Weekly News Roundup for April 8, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The City of Miami has filed multiple lawsuits alleging that various banks violated the Fair Housing Act by targeting minorities for loans with predatory terms, which cost the city money. Wells Fargo has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to […]

Weekly News Roundup for April 1, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The U.S. economy slowed in the last quarter of 2015 as corporate profits and inventory investments declined, but increased consumer spending helped lessen the blow.

Investors have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Wells Fargo ignored issues with problem […]

Weekly News Roundup for March 25, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Commercial property sales dropped sharply in February. Economic uncertainty and volatile financial markets may have weakened demand, and prices have started to drop in some sectors.

Foreign investors have been putting a lot of money into buying U.S. real estate. […]

Weekly News Roundup for March 18, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Oil prices are once again increasing, but the hydraulic fracturing industry may not be able to recover quickly enough to take advantage. When oil prices dropped, fracking became less profitable, and companies shut down many of their fracking operations. […]

Weekly News Roundup for March 11, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed the $30 million Flint Water Relief Bill to assist Flint residents with water bill debt for water they couldn’t safely use. City officials have had to suspend water bills for Flint residents until credits […]

Weekly News Roundup for March 4, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

A study conducted by Integra Realty Resources for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) Foundation found that natural gas pipelines didn’t affect property values or insurability in the locations studied.

A Superior Court Judge upheld a Georgia transportation […]

What’s Happening in Construction Defects Litigation?

One of the many types of real estate litigation that Greenfield Advisors consults on is cases involving construction defects. While statutory definitions vary by state, generally speaking, a construction defect is a deficiency or flaw in the materials, design, or construction of a building or structure that fails to […]

Weekly News Roundup for February 26, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Last year acid mine drainage from the Gold King Mine rushed into the nearby Animas River, contaminating it with heavy metals. The mine is one of 46 mines that could soon be designated as Superfund sites to be cleaned […]

Weekly News Roundup for February 19, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Residents of Flint, Michigan affected by the lead-contaminated water are considering joining lawsuits that could reach a billion dollars in claims and damages.

The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit to reduce wastewater injection from hydraulic fracturing in Oklahoma. The non-profit […]

The Gig Economy Is Growing but Faces Challenges, Part 2

In a previous post, we introduced the gig economy and discussed why it’s difficult to estimate how many people participate. In today’s post, we discuss some of the tradeoffs that workers must consider as well as some of the legal challenges and other obstacles that the platforms have faced.
What tradeoffs do […]

Weekly News Roundup for February 12, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

During her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that although the Fed hasn’t ruled out a March rate increase, it might wait to act. The Fed is also investigating the viability of implementing […]

Weekly News Roundup for February 5, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The tax assessor for Porter Ranch is looking into tax relief for the thousands of property owners affected by the methane leak that was discovered in October.

The methane gas leak near Porter Ranch, California has made headlines. However, it […]

Weekly News Roundup for January 29, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

A new study published in American Economic Review examined how hydraulic fracturing can negatively affect property values of nearby homes.

A new study will look at whether recent earthquakes in Texas are caused by fracking-related wastewater injection wells. Texas is […]

Weekly News Roundup for January 22, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

This three-dimensional map of the methane levels around Porter Ranch, California gives a new perspective on the extent of the leak.

Class action lawsuits continue to be filed in the wake of the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The California […]

Costs Mount for the Methane Leak in California

At first glance, Porter Ranch in Los Angeles looks like any other neighborhood in the area. But it’s what can’t be seen that is making headlines across the country. A massive methane leak last year sent thousands fleeing from their homes. The worst part is that it may not […]

Weekly News Roundup for January 8, 2016

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles after more than 10 weeks of methane gas leakage has forced thousands from their homes. The leak could take months to fix.

Michigan Governor Rick […]

Why Many EB-5 Investments Fail, and How Greenfield Advisors Can Help

On the surface, EB‑5 legislation brings together investors with capital from abroad and businesses with opportunities for investment in the United States. The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor visa program aims to further the U.S. economic goal of job creation while offering the foreign investor the prospect of obtaining a U.S. […]

By |December 22nd, 2015|Categories: Blog, News|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Weekly News Roundup for December 18, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) unanimously voted to raise the target federal funds rate 0.25%, the first time the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates in almost a decade.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa program will likely be extended […]

Weekly News Roundup for December 11, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found additional private properties near Coldwater Creek in Missouri that have radioactive contamination from old nuclear processing waste storage sites.

