Vol. II, No. 2 Join the Real Property Section Contact Us

December, 2006

Recent Cases

-Community Property -
-Indian Law-
-Land Use-
-Water Law-

-Community Property -
Where husband acquired residence as his separate property and later razed the structure and rebuilt the residence completely prior to marriage, and where parties refinanced or took out home equity loans on several occasions during the course of the marriage, but husband did not present any evidence as to how the rebuild was financed or of how much equity he had in the property at time of marriage, trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that parties’ pretrial settlement regarding the division of the house's sales proceeds was the best evidence of each side's respective interest. Trial court erred in treating business began by husband during marriage--and continued by him after separation--as a general partnership between husband and wife, thereby entitling wife to half of the profits earned post-separation, where it was undisputed that business was operated solely by husband and had no capital assets, and that wife had no involvement beyond fact that husband listed her on the fictitious business name statement. Monetary sanctions for breach of fiduciary duties must be reconsidered where predicated on erroneous ruling that parties were partners in husband's business.
     In re Marriage of Geraci - filed November 20, 2006, Second District, Div. Seven
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5624
     Full text

-Community Property -
Where separated couple decided to sell their former marital residence, which wife alone was residing in, wife did not have a fiduciary duty to sell the house to husband even though she was willing to sell it to a third party. Notation in escrow instructions to split the proceeds of sale 50/50 did not constitute a valid written transmutation of community property to separate property. Court erred in concluding that community property cannot be applied to the support of a spouse’s needy parent.
     Marriage of Leni - filed November 15, 2006, Third District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5543
     Full text

-Dedications -
Dedicated street abutting private property belonged to city, not abutting landowners, where city accepted offer of dedication, and no abandonment occurred, even if street was never opened or used for public purpose.
     Wright v. City of Morro Bay - filed November 7, 2006, Second District, Div. Six
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5441
     Full text 

-Indian Law -
Procedures followed by government agencies in extending leases and approving plans for a geothermal plant to be built in leased area violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and fiduciary duties owed to Native American tribes that consider the region sacred and use numerous important spiritual and cultural sites within the area where agencies never took the requisite hard look at whether the area should be developed for energy at all in their environmental impact statement.
     Pit River Tribe v. U.S. Forest Service - filed November 6, 2006
     Cite as No. 0415746
     Full text

-Land Use -
Trial court erred in granting city’s motion to dismiss group’s petition challenging certification of a final environmental impact report and approval of a shopping center’s use permit based on failure to exhaust administrative remedies or lack of standing, where group’s representatives appeared and objected to city’s proposed actions at each of the hearings before planning commission and each of the hearings before city council, even though group did not file the notice of appeal that brought planning commission’s decision to city council.
     Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi - filed October 11, 2006; publication ordered November 9, 2006, Third District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5466
     Full text 

-Land Use-
Where CEQA petitioner’s representatives appeared and objected to city’s proposed actions at each of the hearings before planning commission and at each of the hearings before city council concerning project, petitioner exhausted its available administrative remedies even though it did not itself file the notice of appeal that brought the decision of the planning commission to the city council.
     Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi (Browman Development Co.) - filed October 11, 2006, publication ordered November 9, 2006, Third District
     Cite as 2006 SOS 5487
     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 only triggered by affirmative actions.
     Western Watersheds Project v. Matejko - filed July 24, 2006, amended November 1, 2006
     Cite as No. 0535178
     Full text

Upcoming Events

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

California's One Action Rule & Anti-Deficiency Laws: Still Around After All These Years
Sponsoring Subsection: Real Estate Finance

This program will provide an overview of California's "one action" and anti-deficiency laws. Dennis Arnold will refresh the memories of those who experienced the last "down" market in the mid- 90's and introduce the topic to those who have only experienced the robust real estate market of the past 10 years. Mr. Arnold will also address recent developments that affect CCP sections 580d, 580a & 726.

Speaker: Dennis B. Arnold, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
Register Online

What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Dealing with Redevelopment Agencies
Sponsoring Subsection:  Commercial Development & Leasing

This program will review the purpose and power of redevelopment agencies and the issues of concern to real estate attorneys when dealing with redevelopment issues.

Steven Gourley, Malek & Malek
Joseph W. Pannone, Kane Ballmer & Berkman
LACBA Conference Center, 281 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles
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
Phillip Nichols
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)