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Introductory Remarks
Save the Date
CLE Anytime
Recent Cases

The Real Property Section Newsletter is published monthly by the Real Property Law Section.

Teresa Y. Hillery
Vice President and Trial Counsel
Fidelity National Law Group


Real Property Executive Committee:


Caroline Dreyfus

First Vice Chair
Claire Hervey-Collins

Second Vice Chair
Eric Altoon

Misty Sanford

Nedra E. Austin

Immediate Past Chair
Susan J. Booth

Barristers Liaison
Christopher Bordenave

Section Administrator
Fatima Jones



Janna Boelke
James Earle
George Fatheree
Daniel L. Goodkin
Owen P. Gross
Marybeth Heydt
Teresa Y. Hillery
Ben Howell
Laurence L. Hummer
Donna E. Kirkner
Trudi Lesser
Daniel K. Liffmann
Linda E. Spiegel
Kelsey M. Thayer
Loretta Thompson
Seth Weissman



Michael Bayard
Elizabeth Spedding Calciano
Norm Chernin
Brant H. Dveirin
Peter Gelles
Byron Hayes
Gordon Hunt
Bryan Jackson
Michael Klein
Mark Lamken
Gregg Loubier
Victor Marmon
Jerold L. Miles
O'Malley Miller
Donald Nanney
Gytis Nefas
Sarah Spyksma
Theresa Tate
Timothy Truax
Richard Volpert
Ira Waldman,
Pamela Westhoff
Norma Williams


Commercial Development and Leasing
Marcia Gordon

L. Adam Winegard
Jane Hinton
General Real Property
Rachel Sanders
Land Use Planning & Environmental Law
Beth Hummer
Title Co-Chairs
Brendan B. Penney
Vanessa A. Widener



Introductory Remarks

As summer comes to an end, remember to take advantage of our great educational resources.

Teresa Y. Hillery
Editor, Real Property Section Newsletter
E-mail address:

Save the Date

October 18

Bankruptcy Drivers of Real Estate Financing Structures

January 17

Silly and Sometimes Stupid Opinion Requests in Financing Transactions

March 21

Affordable housing finance, including a discussion on tax credits and related issues

April 18

2017-2018 - Recent Developments in Real Estate Finance

May 16

How is the Capital Stack Stacking up in 2018?


LACBA Real Property CLE Anytime

Even if you can't attend our Real Property Section events, you can earn CLE credit by viewing our streaming videos. Here are a few options. Click any link below.

A Practical Guide to the Subdivision Map Act
Annual Construction Law Update and Flaig Award
Arbitration Provisions in Leases and Purchase and Sale Agreements: Considerations and Insights

Recent Cases
- Airport Runway -

The Federal Aviation Administration properly determined that a proposed airport runway project would have no significant impact on the environment after studies on the projected increase in air traffic and lead emissions indicated the emissions would remain well below the de minimis level.

Barnes v. Federal Aviation Administration - filed Aug. 3, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 14-71180
Full text click here >

- CEQA -

While federal law preempts state regulation of rail transportation, mere application of state law does not constitute "regulation," and application of the California Environmental Quality Act is not categorically preempted as applied to a state railroad project.

Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority (Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company) - filed July 27, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 3686
Full text click here >


A regularly scheduled meeting of a community college's board of trustees provided members of the public with an opportunity to raise objections to a proposed development project. Persons who did not take advantage of that opportunity are barred from raising their objections in a California Environmental Quality Act suit. CEQA did not require a public agency to complete an environmental impact report for development of a property before signing a purchase agreement that conditioned the opening of escrow on the completion of the EIR. A purchase agreement is not a CEQA project if nothing in the purchase agreement commits a public agency to a definite course of development and there were no development plans in existence when it signed the agreement. A community college was exempt formally adopting local implementing CEQA guidelines since it uses the guidelines of another agency whose geographic boundaries encompass the college.

Bridges v. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District (Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District) - filed Aug. 8, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 3996
Full text click here >


The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act provides a party who has resolved its liability for a "response action" with a statutory right to seek contribution from any person who is not a party to the settlement, but a CERCLA-specific settlement agreement is not a necessary prerequisite to the pursuit of a CERCLA contribution claim. A "corrective measure" in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act qualifies as a "response action" under CERCLA. A party resolves its liability for a response action by entering into a settlement agreement that sets forth its obligations for the response actions or costs, with certainty and finality. A covenant not to sue or release from liability conditioned on completed performance does not undermine such a resolution, nor does a settling party's refusal to concede liability.

Asarco LLC v. Atlantic Richfield Company - filed Aug. 10, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 14-35723
Full text click here >

- Eminent Domain -

A property owner's act of closing off public access to a beach constitutes "development" under the California Coastal Act. A requirement that a person obtain a permit before engaging in a certain use of property is not a governmental "taking." A temporary injunction barring property owner from blocking public access to a beach is not a per se physical taking. Where it has been determined that a court action eliminates an established property right and would be considered a taking if done by the legislative or executive branches of government, it must be invalidated as unconstitutional, whether under the takings or due process clauses.

Surfrider Foundation v. Martins Beach 1, LLC - filed Aug. 9, 2017, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4047
Full text click here >

- Equitable Title -

The doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded a litigant from asserting a claim that he held equitable title to a property under an installment sale contract after he raised this same argument as a defense in an earlier unlawful detainer action.

Ayala v. Dawson - filed Aug. 4, 2017, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 3926
Full text click here >

- Landlord Tenant -

Where a landlord instructed that rent be remitted in the form of a postal order, mailed to his Post Office box, and the tenant did so prior to the due-date for the rent, payment was timely made notwithstanding that it was not received.

Sleep EZ v. Mateo; Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles - filed April 4, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 3575
Full text click here >

- Partition -

A court may not order a partitioning of property by the appraisal method--whereby each half-owner could bid to purchase the other half-owner's interest, with the minimum bid set by appraisal--where the parties had not agreed to that method.

Cummings v. Dessel - filed July 19, 2017, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 3620
Full text click here >

- Title Defect -

A title insurance company owed no coverage for a defect in the title for a parcel of property after its insured transferred ownership of the property to a third-party through a non-judicial foreclosure sale. There is no obligation to pay benefits under a title policy unless there is a loss. A secured lender suffers an indemnifiable "loss" under a title policy only if the lender fails to recoup the debt because of an undisclosed senior lien. Buyers who purchase property without a warranty receive the property in whatever condition title was in at that time.

Hovannisian v. First American Title Insurance Company - filed July 25, 2017, publication ordered Aug. 11, 2017, Fifth District
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4083
Full text click here >

- Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act -

A property owner's alleged fraudulent attempt to insulate the equity in his property from creditors by naming a sham corporation as the beneficiary on the deed of trust constituted a "transfer" under the former Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. The seven-year limitations period for actions under the UFTA is a substantive statute of repose that completely extinguishes a right or obligation, and it is not subject to forfeiture.

PGA West Residential Association, Inc. v. Hulven International, Inc. - filed Aug. 9, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 4035
Full text click here >


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