Environmentalists and residents living near fracking sites have been criticizing the conclusions of […]

Weekly News Roundup for December 4, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

There has been another major setback for Newhall Ranch, a proposed master-planned community on almost 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River in Los Angeles County. The California Supreme Court rejected the project’s environmental impact report.

An Illinois pipeline is closer […]

How Much Will the Mayflower Oil Spill Cost?

On March 29, 2013, the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured in a residential subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas, about 20 miles northwest of Little Rock. Approximately 3,190 barrels (134,000 gallons) of oil spilled down a residential street and into storm drains, flowing into nearby waterways, including an unnamed creek, wetlands, and a cove […]

Weekly News Roundup for November 20, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

According to West Virginia’s latest assessment of properties owned by public utilities, property values fell in counties where coal is mined, whereas property values increased in counties where natural gas is extracted.

North Carolina counties have been passing moratoriums on […]

Weekly News Roundup for November 13, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Railroad bridges across the country are not receiving necessary repairs, and this could become a big problem as more oil trains roll across the country.

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is asking Congress to add oil train safety provisions in the […]

How Are Attempts to Increase the Minimum Wage Faring?

We’ve often posted about efforts to raise the minimum wage in the last couple years, from examining typical household budgets for those making the minimum wage to considering the effects of Wal-Mart’s wage increase. It seems the debate about a minimum wage is far from over though, so today […]

Weekly News Roundup for October 30, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The Gold King Mine owner spoke to reporters for the first time since the leak that sent contaminants into the Animas River in August, discussing his interactions with the U.S. EPA and his concerns about the source of the […]

Weekly News Roundup for October 23, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Global investment in commercial real estate reached $407 billion in the first half of 2015, its highest level since 2007. New York City accounted for almost 10% ($40.1 billion) of that global investment, followed by London ($19.4 billion) and Los Angeles ($19.3 billion).

The Blackstone […]

Weekly News Roundup for October 16, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP recently announced that it would pay $8 billion to acquire Biomed Realty Trust in one of the largest real estate investment trust (REIT) privatizations planned so far this year.

The House passed a bill 261-159 […]

Weekly News Roundup for October 9, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is turning excess or underutilized land into affordable housing for low-income district employees.

Property values in Detroit are on the rise, thanks to the city’s work to demolish blighted buildings that are near single-family […]

Weekly News Roundup for October 2, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The Keystone XL pipeline developer is dropping its eminent domain claims in court and is instead reapplying for state approval of its route through the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

A construction defects law is causing a shortened supply of new […]

Weekly News Roundup for September 25, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

As Congress debates reauthorizing the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, here is a look at the program from the perspective of Indian investors.

The City of Oakland, California has sued Wells Fargo over predatory lending practices. The suit alleges that […]

Weekly News Roundup for September 18, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Evaluating schools and teachers with “value-added” measures and publicly releasing the results doesn’t affect the property values of nearby homes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Urban Economics.

The Ferguson Commission released its report commissioned by […]

Weekly News Roundup for September 4, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

While the Chinese economic crisis has made U.S. stock investors nervous, it is unlikely to pose a serious risk to the overall U.S. economy. It is, however, having mixed effects on American small businesses.

After a federal district court granted […]

Weekly News Roundup for August 28, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

A New Jersey State Superior Court Judge has approved the state’s controversial $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil to resolve natural resource damage claims related to two oil refineries, industrial facilities, and gas stations.

Airbnb recently announced its partnership with two Chinese […]

Looking Back at Hurricane Katrina

Ten years ago, images of the Superdome, the home of the New Orleans Saints, were on every television channel. It was the end of August, and thousands of New Orleans residents huddled inside waiting out the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

First making landfall in South Florida on the morning of […]

Weekly News Roundup for August 21, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

A Texas lender has sued a number of Tampa Bay appraisers for damages associated with foreclosure losses, claiming that the appraisers violated appraisal standards and overevaluated homes before 2008.

The United States’ oil transportation and refining infrastructure is aging and […]

Weekly News Roundup for August 14, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Mortgage credit availability is increasing. The latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) increased to 125.5 in July, its highest level in years.

