauses”

Alaska Attorney Fees in Workmen’s Compensation Cases

Alaska Attorney Fees in Workmen's Compensation Cases
Ice Biking the Turnagain Arm, Anchorage, Alaska

Lawrence Trudell v. Brent and Debra Hibbert, (Alaska, 2013).  


In a case of first impression, the Alaska Supreme Court addressed the award of attorney fees against project owners.  Normally, worker’s compensation cases are brought as administrative matters.  However, the administrative board has no jurisdiction to foreclose the lien afforded to worker’s compensation claimants that bring claims against a project owner.  Accordingly the employee elected to bring his action before the Superior Court and was the prevailing party.

  1. Employees seeking attorneys fees in workmen’s compensation cases can recover full actual fees if they are the prevailing party, whether they are appealing an adverse board decision or bring an action directly to the Superior Court.
  2. Employees risk paying their adversaries attorney fees only if they are not the prevailing party; and, their asserted positions were “frivolous, unreasonable, or brought in bad faith.”