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Questions Answered by Gerald Barry Dorfman
2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for California on
Q: Is a legal nonconforming auto service station required to comply with business regulations such as hours, tow yard ?

the neighborhood that I live in has been having ongoing issues with an auto service station. Neighbors have contacted the Code Enforcement unit because of various activities that we believe should not be allowed at that property, including:

painting vehicles outdoors and releasing chemical... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Oct 22, 2020

Even though it may not be a code enforcement issue, it may still constitute a "nuisance". Private parties, with very limited exceptions, can not bring a legal action for a "public" nuisance, but they may bring an action for a private nuisance. If you can't get the City... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Small Claims for California on
Q: Can I put a lien on debtors property if the IRS has a lien already
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Oct 21, 2020

Yes, although the IRS lien will have priority, you can record an abstract of judgement in order to create a lien on a debtor's real property.

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Hi, can a customer sue us for asking him to wear a mask?

We are a franchise restaurant located in Ladera Ranch Orange County California.

One customer came to our restaurant without the mask, so we asked him to cover his face.

He refused it due to medical condition. we never forced him to wear it, but asked him to place the order online.... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Oct 13, 2020

With very limited exceptions, anyone can file a lawsuit. However, you will win based on the facts you stated here. If he really does file suit, depending on the court and his legal theory, you may even be able to recover any attorney fees you are required to spend. Since you no doubt have... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I have 3 of 4 people on a deed for vacant land who want to sell. Can the 4th person be forced to sell?

The 4th person is going through dementia & her caregiver is trying to make decisions for her & will not allow us to speak with her.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 24, 2020

The standard way to force a co-owner to sell real estate is through a "partition action". That is a lawsuit where the court orders the division or sale of property. It takes time and can be expensive. In your situation, it might make more sense to see about instituting a... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Do the attorneys who defended me on a civil case have any obligation to defend me on another civil suit?

A year ago I prevailed in a breach of contract case brought against me. Now the plaintiffs from that case are attempting to sue me for "wrongful use of civil procedures" from the breach of contract case. The plaintiff complains about the manner in which my attorney's defended me in... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 24, 2020

No one can answer your question with any degree of certainty without a thorough analysis of all the facts. However, it sounds like a very good possibility that you may prevail in the current case by promptly bringing an anti-SLAPP motion. If so, you would be entitled to recovery your attorney... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: My landlord let the cops in my apartment while my family was sleeping. There’s was no warrants issued nor an emergency.

Is that legal for him to unlock the doors and allow the cops in?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 18, 2020

That is not legal in the State of California. See, for example, Civil Code section 1954.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: in CA, do i still have to do probate if all my grandma owned was her home? im on the deed already
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 18, 2020

If the deed names you as the person to whom the property is transferred upon death, or if you are listed as a joint tenant, then no, probate will not be required. You do have to take care of the correct paperwork.

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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Can a landlord refuse to rent to someone who is self-employed?

We are a couple, both over 55, who own our own company. We have credit over 800 (each of us) , joint income over 100k, and savings that would cover rent for several years. We tried to rent in a 55 + community to see if we like it before we buy there. One unit was $2200 and the other $2400. Both... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 17, 2020

Unfortunately for you, the general rule is that a landlord is not required to rent to anyone they do not want to rent to. Very notable exceptions include discrimination against members of protected categories, but self employed is not one of those categories. The good news is, despite these... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: I've been paying my apt rent through COVID. Can I terminate mid-contract and move out without losing money and credit?

I live in a residential apartment complex in Los Angeles. I've never had a late payment, despite COVID. Although, due to COVID all the amenities in this complex have been shut down (I believe my rent includes the cost of these amenities). Also, the general safety-level of the overall... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 15, 2020

No, the COVID-19 related legal changes do not allow cancellation of a lease under the circumstances you describe.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: Who owns what in this multifamily complex?

Grant Deed cites "Mr X and Ms. Y and Mr Z and Mrs Z, husband and wife as community property with right of survivorship." Mr & Mrs Z manage 2 rental units; separately Mr X and Ms Y serve eviction for owner move-in on the 3rd unit. Wouldn't the eviction need to be served by Mr... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 5, 2020

You should do your own homework assignments.

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6 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury for California on
Q: I was in a boat fire and suffered 3&4th degree burns on my hands and face. How do I file a claim for damages?

