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Prior owners had deeded land to various grantees, reserving to the grantor-owners a partial interest in “all oil, gas, and other hydrocarbons and minerals” beneath the surface.  This decision holds that "minerals" in the reservation includes sand and gravel that owners of the surface estate intended to obtain from the subsurface by open pit mining.  To reach that conclusion, the… Read More

This decision holds that the trial court erred in denying defendants' Anti-SLAPP motion to strike this malicious prosecution action.  While the defendants made a bunch of mistakes in conducting the underlying quiet title action, they did not lack probable cause because two instruments describing the same easement signed by the same grantor gave conflicting information about the easement's temporal duration. … Read More

Yee owned a home in LA; Hon owned one in San Francisco.  They were romantically involved and were business partners in a company that ordered $141,000 of goods from Panrox, giving Panrox deeds of trust on both houses.  The business didn't pay Panrox which commenced an action to collect the debt.  Court records reflected it was settled in 1998, and… Read More

Before a nonjudicial foreclosure sale, the borrower/owner filed a worngful foreclosure suit against the deed of trust beneficiary and recorded a lis pendens.  This case holds that the purchaser at the nonjudicial foreclosure sale who thereafter brought an unlawful detainer action against the borrower/owner was wrongly awarded judgment because it did not prove it duly perfected title given the lis… Read More

Three parcels of real property were owned 50-50 by two trusts established by different trustors and both were administered by the same trustee.  Charitable organizations were the sole beneficiaries of both trusts.  The museum that was the sole beneficiary of one of the trusts wanted the properties distributed in kind to avoid adverse tax consequences.  The beneficiaries of the other… Read More

The trial court erred in granting homeowners an injunction against the county Road Commissioner barring the county from enforcing ordinances banning encroachments on a county road leading to a popular public hiking trail.  Courts may not enjoin enforcement of the laws, which in this case make encroachments a misdemeanor offense.  Contrary to the homeowners' claim, CEQA does not require any… Read More

Borrowers lacked standing to challenge the assignment of their deed of trust from the prior beneficiary to La Salle Bank as Trustee for  WaMu 2006-AR19 when the correct name of the assignee was La Salle Bank as Trustee for WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Series 2006-AR19 Trust.  Whether an abbreviation of the full name or a misnomer, the incorrect designation of… Read More

This decision holds that the trial court erred in granting defendant summary judgment against plaintiff's claim to quiet title to a railroad easement across plaintiff's property benefiting defendant's parcel.  Plaintiff claimed the railroad had abandoned the easement.  Abandonment depends on cessation of use of the easement for permitted purposes and the easement owner's intent not to use the easement in… Read More

The county's sale of plaintiff's condo at a tax sale to collect delinquent taxes plaintiff owed.  The sale netted a sum greater than the taxes owed.  The county kept the surplus sale proceeds.  That was a taking of plaintiff's property that violated the Fifth Amendment even though state law allowed the county to keep the surplus.  To determine the scope… Read More

Most time deadline statutes and rules are now construed as non-jurisdictional unless Congress has clearly stated otherwise.  The 12-year statute of limitations on quiet title actions against the United States (28 U.S.C. §2409a(g)) is a claims processing rule, not a jurisdictional statute.  The time limit appears in a section separate from the Quiet Title Act's jurisdictional provision and does not… Read More

This decision affirms the granting of a defendant law firm's Anti-SLAPP motion to strike a malicious prosecution action against it, finding the firm had probable cause to name a citizens group and some of its individual members as defendants in a quiet title action that sought to confirm the law firm's client's ownership of water rights in a creek.  The… Read More

A real estate broker whom the court appointed to determine the listing price and sell the property in a partition action is entitled to quasi-judicial immunity from one of the co-owner's claims for breach of fiduciary duty and other torts. The broker was appointed by the court for his expertise to carry out the court’s order to sell the property… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to apply the merger doctrine to void a driveway easement which was the only means of access to the plaintiff's property.  Defendant had owned both adjoining parcels at one point, but had promptly taken out a loan on the property benefited by the easement--a loan that probably wouldn't have been… Read More

Reasoning that Kirkeby v. Superior Court (2004) 33 Cal.4th 642 impliedly overruled BGJ Associates v. Superior Court (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 952, this decision holds that when a plaintiff seeks to impose a constructive trust on specific property so as to become (again) the owner of that property wrongfully taken from him, the action "affects title to real property" sufficiently so… Read More

Counties that impose a documentary transfer tax may require that any deed or other conveyance state on its face the assessor's parcel number of the property being transferred  However, this decision holds, that the parcel number cannot create an ambiguity as to the bounds of the property being conveyed if the deed otherwise fully describes the conveyed property.  The parcel… Read More

The Housing Accountability Act (Gov. Code, § 65589.5), adopted to ease California's shortage of affordable housing, restricts local agencies' ability to block "housing development projects" or require them to reduce their proposed housing density.  This decision holds that the act does not apply to a project that proposes to build only single-family residences, not any multiple family housing units. Read More

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