By: Monty McIntyre, Esq.
California Case Summaries™ (https://cacasesummaries.com)
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, (213) 683-1600, or Rachael Boughan, email@example.com, (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
NCR Properties v. City of Berkeley (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 2423352: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying petitions seeking administrative mandamus and declaratory relief. Petitioners purchased two derelict single-family homes in Berkeley and rehabilitated them, converting them into triplexes. After plaintiffs rented out the units, a dispute arose as to whether the properties were subject to the City of Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance, Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.76. Petitioners contended the new units were exempt from local rent control under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins; Civil Code section 1954.50 et seq.), which provides an exemption for residential units that have a certificate of occupancy issued after February 1, 1995. (Civ. Code, § 1945.52(a)(1).) Respondent City of Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board (Rent Board) disagreed as to four of the six units, concluding that two of the three units in each building were carved from space that had been rented for residential use before the current certificates of occupancy issued, and reflected a mere conversion from one form of residential use to another rather than an expansion of the housing stock. This decision was based upon Burien, LLC v. Wiley (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 1039 (Burien) and the Rent Board’s Resolution 17-13. The trial court and Court of Appeal agreed with the Rent Board. Because the four units in dispute were converted from space long dedicated to residential use, Burien and Resolution 18-13 provided that Costa-Hawkins did not exempt them from local rent control as new construction. (C.A. 1st, March 9, 2023.)
Roxbury Lane LP v. Harris (2023) _ Cal.App.5th Supp. _ , 2023 WL 2326318: The Appellate Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment against plaintiff’s unlawful detainer complaint on the basis that the landlord’s action was not based on one of the enumerated grounds authorized under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (LARSO), as codified in the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC). The Court of Appeal rejected landlord’s argument that because defendant served a notice of intent to vacate and then failed to move out by the specified date, defendant became a tenant at sufferance and his occupancy of the premises was not subject to LARSO. (Appellate Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, filed on January 13, 2023, published on February 8, 2023.)
Sleep E-Z, LLC, v. Lopez (2023) _ Cal. App. 5th Supp. _, 2023 WL 2326317: The Appellate Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment for defendant, following a bench trial, in an unlawful detainer case. The landlord argued the tenant had assigned the lease and violated the provision prohibiting assignment. The Appellate Division ruled that a third party’s occupancy and payment of rent may lead to a permissive inference, but not a mandatory presumption, of assignment. It affirmed, concluding that the evidence supported the trial court’s decision crediting testimony that defendant did not intend to assign or abandon her leasehold interest when she traveled to Mexico to temporarily care for her brother, that defendant did not move her belongings out of the unit and had no other place to live, and that defendant got stranded in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic due to her immigration status. (Appellate Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, February 10, 2023.)
Pacific Palisades Residents Assn., Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 2401079: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a petition for writ of mandate seeking to overturn the approval by respondents City of Los Angeles and California Coastal Commission of a project to develop an eldercare facility. Petitioners alleged the approvals violated the Los Angeles zoning provisions, the California Environmental Quality Act, and the Coastal Act. The trial court properly examined and rejected each of petitioner’s arguments. (C.A. 2nd, March 8, 2023.)
CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL
Landlord – Tenant
West Pueblo Partners, LLC v. Stone Brewing Co., LLC (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 3151827: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting plaintiff landlord’s motion for summary judgment in an unlawful detainer action for failure to pay rent. Defendant argued it was excused from paying rent because COVID-19 regulations and business interruptions triggered a force majeure provision in its lease. The trial court disagreed, concluding that the force majeure provision only excused performance if the tenant was unable to meet its obligations due to factors outside its control. In this case, the tenant admitted during discovery it had the financial resources to pay rent during the period of the COVID-19 regulations but simply refused to do so. As a result, the trial court properly concluded that defendant could invoke the force majeure provision. (C.A. 1st, filed April 3, 2023, published April 28, 2023.)
Crescent Trust v. City of Oakland (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 3018214: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order denying a writ petition seeking to compel the City of Oakland to issue a certificate of compliance for a single lot, known as lot 18, under the Subdivision Map Act (Government Code section 66410 et seq.). Lot 18 had its origins in the Map of San Antonio (Map) which was prepared by surveyors and filed with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office in 1854 and later recorded in 1869. Lot 18 was conveyed many times over many years, and the more recent conveyances involved five or fewer lots. Petitioner acquired lot 18 in 2015. Disagreeing with the trial court, the Court of Appeal concluded that since lot 18 was conveyed in conjunction with three or fewer other lots prior to the enactment of any local ordinance governing such subdivisions, the lot was presumptively legal for purposes of the Subdivision Map Act pursuant to section 66412.6(a). (C.A. 1st, filed March 23, 2023, published April 20, 2023.)