Real Property Law
California Case Summary Update: March 2023 Real Property Case Summaries
By: Monty McIntyre, Esq.
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. publishes California Case Summaries™, which provides one-paragraph summaries, that can be read in 2 minutes and are organized by legal topic, of every new civil case published in California. Monty’s publication makes it quick and easy for California lawyers to know the new cases in their practice areas, and apply that knowledge to work up their cases better, make better arguments, get bigger settlements, and win more summary judgments and trials to make more money. Monty also works as a Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee at ADR Services, Inc., handling matters in the areas of business, employment, insurance (bad faith, coverage, UIM), probate (trusts and estates), real property and torts (elder abuse, medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and wrongful death). To schedule a matter, contact Monty’s case managers at ADR Services, Haward Cho, email@example.com, (213) 683-1600, or Rachael Boughan, firstname.lastname@example.org, (619) 233-1323. Finally, Monty helps law firms quickly train their associates with his Master Lawyer Master Mentoring™ services. For more information, call Monty at (619) 990-4312 or visit his website at https://montymcintyre.mykajabi.com.
CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL
Landlord – Tenant
SVAP III Poway Crossings, LLC v. Fitness Internat. LLC (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 333705: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in an action by plaintiff landlord against defendant tenant for failure to pay rent. Defendant stopped paying rent after the business shutdowns ordered by Governor Newsome in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial court properly concluded that defendant’s performance under the lease was not excused during the shutdown, Civil Code sections 1511(1) and 1511(2) did not apply, the force majeure provision of the lease did not apply, and defendant’s performance was not impracticable or impossible. The trial court properly concluded that the purpose of the lease was not for defendant to provide rent in exchange for plaintiff providing the premises for a particular use. Plaintiff’s obligation was to provide possession of the premises, defendant’s obligation was to pay rent, and COVID-19 did not prevent defendant’s obligation to pay rent. (C.A. 4th, January 20, 2023.)
Ventura29 v. City of San Buenaventura (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 409909: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order sustaining defendant’s demurrer, without leave to amend, to plaintiff’s complaint alleging inverse condemnation, private nuisance, trespass, and negligence related to plaintiff’s development of a multi-unit townhome project in defendant city. Plaintiff alleged defendant’s modification of an approved grading plan for the property resulted in an unconstitutional taking for which plaintiff was entitled to just compensation, but the Court of Appeal concluded plaintiff forfeited its objections to the modification because it failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. The Court of Appeal concluded that the remaining causes of action, based on defendant’s dumping of uncertified fill on the property in 1977, were barred by the applicable statute of limitations: one year for the presentation of a claim to defendant (Gov. Code, § 911.2), and three years for filing a civil action (Code Civ. Proc., § 338(b)). (C.A. 2nd, filed January 4, 2023, published January 26, 2023.)
FEBRUARY 2023 – CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL
Arcadians for Environmental Preservation v. City of Arcadia (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 2028716: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a writ of administrative mandamus seeking to overturn respondent’s approval of a project by homeowner Julie Wu to expand the first story of her single-family home and add a second story. Petitioner alleged that respondent erred in finding the project was categorically exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Pub. Resources Code, §§ 21000 et seq.) and CEQA’s implementing guidelines. The trial court properly denied the petition, ruling that respondent failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. (C.A. 2nd, February 16, 2023.)
IBC Business Owners for Sensible Development v. City of Irvine (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 1777466: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting a petition for writ of mandate that ordered respondent to set aside its approvals of a project by Gemdale 2400 Barranca Holdings, LLC (Gemdale) to redevelop a 4.95-acre parcel in the Irvine Business Complex to replace an existing two story, 69,780-square-foot building with a 275,000-square-foot office complex, consisting of five- and six-story office buildings and a seven-story parking structure, the approval of transfers of development rights, an addendum to the 2010 program environmental impact report (2010 PEIR), and any finding that the project would qualify for an exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding there was insufficient evidence showing the project’s greenhouse gas emissions were within the scope of the 2010 PEIR, and the emissions had not been shown to be less than significant under any other standard. It also concluded that no CEQA exemption applied because the project involved unusual circumstances which might cause significant environmental effects. However, the Court of Appeal’s ruling was limited. Respondent was not required to perform additional environmental review or prepare a new EIR or a negative declaration, nor was it required to evaluate the project’s greenhouse gas emissions under any specific approach. The Court of Appeal left it in respondent’s discretion to choose an allowable method of analysis under CEQA. (C.A. 4th, February 6, 2023.)
Make UC a Good Neighbor v. Regents of University of Cal. (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 2205638: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part, and reversed in part, the trial court’s order denying petitioners’ petition for a writ of mandate alleging respondents violated the California Environmental Quality Act in numerous ways by approving an allegedly inadequate environmental impact report (EIR) regarding a long range development plan for the University of California, Berkeley through the 2036-2037 academic year and the university’s immediate plan to build student housing on the current site of People’s Park, a historic landmark and the well-known locus of political activity and protest. The Court of Appeal rejected many of petitioners’ arguments on appeal. However, it did agree that the EIR failed to justify the decision not to consider alternative locations to the People’s Park project; and it failed to assess potential noise impacts from loud student parties in residential neighborhoods near the campus, a longstanding problem that the EIR improperly dismissed as speculative. The Court of Appeal did not require respondents to abandon the People’s Park project, but they were required to return to the trial court and fix the errors in the EIR. (C.A. 1st, February 24, 2023.)
Landlord – Tenant
Attenello v. Basilious (2023) _ Cal.App.5th Supp. _ , 2022 WL 18674986: The Appellate Department of the Orange County Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s order sustaining a demurrer, without leave to amend, to plaintiffs’ complaint for unlawful detainer. Plaintiffs filed an unlawful detainer action against defendants. Attached to the complaint was a signed “Coronavirus Rent Forgiveness, Termination of Tenancy and Possession of Premises Agreement” (Agreement). The trial court properly ruled that the Agreement was not a notice from defendants to plaintiffs of their intent to terminate the tenancy, and it did not support a finding of “just cause” to evict defendants pursuant to the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (Civ. Code, § 1946.2). (C.A. 4th, filed September 20, 2022, published February 14, 2023.)