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ESPERANZA LI VS. BRADEN MORE

Press Release

September 29, 2015

Superior Court finds in favor of Brannan Association defended by Paul Windust of Berding | Weil.

The Brannan Association is a 220 unit high rise condominium project near AT&T Park in San Francisco. The court ruled in favor of the Association in a matter that involved the transfer of a parking deed from one owner to another.

When an owner purchased a unit, they received a deed to the unit and exclusive use of one common area parking spaces in the underground garage. In 2003, an owner asked that he be assigned a different space because water was leaking on his car. Under the CC&Rs, transfers of parking spaces are permitted provided the owner gets Association approval and records the proper deeds. The owner (John Doe) got Association approval and the Association assigned him a new space. The owner then requested that the title company record deeds reflecting the switch. The Association updated the parking grid to reflect the change. The parking grid is essential to ensure that owners park in their assigned spaces. John Doe received title to the new space but was never divested of title to the old space. Another owner (Jane Smith) then requested a parking space change. The Association assigned her John Doe's old space. Jane Smith never confirmed her title to Johns Doe's old space. John Joe and Jane Smith parked in their new assigned spaces for ten years.

John Doe later sold his unit to John Doe II. When he sold the unit, he disclosed that the unit came with one space. However, the title report for the unit reflected both the original space and the new space given to John Doe. John Doe II noticed this but kept the information to himself. John Doe never intended to sell the unit with two spaces and listed the unit for sale at a price reflecting one space. A parking space is worth about $100,000 in SF. John Doe II closed escrow on the unit and then told Jane Smith to get out of the space she had been using for ten years.

Jane Smith sued John Doe and John Doe II to reform the recorded deeds to reflect what John Doe intended to sell. John Doe and John Doe II sued the Association claiming that the Association had responsibility to ensure that the deeds were recorded correctly. The evidence was clear that John Doe never knew he had title to two spaces and never intended to sell two spaces. The Association argued that the spaces were common area owned by all 220 members and that John Doe II was not entitled to an exclusive easement over the second space because he did not pay for it and was trying to take advantage of John Doe's error. Further, the Association argued that under the CC&R's, it had no duty to ensure proper deeding of spaces and only had an obligation to maintain and enforce the parking grid.

The Court, after hearing all the evidence, declared that John Doe II was not entitled to the second space and that the Association had an interest in ensuring that all members have access to the space as managed by the Association. The Association will now ask the Court to award its attorney fees defending against John Doe and John Doe II's lawsuit.

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