That sounds like a lot of bull to be dealing with. Ok first you can sell a property with liens but they must be disclosed to you or you can back out of the deal when you find out. When you buy a home you go thru a title agency who checks the title on the property and makes sure (to the best of their ability) that there is a clean and clear title. You can also purchase title insurance to cover your expenses if any problems are ever found in the future.
Now, whether the citation was ever recorded on the title could be an issue. But still the responsibility lies with the homeowner who received the citation, to tell you about it. If they don't, you have a legal standing to fight it. (But you have to bring it up right away, document everything, get a lawyer, and it could take years-that's why I recommend title insurance)