Vol. I, No. 12  Join the Real Property Section Contact Us

October, 2006

Recent Cases

-Construction Law-
-Easements-
-Inverse Condemnation-
-Mechanic’s Lien-
-Quiet Title-
-Water Law-

-Construction Law-
Where contractor on public works job never issued a written or published request for sub-bids, and subcontractor sent its sub-bid to contractor without a formal solicitation and gratuitously stated its ability and readiness to provide a performance bond, Public Contract Code section prohibiting a contractor from imposing on a subcontractor a bond requirement previously undisclosed in a written or published request for sub-bids was inapplicable, and subcontractor’s refusal to provide the promised bond entitled contractor to substitute in another subcontractor.
     Golden State Boring & Pipe Jacking, Inc. v. Orange County Water District (Colich Construction) - filed September 28, 2006, Fourth District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5290
      Full text 

-Easements-
Civil Code Sec. 1069--which states that "every grant by a public officer or body...is to be interpreted in favor of the grantor"--requires a court to interpret an ambiguous grant by a public body in favor of the grantor even where other rules of construction or extrinsic evidence support an interpretation in favor of the grantee. Trial court’s error in not construing easement in favor of grantor public utilities district was prejudicial where reasonably probable that had court done so--so as to limit grant to personal ingress and egress of grantee--court would not have found that district’s refusal to grant easement resulted in an inverse condemnation, and jury would have found district’s refusal to grant the easement was not a breach of agreement. Where a main disputed issue at trial was the highest and best use of the subject property and whether a subdivision development on the property was feasible, trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the jury to hear various valuations of the property based on evidence that land was suitable for a subdivision development.
     Red Mountain, LLC v. Fallbrook Public Utility District - filed September 25, 2006, Fourth District, Div. One
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5159
     Full text

-Inverse Condemnation-
Where plaintiffs sued district alleging it improperly repaired levee underlying their property, trial court properly sustained district's demurrers without leave to amend as to taking causes of action, where plaintiffs pled only standard allegations of inadequate maintenance rather than a faulty plan involving the design, construction, and maintenance of a levee, is not an adequate basis for an inverse condemnation claim; and as to tort causes of action, where plaintiffs failed to plead that district was under a mandatory duty to prevent leakage of its levees within the meaning of Government Code Sec. 815.6's exception to the general governmental immunity provision.
     Tilton v. Reclamation District No. 800 - filed August 15, 2006, publication ordered September 1, 2006, First District, Div. Two
     Cite as 2006 SOS 4800
      Full text 

-Inverse Condemnation-
Inverse condemnation claim, based on allegations that city substantially impaired access to plaintiff’s business property by diverting truck traffic in such a way that the traffic backed up on the streets adjacent to the business, making ingress and egress to the property "difficult or impossible" and "severely and substantially affect[ing] the marketability of the [property] to prospective tenants," failed as a matter of law where there was no evidence supporting plaintiff’s contention that there was gridlock that prevented all access to the business.
     Border Business Park, Inc. v. City of San Diego - filed September 19, 2006, Fourth District, Div. Two
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5061
     Full text

-Inverse Condemnation-
Civil Code Sec. 1069--which states that "every grant by a public officer or body...is to be interpreted in favor of the grantor"--requires a court to interpret an ambiguous grant by a public body in favor of the grantor even where other rules of construction or extrinsic evidence support an interpretation in favor of the grantee. Trial court’s error in not construing easement in favor of grantor public utilities district was prejudicial where reasonably probable that had court done so--so as to limit grant to personal ingress and egress of grantee--court would not have found that district’s refusal to grant easement resulted in an inverse condemnation, and jury would have found district’s refusal to grant the easement was not a breach of agreement. Where a main disputed issue at trial was the highest and best use of the subject property and whether a subdivision development on the property was feasible, trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the jury to hear various valuations of the property based on evidence that land was suitable for a subdivision development.
     Red Mountain, LLC v. Fallbrook Public Utility District - filed September 25, 2006, Fourth District, Div. One
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5159
     Full text 

