Real Property Law

Real Property Case Summary Updates – November 2020

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By Monty McIntyre


Real Property

County of Sonoma v. U.S. Bank N.A. (2020) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2020 WL 5949655: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part, and reversed in part, the trial court’s orders, after a receiver was appointed pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 17980.7 and Code of Civil Procedure section 564 to abate numerous hazardous and substandard conditions on real property, subordinating defendant’s lien and confirming the sale of the property free and clear of all liens and prioritizing plaintiff’s enforcement fees and costs on equal footing with the receiver. The Court of Appeal ruled that trial courts may issue receivership certificates with priority over all other liens in appropriate circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by giving the receiver’s certificate first priority over all other liens, and the order confirming the sale free and clear of all liens was not an abuse of discretion. However, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial court and ruled that Health and Safety Code section 17980.7 and Code of Civil Procedure 568 did not provide authority for treating plaintiff’s attorney fees and costs on a super-priority basis. (C.A. 1st, October 8, 2020.)         

Lopez v. City of L.A. (2020) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2020 WL 5834015: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting defendant Wally’s Wine & Spirits (Wally’s) motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) after a jury in a personal injury action returned a verdict for plaintiff awarding him $3,094,972.42 and finding defendant City of Los Angeles was 75 percent at fault and Wally’s was 25 percent at fault. Plaintiff tripped and fell in a pothole located on city-owned property where the lip of a driveway and the gutter meet.  While the owner or occupier of private property has a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition, that duty does not generally extend to the publicly owned sidewalks and streets abutting the property unless the owner or occupier has exercised control over that publicly owned property. The Court of Appeal ruled that a commercial business leasing the property that the driveway services did not exercise control over the location of the pothole (so as to create a duty of care to passersby) when the business did no more than put the driveway and gutter to their ordinary and accustomed uses. (C.A. 2nd, October 1, 2020.)

Robin v. Crowell (2020) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2020 WL 5951506: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment for plaintiffs, following a bench trial, granting them quiet title and terminating defendant’s lien arising from a second deed of trust on the real property. In an earlier action, plaintiffs, the holders of a first deed of trust on real property, had judicially foreclosed on the real property but failed to name defendant in that action. The Court of Appeal reversed. It concluded the gravamen of plaintiffs’ action was foreclosure of plaintiffs’ senior trust deed against defendant, and the statute of limitations applicable to foreclosure actions governed the case. The Court of Appeal ruled that the limitations period for bringing a judicial foreclosure action begins to run upon maturity of the obligation secured when the underlying promissory note comes due but is unpaid. It concluded that, whether the statute of limitations was four years as stated in Code of Civil Procedure section 337a, or was six years as stated in Commercial Code section 3118, plaintiffs’ action was untimely. (C.A. 5th, October 8, 2020.)    

Tiburon/Belvedere Res. United to Support the Trails v. Martha Co. (2020) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2020 WL 6266312: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment for defendant, following a bench trial, in plaintiff’s action for quiet title. Plaintiff alleged that nearly 50 years ago, the public’s use of trails on defendant’s property established a recreational easement under the doctrine of implied dedication. To create such an easement, the public must engage in long-continued adverse use of the land sufficient to raise a conclusive and undisputable presumption of knowledge and acquiescence by the property owner. Substantial evidence supported the trial court’s conclusion that the trails were insufficiently used by the public to establish a recreational easement. (C.A. 1st, October 23, 2020.) 

Check out Monty McIntyre’s new FREE feature, Monty’s Case Commentary, where he discusses interesting newly published cases. This is in audio MP3 format, so you can listen to it whenever and wherever they want to. Here is the link.

California Case Summaries™ (

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 keep up with the new case law and fight for their clients. Monthly, quarterly, and annual single-user and discounted multi-user subscriptions are available. Monty hasbeen a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, a member of ABOTA since 1995, and currently works as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. (ADR) where he conducts Zoom hearings throughout California.    

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