Volume 1, No.  10  Join the Real Property Section Contact Us

August, 2006

Recent Cases

-Land Use-
-Property Management-
-Property Taxation-
-Title Insurance-

-Water Law-

Where condominium unit owner claimed that former owner of unit was responsible to pay homeowners association for roof repairs, and former owner sued association and current owner seeking declaration of her rights as to responsibility for repairs, suit amounted to attempt to enforce association’s obligations to current owner under CC&Rs, and trial court properly dismissed former owner’s actions for lack of standing to enforce CC&Rs. Where suit was properly dismissed, trial court properly awarded fees to association, and former owner did not offer evidence showing that amount of award was unreasonable.
     Farber v. Bay View Terrace Homeowners Association - filed June 30, 2006; publication ordered July 28, 2006, Fourth District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2006 SOS 3990
     Full text

Condominium owner failed to allege essential element of claim against condominium association alleging discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act for refusing to permit plaintiff to keep a dog in condominium unit and failing to make a reasonable accommodation for plaintiff’s disability where association granted temporary exemption for dog pending outcome of state investigation into plaintiff’s housing discrimination complaint against the association with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but plaintiff filed suit before investigation was complete, and thus association never required dog to leave and thus never refused to make the requested accommodation, an essential element of the FHA claim.
     Dubois v. Association of Apartment Owners of 2987 Kalakaua - filed July 13, 2006
     Cite as No. 0415695
     Full text

-Land Use-
City abused discretion in determining that water credit transfer from demolished commercial building site to city--which would hold credits in reserve until architectural plans for new site were completed and then retransfer credits to developer for use at new site--was categorically exempt from California Environmental Quality Act under Class 2 exemption for replacement of an existing structure or facility where developer submitted no plans, reports, or proposals with application for water credit transfer showing a replacement structure would be built on same site as demolished building and would have same purpose and capacity as demolished building. Water district’s approval of credit transfer was not supported by substantial evidence where district based approval on city’s exemption determination and failed to consider cumulative impacts transfer could have on water supply as expressly required by its rules.
     Save Our Carmel River v. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District - filed June 23, 2006; publication and modification ordered July 21, 2006, Sixth District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 3832
     Full text

-Property Management-
Americans with Disabilities Act does not require store owners or their landlord to build access ramp to store over grassy strip owned by the city where store owners and landlord do not own, lease, manage, mow, or maintain the strip in any manner. Where complaint alleged that store "contains architectural barriers that make it inaccessible" but gave no definite list of what the barriers were, district court did not err in finding that plaintiff failed to provide adequate notice of new allegations of barriers which, other than expert testimony that was excluded for failure to comply with a scheduling order, were raised for the first time after defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
     Pickern v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.), Inc. - filed July 26, 2006
     Cite as No. 0417118
     Full text

-Property Taxation-
Change in ownership of land that was subject to long-term lease constituted for Proposition 13 purposes a change in ownership of building on that property whose construction commenced during the lease term, triggering reassessment.
     Auerbach v. Assessment Appeals Board No. 1 (Northern Trust Bank of California) - filed July 17, 2006
     Cite as 2006 SOS 3710
     Full text 

-Title Insurance-
An arbitration clause in a title insurance policy is not enforceable where preliminary title report did not mention arbitration and referred to a policy that was different than that actually issued by insurer. Where preliminary report referring to an ALTA policy did not indicate policy would include arbitration clause, but title insurance company later issued a different policy that did contain an arbitration clause, latter policy’s arbitration clause was not incorporated by reference into preliminary report and was not binding on insured.
     Kleveland v. Chicago Title Insurance Company - filed July 24, 2006, Second District, Div. Six
     Cite as 2006 SOS 3858
     Full text

-Water Law-
Bureau of Land Management’s failure to regulate certain vested rights-of-way held by private landowners to divert water for irrigation uses does not constitute "action authorized, funded, or carried out" by the bureau so as to require consultation with the Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Commerce under the Endangered Species Act, which requires such consultation if there is any "action authorized, funded, or carried out by" a federal agency that could jeopardize any endangered or threatened species, or destroy or adversely modify habitat of such species; duty to consult is triggered by affirmative actions.
     Western Watersheds Project v. Matejko - filed July 24, 2006
     Cite as No. 0535178
     Full text

