Boundary line dispute judgment was issued for plaintiffs/cross-defendants in a quiet title action on the basis of adverse possession. Judgment for plaintiffs/cross-defendants on the cross-complaint for trespass and ejectment. The case involved a disputed strip of land occupied by plaintiffs, to which plaintiffs alleged they acquired title by adversely possessing the subject parcel for the statutory period. The court ruled that plaintiffs proved all the requisite elements for obtaining ownership of the property via adverse possession
Plaintiffs purchased a single-family home in 2001. In late 2007, a neighbor advised plaintiffs that the wall separating plaintiffs’ property from the neighbor’s was actually encroaching on the neighbor’s property by approximately 10 feet and demanded that plaintiffs share in the cost of tearing down the existing wall and erecting a new wall on the surveyed property line. The neighbor claimed she needed the additional space for an expansion of her house. After a few weeks of discussion between plaintiffs and the neighbor, which did not lead to a resolution, no further discussions took place. In late summer of 2008, plaintiffs came home from work to find that the neighbor had torn down the wall separating the two properties with the intent of building a new wall on the surveyed property line. Plaintiffs filed an action for quiet title on the basis of adverse possession and obtained a temporary restraining order and then a preliminary injunction enjoining the defendants from continuing the tear-down of the existing wall and construction of a new wall. Plaintiffs had exclusively used and possessed the disputed strip of land for the statutory five-year period. One of the required elements to establish adverse possession in California is the payment of taxes on the property being claimed by adverse possession. Thus, the primary issue in the case was whether taxes on the disputed parcel were paid by plaintiffs or by defendants.
Plaintiffs argued that the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office normally assesses property tax solely on the basis of the market value of the property. Plaintiffs contended that they paid market value for their property that included the disputed strip of land and that without the disputed parcel, the market value of the property would have been considerably lower. Plaintiffs further argued that since the property tax was assessed on the market value of the property at the time plaintiffs purchased the property, the assessment necessarily included the value of the disputed parcel.
Defendants contended that defendants paid the property tax on the disputed parcel since the parcel was included in the legal description of the land owned by defendants and was not included in the legal description of the land owned by plaintiffs. Defendants further argued that the value of the property assessed by the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office was based in part on the grant deed, which included the legal description.
In a trial recently concluded, we succeeded in quieting title in our client’s favor. The defendant had recorded a forged deed of trust and was seeking to foreclose on a note for $650,000. In the middle of trial, a settlement was reached wherein the defendant cancelled the deed of trust and withdrew the Lis Pendens, thereby quieting title in our client’s favor. As a result, our client was able to keep her home and avoid foreclosure.
The firm recently concluded a three-week jury trial in which it obtained a damage award for its clients in excess of $2.3 million. The suit arose as a result of a purchase of a large restaurant by our clients, a husband and wife who had invested their entire life savings in the restaurant. The defendants, including a real estate brokerage firm, a real estate broker and real estate agents, made material misrepresentations to our clients regarding the restaurant in a successful bid to induce our clients to purchase the restaurant and obtain a large commission for themselves. The jury found the brokerage defendants liable to our clients on the basis of several legal theories, including negligence and fraud.
The firm successfully obtained a dismissal for a client it defended in a trademark infringement suit. The plaintiff in the case alleged that the firm’s client had been using the plaintiff’s trademark name without paying plaintiff any compensation. The firm filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of its client, basing its motion on the unenforceability of the contract pursuant to which the defendant corporation was claimed to have agreed to pay. As a result of the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff dismissed its suit against our client.
The firm obtained a $300,000 settlement for its client in a suit against an escrow company in a commercial real estate transaction. The client had agreed to purchase a shopping mall and placed a $300,000 down payment in an escrow account held by the defendant escrow company. When the seller did not meet the sale contingencies, our client asked for return of its deposit, but the escrow company had already released the entire deposit to the seller on the basis of a document on which our client’s signature was forged. After we commenced suit on behalf of our client alleging negligence on the part of the escrow company, the escrow company agreed to settle the case by repaying the entire $300,000 deposit to our client.
The firm obtained another favorable settlement for a client in a commercial lease case. The client was operating a coin laundry business for which it leased space in a small shopping center. Our client’s landlord, the owner of the shopping center, sued our client claiming that it was entitled to increase our client’s annual rent by nearly 25% as a result of a re-measurement of the size of the area occupied by our client’s coin laundry. We brought a counter-suit on behalf of our client, alleging among other things that the landlord failed to properly maintain the shopping center thereby harming our client’s business. The settlement we obtained for our client resulted not only in the landlord agreeing that our client’s rent would not increase by even a penny, but also in a continuing contractual commitment by the landlord to correct the problems in maintenance of the shopping center.
We obtained a $2.4 million jury verdict in favor of the buyers of a restaurant. The lawsuit was brought against the real estate broker and agents who represented both buyers and sellers. The jury found that the broker and agents committed fraud, intentional misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. Recently, the court of appeal upheld the jury verdict and affirmed the judgment in all respects.