It’s a different type of credit check. Facebook has acquired a patent […]

Weekly News Roundup for August 7, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Since the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is up for renewal on September 30, Congress has been considering reforms in the EB-5 visa process. One proposed bill would expand the program, adding a new category of visa called EB-6.

Canadian scientists […]

Weekly News Roundup for July 31, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three grants worth a total of $600,000 to two Philadelphia development authorities for the assessment and redevelopment of brownfield sites. Nationally, 147 communities received 243 grants totaling $54.3 million in 2015 for the […]

Weekly News Roundup for July 24, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The House approved a bill to weaken the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent coal ash disposal rules, which we wrote about earlier this year. However, President Obama is threatening a veto.

Adding the right pool to a home can significantly […]

Weekly News Roundup for July 17, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Should new homes be treated as special? Researchers studied the premia associated with new construction in Las Vegas before and after the housing bubble burst using hedonic modeling.

Since China has suspended all initial public offerings (IPOs) on its stock […]

Litigation Related to Wind Power Projects

In the first post in this series, we reviewed data suggesting that much of the growth in the wind power industry has depended on government regulations such as state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and financial incentives from tax credits. We also considered some of the benefits that the Obama […]

Weekly News Roundup for July 2, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air pollution rule, saying that the agency didn’t adequately consider the costs. The rule setting limits on mercury, arsenic, and acid gas emissions from coal-fired power […]

Weekly News Roundup for June 26, 2015

These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Bi-partisan bills have been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to renew and reform the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program currently set to expire in September.

Commercial trophy property owners in Europe are looking to Chinese buyers, thanks […]

Weekly News Roundup for June 12, 2015

Here are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

June 8 was the deadline to file a claim in the Economic and Property Damages Settlement for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The cost of the oil spill that hit California beaches in May has now reached $69 million. With costs […]

Weekly News Roundup for June 5, 2015

Here are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

In Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that homeowners who declare bankruptcy can’t void a second mortgage.

A local fisherman has filed a class action lawsuit against Plains All American Pipeline for the company’s negligence in […]

Weekly News Roundup for May 29, 2015

Here are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Acclaimed mathematician and economist John Nash died. Nash was particularly well known for his contributions to game theory.

The Brownfield Cleanup Program has been critical in promoting the growth and revitalization of Buffalo, New York, and the new state budget […]

Weekly News Roundup for May 22, 2015

Here are some of the stories we have been following this week.

The pipeline operator behind the recent Santa Barbara oil spill has a history of safety violations.

Five big banks pleaded guilty and will pay $5.4 billion for rigging currencies by manipulating global foreign-exchange markets.

The Supreme Court vacated a ruling […]

Weekly News Roundup for May 15, 2015

Here are some of the stories we have been following this week.

New York State recently granted the first banking trust charter for a bitcoin exchange in the United States.

The District of Columbia has sued a homeowner for operating an unlicensed business because he repeatedly used Airbnb to rent out […]

Weekly News Roundup for May 8, 2015

Here are a few of the stories we have been following this week.

Trophy properties had a great year last year. More properties valued over $100 million were listed in 2014 than in any previous year. You can learn more about trophy properties by reading our previous posts on the topic.

A Pennsylvania […]

Weekly News Roundup for May 1, 2015

Here are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.

Airports all over the world use special chemicals to melt the snow and ice off airplane wings. However, a new study shows those chemicals are contaminating the soil around the airports.

A bill that would have banned fracking in the […]

New Developments in the Defective Drywall Situation

We’ve already discussed the scope of the defective drywall situation as well as the financial effects and some of the attempts to help affected homeowners in previous posts. In this post, we’ll discuss new developments in defective drywall litigation and the resulting settlements, as well as an update on […]

Weekly News Roundup for April 17, 2015

Here are some of the top stories we followed this week:

The federal government is working on a disaster plan in the event of an urban oil train wreck. As we’ve discussed before, oil trains are increasingly being utilized by energy companies, and a wreck could cause significant damage, especially […]

Water War in Fracking Town

Hydraulic fracturing can bring money and jobs to cities and towns built upon the right land. However, cities need to have the resources, infrastructure, and utilities to support the oil and gas companies that arrive to drill.