Trial court did not err in holding valid a water management agency ordinance increasing groundwater augmentation fee to be charged to operators of wells within its jurisdiction for purpose of financing delivery of water from outside basin to replace basin’s deteriorating groundwater. Under Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, Sec. 18707.2(c), members of agency’s board of directors, who had financial interests in coastal agriculture and thus interest in preventing damage to groundwater supply, were not disqualified from participating in decision, thereby invalidating ordinance, where elimination of groundwater threat to coastal farmers was not materially distinguishable from or disproportionate to its effect on other farmers facing similar threat, and financial effect of decision on members’ interest was indistinguishable from effect on general public because charges applied on proportional and across-the-board basis to members’ economic interests and 10 percent of property owners or other persons receiving services from water management agency. Charge on extraction of groundwater was not subject to Proposition 218 tax enactment constraints where it constituted neither a special assessment against real property nor a special tax--beneficiaries of charge were extractors of groundwater rather than general public--nor charge incidental to ownership of real property.
     Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency v. Amrhen - filed July 26, 2006, Sixth District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 3933
     Full text

Upcoming Events

No time to drive downtown?
Try attending by audio-conference
Available for all programs meeting at LACBA/LexisNexis Conference Center.

9/13/06:  Post Kelo Legislative Blowback - the “Protect Our Homes Act” and other Legislative Proposals in California Subsection/Committee: Land Use Planning and Enviromental Law
Program Information:  Does your client's property (or home) need protection from eminent domain? Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, Congress and 48 states have considered legislation addressing perceived abuses of eminent domain. In California alone there have been more than 80 bills and several ballot initiatives proposed. A panel of local experts will discuss pending legislation, and its consequences. 
Speakers:  TBA
Location:  LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register Online

09/19/2006:  How the 2006 ALTA Loan and Owner's Policies Give Insureds More Coverage than Ever
Subsection/Committee: Title Insurance
Program Information:  On June 17, 2006 the American Land Title Association adopted new forms for the ALTA Loan and Owner's Policies. The new forms made the most extensive changes to these policies in 36 years. This presentation will summarize the most significant changes, particularly those that expand the coverage that these policies give to the insureds.
Speaker:  Timothy J. Reardon, Lawyers Title Insurance Corp.
Location:  Omni Los Angeles Hotel, 251 South Olive Street , Los Angeles
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register Online

09/20/2006: The Re-Emergence of Hotel Financing and the Growth of Condotel Financing: Do You Know What You Need to Know? 
Program Information:  The hospitality market collapsed after September 11, 2006, but it appears to be righting itself once again. Average room revenues and occupancy rates are on the upswing. Condotels have become a hot commodity. The panelists will review the key issues in hotel financing and make sure that your checklist is current. They will also discuss the primary diffrences between financing of hotels and condotels and highlight some of the most common pitfalls in condotel financing.
Speakers:  Susan J. Booth, Holland & Knight LLP ; Adam B. Weissburg, Cox Castle & Nicholson
Location:  LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register Online 

09/26/2006: An Inside View of What Really Happens in Construction Mediation (With Movie Clips) and first Annual ADR Legislative Update
Subsection/Committee: Construction Law
Program Information:  Learn the latest essential statutory and case law regarding ADR and how to best advance your clients' interest and and effectively prepare for mediation with this view from an accomplished mediator.
Speakers:  Michael J. Bayard, Construction ADR Services; Karen Smith, Arbitration Mediation Conciliation Center (AMCC)
Location:  LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register Online

09/28/2006:  Lofts, Condo-Hotels and Other Mixed Use Developments 
Subsection/Committee: Commercial Development & Leasing
Program Information:  This program reviews the legal issues unique to lofts, condo-hotels and mixed use developments.
Speakers:  Matthew C. Fragner, Fragner & Pace Law Corporation; Bill Pham
Location:  LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM
Register Online 

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Los Angeles County Bar Association
2006 Real Property Section Newsletter

Daniel L. Goodkin, Editor    *   Norman A. Chernin, Co-Editor

Norma J. Williams

First Vice-Chair
Timothy M. Truax

Second Vice-Chair
Donald C. Nanney

Michael S. Klein

Pamela L. Westhoff

Immediate Past-Chair
Paula K. Reddish Zinnemann

Hugo Vital,
Section Administrator


Nedra Austin
Norman A. Chernin
Brant Dveirin
David Fu
Daniel L. Goodkin
John E. Hatherley
Trudi J. Lesser
Rebecca H. Lessley
Gregg J. Loubier
Thomas F. Quilling

Patricia Higuera,
Barristers Liaison     

D. Eric Remensperger
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 and
   Donald C. Nanney
State Bar Liaisons

Commercial Development & Leasing, Marcia Z. Gordon
Construction Law, Candace Matson
Land Use Planning & Environmental Law, Peter J. Niemiec
Real Estate Finance, Susan Booth
General Real Estate Law, Eric A. Altoon
Title Insurance, William H. Lynes (Chair) and
   William R. Larr (Co-Chair)