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Court Grants Property Owner’s Request for Declaration That It Holds Clear Title to Premises

An action to “quiet title” allows a property owner to obtain a court order resolving any dispute as to the validity of its title.  In 195 Hawthorne Partners, LLC v. Thompson, Index No. 506136/2018 (Sup. Ct. Kings Co. Oct. 30 and Dec. 10, 2018), an owner successfully used this procedure to obtain summary judgment that it was the sole owner of the premises.  The plaintiff had taken title to the property pursuant to a certain agreement and court orders.  Despite this fact, defendant, believing she still owned the property, subsequently made at least two attempts to mortgage it in return for loans of millions of dollars.  Plaintiff brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that it owned the premises and an injunction against defendant’s holding herself out as the owner.  The court held that defendant’s claim to be the owner was barred by the doctrine of res judicata because the ownership issue had already been addressed in earlier litigation between the parties.  Accordingly, the court dismissed the defendant’s counterclaims and granted the declaratory and injunctive relief sought by plaintiff.  Ganfer Shore Leeds & Zauderer LLP represented the successful plaintiff in this case.