Real Estate Law
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Hi, I'm Heather, an attorney with 15 years experience, and I'd be happy to assist for informational purposes.
Can you please clarify what is your question based on the facts you stated? I just want to make sure I give the answer you are looking for.
If you want the lot, you should sue for specific performance. That right of first refusal was not on the record, and you are a bona fide purchaser. You were in good faith and you had no idea that there was a right of first refusal. The other parties are at fault, as they have entered a contract, and they are obligated on that contract. The right of first refusal was something you could not have known about because it was not on the record. The neighbor was in the position to prevent this situation, because he could have filed the right of first refusal with the county or city recorder's office, but he did not. You are the only party who is bona fide and with clean hands. You have a good case for specific performance, and you should write a letter stating that you will so sue for specific performance if they do not go forward with the sale. You should also state that you will file notice of the litigation on at the recorder's office by filing a "lis pendens" which will prevent the property from being transferred to the neighbor without resolving the issue with you. While it does sound like an extremely stressful situation, you would not have a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The elements of that tort are: (1) the defendant must act intentionally or recklessly; (2) the defendant's conduct must be extreme and outrageous; and (3) the conduct must be the cause (4) of severe emotional distress. You would not likely prevail on emotional distress, because you would not be able to prove extreme and outrageous conduct (while the defendant's conduct was bad, it falls short of being extreme and outrageous. In addition, you would not be able to prove the fourth element - severe emotional distress - unless you have seen physicians and doctors and/or therapists as a result of what the defendant did to you, which you probably have not.
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