The Village of Barnesville, Ohio now faces a lawsuit because it did not […]

Federal Government Announces New Fracking Regulations

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new fracking rules on March 20 to be published in the Federal Register on March 26, but the regulations will only affect drilling conducted on federally managed public or tribal lands. Drilling on private property or state-owned land will still be […]

Fracking and Earthquakes—More Connections and More Lawsuits

Ask anyone to name a major fault line in the United States. Most people will probably mention the infamous San Andreas Fault in California, the inspiration for plenty of disaster movies, TV shows, and books about earthquakes that destroy the city of Los Angeles and everything around it.

However, studies […]

Battle Over the Keystone XL Pipeline Fought on Two Fronts

It’s been a mix of good news and bad news for Keystone XL Pipeline supporters. On January 29, 2015, the U.S. Senate approved S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, by a 62-36 vote. On February 11, the House of Representatives voted 270 to 152 to approve the act, […]

Greenfield Advisors Instrumental in $79 Million Verdict

Seattle, WA – Dr. John Kilpatrick of Greenfield Advisors was the key expert witness in a recent federal class action lawsuit in which plaintiffs scored a $79 million verdict. The case focused on how a Missouri power company improperly used electric utility easements to run telecommunications fiber optic cable on private […]

Railroad Denied Rent for Easements Under Rights-of-Way Obtained by Congressional Land Grant

On November 5, 2014, a California appellate court reversed a $100.9 million lower court ruling that allowed Union Pacific Railroad Co. (UP) to charge back rent to Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines, Inc. (Santa Fe), a Kinder Morgan Inc. subsidiary that has 1,850 miles of oil pipeline running beneath UP […]

The Year in Review

This has been an exciting year for Greenfield Advisors. First, after some attrition in the East Coast office over the past few years, we have expanded that office back to three employees and will be adding more in the New Year. Given the number of clients on the East […]

The Love-Hate Relationship Between Property Owners and Passenger Ferries in Puget Sound

Washington State Ferries (WSF) has offered ferry service between Seattle and Bremerton since the 1970s. One of the difficulties of this service is that ferries on the Bremerton-Seattle route must pass through Rich Passage, a narrow mile-long passage (roughly 2,624 feet or 800 meters wide at its narrowest point) […]

Political Battle Over Keystone XL Pipeline Rages On

When we last discussed the contentious pipeline extension project, President Obama and the State Department had made it clear that they would not be issuing a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline anytime soon, and the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee had passed a bill to allow […]

AVMs 101 – What is an AVM and how do we use them?

An automated valuation model or AVM is a computer program that uses statistical models coupled with a database to estimate the market value of a property as of a specific date. The accuracy of an AVM depends on the data used and the skill of the modeler who produced […]

Conflict and Legal Challenges Surround Proposed Oklahoma Wind Farm

Piedmont is a small town of about 6,000 residents located in Canadian and Kingfisher Counties in central Oklahoma. It’s a rural area, yet it has the advantage of being only about 30 miles from Oklahoma City. This location makes the Piedmont area appealing not just to residents, but also to energy […]

Fracking Litigation Update

It’s about time for a review of the latest court cases involving fracking. We’ve written previously about two successful cases in Texas, and today we discuss two Texas cases that turned out differently. We also discuss an interesting case in Colorado that was dismissed, and some of the overall […]

Conversations in Korean

We can all use a bit more perspective in our industry. A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune of spending time with two extraordinary ladies who are really trying to improve the state of appraisal in South Korea—one is an appraiser (Min-Kyung Oh) and the other […]

Settlement Finalized in TVA Coal Ash Spill Class Action

Coal ash has been in the news quite a bit this year, and it’s a topic we follow closely because we consulted on some of the lawsuits included in the class action litigation regarding the December 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston fly ash spill, the largest coal ash […]

More Cities Could Ban Fracking in New York

For the last 6 years, a moratorium on fracking has kept the controversial drilling practice out of New York state. Now, a recent ruling by the State Court of Appeals will allow cities that oppose fracking to ban it.

The state moratorium on fracking was intended to give the New […]

Texas Town Considers Fracking Ban

To some, it may seem a little like biting the hand that is feeding you, but a town that has reaped the benefits of the oil and gas industry is considering banning fracking. Denton, Texas is located just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and the city has received […]

Seattle Passes $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance

Historic. Uncharted territory. Trailblazing. Messy. These are just some of the words used by pundits, politicians, and the public earlier this month after the Seattle City Council unanimously approved legislation that will eventually create a $15 minimum wage for the city’s workers.

