Walters’s father, Randy, held a property in joint tenancy with his former girlfriend, Boosinger. Randy sued to sever the joint tenancy, but died before the suit reached judgment. Walters then sued Boosinger to quiet title, basing the claim on allegations that Randy was snookered into signing a deed which converted ownership from tenancy in common into joint tenancy while he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. There is no single statute of limitations applicable to quiet title actions. Instead, the applicable limitations period depends on the gravamen or basis of the quiet title action. Here, the gravamen was fraud, so the three-year limitations period applicable to fraud claims applied, barring the quiet title action. An action to cancel the allegedly fraudulent deed would be subject to the same limitations period. The same three-year limitations period applies even if the plaintiff claims the challenged deed was void ab initio, rather than just voidable, as a result of the fraud.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (Aaron, J.); August 12, 2016; 2016 WL 4257177