My friend & I were in a boat fire and suffered 3&4 the degree burns over large amounts of our bodies. We were hospitalized for over a month while intubated coma. How do I file a claim for damages?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Sep 1, 2020

It almost never makes sense for an injured person in California to handle their own personal injury claim. The more serious the claim, the less sense it makes. Insurance companies can and do take advantage of unrepresented people, and injured people who have lawyers tend to get much more... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: I'm purchasing a property that requires owner occupancy, but property has 2 tenants with leases until next year.

I'm purchasing a property that requires owner occupancy, but property has 2 tenants with leases until next year. I have 60 days to owner occupy. How can I legally occupy the home within 60 days when the tenants have contracts in place?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Aug 26, 2020

Read the leases; there is a small chance they may contain an early termination clause in the case of a sale of the property. If not, you can attempt to negotiate a buyout.

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2 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury for California on
Q: Does Subpoena for employment records in personal injury case (claiming loss of income) only include salary history?

Does Subpoena for employment records in personal injury case (claiming loss of income) only include demand for salary history? Or does it include complete employment records including all job applications and resumes kept at each employer?

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Aug 25, 2020

Usually, it will include all records, not just salary history. Defense attorneys love to dig through employment records and medical records. If you need the scope of the subpoena limited, you may need to (promptly) make a motion for a protective order. Before making such a motion, you must make... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: My mother added my brother as owner of her property. Does it go to him at her death?

My mother passed. Recently she added my brother as joint owner of her property as I confirmed with the county assessor. I am not sure if they contacted the mortgage lender to add him on the loan as he is unemployed and I doubt would qualify. If there is no will or trust does the entire property go... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Aug 25, 2020

If he was added as "joint tenants", he gets it all. If he was added as "tenants in common", you and your sister get 1/3 of her half (probate likely required). If he was listed as "transfer on death", he gets it all. This assumes you, your sister and your brother are the only heirs.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Gma died my father passed away before her and my dad was only son and I am only child. Can I get my dads portion?

I have 4 aunts which got a large portion and I got 10,000 out of hundreds of thousands

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 30, 2020

The short answer is yes, you can get your father's share. Figuring out what his share is, is not so simple. It depends on how title to property and accounts was held, and whether there is a will or trust.

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2 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation for California on
Q: I won a small claims case by default as the defendant didn’t show up. They then filed a motion to vacate on the basis

if she thought it was continued because of what the online portal said. She also says in her motion she was CERTAIN it had been continued. And yet, she didn’t call or actually verify with a court clerk. I thought it was continued too but when I called I got them after hours so I went up anyway... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 23, 2020

Unfortunately for you, very likely.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for California on
Q: Hello, I am trying to rent a house. The realtor asked us to sign an agreement that has a no fault just cause provision.

It states that the owner can require us to leave if they, their spouse, partner, children, grandchildren, (family want to move in). It says that if they enact it that all they are required to do is pay us 1 month worth of rent, Then she said, don't worry, it won't happen but the owner... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 13, 2020

If you are not comfortable with it, don't do it. Find another place. Sign a lease for a term you are comfortable with.

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for California on
Q: my aunt put me on the deed to her house she passed away and didnt have a will do i need to go throuqh probate
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 13, 2020

Sorry for your loss. Your question appears in the California section, although you appear to be in Florida. This answer ONLY applies to property in California. If the deed was given to you, or recorded, prior to her death, then you may not have to go through probate. Whether probate is... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: My landlord has given a 30 day written notice of termination of agreement. No reason stated . I feel she has harassed me

Defamation, called other tenants work when asked not to . Spread lies to other neighbors. I’ve filed a police report for harassment. Should I take my eviction to court and how do I know I have a good case before goin to court

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 12, 2020

You may very well have the right to stay. California law provides that after all the tenants in a unit have continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 12 months or more, or at least one of the tenants has continuously and lawfully occupied the property for 24 months or more, a landlord... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: If I ask to withdraw from a lease prior to the approval and signature from the landlord, can I be released?

I signed a lease in March before the Pandemic officially hit USA, I asked to be released in April (due to financial instability from the pandemic lay offs) and they told me no. A month later I received confirmation that my lease had just been signed and executed, I also received my copy of the... Read more »

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman answered on Jul 2, 2020

You may very well be able to. The general rule is that an offer may be withdrawn before it is accepted. The devil is often in the details, so you would be well advised to have a consultation and document review with a qualified attorney, given the potential amounts in play.

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