A void default judgment, obtained without proper service on the defendant, cannot be the foundation of a valid claim of title to property, so the secured lender against whom the default judgment was entered prevails over a bona fide purchaser from the plaintiff. Following OC Interior Services, LLC v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC (2017) 7 Cal.App.5th 1318 in a very similar case in which a foreclosed borrower obtained a default judgment without serving the defendants, this decision holds that the void default judgment cannot be the foundation of a valid claim to title by persons in the chain of title devolving from that judgment. The persons taking under the void judgment could not claim the protections of CCP 764.060 since the borrower secured the default judgment by representing that his suit was not one to quiet title. The equities weigh in favor of the foreclosing lender which took every step possible to defend itself against the borrower’s fraud, while the purchaser overlooked problems suggested on the face of the recorded default judgment and other recorded documents.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (Nares, J.); July 13, 2017; 2017 WL 2981804