Volume I, Number 4 Join the Real Property Section Contact Us

February, 2006

Recent Cases

-Land Use-
City neither unlawfully surrendered its police power nor improperly amended its general plan by entering into a settlement to resolve litigation brought against it by citizens group, charging that city violated CEQA in certain respects in adopting general plan and in certifying EIR for the general plan, where stipulated judgment was facially consistent with general plan, and settlement did not purport to give away city’s right to amend general plan in the future.
     108 Holdings, Ltd. v. City of Rohnert Park (South County Resource Preservation Committee) - filed January 31, 2006, First District, Div. Five
     Cite as 2006 SOS 489
     
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-Landlord-Tenant-
Local ordinance prohibiting for an indefinite period increases in rent by landlord who has withdrawn rental unit from government-subsidized housing program is preempted by state law freezing such rents for 90 days.
     Apartment Association of Los Angeles County, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles - filed January 30, 2006, Second District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2006 SOS 496
    
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-Eminent Domain-
Beneficiary of a deed of trust on property has a "compensable interest" in an eminent domain proceeding as to the property and is entitled to just compensation in inverse condemnation and to reasonable notice of proceedings. Recorded notice of city’s declaration that property was substandard did not place beneficiary on constructive notice that city intended to order demolition. City’s failure to follow its own ordinance and practices, which required that it give express notice to mortgagees of orders and notices that affect buildings or structures found to be unsafe, dangerous, or substandard, and that it obtain updated title report prior to serving 10-day notice of intent to demolish any such building or structure, violated due process right of mortgagee who received no such notice even though city had actual notice of its interest. By demolishing structures after failing to provide mortgagee with notice, an opportunity to be heard, and the opportunity to correct defects at the property, city violated the due process rights of mortgagee, entitling it to inverse condemnation remedy.
     D & M Financial Corporation v. City of Long Beach - filed January 30, 2006, Second District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2006 SOS 501
     
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-Land Use-
County regulations restricting subdivision of certain coastal zone properties to protect wetlands and environmentally sensitive habitat areas were properly applied to property having attributes of wetlands as testified to by biological experts, notwithstanding owner’s claim that property did not have value as wetlands. Wetlands on plaintiff’s property were properly designated as ESHAs where the particular wetlands were shown to play a valuable role in the ecosystem, EIR included biologist’s evaluation indicating that the wetlands provided habitat value for bird species and that such species were observed on the property, and county’s local coastal plan provided that all wetlands were entitled to independent protection as ESHAs. County was not required by CEQA to consider mitigation measures as alternative to denying subdivision application where EIR was not certified pursuant to CEQA. Trial court erred in ruling that plaintiff’s regulatory takings claim was unripe prior to decision on what types of development might be permitted where denial of request to split lot was unequivocal and final.
     Dunn v. County of Santa Barbara - filed January 25, 2006, Second District, Div. Six
     Cite as 2006 SOS 400
     
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-Landlord-Tenant-
Water district’s alleged failure to enforce its regulations requiring tenant with a history of delinquencies to post adequate security for all water charges in advance did not cause district to forfeit its statutory right to add the charges to assessment against property, which is enforceable as an encumbrance. Such failure would not give owner the right to escape an assessment otherwise valid and authorized by statute. Trial court erred in ruling that landowners were entitled to enforce district’s deposit regulations as intended third-party beneficiaries of water agreement between tenants and district.
     Souza v. Westlands Water District - filed January 17, 2006, Fifth District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 179
     
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-Landlord-Tenant-
Where trial court struck down local rent control board ruling as being based on legally impermissible methodology, then struck down board’s second ruling on same ground, court exceeded its authority by specifying methodology to be used rather than granting board another opportunity to exercise the discretion vested in it by law.
     Carson Gardens, L.L.C. v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Board - filed January 17, 2006, Second District, Div. Eight
     Cite as 2006 SOS 187
     
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-Conveyancing-
Form power of attorney was not "properly completed" within meaning of Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney Act where principal placed an "x" rather than her initials on the line specifying the powers of the attorney-in-fact. Power of attorney was created where form, although not properly completed within meaning of uniform act, substantially complied with requirements of California law. Quitclaim deed executed by attorney-in-fact conveying principal’s property was not invalid under statute prohibiting attorney-in-fact from making "gift" of principal’s property absent express authorization to do so where party challenging conveyance failed to produce evidence that conveyance was unsupported by consideration.
     Torres v. Torres - filed January 17, 2006, Second District, Div. Seven
     Cite as 2006 SOS 197
     
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-Eminent Domain-
Order on motion in limine, which effectively precluded condemnee from presenting evidence of severance damages, was error where order was contrary to ruling of previously assigned judge on previous motion in limine on same subject, first judge was not shown to be unavailable to rule on second motion, and there was no material change in law or facts between rulings. Burden is on property owner to prove the existence of severance damages. Under "most injurious use" rule, trial court erred in barring condemnee from presenting evidence of potential consequences of construction of condemnor's proposed pipeline, such as delay in construction, interference with access rights, and risk of rupture, where exclusion of the evidence prevented trier of fact from considering other injurious consequences that could have affected its determination of value. In determining value of property under "highest and best use" standard, trier of fact must take into consideration potential uses of property under different zoning if a zoning change is reasonably probable; trial court erred in excluding competent evidence of a potential zoning change.
     Metropolitan Water District of Southern California v. Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc. - filed December 19, 2005; publication ordered January 9, 2006, Fourth District, Div. Two
     Cite as 2006 SOS 120
     
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-Modification-
     Metropolitan Water District of Southern California v. Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc. - filed January 25, 2006, Fourth District, Div. Two
     Cite as 2006 SOS 346
     