The battle over minimum wage has been building […]

Second Victory in Texas Against Fracking Companies

After years of lawsuits, the first two courtroom victories against fracking companies arrived within 2 months of each other. In April, a jury awarded a Decatur, Texas family nearly $3 million from Aruba Petroleum. In May, another Texas couple won a $20,000 judgment in their lawsuit against Chesapeake Operating, Inc.
Both cases […]

Tensions Rise as Keystone XL Pipeline Decision Further Delayed

A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline failed to pass the Senate Monday, once again delaying the controversial project. It is unlikely a vote will happen before midterm elections in November. The pipeline’s approval was tied to a bill on energy efficiency, but it did not receive the […]

Seattle Firm Assists Family in First Fracking Trial

Greenfield Advisors worked with Texas family to reach $3 million award
SEATTLE – Greenfield Advisors, LLC is proud to be part of the team that helped a Texas family win a nearly $3 million verdict in April in what appears to be the first fracking trial in the United States.

The 5-1 […]

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Regarding Discovery of Hazardous Pollutants

Imagine finding out that the water your family has been drinking or the land your children have been playing on has been contaminated. For years. It’s a fear of parents everywhere, and right now the United States Supreme Court is hearing a case that could affect the ability of […]

Recent Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Rails-to-Trails Cases

On March 10, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a rails-to-trails case, ruling in favor of the private property owners. The case of Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust et al. v. United States hinged on whether the rights-of-way granted under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 were easements or something […]

Financial Repercussions and Remedies of Defective Drywall

In a previous post, we mentioned that Congress had asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review methods of providing relief from damages associated with defective drywall, and GAO released a report summarizing their results on July 31, 2013. In this post, we’ll discuss GAO’s findings regarding the financial […]

An Overview of Rails-to-Trails Litigation, Part 2

Our previous post in this series provided an overview of the property rights litigation that has resulted from the federal Rails-to-Trails Program. This post delves a bit deeper into the problems and controversies.
While obtaining class certification seems to be becoming increasingly difficult in many legal areas and is very unusual for […]

By |September 23rd, 2013|Categories: Blog, News|Tags: , , |0 Comments

An Overview of Rails-to-Trails Litigation, Part 1

You may recall that we have written about the complexity of the real estate issues associated with rails-to-trails projects before. To review, in 1983 Congress amended the National Trails System Act to preserve rail corridors and encourage energy-efficient modes of transportation. Section 8(d), Interim use of railroad rights-of-way, allowed a railroad to transfer […]

By |September 16th, 2013|Categories: Blog, News|Tags: , , |0 Comments

3 Factors in the Certification of Real Estate Class Actions and How an Expert Can Help

While our work here at Greenfield Advisors is often varied, we tend to work on many class action real estate cases. That’s partially because we do a lot of complicated statistical modeling (known as regression analysis, a type of mass appraisal) that many firms won’t tackle, but it’s also […]

How do we use GIS at Greenfield Advisors?

As the GIS analyst here at Greenfield Advisors, I use GIS for a number of different tasks. (Refer to my previous post if you’d like to review what GIS is.) These tasks vary from job to job because we have a diverse workload. Greenfield Advisors specializes in complex real estate valuation, […]

Appraising Real Estate in Complex Environmental Class Actions: An Expert’s View

Class actions dealing with real property contamination often require some method of valuing the properties. Individual appraisals on those properties are not required; mass appraisal methods meet both the Frye and Daubert tests and can be superior to individual methods in class actions or mass torts. Professional appraisal standards […]

Real Estate Issues in Class Certification

Class actions dealing with real estate matters often require some method of valuing the properties in question. Individual appraisals on those properties are not required, according to John A. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., an expert in real estate appraisal and analysis. Kilpatrick says that professional appraisal standards provide standard rules for […]

Daubert Raises Its Ugly Head Again

A court of appeals in Kentucky threw out an award based on the expert’s failure under Daubert.
Author: John A. Kilpatrick
Click here to download the full article.

Summation of Evidentiary Rules for Real Estate Experts Mandated by Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Real estate professionals who are prospective expert witnesses face a new set of rules in gaining admissibility of their evidence and opinion into court. For many years, the credentials of the real estate expert were the primary criterion to qualification as an expert, and a single testimony often “validated” […]