Judicial Notice of Recorded Deed

There is authority for the proposition that a court may take judicial notice of "recorded deeds." (1) Evans v. California Trailer Court, Inc. (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 540, 549 (2) Maryland Casualty Co. v. Reeder (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 961, 977 (3) Cal-American Income Property Fund II v. County of Los Angeles (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 109, 112 (4) Poseidon Development, Inc. v. Woodland Lane Estates, LLC (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1106 In Evans, the plaintiffs did not object to the request and further conceded the truth of the matters evidenced by the deed, and under those circumstances the appellate court upheld the trial court's evidentiary ruling taking judicial notice of a trustee's deed. (Evans, at p. 549.) In Maryland Casualty, this court, reviewing a summary judgment on an insurance company's declaratory relief complaint, asked the parties to identify evidence of ownership and took judicial notice of recorded deeds purporting to establish a chain of title so as to decide whether certain entities held interests in property and were subject to an exclusion against insurance coverage. (Maryland Casualty, 221 Cal.App.3d at pp. 976-977.) There is no indication in that case that any party objected to the request or disputed the validity of the deeds. Maryland Casualty in turn relied on B & P Development Corp. v. City of Saratoga (1986) 185 Cal.App.3d 949, in which the appellate court took judicial notice under Evidence Code sections 459 and 452, subdivisions (g) and (h) only of the fact that the plaintiff had filed and recorded its final subdivision map. (Id. at p. 960.) The Court of Appeal in Cal-American Income Property Fund II granted the request to judicially notice the Los Angeles County Recorder's recordation of trust deeds as official acts of the executive department under Evidence Code section 452, subdivision (c), a provision not relied upon by defendants here. (Cal-American Income Property Fund II, at p. 112, fn. 2.) The appellate court in Cal-American did so in view of the fact that the plaintiff, who opposed the request on grounds the documents were not introduced in the lower court, did not question the authenticity of the documents and the parties made reference to the trust deeds and foreclosure proceedings in the proceedings below. (Ibid.) In Poseidon, the appellate court observed that under Maryland Casualty, judicial notice may be taken of recorded deeds, but cautioned that "the fact a court may take judicial notice of a recorded deed, or similar document, does not mean it may take judicial notice of factual matters stated therein. For example, the First Substitution a substitution of trustee document recorded on July 16, 2004 recites that Shanley 'is the present holder of beneficial interest under said Deed of Trust.' By taking judicial notice of the First Substitution, the court does not take judicial notice of this fact, because it is hearsay and it cannot be considered not reasonably subject to dispute." (Poseidon, supra, 152 Cal.App.4th at p. 1117.) Poseidon involved plaintiff Poseidon Development, Inc.'s complaint for breach of a promissory note in which Poseidon sought to recover, inter alia, expenses associated with its initiation of a nonjudicial foreclosure proceeding. (Id. at p. 1109.) The trial court sustained the defendant's demurrers without leave to amend, finding that certain documents, including assignments of the trust deed and note from Poseidon to another mortgage company, showed Poseidon was not entitled to recover fees incurred for the foreclosure because it had assigned the deed of trust and had no right to initiate foreclosure proceedings. (Id. at p. 1116.) On appeal, Poseidon challenged the trial court's taking of judicial notice of the fact that the document transferred beneficial interest in the note and trust deed and argued that matter remained subject to dispute. (Id. at p. 1117.) The Court of Appeal rejected that argument, noting that the assignment contradicted Poseidon's allegations that it " 'remained the true and rightful owner of the note with the power to foreclose on the deed of trust . . . .' " (Id. at p. 1118.) It held the "legal effect of the assignment could not be clearer" in that it was "not reasonably subject to dispute that, whatever else occurred, Poseidon gave up and no longer held the beneficial interest under the deed of trust" and thus no longer had the power to substitute the trustee of the deed of trust. (Ibid.) Importantly, the Court of Appeal observed that on appeal, Poseidon did not dispute the validity of the assignment, only its effect. (Ibid.)