A Notice of Action, also known as Lis Pendens (Latin for “a suit pending”), may be recorded in a lawsuit that involves title to real property. Because this will prevent sale or refinancing of the property it attracts the defendant’s attention, and they want to remove (“expunge”) it from the record. Anyone seeking money damages can throw in a real property claim, and the courts have weeded them out by looking at the overall lawsuit and determining whether or not it was really just about money damages. If it was damages, the courts concluded that it did not contain a real property claim and expunged the notice. Sacramento real estate attorneys are well aware of the risk of an expungement action, because the prevailing party is entitled to be awarded their attorney fees. In a recent decision from Alameda the court clarified that, in a lawsuit with 7 causes of action for damages and one for constructive trust, the constructive trust claim falls squarely within the plain language of the statute: it “would, if meritorious, affect … title” to specific real property. They were entitled to record the lis pendens.
In Shoker v. Superior Court, Ghuman lured the Shokers into investing $1.5 million in an unidentified technology company. He became familiar with the real properties they owned (and rented for income), and then promised the Shokers returns far exceeding those that they were receiving on their rental properties.