Real Property Law

CASE SUMMARY UPDATE: December 2021 Real Property Case Summaries

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By: Monty McIntyre

California Case Summaries™ (

Monty McIntyre

Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. is the publisher of California Case Summaries™ which provides short summaries, organized by legal topic, of every new published civil and family law case helping California lawyers easily master the new case law in their practice areas, get better results and referrals, and grow their law practice. Monthly, quarterly and annual subscriptions are available, as well as annual Practice Area subscriptions in the areas of Employment, Family Law, Real Property and Torts. Monty hasbeen a California civil trial lawyer since 1980 and a member of ABOTA since 1995. He currently works as a full-time mediatorarbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. conducing Zoom hearings throughout California (to use Monty contact his case manager Haward Cho,, (619) 233-1323).  Monty also helps lawyers improve their skills and practices with his Lawyer Master Mentoring™ services (for info visit Monty’s web at    



Farmland Protection Alliance v. County of Yolo (2021) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2021 WL 5103355: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision directing defendant to set aside its decision to adopt a revised mitigated negative declaration and issue a conditional use permit to real parties in interest Field & Pond, Dahvie James, and Philip Watt (real parties in interest) to operate a bed and breakfast and commercial event facility supported by onsite crop production intended to provide visitors with an education in agricultural operations (project). The trial court trial court found substantial evidence supported a fair argument under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that the project may have a significant impact on the tricolored blackbird, the valley elderberry longhorn beetle (beetle), and the golden eagle (collectively the three species), it ordered defendant to prepare an environmental impact report limited to addressing only the project’s impacts on the three species. It also ordered that, pending the further environmental review, the project approval and related mitigation measures would remain in effect and the project could continue to operate. The Court of Appeal held the trial court erred in ordering defendant to prepare a limited environmental impact report after finding the fair argument test had been met as to the three species. Public Resources Code section 21168.9 does not authorize a trial court to split a project’s environmental review across two types of environmental review documents (i.e., a negative declaration or mitigated negative declaration and an environmental impact report). CEQA requires an agency to prepare a full environmental impact report when substantial evidence supports a fair argument that any aspect of the project may have a significant effect on the environment. (C.A. 3rd, November 3, 2021.)

South Coast Air Quality Management Dist. v. City of L.A. (2021) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2021 WL 5118987: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Locals 13, 63, and 94 (the Union) motion  to intervene in an environmental dispute about the Port of Los Angeles because concerns about expanding the case’s scope outweighed the Union’s interest. The action was complicated CEQA action, with many parties including other intervenors, filed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (the Air District) to challenge the approval by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles Harbor Department, and the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners of a project for the construction of the China Shipping Container Terminal. The Court of Appeal found that the trial court reasonably concluded the Air District’s interest in litigating the case without Union involvement outweighed the Union’s reasons for intervening. (C.A. 2nd., November 4, 2021.)

Real Property

Kumar v. Ramsey (2021) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2021 WL 5563051: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order imposing terminating sanctions and monetary sanctions of  $28,882.29, under Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7, on the basis that plaintiff’s first amended complaint was factually and legally frivolous because no reasonable attorney could conclude that plaintiff’s claims against defendants were timely under the applicable four-year limitations period in Code of Civil Procedure section 343. The facts included a number of underlying transactions beginning with the the exclusion, from a residential purchase agreement, of 23,188 square feet of class three land coverage appurtenant to the property. Plaintiff sued to quiet title. The Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial court, finding ample legal and factual support to conclude that plaintiff made a plausible, nonfrivolous argument that the relevant statute of limitations did not bar his quiet title claim. No statute of limitations runs against a plaintiff seeking to quiet title while he is in possession of the property. The statute of limitations commences on a quiet title claim when the plaintiff is no longer in undisturbed possession of the land. Plaintiff supported his claim that (1) he purchased the property via grant deed without restriction; (2) he obtained possession of the property with notice of the litigant’s latent claim to coverage rights through recorded agreements; and (3) the recorded documents could constitute only an inchoate threat to his superior title that did not disturb his possession. Plaintiff made a plausible argument that the recorded documents, which his counsel found were legally invalid, posed only a dormant threat to his title, tolling the statute of limitations until the the litigant’s attempted sale of coverage rights to Ramsey. Because the trial court’s order as it relates to when the litigant first pressed her claim against plaintiff was unsupported by substantial evidence, the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court transgressed the confines of section 128.7 and its order of dismissal and imposition of monetary sanctions were an abuse of discretion. (C.A. 3rd, November 29, 2021.)

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