Articles Tagged with legal action

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-300x300Even when a party finally secures a judgment of partition, the property itself must still be sold (or partitioned in another way). This raises a brand-new set of issues for litigants as they attempt to figure out the terms of sale, when the property should be sold, and, most importantly, the asking price.

Usually, anyone can buy the property for sale, but shrewd litigants can impose the right terms to ensure that the pool of potential bidders is sufficiently narrowed to meet their goals. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with the practice and procedure of partition sales and are here to assist you in achieving your litigation objectives.

What is a partition sale?

Underwood-Blog-Images-2-300x300In most partition actions, the court appoints a partition referee in order to see that the property is sold or properly divided. The job of a Partition referee requires one to carry out several responsibilities and obligations. The purpose of this article is to provide some information on a partition referee’s duties and authority under the partition statutes.   

What is a Partition? 

A Partition action is a lawsuit that seeks to distribute equally a piece of property or sell said property and distribute the proceeds of the sale equally among the titleholders of the property. The rules governing Partition actions are set forth in the California Civil Code of Procedure.    

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300Not all eminent domain proceedings involve the government taking an entire piece of property. If the property is large enough and the government’s project is limited in scope (expanding a road, for instance), then the government can instead opt for a “partial” taking of the property.

Despite this difference, partial takings are nonetheless subject to the requirement of just compensation for property owners. And in addition, property owners may be entitled to special damages if the government project diminishes the fair market value of the rest of the property.

Eminent domain is, however, one of the more difficult fields to navigate in litigation. This is in no small part due to the many evidentiary hurdles in place that make proving the right amount of just compensation a timely and expensive process. At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are more than familiar with overcoming these evidentiary roadblocks and are ready to help assist you with your litigation efforts.

Underwood-Blog-Images-4-1-300x300The significance of the differences between legal and equitable title is an outright confusing topic, requiring some knowledge of constructive trusts, beneficial interests, and seller’s liens. That said, the concept can be made digestible by boiling it down to its essential elements. When done, this simplification reveals how often we encounter both types of titles in common real estate transactions.

At its core, the difference between these titles contains significance only insofar as there are multiple interested parties in the same property. When this is the case, the law creates a legal fiction of sorts, assigning the beneficial use of the property to the “equitable” titleholder and the legal power over the property to the “legal” titleholder.

The explanation is, in reality, much more complex, but the attorneys at Underwood Law are more than familiar with the ins and outs of title disputes and are here to help navigate you through your real estate lawsuit.

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-3-300x300Writs of possession are special statutory remedies that usually appear in unlawful detainer actions. As their name implies, they are a means of recovering possession from someone who is wrongfully occupying a property. Writs are unique, however, in that they are almost exclusively a post-judgment tool.

This means that there must be a court judgment, order, or decree already in place that entitles a party to possession of the property. Only then can said party apply for and obtain a writ, allowing them to kick the wrongful occupants out of the house.

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are familiar with writs of possession and the inherent difficulties in obtaining them. When a property is on the line, we understand what needs to be done and are prepared to assist you in achieving your litigation goals, whatever they may be.

Underwood-Blog-Images-4-300x300Eminent Domain proceedings will almost always end with the government taking title to private property after it pays out “just compensation” to a homeowner.

But sometimes, the government begins condemnation proceedings against the backdrop of a large project with encroaching deadlines. In these instances, California law allows the entity to obtain possession of the property early on in the condemnation process, granting the government the ability to begin its work sooner rather than later.

That said, there are numerous requirements that the government must fulfill in order to obtain pre-judgment possession. And even when the government meets its burden, defendant property owners can still oppose early possession by meeting various showings of hardship.

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-2-300x300Partitions by appraisal are a unique way to resolve a partition dispute. In essence, they are buyouts that the parties contractually agree to, allowing one party to remain on the jointly-owned property in exchange for purchasing the other co-owner’s interest at an appraised value.

This seemingly middle-of-the-road option, however, is one of the options available for inherited property under the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act. Specifically, the Act permits the non-partitioning party to purchase the other party’s interest at the appraised value, which can allow the property to remain in the family. This effectively grants the non-partitioning property an option to “partition by appraisal.” When a party agrees to buy the property at the appraised value but then cannot ultimately find the money for the purchase, what happens when a partition by appraisal fails?  

What is a Partition?

Underwood-Blog-Images-2-300x300No. In California, individuals often hide behind “corporations” that consist of a single shareholder. In so doing, they protect themselves from liability by utilizing a corporate form. This can be especially frustrating in lawsuits.

Often, a plaintiff will receive a judgment in their favor, only to find the corporation they’ve sued has magically become bankrupt, unable to satisfy their debts. California law provides a remedy for this instance, called “piercing the veil.”

But sometimes, the situation is reversed, and an individual cannot satisfy their debts. In some states, courts allow creditors to reverse pierce the veil and seize the corporate assets owned by the individual shareholder. California does not allow this, as the courts see it as a hasty and inadequate solution for which other remedies already exist.

Underwood-Blog-Images-300x300A “quiet title” action is a lawsuit where a property owner seeks to eliminate, establish, resolve, and “quiet” any other claims on the same property by anyone else. Once complete, the lawsuit will result in a perfect title enforceable in the courts. A quiet title action is thus an effective tool to establish and settle ownership over real estate.

Quiet title judgments are particularly powerful, however, and therefore involve more stringent requirements than other lawsuits in the real estate field. At Underwood Law, our attorneys are familiar with handling the complexities of quiet title actions and are here to help navigate you through this unique lawsuit.

What does a Quiet Title Action do?

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300A lis pendens – also called a notice of pendency of action – is a special type of legal document filed with a county recorder. Though its use is limited to lawsuits involving real property claims, its effect is powerful. Once recorded, it acts as “constructive notice” to all persons who would subsequently acquire an interest in the property at issue that a lawsuit is occurring.

In this way, a lis pendens protects title holders as they proceed through litigation and, more importantly, the appeals process. The attorneys at Underwood Law Firm have filed countless lis pendens notices and are more than familiar enough with their requirements to assist you in your real estate litigation.

When can you file a lis pendens?

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