Hansen v. G & G Trucking Co.

Decision Date16 August 1965
Citation236 Cal.App.2d 481,46 Cal.Rptr. 186
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesMabel L. HANSEN, Plaintiff, Cross-Defendant and Respondent, v. G & G TRUCKING COMPANY, Defendant, Cross-Complainant and Appellant, and Helen P. Long and Clair E. Long, Defendants and Respondents. Civ. 22348.

Albert A. Albeck, Los Angeles, and Charles E. Ogle, Morro Bay, for appellant.

Donald R. Haile, Lucas, Wyckoff, Miller, Stanley & Scott, Santa Cruz, for respondent Mabel L. Hansen.

MOLINARI, Justice.

Defendant and cross-complainant, G & G Trucking Company (hereinafter referred to as appellant), appeals from a decree, after trial by the court, quieting title to certain real property in favor of plaintiff and cross-defendant, Mabel Hansen (hereinafter referred to as respondent), against appellant and defendants, Helen Long and Clair Long (hereinafter referred to as the Longs). 1

The Record

The real property which is the subject of this action is located in Santa Cruz County and consists of lot 6, the west 20 feet of lot 7, and the east 30 feet of lot 5, block E, of Mar Vista Tract. Various deeds of record showing the relevant chain of ownership of this property were introduced into evidence as follows: (1) A deed dated March 12, 1947, in which a Mr. and Mrs. Sherman granted lot 6 and the west 20 feet of lot 7 to 'Merle Hansen, trustee 2; (2) a deed dated September 8, 1947, in which the Santa Cruz County Title Company granted to 'M. Hansen' the east 30 feet of lot 5; and (3) a deed dated December 2, 1947, in which 'M. Hansen and Mabel Hester Hansen, his wife' granted to 'Merle Hansen, trustee' the very same real property as was the subject of the second deed, namely, the east 30 feet of lot 5. At all times subsequent to December 2, 1947, record title to these parcels has remained in the name of 'Merle Hansen, trustee.'

Appellant's claim to this property is based on the following facts: On September 1, 1960, appellant recovered a money judgment in Los Angeles County against Merle Hansen and others; on November 13, 1961, an abstract of this judgment was recorded in Santa Cruz County; on January 3, 1962, pursuant to a writ of execution issued on this judgment, the Sheriff of Santa Cruz County sold to appellant the property which is the subject of this action and delivered to appellant a sheriff's certificate of sale which was recorded on January 19, 1962. Upon the expiration of the redemption period, the sheriff, on March 4, 1964, executed and delivered to appellant a sheriff's deed to the subject property. 2

The basis of respondent's claim to the subject property is founded on her assertion that she paid the entire purchase price for this property, plus the cost of erecting improvements upon it, and the taxes and maintenance costs attributable to it; that by oral agreement between herself and Merle Hansen, her present husband (hereinafter referred to as Merle), the latter holds the property as trustee for her benefit; and that accordingly she is the sole owner of the property in spite of its title of record, and Merle has at no time possessed any interest in this property which is subject to execution in satisfaction of any judgments against him. In addition, respondent claims that appellant's interest in the Santa Cruz property is subject to the interest which respondent obtained by an unrecorded gift deed to her from Merle executed on March 24, 1947.

The facts upon which respondent bases these claims are contained in her testimony at the trial as follows: Prior to entry of her final decree of divorce on December 2, 1948, respondent was married to John Hester for 17 years. On December 7, 1948, respondent married Merle, whom she had previously known for 2 or 3 years. In 1947, while respondent was married to Hester, she purchased the property which is the subject of this action. Since she was having marital difficulties at this time, upon the advice of her then attorney, respondent took title to the subject property in the manner above indicated. However, respondent testified that she and Merle had an understanding to the effect that he held no interest in or claim to the subject property. Moreover, on March 24, 1947, Merle executed a gift deed of the property back to respondent. 3 This instrument, which had been prepared by respondent's then attorney was at no time recorded but was held by this attorney until shortly before the commencement of this action.

Concerning the source of the consideration used to purchase the two parcels of realty, respondent testified that she paid approximately $1,750 for the first purchase and about $450 for the half lot; that both purchases were paid for from her own funds; and that she obtained the funds to purchase this property 'From restaurant money. I had a restaurant at the time.' After purchasing this property, plaintiff had a dwelling house built on it in 1947-1948. Respondent testified that the cost of construction was between $10,000 and $12,000 and that she paid the builder weekly with cash from the money which she took in from her restaurant. 4 On cross-examination respondent testified that she did not have any records concerning her operation of the restaurants which she had owned. In addition, it developed that respondent did not own any restaurants in 1947 or 1948; that she had sold her last restaurant in 1945 or 1946; and that at the time the residence was being built on the Santa Cruz property respondent was employed as the manager of a restaurant, receiving a salary of $400 a month plus meals and a bonus at the end of the year. When questioned further as to the source of the money used to build the residence, respondent indicated that the cash came from her accumulated savings and from her salary.

