Morales vs. De La Rosa

Eric S. Gordon

Case Conclusion Date:February 6, 2009

Practice Area:Real Estate

Outcome:Successfully obtained Judgment for our Client, De La Rosa

Description:This case involved a three (3) day Trial before Judge Michael Solner (Central Division L.A. County Superior Court) regarding title and ownership of a home in Los Angeles, California. The Owners/Parties were never married, yet through Escrow, took title as "Joint Tenants". Nearly 10 years after one Party vacated the home and stopped paying for the mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance, she sued the Occupant Party for Partition of the real estate. Expert Witnesses were sworn and testified as to the current Fair Market Value of the property. Experts also testified as to the current Fair Market Rental Value of the property. The Parties were sworn and testified, and extensive cross-examination revealed that the Plaintiff (non-occupant) was proven to have little or no credibility. Legal Briefs were submitted and oral argument was presented to the Court. The Ruling made by Judge Solner followed California case law. The Court found that the presumptions relating to real property held in Joint Tenancy, were rebutted by the evidence introduced at Trial. Thus, the non-occupant Party who failed to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc., was not entitled to equally share in the net equity of the home. As a consequence, the Occupant Party was permitted to buy-out the non-occupant Party's ownership interest, based upon evidence (on the record) of exactly how much the non-occupant Party actually contributed to the purchase of the home. In the final analysis, our Client, the Occupant Party was able to save about $180,000 - $200,000 by NOT having to equally divide the net equity of the home.