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Stopping of sale

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I RECENTLY SENT AN APPLICATION FOR HISTORICAL STATUS FOR MY CHILDHOOD SYNAGOGUE, BUT I RESCINDED AT THE LAST MINUTE. THE BUILDING WAS IN ESCROW AND SET TO BE DEMOLISHED IF THE SALE WENT THROUGH. THE BUYER BACKED OUT AT THE LAST MINUTE. THE BOARD OF THE SYNAGOGUE SAID THAT THEY MAY SUE ME FOR INTERFERING WITH THE SALE BECAUSE THE CITY PLANNING DEPT. TOLD THE BUYER ABOUT THE HISTORICAL STATUS APPLICATION. CAN THEY SUE ME?HOW CAN THEY PROVE THAT THAT IS WHY THE BUYER PULLED OUT OF THE DEAL?
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
CAN THEY SUE ME?
Yes the board can sue you. The question is whether it could win any money judgment against you for it and that depends on all the details of what happened. If you get sued see a civil litigation attorney for help defending against the claim.

HOW CAN THEY PROVE THAT THAT IS WHY THE BUYER PULLED OUT OF THE DEAL?
The most straightforward way to prove that is having the buyer testify about why he/she pulled out of the sale.

Also, a tip for future posting. Messages entirely in CAPS are a lot harder to read and on the internet such messages are considered as though you shouted your message. More people will read and respond to posts that are written in the normal English style of only the first letter of the sentence capitalized.
 
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Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
In Massachusetts, a lawsuit filed with these facts would be ripe for a motion to dismiss under the Massachusetts anti-slapp statute.
CA has an anti-slapp statute, but I have no idea if it would apply to these facts.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
Not sure I see SLAPP here. OP's intention appears to have been to save the synagogue from being demolished. As altruistic as that may seem, the result may be tortious interference depending on the details.
 

zddoodah

Active Member
I RECENTLY SENT AN APPLICATION FOR HISTORICAL STATUS FOR MY CHILDHOOD SYNAGOGUE
Sent an application to whom?

CAN THEY SUE ME?
Anyone can sue anyone for anything.

HOW CAN THEY PROVE THAT THAT IS WHY THE BUYER PULLED OUT OF THE DEAL?
Well...it would seem pretty obvious that, if this is the reason why the buyer pulled out, the buyer could testify to that.

In Massachusetts, a lawsuit filed with these facts would be ripe for a motion to dismiss under the Massachusetts anti-slapp statute.
CA has an anti-slapp statute, but I have no idea if it would apply to these facts.
California's anti-SLAPP law is codified in section 425.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It applies where "[a] cause of action . . . aris[es] from any act of [the defendant] in furtherance of the [defendant's] right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution in connection with a public issue." I haven't looked at case law, but I'm skeptical that "an application for historical status" would constitute such an act.

Not sure I see SLAPP here. OP's intention appears to have been to save the synagogue from being demolished. As altruistic as that may seem, the result may be tortious interference depending on the details.
First, the applicability of the anti-SLAPP law has nothing to do with the nature of the cause of action alleged.

Second, the only potentially viable cause of action would be intentional interference with contract. California does not recognize a cause of action for negligent interference with contract, and a cause of action for intentional or negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, requires that the defendant's conduct be wrongful by some legal measure other than the fact of the interference itself. Here, the OP's conduct obviously was not independently wrongful.

The biggest issue with a possible cause of action for intentional interference with contract is that, if the buyer pulling out of the deal did not breach the contract, then there can be no valid interference claim because a cause of action for intentional interference with contract requires that an enforceable contract exist.
 
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quincy

Senior Member

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
California's anti-SLAPP law is codified in section 425.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It applies where "[a] cause of action . . . aris[es] from any act of [the defendant] in furtherance of the [defendant's] right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution in connection with a public issue." I haven't looked at case lie, but I'm skeptical that "an application for historical status" would constitute such an act.
I'll agree to disagree.
I believe that an application for historic status fits nicely within the protected right of petition.
 
I believe that an application for historic status fits nicely within the protected right of petition.
Hope so. I just informed the buyer and seller that I was withdrawing the Historical application when I realized how serious this could be as far as interfering with a possible economic transaction. I am hoping another buyer will come forward who does not plan to demolish the building.
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
Hope so. I just informed the buyer and seller that I was withdrawing the Historical application when I realized how serious this could be as far as interfering with a possible economic transaction. I am hoping another buyer will come forward who does not plan to demolish the building.
How did you come to realize "how serious this could be as far as interfering with a possible economic transaction"? It sure sounds to me like language a seller would use.

I personally do not like laws that prevent a landowner from doing whatever he or she wants with his or her land, but I'm not king of the world, so my opinion matters not. There are laws in place restricting what someone can do with property, moreso when the property has been designated "historic". You should not be held liable for doing something that you are completely within your rights to do. (That doesn't mean you won't be held liable - again, I'm not king of the world).

I suggest you have a sit down with an attorney. Find out if there you have any exposure for resubmitting the application. Maybe you can do more than just hope that the buyer doesn't tear it down.
 
Here are links to the elements required in California to support an economic interference claim:

Negligent interference with prospective economic relations:
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/2200/2204/

Intentional interference with prospective economic relations:
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/2200/2202/

Intentional interference with contractual relations:
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/2200/2201/

This is where i got that term. I was trying to help and think that I got in over my head. I will talk with an attorney. Thank you.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Here are links to the elements required in California to support an economic interference claim:

Negligent interference with prospective economic relations:
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/2200/2204/

Intentional interference with prospective economic relations:
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/2200/2202/

Intentional interference with contractual relations:
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/2200/2201/

This is where i got that term. I was trying to help and think that I got in over my head. I will talk with an attorney. Thank you.
Looks familiar. :)

From what you have described of your actions, it does not sound to me as if the property owner/seller/synagogue has a legal action to pursue against you. Simply inquiring of the city the historic nature of the synagogue does not sound like it would support a suit, even if the buyer had second thoughts about purchasing the property with an intent to tear the building down.

This wouldn’t prevent the synagogue from suing but it should prevent the synagogue from being successful with a lawsuit.

You are smart to consult with an attorney in your area.
 

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