Title and Escrow

RHRC has represented the largest title and escrow companies in the Bay Area, as well as successfully litigated complicated cases against them. The roles of title and escrow companies are not always well understood, yet these roles can trigger serious legal ramifications if they are not executed as intended, including for fraud, failing to deliver proper title, overcharging buyers, misuse of escrow funds, breach of duties, improper fees, closing escrow when funds are not available, misrepresentation of information, failing to properly record documents, and bad faith estimates. RHRC represents clients on all aspects of title review and resolution of title problems, from the simple to the complicated, with a proven history of holding title and escrow companies accountable for their activities.

RECENT CASES

In Re: Lee (Old Republic Title) v. Guzik, et al (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No.: 104CV031066) Defended an action brought by their neighbor to establish an easement for walking his dog through their backyard. After the clients/buyers spent 2 years and millions of dollars tearing down the old house and rebuilding a new one with expensive landscaping, the neighbor claimed that he had previously walked his dog through their backyard, and therefore had acquired a prescriptive easement. After 3 days of testimony during a jury trial, a favorable settlement was reached.

In re: Critchfield v. Old Republic, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No: C05-00909, Transferred to Binding Arbitration) Successfully defended title insurance company for breach of a policy of title insurance and for bad faith. Plaintiff claimed that title company had made a mistake which went to the title ownership of the property. Convinced arbitrator that plaintiff had perpetrated a fraud on Old Republic by failing to disclose its knowledge that an estate still had an interest in the conveyed property and that title company had diligently investigated the alleged mistake, attempted to help cure any defect, and otherwise properly handled the claim.

In re: Fogarty v. Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, et al. (San Mateo Superior Court Case No. CIV441934) Represented title insurance policy holder in an action to assert easement rights in a roadway crossing property owned by Open Space District who cross-complained asserting rights to the same roadway. The matter was successfully settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

In Re: Wells v. Prion (mediation). Settled a dispute for a businesswoman who put the name of her significant other on title to her home, which she had owned for many years, without any written agreement or any financial contribution from him. When the two parted ways, he sued her for a half-interest in the property. At mediation, we negotiated a small buyout of his alleged interest and removed his name from title.