Saturday, November 20, 2010

NYC Homeowner Targets Former Owners Dead For 100 Years In Lawsuit To Quiet 'Cloudy' Title

In Elmhurst, Queens, the New York Post reports:
  • A Queens woman is "summons"-ing the dead -- suing the former owners of her Elmhurst home, who died a century ago. Miriam Castro, 61, has summoned Charles Simonson, Wilder Pallez and their descendants to court to verify past ownership of the property her $700,000 house is built on.

  • Chances are they won't answer -- absent a psychic. Castro, who bought the house in 1992, was denied a title-insurance policy last winter because the chain of ownership, dating back to the 1870s, was unclear. "It's certainly not the kind of lawsuit you see very often," said a source familiar with the case.(1)

Source: Qns. homeowner sues dead people.

(1) The type of lawsuit typically employed to clear up a 'cloudy' title problem on real estate is known as an action to quiet title, although I am informed that in some places, an action for declaratory relief is also a possibility.

For more on actions to quiet title (especially for those in Texas, since this work cites profusely to Texas case law), see this Quiet Title Handbook.