California Court of Appeals, Third District, Placer
PATRICK J. HODGES, Plaintiff and Appellant,
COUNTY OF PLACER et al., Defendants and Respondents.
from a judgment of the Superior Court of Placer County No.
SCV0036599, Michael A. Jacques, Court Commissioner. Affirmed.
Patrick J. Hodges, In pro. per. for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Gregory S. Warner, Placer County Counsel's Office for
Defendants and Respondents.
County of Placer sold plaintiff Patrick J. Hodges's real
property at a tax sale. The County later paid plaintiff the
excess proceeds remaining from the sale less payments made to
others. Plaintiff contends the County, its board of
supervisors, and its treasurer breached a fiduciary duty they
owed him, and converted his personal property, when they did
not audit a payment made from the proceeds to others and did
not pay him interest or earnings on its investment of the
proceeds while it held them in trust.
trial court sustained the County's demurrer to
plaintiff's second amended complaint without leave to
amend and entered a judgment of dismissal. We affirm the
derive the facts from plaintiff's second amended
complaint. We assume them to be true. (Blank v.
Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318.)
2001, Wesley Holdings Ltd., a partnership in which plaintiff
was the general partner, purchased real property in Granite
Bay that included a single-family home. Plaintiff lived in
the home pursuant to an agreement for equitable servitude
between him and the partnership. Plaintiff has subrogation
rights to pursue claims held by the partnership.
October 3, 2012, the County sold the property at a tax sale
for $530, 000. The tax deed was recorded on December 5, 2012.
Plaintiff petitioned the County to rescind the tax sale, but
the County refused.
20, 2014, plaintiff received a warrant from the County in the
amount of $437, 096.16 as payment for excess proceeds from
the tax sale of his property. Of the $92, 903.84 not returned
by the County from the sale, approximately $37, 000 went to
delinquent property taxes, $45, 300 went to other charges and
expenses which the County did not explain, and $10, 603.84
was paid to the purchaser to compensate for plaintiff's
occupying the property through July 2013.
filed a claim against the County for damages. The County
denied the claim.
filed a complaint against the County but did not serve it. He
filed and served a first amended complaint, but the trial
court sustained the County's demurrer with leave to
amend. He filed a second amended complaint, but the County
refused to accept service. Without serving the second amended
complaint, plaintiff filed a third amended complaint without
leave of court that added a defendant and an additional cause
of action. On the County's motion, the trial court struck
the third amended complaint as unauthorized and ordered
plaintiff to serve the second amended complaint.
second amended complaint, plaintiff alleged causes of action
for breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. He contended the
County committed these torts by not auditing its payment of
$45, 300 and by not paying him interest or a return on its
investment of the excess proceeds. He also sought punitive
damages for malice.
County filed a demurrer against the second amended complaint.
At the same time, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file
a third amended complaint.
2016, the trial court denied plaintiff's motion for
leave, and it sustained the County's demurrer without
leave to amend. It denied plaintiff leave to file an amended
complaint because leave would highly prejudice the County.
Plaintiff's continuous filings and changing theories
caused confusion and forced the County to incur additional
fees and costs. His proposed complaint did not remedy the
prior deficiencies, and it was replete with argument and
conclusory statements instead of ultimate facts.
court sustained the County's demurrer due to
plaintiff's failure to state a claim. Plaintiff could not
state a claim for breach of a fiduciary relationship because
no such relationship existed between him and the County. Even
if a fiduciary relationship existed, plaintiff did not allege
any breach or any damages arising from a breach.
court also found plaintiff could not state a claim for
conversion. He did not allege the County committed a wrongful
act in withholding the excess proceeds or that it interfered
with his possession of the proceeds.
of ruling on the demurrer, the trial court denied plaintiff
leave to amend. Plaintiff had not shown he was able to state
a cause of action.
contends the trial court erred when it (1) struck his third
amended complaint; (2) sustained the demurrer to his second
amended complaint; and (3) denied leave to file a third
amended complaint. We disagree.
the Third ...