The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge
ORDER TO EXPUNGE LIS PENDENS AND AWARD ATTORNEYS FEES [Dkt. No. 17]
Presently before the court is Defendants JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.'s Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens and award attorneys fees and costs. Having considered Defendants' unopposed submission, the court adopts the following order.
On October 31, 2012, Plaintiff Camila D. Navarrete filed a complaint for negligent and reckless misrepresentations, accounting, unfair business practices, declaratory relief, and quiet title in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Bernardino against Defendants. The Complaint alleged a real property claim affecting the real property located in San Bernardino County, California, commonly known as 2634 S. Bon View Avenue, Ontario, California, 91761. On October 31, 2012, Plaintiff caused a Notice of Lis Pendens to be recorded in connection with the action with the San Bernardino County Recorder's Office as instrument number 2012-0452182. (Exh. 1.) Defendants removed the action to this court on December 27, 2012, and moved to dismiss the action and expunge the Lis Pendens on January 2, 2013. The motion was unopposed, and this court dismissed the Complaint on January 29, 2013, but did not address the request to expunge the Lis Pendens.
On January 30, 2013, Defendants' counsel contacted Plaintiff's counsel who agreed to withdraw the recorded Lis Pendens in light of the Order dismissing the case. (Lean Decl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff's counsel agreed to do so if Defendants prepared a Notice of Withdrawal, which they did. (Id. ¶¶ 3-5.) Despite several further communications in the month of February, Plaintiff's counsel did not return the signed and notarized Notice of Withdrawal of Lis Pendens as agreed. (Id. ¶ 7.)
In proceedings relating to lis pendens, "the court shall order the notice expunged if the court finds that the pleading on which the notice is based does not contain a real property claim." Cal. Code Civ. Pro. § 405.31. Here, the pleading underlying the lis pendens was dismissed. Therefore, the court expunges the notice of lis pendens.
Under California law, "The court shall direct that the party prevailing on any motion [regarding lis pendens expungement] be awarded the reasonable attorney's fees and costs of making or opposing the motion unless the court finds that the other party acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of attorney's fees and costs unjust." Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 405.38. Here, Defendants have provided documentation of their numerous attempts to resolve this without filing this Motion. (Lean Decl., Exhs. A, B, C, & D.) The court discerns no justification for Plaintiff's unresponsiveness or failure to withdraw the Notice and deems that the imposition of attorney's fees and costs is just.
Defendants state that as of the filing of this Motion, they had incurred $1,001.00 in attorney's fees. (Lean Decl. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff did not oppose the Motion, Defendants did not submit a Reply, and the court did not require oral argument. It therefore appears to the court that this represents the full amount of attorney's fees connected to the expungement of the Lis Pendens. The court finds these fees to be reasonable and awards them to Defendants.
For these reasons, the court ORDERS as follows:
1. The Notice of Lis Pendens recorded with the San Bernardino County Recorder's Office as instrument number 2012-0452182 is expunged.
2. Defendants are awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $1,001.00 pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 405.38.