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Carr v. Rosien

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

July 14, 2015

J.A. CARR, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
RONALD A. ROSIEN et al., Defendants and Respondents.

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. No. RIC1112993 Gloria Trask, Judge.

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COUNSEL

Simoneaux Law Firm and Maggie R. Simoneaux-Cuaso for Plaintiff and Appellant.

John Clark Brown, Jr. for Defendants and Respondents.

OPINION

RAMIREZ P. J.

J.A. Can filed a prior quiet title action against Earnest Ortiz and Anna Colon. In connection with that action, he recorded a lis pendens. However, he did not mail the lis pendens to either Ortiz or Colon; instead, he filed a declaration that their addresses were unknown. He also did not examine the county assessor’s roll, which would have shown that Ortiz and Colon had a mailing address in Oceanside.

While the prior action was pending, a deed was recorded transferring Colon's half of the property to Michael Lopez; also, a deed of trust was recorded encumbering what was now Lopez’s half of the property to secure a loan from Rondo Resources, Inc. (Rondo). Thereafter, Carr won a judgment in the prior action, quieting title in him as against Ortiz and Colón.

Carr then brought this new quiet title action against Lopez and Rondo (plus the principal in Rondo). Ortiz and Colón are not parties; under the judgment in the prior action, they no longer have any interest in the property. Moreover, there is no dispute over Ortiz’s former half of the property; under the judgment in the prior action, Carr owns that half. Rather, the present dispute is over Colón’s former half of the property. Lopez and Rondo both argue that the lis pendens was void because it was not mailed to Colón’s address, as shown on the assessor’s roll. Carr argues that he did not have to mail the lis pendens to the address on the assessor’s roll because that address was not valid and the lis pendens would not actually have reached Colón.

We will hold that, under the applicable statutes, the lis pendens had to be mailed to Colón’s address as shown on the assessor’s roll, regardless of whether that address was actually valid; because this was not done, the lis pendens is void, not only as against Colón, but also as against Lopez and Rondo.

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I

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The property at issue is a vacant lot on Rorimer Drive in Riverside known as lot 122. Carr claims to have been in adverse possession of lot 122 since March 8, 2001.

As of March 8, 2001, the owner of record of lot 122 was a decedent’s estate in probate. On July 16, 2003, a judgment was recorded transferring lot 122 from the estate, half to Ortiz and half to Colón.

On or about March 5, 2004, Colón executed a deed purporting to convey her half of lot 122 to Lopez. However, the deed was not immediately recorded.

On May 12, 2006, Carr filed a quiet title action against Ortiz and Colón (but not against Lopez, as Lopez’s deed had not yet been recorded).

On May 18, 2006, Carr recorded a lis pendens against lot 122. The lis pendens was not mailed to anybody. Instead, Carr’s attorney attached his own declaration to the effect that Ortiz and Colón had no known address.

As of May 18, 2006, the latest county assessment roll listed Ortiz and Colón as the owners of lot 122, with the address of:

“c/o Raymond Gaitan

“P.O. Box 2224

“Oceanside, CA 92054" (Some capitalization omitted.)

On June 1, 2006, a legal assistant in Carr’s attorney’s office contacted Raymond Gaitan, because Gaitan had represented Ortiz and Colón in the probate proceeding, and asked him to accept service. Gaitan declined, saying he no longer represented Ortiz and Colón.[1] “He either did ...


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