Hanson Law Firm

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January 2010 Archives

When a Broker Gets Sued

When a broker gets sued, we step in: as the hand-picked attorneys for the broker - all at the insurance carrier’s expense. A broker is generally sued for negligence and some form of intentional misconduct. Why? Because plaintiffs want “punitive damages” and they can’t get that from a ‘negligence’ claim.


Wave goodbye? Not!


If you don't do it right, it just wasn't done.

I Surrender!

Did the tenant surrender the lease, or abandon it? Does it matter? It does, if the landlord still wants to get that rent that’s not going to be paid now!

Nine Tenths

"Possession is 9/10ths of the law." Is it really?


"Bona-fide purchaser for value without notice" Huh? So what?

Special Delivery!

If you get lucky and get a good deal at a foreclosure sale, can the former owner challenge your bid and get it set aside? Sometimes.

Statute of Limitations

Few of us know exactly what "statute of limitations" means; even fewer know how long one has before it's "too late", and even fewer know the exceptions to the rules.

The Forest and Its Trees

We're regularly called upon to settle (or try to settle) neighbor disputes about trees, branches and roots.

Resulting Trusts

"My sister and I decided to buy some investment property together. My credit was lousy, so I gave her my one-half share of the money to buy it, and she put it in her name. Now that escrow has closed, I've asked her to put the property in both of our names, since I can't sign the deed for her. All of a sudden it was like she became a totally different person, and she says, 'No way, get your own property. This is my puppy.' Can she do this?"

The MERS Mess

This Kansas Supreme Court decision is the latest to expose the flaw affecting lenders' ability to foreclose "securitized" mortgages:

Slapp Happy

When are demand letters and other communications useable as a defense to a lawsuit?

Verify This!

"The seller told me - so it must be true." Don't bet on it. At least not without checking first.

25102 (f)

Corporations are business entities separate and apart from their individual shareholders.


Corporations are business entities separate and apart from their individual shareholders. Where corporate formalities are followed (among so so many other things), the corporation’s shareholders, directors and officers are generally protected from the claims against the corporation. A shareholder’s liability is usually limited to the amount of his or her investment in the business, and no more.  If, however, anyone is deemed to have behaved badly within the corporation, that person can always be held personally liable for his or her actions.  Recent examples of this include, on a larger scale, the executives of Enron. "C-corporations" are corporations that have not elected to be taxed as a "small business" for state and federal tax purposes (see below).

S Corporations

Under certain conditions a corporation and its shareholders may elect to have the corporation treated as a "small business" corporation for the purpose of federal income taxes. This election permits the taxable income of a corporation making the election to be taxed to the shareholders, rather than the corporation.

Finders Keepers

Brokers and Finders are NOT the same thing.

Oh Say, Can You See? View Protection In California

Imagine for a moment that you own your "dream home," with a view overlooking the Pacific Ocean here in California. You enjoy sitting on your deck daily with your morning coffee taking in the beautiful panorama. All is well for many years, but gradually the trees located just over the boundary of your neighbor's property grow higher and higher, until they become tall enough to block your beautiful view. You plead with your neighbor to trim his trees, or to allow you to trim them, but your neighbor refuses, for his own undisclosed "personal reasons."

Time's Up!

It's right there in paragraph 24 (or 16, or 32): "Time is of the essence." So what?

Secret Agent Man

Napoleon Solo; Simon Templar; Derek Flint; and - of course - Bond, James Bond. All of them, great agents. But did they owe "fiduciary duties?"

HESCA Headache: Real Estate Broker Liable

In 1998 Alanna Spencer, a first-time home buyer, bought a two-bedroom condominium in Hayward, California. Later, Spencer became delinquent on her mortgage payments to her lender. The lender recorded a notice of default to begin foreclosure proceedings in November 2002. Spencer filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition in January 2003. The automatic stay provided upon filing this bankruptcy halted the foreclosure proceedings.


Dave Tanner has been a real estate broker and real estate attorney for approximately 30 years. He has owned and/or managed residential and commercial brokerages for over 20 of those years.


Eli Roth is one of the Firm’s “secret weapons.”
Ms. Roth started her legal career at the young age of 15, providing clerical assistance for a small
Alameda law office. Prior to attending law school she worked as a legal secretary and paralegal for
small and large firms in the Bay Area and Sacramento. During law school her work included acting
as an interim bankruptcy trustee and bankruptcy court examiner.
After graduating with distinction from McGeorge School of Law, Ms. Roth began her practice with
Davis, Mendelson and Brown. Her legal background includes bankruptcy, banking regulatory
work, business start-ups and merger/acquisition work, as well as real estate broker defense.
Prior to joining Hanson Law Firm, Ms. Roth spent ten years on the faculty of Lincoln Law School
of Sacramento and, during her tenure there, became its Associate Dean. Her teaching focused on
research, writing and advocacy skills and agency and business organizations. Ms. Roth has spoken
before the California State Bar annual conference, and taught for MTI Business College in
Sacramento and for West Publishing.
Ms. Roth, an accomplished law professor, is an integral part of the Firm’s instructor panel for the
Learn @ Lunch Risk Management Seminar Series.

Good Faith and Good Grief!

On January 1, the new RESPA Good Faith Estimate regulation went into effect. It requires that consumers receive a standard, three-page Good Faith Estimate to help them shop for and compare lenders’ offerings in an effort to get the best deal.


30-year real estate veteran Tom Ward brings an extensive and varied background to Hanson Law Firm. Beginning as a residential real estate salesperson in 1976, then a real estate attorney for firms in Sacramento and Alameda, he opened his own practice in the mid-1980s.

Hanson Law Firm | 200 Gate Five Road, Suite 206  | Sausalito, CA 94965 | Phone: 877-545-6738   | Map & Directions