Procedural Posture

Appellant realty agent challenged the damage award of the Superior Court of San Diego County (California). The trial court had awarded damages to respondent adverse possession claimants for slander of title; to respondent adjacent landowners, appellant agent’s clients, for slander of title and other torts; and to respondent purchasers for intentional invasion of property interest and intentional misrepresentation.

California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer, Inc. explains member managed vs manager managed

Overview

Appellant realty agent recorded a deed that transferred a strip of property to respondent landowners, appellant’s clients, for immediate transfer in a sale of respondent landowners’ property to respondent purchasers. Appellant was aware of respondent adverse possession claimants’ actions to establish title to the strip. Respondent adverse possession claimants brought a quiet title action and named appellant under a slander of title claim. The other respondents filed cross claims against appellant. The trial court determined that respondent claimants had acquired title by adverse possession to the strip. The trial court awarded damages against appellant to respondent claimants for slander of title, to respondent landowners for slander of title and other torts, and to respondent purchasers for intentional invasion of property interest and intentional misrepresentation. On appeal, the court reversed the money damages judgment for respondent claimants and respondent adjacent landowners on property tort claims. Tort remedies were not available where no party had established title to the disputed property prior to the action. The court affirmed the remainder of the judgment.

Outcome

The court reversed the judgment for money damages in favor of respondent adverse possession claimants and respondent adjacent landowners on all property tort claims. The court concluded that the damage awards on property tort claims were erroneous because none of the foregoing litigants had established title to the disputed parcel prior to the litigation. In all other respects, the judgment was affirmed.