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Real Property Law

Real Property Case Summary Updates

September 2019

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Monty McIntyre

By Monty McIntyre

California Case Summaries™ (https://californiacasesummaries.mykajabi.com)
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. is the publisher of California Case Summaries™. Monty hasbeen a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, a member of ABOTA since 1995, and currently works as a full-time mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. (ADR) in ADR’s offices in San Diego, Irvine, and Los Angeles. California Case Summaries™provides short summaries, organized by legal topic, of every new published civil and family law case so California lawyers can easily and affordably keep up with the new case law in their practice areas. Monthly, quarterly and annual subscriptions are available.  

Environment

Union of Medical Marijuana Patients v. City of San Diego (2019) _ Cal.5th _ , 2019 WL 3884465: The California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal and remanded the matter to the trial court. Petitioner filed a writ petition challenging respondent’s decision to amend a zoning ordinance to allow and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, and its conclusion that the ordinance adoption was not a project for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Public Resources Code sections 21000 et seq.), and therefore no environmental review was necessary. The Supreme Court ruled that Public Resources Code 21080 does not override the definition of project found in section 21065; so the various activities listed in section 21080 must satisfy the requirements of section 21065 before they are found to be a project for purposes of CEQA. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the Court of Appeal misapplied the test for determining whether a proposed activity has the potential to cause environmental change under section 21065[1], and erred in affirming respondent’s finding that adoption of the ordinance did not constitute a project. A proposed activity is a CEQA project if, by its general nature, the activity is capable of causing a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment. This determination is made without considering whether, under the specific circumstances in which the proposed activity will be carried out, these potential effects will actually occur. (August 19, 2019.)

[1] Established in Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Airport Land Use Commission (2007) 41 Cal.4th 372

Real Property

City of Oroville v. Superior Court (2019) _ Cal.5th _ , 2019 WL 3820270: The California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal ruling holding that the City of Oroville (City) was liable for inverse condemnation as a result of a sewer backup that damaged a dental building. The Supreme Court concluded that, to succeed on an inverse condemnation action, a plaintiff must ordinarily show[2] that the damage to private property was substantially caused by inherent risks associated with the design, construction, or maintenance of the public improvement. The dentists could not establish this because the installation of a backwater valve on their premises not only would have prevented or drastically mitigated the risk of damage, according to the expert testimony, but it also was legally required. Under these circumstances, the City was not liable for inverse condemnation. (August 15, 2019.)

2 assuming the public entity made reasonable assumptions about the public improvement in question

California Courts of Appeal

Environment

Barclay Hollander Corp. v. Cal. Regional Water Quality Control etc. (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 3713772: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a petitioner for writ of mandate seeking to overturn the determination of the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region that petitioner was jointly and severally responsible, with real party in interest Shell Oil Company, for the cleanup and abatement of petroleum hydrocarbon compounds and other contaminants at the former Shell tank farm in Carson, California. The trial court properly denied the petition. (C.A. 2nd, August 6, 2019.)

Stopthemillenniumhollywood.com v. City of Los Angeles (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 3976200: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting a writ petition and ruling that a proposed development of a four-and-a-half-acre parcel straddling Vine Street in Hollywood, California (the project) failed to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA; Public Resources Code, section 21000 et seq.). The trial court did not err in concluding that the project description failed to comply with CEQA’s requirement of an accurate, stable and finite project description. (C.A. 2nd, filed July 31, 2019, published August 22, 2019.) 

Real PropertyMoore v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2019)_ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 4051754: The Court of Appeal reversed all of the trial court’s rulings in an action alleging multiple causes of action arising out of a transaction where plaintiff applied for a loan modification. Finding the contract terms were ambiguous, and plaintiff may not have been in default because he had made the modified payments, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on a declaratory relief action, and granting a motion for nonsuit as to the cause of action for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. It also reversed the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and reinstated the jury verdict for plaintiff on his fraud cause of action awarding damages of $103,300. The Court of Appeal also reversed the trial court’s ruling in favor of defendant on the unfair competition claim, and reversed the trial court’s order granting defendant costs and attorney fees. (C.A. 3rd, August 28, 2019.)     


[1] Established in Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Airport Land Use Commission (2007) 41 Cal.4th 372

[2] assuming the public entity made reasonable assumptions about the public improvement in question

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