Real Estate Litigation 101: The Lis Pendens A Powerful Legal Tool

Real Estate Litigation 101: The Lis Pendens

The lis pendens is one of the least understood tools in real estate litigation in California. Clients in real estate litigation often ask that their real estate attorney put a lis pendens on the opponent’s property, usually as a way to put pressure on the opponent to settle the lawsuit. However, every client (and every real estate litigation attorney) should understand when a lis pendens is supportable and when it is not.

What Is A Lis Pendens?

A lis pendens is a Notice of Pending Action. It is a document recorded with the County Recorder as a means of notifying potential purchasers of a property that there is a lawsuit involving the property. However, a party may not file a lis pendens in every case having to do with property. The lawsuit must involve a ‘real property claim’. California’s Code of Civil Procedure defines a real property claim as a cause of action which would, if meritorious, affect (1) title to, or the right to possession of, specific real property or (b) the use of an easement identified in the pleading, other than an easement obtained pursuant to statute by any regulated public utility.

The most common example of a lawsuit in which a lis pendens is appropriate would be a breach of contract action involving the purchase and sale of a property. In the event that a purchaser enters into a contract to purchase a building and the seller breaches that contract, the purchaser is entitled to specifically enforce that contract. While most breach of contract actions are actions for money, real estate is considered unique in California. A party may therefore ask the court to actually force the other party to complete the sale rather than just awarding money damages. This is called specific performance.

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Save the Date!

Meet Adolf and hear his story!

Laine will be speaking to the LA5 Rotary Club on March 22, 2013 at the California Club (11:30 am-1:30 pm).

Adolf Baguma is a Ugandan orphan whose severely burned legs made him walk on all fours. Meet the people who helped bring him here to get the surgeries that now allow him to walk, ride a bike and even ice skate! Laine will tell his story and honor those who made this possible.

Invitations will go out soon!

LA5 Business Roundtable Breakfast: Curtis Estes and the Well Designed Life

Laine Wagenseller and John Lockhart of People Media hosted LA5 Roundtable business roundtable breakfast at the City Club. Curtis Estes of Northwestern Mutual and author of Your Life By Design was the featured speaker and talked about planning your day and your life to be more intentional about the things you want to accomplish (and to eliminate the things that waste your time). Everyone at the breakfast got a chance to discuss their business, what they are working on and who their ideal client/referral is. We all made new friends and had a great time. I would be happy to introduce you to anyone who you think can help you with your business.

Property and Partnership Dispute: What Do We Do?

Partnership Disputes

We recently completed the assignment of a Limited Liability Company interest in a software company as part of a partner buy out in a partner dispute.

We continue to work on a partnership dispute between two 50% partners in a very successful shopping network.

Real Estate Litigation

We just filed a Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens in a lawsuit between two neighbors fighting over trees that were cut down.

We are representing two property owners against their third co-owner (and family member) in a partition dispute over an apartment building.

We are handling a breach of contract action between a seller and a purchaser of a property.

How Can You Refer to Us?

Do you know someone who is in a partnership dispute? Do you know someone who is facing real estate litigation? We would be happy the help the resolve their dispute in the best possible way. Forward this email to those you know who might be interested in our services.