Viable Alternative to a Court Trial in an Unlawful Detainer Case – Summary Judgment & Foreclosures
Have you bought a property in foreclosure and come to find out that the prior owner or tenants are occupying the home you just purchased? There is an alternative to a Court Trial in an Unlawful Detainer case involving foreclosed properties = a motion for summary judgment.
Many of our clients have told us that they are tired of the delays and stall tactics employed by tenants in the current “tenant friendly” legal system. These clients have been looking for viable alternatives to speed their case along and avoid appearing in court for a trial on their unlawful detainer cases. The answer – motion for summary judgment.
What is a Summary Judgment Motion?
A motion for summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, i.e., without a full trial. A plaintiff moving for summary judgment bears the burden of persuasion that “each element of the cause of action” has been proven. See Code of Civil Procedure Section 437 c(p)(1). The Court grants or denies summary judgment in an unlawful detainer action on the same basis as any other action pursuant to the requirements of CCP §437c. See Code of Civil Procedure §1170.7.
The two issues the Court must decide in the moving party’s favor to grant a summary judgment in an unlawful detainer case are (1) that moving party is entitled to possession; and (2) that moving party is entitled to damages. See Larson v. City and County of San Francisco (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 1263, 1297.
Success with Summary Judgment Motions
T&M has won numerous cases via motion for summary judgment on foreclosure eviction cases. In a recent case in Contra Costa County, T&M represented a client purchased a home at a foreclosure auction that was occupied by the former owner. We filed an unlawful detainer action on behalf of our client in Superior Court to gain possession of the home they purchased. In response to our complaint, the former owner hired an “eviction defense” attorney (based out of Southern California) and began the process of delaying the case so the prior owner occupant could remain in the home “rent free”. In response we filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to take judicial notice that a foreclosure sale took place and that our client held the deed to the foreclosed property. The former owner – occupant – was unable to produce any evidence to rebut the presumption that the foreclosure sale was valid and that our client was the bona-fide purchaser of the subject property. The Court granted our motion and ordered possession of the property to our client.