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A Santa Clara County court ruling this week added some much needed clarity to a controversial area of commercial property foreclosures.

Siding with the developers of Sunnyvale Town Center, Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan ruled from the bench June 6 that Wachovia bank could not force the sale of the property through receivership.

Secured lenders can sell properties in default in two primary ways, said one of the prevailing lawyers, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean attorney Charles Hansen. One path is through a trustee sale, which is outside of court, and the other is a court-supervised judicial foreclosure. The key is that both involve an open and public bidding process, said Hansen, who represents developer Sand Hill Property.

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