-Mechanic’s Lien-
A mechanic’s lien cannot be enforced against property owned by a municipality regardless of whether work was performed as part of a public work project. A contractor cannot recover in quantum meruit for improvements to a municipality’s property performed under a contract with a third party.
     North Bay Construction, Inc. v. City of Petaluma - filed September 28, 2006, First District, Div. Three
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5244
     Full text

-Quiet Title-
Where defendant real estate agent promised plaintiff buyer his name would be placed on the title once the loan in the agent’s daughter’s name--who provided no funds but was placed on title because, according to agent, plaintiff needed co-borrower--was funded and escrow closed, but defendant then reneged due to a previously undisclosed intent to keep the condominium as an investment, substantial evidence supported trial court’s findings that defendant acquired the condominium through fraud, made material misrepresentations, and breached her fiduciary duties to plaintiff. Judgment quieting title in plaintiff and imposing a constructive trust were proper remedies in light of defendant’s fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Doctrine of unclean hands does not preclude plaintiff, who may have joined with defendant in an illegal scheme to conspire to defraud lender by having defendant’s daughter secure loan in her name and then fraudulently conceal from the lender plaintiff’s ownership interest in the property, from obtaining equitable relief from defendant’s fraud. Trial court properly weighed equities and determined that defendant was more culpable than plaintiff. Evidence that defendant misappropriated plaintiff’s down payment and caused him noneconomic damages through fraud was sufficient to support award of punitive damages.
     Warren v. Merrill - filed September 21, 2006, Second District, Div. Seven
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5082
     Full text

-Water Law-
Where state water resources control board assigned to regional irrigation district and water agency an application to appropriate water that was filed by the state in 1927, and assignment made regional entities’ right to divert water senior to other appropriative rights based on applications filed after 1927, board abused its discretion in imposing on regional entities’ permit a restrictive term requiring appropriator to curtail its diversion of water during certain releases of stored water, which board did not include in the permits and licenses of hundreds of other appropriators in same watershed whose rights were junior to entities’ rights, and as to which did not show that its interest in protecting stored water was of greater importance than rule of priority.
     El Dorado Irrigation District v. State Water Resources Control Board - filed September 8, 2006, Third District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 4825
     Full text

Upcoming Events

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


10/18/2006
Collateral Debt Obligations - The New Kid in Town
 
Presented by: Real Property Section
Subsection/Committee: Real Estate Finance
Program Information:  This presentation will discuss collateral debt obligations. What are they? How do they affect lenders' exit strategies and how do they change borrowers' negotiating strategies for mortgage loans?
Speaker:  Wayne Brandt, Greenwich Capital
Location:  LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Parking:  Figueroa Courtyard Parking Garage: $9.00 w/ LACBA validation.
Registration: 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM
Meal/Reception: 12:00 PM
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 PM

10/24/2006
The Cutting Edge of Risk Management for Mixed Use Projects and Construction Defects
  
Presented by: Real Property Section
Subsection/Committee: Construction Law & Commercial Development & Leasing
Program Information:  This program will provide the practitioner with information and strategies for risk management of mixed use projects from inception through completion and during the statute of repose period.
Speakers: Scott Firestone, Daniel M. Goodkin, Bryan C. Jackson, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory LLP
Location: LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Parking: Figueroa Courtyard Parking Garage: $9.00 w/ LACBA validation
Registration: 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM
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

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

SECTION OFFICERS
Chair
Norma J. Williams

First Vice-Chair
Timothy M. Truax

Second Vice-Chair
Donald C. Nanney

Treasurer
Michael S. Klein

Secretary
Pamela L. Westhoff

Immediate Past-Chair
Paula K. Reddish Zinnemann

Hugo Vital,
Section Administrator

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

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

SUB-SECTION CHAIRS
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)