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Helen Lee v. Robert Lyles et al


October 28, 2011


Super. Ct. No. 05AS01166

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Duarte , J.

Lee v. Lyles CA3


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

In this real property dispute, pro per plaintiff Helen Lee appeals the judgment for defendants entered following a court trial.

We shall affirm the judgment.


Plaintiff Lee and others own a residential lot commonly known as 2218 Rene Avenue, Sacramento (2218). Robert and Shirley Lyles (the Lyles) own the neighboring lot, 2220 Rene Avenue, Sacramento (2220).

The parties' dispute concerns the 2004 tax default sale to the Lyles of a 10-foot wide strip of land located between, and running the length of, the parties' respective residential lots. The County of Sacramento (County) sold the 10-foot strip of land, a separately assessed parcel, to the Lyles, who then caused their lot at 2220 and the 10-foot parcel to be merged.

Plaintiff*fn2 sued the Lyles and the County, claiming an interest in the 10-foot parcel under the theories of adverse possession and prescriptive easement, and challenging the legal validity of the tax default sale by the County.*fn3 A two-day court trial followed.

The trial court issued its written judgment in favor of the Lyles and the County. It found in pertinent part that Lee had "not established the factual or legal basis for adverse possession or an easement of necessity for access and egress from the property." It further found that Lee had "not established the factual or legal basis to void [the County's] 2004 tax sale of [the 10-foot parcel] to the Lyles."

It is from this judgment that Lee now appeals. As both the County and the Lyles point out in their responsive briefing, Lee's briefing is difficult to follow and is not in compliance with many of our rules and requirements. Nevertheless, we attempt to decipher and address Lee's claims, to the extent that we are able, and to the extent that it is proper to do so, as explained post.


I Standard of Review

When an appeal is "on the judgment roll" (Allen v. Toten, supra, 172 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1082-1083), we must conclusively presume evidence was presented that is sufficient to support the court's findings. (Ehrler v. Ehrler (1981) 126 Cal.App.3d 147, 154.) Our review is limited to determining whether any error "appears on the face of the record." (National Secretarial Service, Inc. v. Froehlich (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 510, 521; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.163.)

II Lee's Claims of Error

Lee contends the trial court "abused its discretion [in] refusing to reverse and return the illegal sale of [her] property" and "erred in refusing to investigate [her] allegations regarding [the county's] illegal sale of [her] family property." However, the trial court concluded after considering the evidence introduced at trial that the 10-foot parcel was not Lee's property; indeed, it found that Lee had failed to show that she had any ownership interest in the property. The trial court also concluded that Lee had failed to establish that the County's sale of the parcel to the Lyles was illegal.

Lacking a reporter's transcript of the trial, we cannot evaluate Lee's claims that the trial court abused its discretion or otherwise erred in reaching these conclusions. Nor can we entertain any contentions that the evidence should have compelled a different result. To the contrary, because this is a judgment roll appeal, we must presume that there was sufficient evidence introduced at trial to support the court's findings. (Denham v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 557, 564; Ehrler v. Ehrler, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 154.)

Lee further argues that she was the subject of unlawful racial discrimination, but admits she sought no relief in the trial court for the alleged discrimination. Instead, she intends to "reserve[] her right to file a Section 1982 Civil Rights Complaint" at some time in the future. We will express no opinion concerning claims not presented to the trial court.*fn4


The judgment is affirmed. Respondents are awarded their costs on appeal. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.278 (a)(2).)

We concur: BLEASE , Acting P. J. NICHOLSON , J.

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