The California Code of Civil Procedure defines a “local action” as one for the determination of a right or interest in real property. Under the local action doctrine, an action involving real property which requires the court to act upon the title to the property must be brought within the state in which the land is located. This will also be the case where there are mixed questions of personal and real property. A court in California will decline to hear a quiet title action where it will require determination of a right or interest in an out of state piece of real property and will transfer or dismiss the case.
In such cases, California lawyers can utilize provisions allowing California counsel to represent their clients for the limited purpose of a quiet title action, generally requiring retention of secondary local counsel in the state where the real property sits.