Top Ten Real Property Cases of 2021
Star Lightner is senior counsel with Miller Starr Regalia. She is senior editor of Miller & Starr, California Real Estate 4th, and a contributing author of Chapter 11, Holding Title, Chapter 19, Landowners’ Liability, Chapter 31, Construction Law and Contracting, Chapter 32, Mechanics Liens, Chapter 33, Defective Construction, and Chapter 38, Discrimination. She also is the senior editor and principal author of the bi-monthly Miller & Starr Real Estate Newsalert, published by Thomson-West.
Each year, it is a real challenge to select the top ten real estate cases for our annual overview. Although the impact of COVID-19 on courts resulted in fewer real estate cases overall than in past years, narrowing the list down to 10 cases was still difficult. Thus, as is our tradition, several "related cases" as well as "honorable mentions" are included here.
The cases this year continued to represent a broad offering of real estate issues, as opposed to highlighting a concentration in any given area. As a result, the topics covered in this article include such diverse areas as inverse condemnation, land use, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), holding title, and adjoining landowners. There were no California Supreme Court cases, and only one United States Supreme Court case made it onto the list this year. It was a critical one though, representing a potential sea change in takings law in terms of what constitutes a "per se" taking by the government.