CASE NAME: HABIBI VS. WESTERN PACIFIC HOU
HEARING ON DEMURRER TO 1st Amended COMPLAINT of HABIBI FILED BY
WESTERN PACIFIC HOUSING, INC.
* TENTATIVE RULING: *
Defendant Western Pacific Housing, Inc. (“WPH”) has filed a demurrer (the “Demurrer”) challenging the operative complaint on statute of limitations grounds, under Civil Code § 941 and Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) § 337.15.
As a preliminary matter, WPH’s Request for Judicial Notice is granted, but the Court takes judicial notice only of the fact that the Notice of Completion was recorded on January 19, 2005. The Court declines to take judicial notice of any other fact pertaining to the Notice of Completion.
The Demurrer is overruled. WPH shall file and serve an answer to the operative complaint on or before September 30, 2015.
The crux of the Demurrer is that on January 19, 2005, a Notice of Completion was recorded in the Contra Costa County Recorder’s Office. WPH seeks judicial notice of the Notice of Completion. The Demurrer then argues that because the complaint was not filed until March 2015 – more than ten years after January 19, 2005 – all of its causes of action are time-barred under Civ. Code § 941 and CCP § 337.15.
The Court may certainly take judicial notice of the fact that the Notice of Completion was actually recorded on January 19, 2005. However, it is not the recording of the Notice of Completion that triggers either relevant limitations period. Rather, it is the recording of a valid Notice of Completion that commences the ten-year period. See Civ. Code § 941(a); CCP § 337.15(g)(2).
As plaintiffs observe in their opposition papers, there are potential reasons to conclude that the Notice of Completion in this case is not “valid.” The Court expresses no view at this juncture whether any of those reasons have merit; the pleading stage is not the time, and a demurrer is not the proper mechanism, to make that determination. The Court may not take judicial notice of the validity of the Notice of Completion. See, e.g., Fremont Indemnity Co. v. Fremont General Corp. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 97, 113 (judicial notice of existence of documents proper, but truth of the facts contained therein or the proper interpretation thereof not proper matters for judicial notice). As a result, the Demurrer must be overruled.
This ruling is without prejudice to any party bringing a later motion, based on a proper evidentiary record, concerning the relevant statute of limitations.