Updated on August 6, 2021
Sometimes situations present themselves where a party needs a deed or other key document signed but a party to a case or a defaulted party to case refuses to cooperate. In these situations, the person can petition the court to have a person at the court sign the document. This is done through an elisor. An elisor is a person appointed by the court to perform functions like the execution of a deed or a document, typically, on behalf of a recalcitrant party in order to effectuate the court’s judgment on orders. Schorr Law recently encountered the need for an elisor in connection with a partition action.
A recent appellate case discusses the court’s inherent power to appoint an elisor to effectuate its orders. In Blueberry Properties, LLC v. Chow (2014), (Court of Appeals Case No. B254259), defendant Esther Chow (“Chow”) entered into an agreement to sell her property to plaintiff Blueberry Properties, LLC (“Blueberry”). Chow refused to consummate the sale and Blueberry sued for specific performance of the purchase agreement. The parties reached a settlement, under which Chow agreed to sell the property to Blueberry under the original terms of the purchase agreement.
However, Chow then refused to comply with the terms of the settlement by withholding her signature to complete the sale. As a result, the court entered judgment and appointed the court clerk to act as an elisor to execute all the necessary documents to effectuate the sale on behalf of Chow. Chow filed an appeal to challenge the trial court’s post-judgment order appointing the clerk of the court as an elisor to execute the escrow agreement on behalf of Chow.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment, holding that the trial court properly exercised its power under Code Civ. Proc. § 128(a)(4) to enforce its valid judgment. The court’s holding was based on the principle that the trial court has the inherent power to exercise reasonable control over the litigation before it, as well as the inherent power and equitable power to achieve justice. (Venice Canals Resident Home Owners Assn. v. Superior Court (1977) 72 Cal.App.3d 675, 579.)
The top real estate attorneys at Schorr Law are well versed in real estate law relating to partitions and other real estate matters. To see if you qualify for a free 30-minute consultation, contact us by phone at (310) 954-1877 or by sending us a message via our Contact Form, or through email at [email protected].