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Upcoming Events


2/23/06
SPONSORING SUBSECTION:  Commercial Development & Leasing
What Every Real Estate Lawyer Should Know When Representing a Purchaser of a Healthcare Industry Business
This program will review the healthcare issues that a real estate attorney should consider when representing a purchaser of a healthcare
industry business which includes a real property interest.
SPEAKER: Carol K. Lucas, Buchalter Nemer 
PLACE: LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles
REGISTRATION: 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; LUNCH: 12:00 p.m.; PROGRAM: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Register online

2/28/06
SPONSORING SUBSECTION: Construction Law
Annual Construction Law Update and James Acret Award Presentation
Don't miss this important annual review! A useful summary of all California decisional and statutory law issued in 2005 relevant to the practice of construction law. Plus, be there for the presentation of the James Acret Award for outstanding legal writing on construction issues (the Robert Flaig Award for excellence in the practice of construction law will be presented in 2007).
SPEAKERS: Harold E. Hamersmith, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP; Helen J. Lauderdale, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP; Candace L. Matson, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP   
PLACE: LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles
REGISTRATION: 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; LUNCH: 12:00 p.m.; PROGRAM: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
PRICE: FREE CLE Plus members (meal not included); $25 law students (meal included);
$45 real property section members; $55 other LACBA members; $65 all others ($65 all at door payments)
Register online

03/08/2006
SPONSORING SUBSECTION: Land Use Planning and Environmental Law
How to Get a Project Entitled in Los Angeles  
What steps does one follow to get the necessary building permits, zoning variances, conditional use permits and other permits that may be needed to build a real estate project in the City of Los Angeles? After Charter Reform, what responsibilities are given to the Zoning Administrator, Director of Planning Approvals, Area Planning Commissions, Advisory Agency, Building and Safety and other agencies? How does one deal with the concerns of neighbors and neighborhood associations, and politicians? How does a lawyer guide a client through the process? This seminar will focus on the City of Los Angeles, but similar concepts and procedures apply to other jurisdictions.
Speakers:
Thomas Flintoft , GCG Rose & Kindel
Fred N. Gaines , Gaines & Stacey LLP
Kristen Montet , GCG Rose & Kindel
Chester (Chet) A. Widom , Widom Wein Cohen O'Leary Tersawa
Location:
LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center, 281 South Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Register online

03/15/2006
SPONSORING SUBSECTION: Real Estate Finance
Defeasance
Program Information:  TBA
Speakers:
Susan Booth , Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw LLP
Douglas B. Frank , Mayer, Brown Rowe & Maw
Location:
LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center, 281 South Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Register online

03/23/2006
SPONSORING SUBSECTION: Commercial Development & Leasing & Land Use Planning and Environmental Law
ACTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys  
This program will review the essential elements of a survey and the types of surveys available as well as survey issues of consequence to real estate practitioners.
Speakers:
Jim Brown , Bock & Clark
Ronald P. Jones , Kahn Soares & Conway LLP
Steve Rinehart , Bock & Clark
Location:
LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center, 281 South Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Parking:
Figueroa Courtyard Parking Garage: $9.00 w/ LACBA validation.
Times:
Registration: 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register online

03/28/2006
SPONSORING SUBSECTION: Construction Law
Update on the Contractors State License Board  
The Contractor's Board has recently gone through a number of substantial changes. First, S.B. 30 (enacted Jan. 05) changed the Home Improvement Contract requirements and added a Service & Repair Contract effective July 1, 2005 (effective date may be extended to Jan. 1, 2006) . Because S.B. 30 is so poorly drafted, another bill is pending to "clean it up." Secondly, fingerprinting has been implemented. Every new applicant must be fingerprinted and screened to determine if s/he has been convicted of a crime substantially related to the business of contracting. Many believe the law does not apply to currently licensed contractors; however, a change to an existing license may require all the parties on that license to be fingerprinted. Sometimes referred to as the "Institutional Memory of the Contractors State License Board," Sam Abdulaziz will speak on these and other issues relating to the Board.
Speakers:
Sam K. Abdulaziz, Abdulaziz & Grossbart
Steve Sands, Registrar of Contractors
Location:
LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center, 281 South Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Parking:
Figueroa Courtyard Parking Garage: $9.00 w/ LACBA validation.
Times:  Registration: 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM
Meal/Reception: 12:0 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register online


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Los Angeles County Bar Association
2006 Real Property Section Review

REAL PROPERTY SECTION REVIEW
Daniel L. Goodkin, Editor    *   Norman A. Chernin, Co-Editor

SECTION OFFICERS
Chair 
Paula K. Reddish Zinnemann

First Vice-Chair 
Norma J. Williams

Second Vice-Chair 
Timothy M. Truax 

Treasurer
Donald C. Nanney

Secretary
Michael S. Klein

Immediate Past-Chair
Bryan C. Jackson

Hugo Vital,
Section Administrator
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Norman A. Chernin
Daniel L. Goodkin
John E. Hatherley
Trudi J. Lesser
Rebecca H. Lessley
Gregg J. Loubier
Thomas F. Quilling
D. Eric Remensperger
Alexander Shipman

Alice Chen,
Barristers Liaison     

Michael G. Smooke
Linda E. Spiegel
Sarah J. Spyksma
Theresa C. Tate
Pamela L. Westhoff
John W. Whitaker
Valerie Wisot
Andrew J. Yamamoto
Sharon Yarber

David Fu,
State Bar Liaison

SUB-SECTION CHAIRS
Commercial Development & Leasing, Marcia Z. Gordon
Construction Law, Candace Matson
Land Use Planning & Environmental Law, Peter J. Niemiec
Real Estate Finance, Bruce Fischer & Diane Hvolka
General Real Estate Law, Eric A. Altoon
Title Insurance, Michael S. Robinson