The Top Ten Real Property Cases of 2013
By Basil ("Bill") S. Shiber
©2014 All Rights Reserved.
I. TOP TEN CASES
It is time again to look back over 2013 and identify those "Top Ten" cases that had the most widespread impact on the practice of real property law in California. While many of the significant cases over the past few years reflected an unhealthy economy, this year’s "Top Ten" picks include several land use cases, CEQA cases, condemnation cases, and other indices of an economic heartbeat. To be sure, there are still plenty of cases dealing with foreclosures, including the status of the electronic registry MERS,1 the seemingly chronic inability of lenders to locate mortgages actually signed by the borrowers, and the inevitable disputes over loan workouts and modification transactions that failed to satisfy one or more of the parties. However, the case law in 2013 may suggest more positive economic trends. Picking a list of the most noteworthy cases of the year is always a subjective exercise, and we may have included cases which do not warrant inclusion, or excluded cases which do. For that, to paraphrase the late David Fry’s impression of the late President Nixon, we "take the responsibility but not the blame."2 Here then, are the Top Ten real estate cases for 2013.