Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Plaintiff couple challenged the decision of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which sustained the general demurrers filed by defendants, an individual and company, in plaintiffs’ suit for declaratory relief and relief based on gift misrepresentation and fraud with respect to a letter conveying an interest in defendant company. A special demurrer filed by defendant individual was not mentioned in the trial court’s order.

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Overview

Plaintiff couple filed suit against defendants, an individual and company, based on a letter sent by defendant individual to plaintiffs. The letter purported to convey an interest in defendant company to plaintiffs and the complaint asked for declaratory relief and also alleged causes of action based on gift misrepresentation and fraud. Both defendants demurred generally, on the grounds that the complaint failed to state a cause of action and that each cause was barred by the statute of limitations. Defendant individual also specially demurred, alleging that the complaint was uncertain ambiguous and unintelligible. The trial court sustained both defendants’ demurrers, but the appellate court reversed, as to both causes of action. The complaint sufficiently alleged that the letter was a contract. Further, given the facts alleged in the pleadings, it was possible that the statute of limitations was tolled. Moreover, the pleadings alleged the elements of a gift and the question of whether the gift was complete or effectual was a question of fact. Because the trial court’s order mentioned only the general demurrers, the case was remanded for a consideration of the special demurrer.

Outcome

The appellate court reversed the judgment sustaining the general demurrers filed by defendants, an individual and company, in plaintiff couples’ suit based on a letter conveying an interest in defendant company. Plaintiffs alleged facts adequate to state a cause of action based on a gift theory and for declaratory relief based on a contract right. A remand was necessary for the trial court to consider defendant individual’s special demurrer.