Starcevic v. Pentech Financial Services, Inc.Annotate this Case
Appellant Pentech Financial Services, Inc. (Pentech) and Respondent Edward Roski, Jr., Trustee of the Roski Community Property Trust Dated November 1, 1987 (Roski), were two of several lien holder defendants in the underlying partition action involving four properties. Pentech obtained the judgment underlying its lien in March 2008. At the first phase of a bifurcated trial in November 2015, the trial court adopted the parties’ stipulation to determine lien priority by the date of recording the judgment lien with the San Diego County Recorder’s Office (Recorder’s Office). In accordance with that stipulation, the trial court determined that Pentech was the priority lien holder. In March 2017, the trial court adopted the parties’ stipulated interlocutory judgment, wherein the parties stipulated that “satisfaction of any judgment or tax lien shall be prioritized by date of recording of such lien with the [Recorder’s Office].” Pentech’s judgment expired in March 2018, by operation of law, when it failed to renew the judgment within the prescribed 10-year period. By then, only one of the four subject properties had been sold. At the second phase of the bifurcated trial in January 2019, the trial court determined that Pentech lost its priority status because it no longer had a valid, enforceable judgment. The court subsequently awarded Roski, as the new priority lien holder, its proportional share of the funds: a sum of $505,957.45 from the sales of all four properties. Pentech admitted it did not renew its judgment. Nonetheless, Pentech contended on appeal that the trial court’s initial determination of priority lien status was final and non-reviewable. In the alternative, Pentech sought modification of the judgment to entitle Pentech to receive a portion of the sale of the one property that sold before its judgment expired. Finally, Pentech argued the judgment should have been reversed and remanded so that the trial court could consider arguments asserted by Pentech for the first time in its objections to a proposed statement of decision. Because these contentions lacked merit, the Court of Appeal affirmed.