Victory In The Court of Appeal

Victory In The Court of Appeal

Laine Wagenseller and Wagenseller Law Firm recently won in the California Court of Appeal in a real estate litigation case.

After Mr. Wagenseller won an order in the trial court expunging a lis pendens on our client’s property, the plaintiff appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeal. The Court upheld our victory in the trial court.

Plaintiff in the action had filed a lawsuit for breach of contract and specific performance, claiming it was entitled to buy the entire project at a fire-sale price. Plaintiff filed a complaint claiming that the parties were operating under the original purchase and sale agreement, that it had performed under the contract but that our client had failed to sell the units to it. As a part of the lawsuit plaintiff recorded a lis pendens against the property, preventing our client from selling the project to others.

In the trial court we challenged the lis pendens on the grounds that the contract had been modified so that plaintiff was only entitled to a marketing fee for the sale of some of the units. As such plaintiff’s claim was really for money, not for title to or possession of the property. A lis pendens is only proper in a case in which title or possession is at issue, not in claims for money.

The trial court granted our motion to expunge the lis pendens and plaintiff filed a petition for writ of mandate with the appellate court.

Plaintiff argued that (1) the claim was for title, (2) the trial court abused its discretion in hearing the motion on an expedited basis, and (3) the trial court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff’s request for expedited discovery before having to oppose the motion. The appellate court instructed us to file an opposition to the petition.

We argued in our opposition that an amended escrow instruction modified the purchase and sale contract to provide for a marketing fee. We also pointed out that the court did not act in an arbitrary or capricious way in moving up the hearing on the motion, especially in light of a notice of foreclosure from the construction lender. Lastly, we pointed out that plaintiff had failed to establish what additional evidence it needed to controvert the proof set forth in our motion to expunge or how that additional evidence would change the terms of the instruction signed by both parties.

We are pleased that the Court of Appeal recently handed down its ruling denying plaintiff’s petition. The lis pendens was therefore expunged from the property and our client is free to sell or finance the property.

What Do We Do?

Wagenseller Law Firm handles real estate litigation, business litigation and real estate contracts.

Real estate litigation includes cases that deal with breach of contract (including breach of lease and breach of purchase and sale agreement), specific performance (compelling the sale of property after a breach of contract), ownership disputes (including quieting title to resolve who owns a piece of property), partnership and investor disputes, partition (dividing up property among co-owners and tenants in common), commercial landlord/tenant (including eviction and collection of past due rents or money owed for damages), boundary disputes, adverse possession, easement and right of way disputes, real estate fraud and all other real estate related lawsuits.

Real estate contracts include commercial leases (including office, industrial, retail and billboard leases), purchase and sale agreements and all other real estate contract drafting and review.

Business litigation includes breach of contract (including collection on unpaid contracts), partnership disputes, fraud and other business related disputes.

Helping Clients…

A client speaks:

Wagenseller Law Firm has helped us in a number of lawsuits when we were having trouble collecting money owed to us. When we were being ignored and bullied by several corporate subprime lenders who owed us hundreds of thousands of dollars, Wagenseller Law Firm took on our case.

These corporations and their big law firm refused to play by the rules but the attorneys at Wagenseller Law Firm fought them every step of the way. When they refused to pay, Laine got a court order freezing their assets before trial. When they refused to answer questions, Laine got a court order forcing them to not only answer our questions but also pay our attorneys fees.

With all the pressure, these large corporate defendants threw in the towel and settled for everything we asked for. All the while, Laine Wagenseller kept us informed at every stage of the lawsuit and always took our calls and answered our questions. We would highly recommend Laine Wagenseller and Wagenseller Law Firm for anyone involved in litigation.

Mike Mulligan
President, Notary-On-The-Run, Inc.

In another case Michelle Strassburg of WLF won at trial on behalf of Notary-On-The-Run. If you need superior nationwide mobile notary and document signing services. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- anytime – anywhere visit www.notaryontherun.net.

We are always interested in hearing from our clients about the quality of service we provide. We are also interested in hearing from you on what is most important in the attorney-client relationship or how we can help your business. Feel free to call Laine Wagenseller at (213) 286-0371 or email him at ltw@wagensellerlaw.com.