Rey Sanchez Investments v. Superior Court
Facts: A buyer of real estate enters into a purchase agreement with a seller. The seller fails to perform on the agreement to sell the property. The buyer sues the seller for nonperformance and records a lis pendens on the property. The buyer personally serves the notice to the seller, but fails to record proof of service of the lis pendens. Later, another buyer purchases the property in dispute and much later learns of the lis pendens on the property. The original buyer does not serve the lis pendens to the new owner.
Claim: The new owner seeks to expunge the lis pendens and establish their unclouded title to the property, claiming the lis pendens is void since its service was improper.
Counterclaim: The original buyer seeks to maintain the lis pendens, claiming the new owner’s right to expunge was waived since they had actual notice of the lis pendens and the new owner waited too long to file a motion to expunge.
Holding: A California court of appeals holds the lis pendens is void since no proof of service of the lis pendens was recorded and the lis pendens was not served immediately to the new owner in the same manner as it was served to the seller. [Rey Sanchez Investments v. Superior Court (January 6, 2016) __CA4th__]