The record also contains the following evidence concerning the dealings of respondent and Merle with respect to the subject property: (1) Respondent testified that she paid all the taxes and maintenance costs on this property from her own funds, and that she and Merle at all times kept their properties separate and did not maintain a joint bank account; (2) on May 12, 1948, respondent and Merle jointly executed a deed of trust upon the Santa Cruz property to secure a $4,000 loan which was used by Merle to start an escrow company in Whittier, California. The trust deed read that it was executed by 'Merle Hansen, Trustee and Merle Hansen and Mabel H. Hansen, his wife * * * Trustor'; (3) a financial statement, dated June 30, 1959, which Merle used in his dealings with appellant, listed the subject property as an asset having the value of $18,500. Respondent, however, testified that she had no knowledge that her husband utilized the property for his own use or benefit, including the listing of it as an asset on a financial statement; and that if he had so listed this property, he did so without her knowledge and consent; (4) on April 1, 1960, respondent, together with Merle, executed a promissory note securing a bail bond for Merle, which note was secured by a trust deed encumbering the subject property. As to this transaction respondent testified that she remembered signing several papers in connection with the bail bond, but did not know exactly what they all contained; and that she never authorized Merle to utilize the subject property as security to obtain a bail bond.

In addition to the foregoing evidence, the record also discloses that before her divorce from Hester, respondent and Hester executed a property settlement agreement; that the subject property was not mentioned or provided for in said agreement; and that since 1951, respondent's elderly mother has resided on the subject property.

The Applicability of Civil Code Section 869a

It is appellant's first contention that by virtue of Civil Code section 869a, 5 and the conclusive presumption established therein, its rights to the subject property are not affected by respondent's alleged claim of ownership. The pertinent portions of this code section provide as follows: 'Whenever any estate or interest in, or lien on or encumbrance on real property is conveyed, created, aliened, mortgaged, encumbered or affected by an instrument in writing to or in favor of a person or persons in trust, or (a) where such person is designated 'trustee' or 'as trustee,' or (b) where such persons are designated 'trustees' or 'as trustees,' and regardless of whether a joint tenancy or right of survivorship as between such persons is expressed or not, then, if no beneficiary be indicated or named in said instrument, it shall be presumed that said person or persons, as the case may be, holds or hold the title to the estate, interest, lien or encumbrance absolutely in his or their own individual right and free from any trust, and an instrument executed by such person or persons, whether purporting to be the act of such person or persons in his or their individual right, or in his or their capacity as trustee or trustees, shall prima facie affect such estate, interest, lien, or encumbrance according to the tenor of such instrument. As to such instrument last mentioned and any judgment against such person affecting the title, such presumption shall be and become conclusive as to such undisclosed beneficiary and the original grantor or trustor and anyone claiming under them in favor of a purchaser or encumbrancer in good faith and for valuable consideration upon the filing of such instrument last mentioned for record in the office of the recorder of the county wherein the land affected thereby is situated.'

Adverting to the present case, we cannot question that this section has applicability since title to the subject property appeared as of record in the name of 'Merle Hansen, trustee' and no beneficiary was indicated. (See Nevada Irrigation Dist. v. Jones, 69 Cal.App.2d 262, 266-267, 158 P.2d 973.) Accordingly, since the subject...

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  • In re Richter
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • January 20, 2015
    ...recordation of the certificate “charges all subsequent purchasers with notice of the purchaser's title.” Hansen v. G & G Trucking Co., 236 Cal.App.2d 481, 495, 46 Cal.Rptr. 186 (1965). The deed, once delivered after expiration of the redemption period, “gives to the purchaser no new title t......
  • McCook v. Standard Oil Company of California
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    • U.S. District Court — Central District of California
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    ...70, 76 (7th Cir. 1950), reversed on other grounds, 340 U.S. 558, 71 S.Ct. 408, 95 L.Ed. 534 (1951); Hansen v. G & G Trucking Co., 236 Cal.App.2d 481, 46 Cal.Rptr. 186, 193 (1st Dist. 1965); C. McCormick, Handbook of the Law of Evidence, § 309, p. 640 (1954). In view of these precedents, the......
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    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • November 30, 1994
    ...the original judgment plaintiff is not ordinarily an encumbrancer for a valuable consideration." (Accord, Hansen v. G & G Trucking Co. (1965) 236 Cal.App.2d 481, 496, 46 Cal.Rptr. 186 ["a mere judgment creditor is not entitled to protection as a bona fide purchaser for value"].) If a judgme......
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    ...read "bona fide purchaser." A bona fide purchaser is held to both actual and constructive notice (see Hansen v. G & G Trucking Co. (1965) 236 Cal.App.2d 481, 498-499, 46 Cal.Rptr. 186; Muller v. Hallenbeck (1962) 200 Cal.App.2d 366, 373, 19 Cal.Rptr. 251; see also Black's Law Dict. (4th ed.......
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