Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nist v. Hall

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division

May 31, 2018

JOHN NIST, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
STEVEN HALL, Defendant and Respondent.

          Superior Court County No. 15CV-0009 of San Luis Obispo Charles S. Crandall, Judge

          Law Offices of Eddie H. Adams and Eddie Adams for Plaintiff and Appellant.

          Barnick Hodges and Whitney Northington Barnick and John F. Hodges for Defendant and Respondent.

          YEGAN, J.

         A good faith purchaser is “[a] purchaser who buys without notice of circumstance which would put a person of ordinary prudence on inquiry as to the title, or as to an impediment on the title, of a seller.” (Black's Law Dict. (6th ed. 1992) p. 693, col. 2.) The trial court found that respondent, Steven Hall, was a good faith purchaser at a lien sale and acquired the contents of a storage unit free and clear of John Nist's claim that the sale violated the California Self-Service Storage Facility Act (“the Act”). (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 21700 et seq.)[1] We affirm and conclude that the action is barred by the good faith purchaser provisions of section 21711 and the doctrine of judicial estoppel.

         Facts and Procedural History

         In 2007, appellant rented a storage unit at Yolantra Swiatek's self-storage facility in Oceano. Three years later, Swiatek served appellant with a Sixty-Day Notice to Vacate the storage unit. Appellant claimed the notice was invalid and refused to vacate the unit, resulting in demand letters and notices. When appellant stopped paying rent, Swiatek instructed her property manager to secure the storage unit and conduct a lien sale of its contents. Appellant served Swiatek with a document stating: “All transactions with this unit fall under Business and Professions Code 21700 et se[q]. A body of law which you have refused to follow.” (See post at. pp. 10-11 re theory of trial.)

         Eight to 10 people attended the sale, including respondent's business partner, Burke. Burke and respondent were the winning bidders, paid $400 for the contents of the storage unit, and were given a “lien sale” receipt.

         Appellant sued the storage facility owner, Swiatek, for conversion, wrongful eviction, and violation of the Unfair Business Practices Act (§ 17200). (Nist v. Swiatek et al., San Luis Obispo Sup. Ct., case no. CV120742.) Appellant settled the case for $12, 000 and dismissed the action with prejudice in 2014.

         In 2015, appellant sued respondent for conversion. Respondent demurred on the ground that the action was barred by the good faith purchaser provisions of section 21711. After the trial court sustained the demurrer, appellant filed an amended complaint that made no reference to the Act.[*]

         At trial, the trial court credited respondent's testimony that he was a good faith purchaser and found that the action was barred by section 21711. The court ruled that “[a]ny failures of a storage facility [owner] to comply with the provisions of section 21712 or other provisions of the Act penalize the facility owner, not a good faith purchaser. The only Defendant left in this case is a good faith purchaser.... [¶] [¶] [¶] [¶] The point of section 21711 is to protect a good faith purchaser ‘despite noncompliance by the owner of the storage facility with the requirements of this chapter.' As a matter of law and based upon the stipulated facts, the Court concludes that the good faith purchaser provisions of section 21711 applies.”

         Good Faith Purchaser

         Pursuant to the Act, “a ‘self-service storage facility' is real property designed and used for renting storage space (or individual storage containers) to occupants who are given a right of access for the purpose of storing and removing personal property.... [See Bus. & Prof. C[ode, ] §21701(a)] The agreement to rent a self-service storage unit is considered a lease of real property. [Citation.]” (Friedman et al., Cal. Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant (The Rutter Group 2017) ¶ 7:79.1, p. 7-31.) If the occupant defaults on his or her rent, the storage facility owner may bring an unlawful detainer action (Code Civ. Proc., § 1161 et seq.) or, in the alternative, invoke the Act's extra-judicial remedy of a lien sale “only where the parties enter into a written agreement containing required terms [citation].” (Friedman et al., Cal. Practice Guide, Landlord-Tenant, supra, ¶ 7:79.1, p. 7-31.) The purpose of the Act is to provide self-storage facility owners an “‘effective remedy against defaulting customers.'” (Vitug v. Alameda Point Storage, Inc. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 407, 415.)

         Section 21711 provides that a good faith purchaser at a storage facility lien sale takes the property free of any rights of persons against whom the lien is claimed even if the storage facility owner sells the property in violation of the Act. (Gharibian, Storage Stop: Self Service Storage Facilities Have Clear Lien Enforcement Rights, but a Wronged Tenant May Find Recourse, 36 L.A. Lawyer (June 2013) 28, 31; 10 Miller & Starr, Cal. Real Estate (4th ed. 2017) § 34:268, p. 34-965; 13 Witkin, Summary of Cal. Law (11th ed. 2017) Personal Property § 240, p. 240.) Section 21711 states in pertinent part: “A purchaser in good faith of goods sold to enforce a lien... on goods stored at a self-service storage ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.