Real Property Law
CASE SUMMARY UPDATE: June/July 2022 Real Property Case Summaries.
By: Monty McIntyre
California Case Summaries™ (https://cacasesummaries.com)
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. is the publisher of California Case Summaries™ which provides short summaries, organized by legal topic, of every new published civil and family law case helping California lawyers easily master the new case law in their practice areas, get better results and referrals, and grow their law practice. Monthly, quarterly and annual subscriptions are available, as well as annual Practice Area subscriptions in the areas of Employment, Family Law, Real Property and Torts. Monty hasbeen a California civil trial lawyer since 1980 and a member of ABOTA since 1995. He currently works as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. conducing Zoom hearings throughout California (to use Monty contact his case manager Haward Cho, email@example.com, (619) 233-1323). Monty also helps lawyers improve their skills and practices with his Lawyer Master Mentoring™ services (for info visit Monty’s web at https://montymcintyre-law.com).
CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL
Canyon Vineyard Estates I v. DeJoria (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 1565262: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part, and reversed in part, the trial court’s order granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment entering a judgment an injunction against plaintiff, and awarding defendant Mountains Restoration Trust (MRT) 1,371,962.20 in attorney fees and $5,424.55 in costs and awarding the California State Attorney General $189,675 in attorney fees and $5,552.88 in costs. The trial court properly determined that the real property was subject to a conservation easement that prohibited development. However, the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court’s injunction prohibiting plaintiff from violating the easement was overbroad in that it improperly barred plaintiff from filing further litigation to challenge the conservation easement without regard to the potential merits of a future claim. (C.A. 2nd, filed April 21, 2022, published May 17, 2022.)
Morris v. JPMorgan Chase Bank (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 1419712: The Court of Appeal reversed in part and affirmed in part the trial court’s order sustaining all of defendants’ demurrers, without leave to amend, to all of plaintiff’s causes of action alleging violations of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR; Civil Code, sections 2923.6, 2923.7), other statutory violations (Civil Code, section 2924b; Business & Professions Code, section 17200), and common law and equitable (negligence, voiding of trustee’s sale, quiet title) theories. The Court of Appeal reversed in part, directing the trial court to enter a new and different order overruling the demurrers to the first cause of action alleging failure to appoint a single point of contact (section 2923.7), the second cause of action alleging dual tracking (section 2923.6), and the third cause of action alleging failure to mail upon request a notice of default and notice of trustee’s sale (section 2924b). By forcing plaintiff to deal with multiple people, none of whom could inform her of the status of her loan modification application; by giving her inconsistent and inaccurate information; and by stringing her along until her home was sold without notice, plaintiff alleged that defendants deprived her of a meaningful opportunity to be considered for a loan modification, which alleged a material violation of section 2923.7. The Court of Appeal concluded that plaintiff alleged a viable cause of action under section 2923.6, because her cause of action survived the repeal of section 2923.6(c)-(f) effective on January 1, 2018. The Court of Appeal concluded the trial court erred in ruling that plaintiff’s section 2924b cause of action was subject to demurrer because it adequately alleged defendant. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s rulings on the remaining causes of action. (C.A. 1st, May 4, 2022.)
Romero v. Shih (2022) 78 Cal.App.5th 326: The Court of Appeal affirmed the part of the trial court’s judgment for defendants and cross-complainants, following a five-day bench trial, resolving a property line dispute between neighbors by creating an equitable easement in favor of defendants, the encroaching property owners, granting them an easement over the entire 1,296-square-foot encroachment. However, the Court of Appeal reversed the part of the trial court’s judgment granting defendants an implied easement, concluding the trial court erred in granting an exclusive implied easement that amounted to fee title. (C.A. 2nd., May 5, 2022.)
CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL
Reznitskiy v. County of Marin (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 2154703: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a petition for a writ of administrative mandamus seeking to overturn the denial of petitioners’ application to build a nearly 4,000-square-foot single-family home on a hillside lot in San Anselmo (the project). After concluding that the project was not subject to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA; Government Code, section 65589.5), respondents denied the application on several bases, including that the home was outsized compared to the surrounding neighborhood. Petitioners argued claim that their planned home qualified as a “housing development project” under the HAA. They also claimed that respondent County of Marin was equitably estopped from arguing that the HAA does not apply, and that insufficient evidence supported the County’s decision. The Court of Appeal ruled that the HAA does not apply to a project to build an individual single-family home. It also rejected petitioners’ equitable-estoppel and insufficient-evidence claims. (C.A. 1st, June 15, 2022.)
XPO Logistics Freight, Inc. v. Hayward Property, LLC (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 2187897: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment entered by the trial court quieting title to a disputed area to plaintiff, denying defendants’ purchase-price restitution claim, and awarding relief on defendants’ property tax restitution claim in a sum stipulated to by the parties-plus prejudgment interest. Plaintiff also challenged postjudgment orders taxing its costs and declining to award it attorney fees as a sanction for defendants’ discovery abuses and alleged pursuit of a “knowingly false” claim. As of 1979, the entire real property was owned by one entity and divided into four parcels. Sometime before 1997, the county assessor divided the property—for purposes of property taxes—into three assessor’s parcels with distinct assessor’s parcel numbers (APNs). In 1997, the owner reconfigured it into two parcels. The 1997 document reconfiguring the property into two parcels had an undisputed error in defining one of the parcels by its metes and bounds. When the property was reconfigured into two parcels, which later passed to different owners, the boundaries of the APNs were not changed In several transactions between 1998 and 2002, one reconfigured parcel was conveyed to plaintiff, and the other to defendants. The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court
correctly disregarded APN references in the deeds, and its judgment must be affirmed insofar as it encompassed a declaration that defendants did not acquire an interest in the disputed area. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s award of prejudgment interest on defendants’ restitution claim for the trial court to exercise its discretion in determining whether and from what date to award such interest and, if awarded, to apply the correct interest rate. It also affirmed the trial court’s orders taxing plaintiff’s costs and denying its request for attorney fee sanctions. (C.A. 1st, June 17, 2022.)