Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 874.225 – Claims Not Affected by Judgment
Code of Civil Procedure section 874.050 dictates how the court is to apportion the “costs” of partition identified in section 874.010, when the partition involves successive estates. This statute is rarely used because partition of successive estates is not a matter of right, like it is for concurrent estates.
Code of Civil Procedure section 874.225 states:
Except to the extent provided in Section 1908, the judgment does not affect a claim in the property or part thereof of any person who was not a party to the action if any of the following conditions is satisfied:
- The claim was of record at the time the lis pendens was filed or, if none was filed, at the time the judgment was recorded.
- The claim was actually known to the plaintiff or would have been reasonably apparent from an inspection of the property at the time the lis pendens was filed or, if none was filed, at the time the judgment was entered. For the purpose of this subdivision, a “claim in the property or part thereof” of any person means the interest of the person in the portion of the property or proceeds of sale thereof allocated to the plaintiff. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to impair the rights of a bona fide purchaser or encumbrancer for value dealing with the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s successors in interest.
“Shawn” and “Julie” are siblings who inherit property from their parents. Even though they own equal shares, Shawn treats the home as his own, and refuses to allow Julie onto the property. Fed up with being denied the benefits of the home, Julie sues for partition.
Eventually, following extended litigation, the Court orders the property to be sold in a partition by sale. After the sale is confirmed, the liens are paid off, and the sales proceeds are distributed, the Court is able to issue a final judgment of partition.
When the Court does so, the judgment binds all persons who were parties to the action with known or unknown property interests under section 874.210. It even binds non-parties, if their interests were not of record when the lis pendens was filed as part of the lawsuit. The exception to this is in section 874.225, and that requires that the plaintiff, here Julie, to have known about the non-record interest when she filed her lawsuit.
Law Revision Commission Comments (CCP § 874.225)
The substance of former Section 874.220 is continued in Section 874.225, with the clarification that a claimant may be bound by the proceeding if the claim was acquired from a party after commencement of the proceeding and with actual knowledge of the proceeding. Section 1908(a)(2).
Subdivision (a) of Section 874.225 continues the substance of former Section 874.220.
Subdivision (b), continues the substance of former Section 874.230, with clarifications relating to the time of the plaintiff’s knowledge. Subdivision (b) is intended to implement the requirement of Section 872.510 that the plaintiff join all persons “actually known” to the plaintiff or “reasonably apparent from an inspection of the property,” who have or claim interests in the property or estate as to which partition is sought. Subdivision (b) is an exception to the rule stated in Section 874.210(c) that the judgment binds all persons having unrecorded interests in the property. It should be noted that subdivision (b) makes the judgment not conclusive only with respect to the share of the plaintiff. The portions of the property allocated to other parties in case of a division, or the entire property in case of a sale to a bona fide purchaser, are free of the unrecorded interests.
The introductory portion of Section 874.225 makes clear that notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a claimant may be bound by the proceeding if the claim was acquired from a party after commencement of the proceeding and with actual knowledge of the proceeding. Section 1908(a)(2).Assembly Committee Comment
Section 874.225 is a unique case because it is part of the lesser-known set of amendments to the partition statutes that occurred in 1984. This series of amendments was very unlike that 1976 amendments that effectively re-wrote the entire law of partition. Instead, the 1984 series sought to bring the partition statutes in line with other new statutes that had been passed in the interim, such as the Enforcement of Judgments Law.
As such, the statute does not include a comment from the California Legislature of Law Revision Commission in 1976. Instead, the only comment is from the 1984 Revision Commission.
Legislative history aside, section 874.225 is best read in conjunction with section 874.210. The latter provides that when a final judgment of partition is entered, it essentially binds all interest holders in the subject property.
“The policy behind a partition action is to permanently end all disputes about property and to remove all obstructions to its free enjoyment.” (LEG Investments v. Boxler (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 484, 497.) As such, if the judgment of partition was not binding on all interest holders in the property, then the owners would find themselves in court all over again.
That said, for as expansive as section 874.210 is, the Legislature had to also balance the desire for finality of judgments with the interests of fairness and due process. The statute references Code of Civil Procedure section 1908. That statute provides that a judgment is conclusive between parties and their successors in interest, “provided they have notice, actual or constructive, of the pendency of the action or proceeding.”
Thus, the focus of section 874.225 is on notice. Under the first subdivision, actual owners of record are not bound if they never received notice. To be an owner of record, they would need to appear in the chain of title.
And under the second subdivision, even if the owner was not of record, they may still not be bound if the plaintiff was aware of the interest, and yet chose to not involve them in the action.
By providing these exceptions to section 874.210, the code provides at least some protection to those innocent owners who never received notice.Contact Us
Here at Underwood Law Firm, our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help navigate the complex web of case law and statutes surrounding partitions. If you are thinking of filing a partition, are already in the midst of a partition suit, or just have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.