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VOLUME 15 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2020
dark blue triangle in newsletter heading
Introductory Remarks
CLE Anytime
Recent Cases

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

Rachel M. Sanders
Senior Counsel | Real Estate Litigation
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP


Real Property Executive Committee:


Kelsey M. Thayer 

Vice Chair (Programming)
Teresa Y. Hillery 

Vice Chair (Communications)
Rachel M. Sanders

Vice Chair (Membership)
Daniel K. Liffmann

Owen P. Gross

Trudi J. Lesser

Immediate Past Chair
Eric A. Altoon



Norman A. Chernin
Claire Hervey Collins
Caroline Dreyfus
Brant H. Dveirin
Kimia Ghalambor
Marcia Gordon
Jane L. Hinton
Laurence L. Hummer
Danielle Katzir
Linda E. Spiegel
Ira J. Waldman

Law School Liaison
Misty M. Sanford

Barrister’s Liaison (non-voting)
Vivienne Chen

Section Administrator
Fatima Jones



Commercial Development and Leasing Subsection, Co-Chairs
Steven Farenbaugh
Dan Villalpando

Construction Law Subsection, Chair
John D. Hanover

General Real Property Subsection, Co-Chairs
Michael Davis
Joe Dzida

Land Use Planning and Environmental Law, Subsection Chair
Julie Hamill

Real Estate Finance Subsection, Co-Chairs
Mark Hikin
Gretta Moy

Title Insurance Subsection, Co-Chairs
James H. Treadwell



Roy H. Aaron*
Eric A. Altoon 
Michael J. Bayard
Stephen M. Blitz
Susan J. Booth
Elizabeth Spedding Calciano
Robert E. Carter
Norm Chernin
R. Bradbury Clark*
Claire Hervey Collins 
Professor William Coskran
Caroline Dreyfus
Anson Dreison*
Brant H. Dveirin
Peter Gelles
Gail Gordon
Byron Hayes, Jr.
Gordon Hunt
Bryan C. Jackson
Michael S. Klein
Preston Kline*
Bernard Kolbor
Robert Krueger*
Mark L. Lamken
Marvin Leon
Gregg J. Loubier
Victor I. Marmon
Jerold L. Miles
O’Malley M. Miller
Rodney Moss*
Donald C. Nanney
Gytis L. Nefas
Carl B. Phelps
Laurence G. Preble
James D. Richman
Peter E. Robinson
Floyd Sayer*
Margaret J. Schock
Ronald I. Silverman
Sarah V.J. Spyksma
Theresa C. Tate
Timothy M. Truax
Richard S. Volpert
Ira J. Waldman
Alan Wayte
Pamela L. Westhoff
John W. Whitaker
George H. Whitney*
Norma J. Williams
John M. Yunker, Jr.
Paula Reddish Zinnemann




Introductory Remarks

Kelsey ThayerAs the new Chair of the Real Property Section, I have the distinct privilege to share with you who we are and what we do, and invite you to become more involved in our dynamic group.

After graduating law school, I knew I wanted to find a way to become engaged in the Los Angeles real estate legal community and start building my professional network.  For me, joining the Real Property Section was a no-brainer – the Section provides a unique opportunity to connect with and learn from the best real estate lawyers across Southern California (and beyond).  After several years as a member, I decided to become more involved by joining the Executive Committee as the liaison of the Barristers/Young Attorneys Section.  Since that time, I’ve worn several different hats on the Executive Committee, including Vice Chair of Membership and Vice Chair of Programming.  Serving on the Executive Committee with such a stellar group of real estate lawyers has truly been one of the highlights of my legal career.  I am continually inspired by our members’ passion, commitment to volunteerism, and genuine comradery.

I am so honored to lead the Section this upcoming year and continue our proud traditions.  This year will undoubtedly be filled with uncertainties and challenges, but I am excited to see what we can accomplish together as leaders of the real estate legal community. 

A core mission this year is for the Section to serve as a catalyst for change.  The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others have ignited a national dialogue about racial injustices.  As real estate practitioners, it is important to reflect upon the country’s history of racist real estate development practices and exchange ideas about improving race equity.  This year, we will not only create CLE programs tackling racism in the world of real estate, but collaborate with minority bar associations, diversify membership, and organize a number of informal, round-table discussions about race and privilege.  We hope you lend your voice to this conversation. 

The Real Property Section has been a provider of top-notch CLE programs for many decades, and this year will be no exception.  Our exciting slate of programs will cover a broad range of real estate topics, including land-use planning, environmental law, finance, title insurance, construction law, commercial development, leasing, and general property law.  The Section also strives to be the “go to” resource for topical programs related to COVID-19.  The aftershock of the pandemic will be felt for quite some time, and we will be here to provide you with practical solutions for navigating the multitude of new COVID-19 issues confronting our industry.  While we miss seeing you in person, virtual programming has given our Section a new platform to reach more people than ever before, not only across Los Angeles County but nationwide. 

We are excited to once again partner with the California Lawyers Association for our flagship Crocker Symposium this fall.  This year, the Crocker Symposium will offer curated programs in the areas of finance, leasing, and homelessness, with speakers who are the best of the best.  It is an event not to be missed, and we look forward to seeing you there!

With nearly 750 members, this Section represents a cross-section of the real estate community, with transactional lawyers and litigators at firms of all sizes; attorneys working in house, at non-profits, at title companies, and in government; and a litany of other real estate professionals.  The Section caters to seasoned and newer attorneys alike.  Perhaps more importantly than ever, we plan to hold several networking events this year so that our members have an outlet to mix and mingle, exchange ideas, and meet potential clients and referral sources.  Stay tuned for details on our first virtual networking event.

Want to get involved?  Of course you do!  Getting involved in the Real Property Section can take many forms, including joining a committee, speaking at a CLE program, helping organize (or simply attending) an event, participating in a diversity initiative, or submitting information for our monthly newsletter. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at if you are interested in learning more or have any questions.  I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.  I look forward to an exciting and productive year!

Kelsey Thayer
Chair, Real Property Section

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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.

Completion Guaranties: Negotiating and Drafting Tips
Supporting Women Real Estate Attorneys – Empowerment Strategies
Recent Developments in Real Estate Finance
Nuts and Bolts of Commercial Real Estate Foreclosure

Recent Cases

Public Resources Code §21080.09 does not shield public universities from complying with the California Environmental Quality Act when they make discretionary decisions to increase enrollment levels.

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods v. Regents of the University of California - filed June 25, 2020, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3119
Full text click here >

- Development -

A claim challenging an agency’s interpretation of a condition of approval for the development of a property does not accrue for purposes of the statute of limitations until it is clear what interpretation the agency has adopted and that the interpretation is the agency’s final position.

Honchariw v. County of Stanislaus - filed June 25, 2020, Fifth District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3124
Full text click here>

- Endangered Species Act -

The full, five-factor threats analysis under Endangered Species Act §4 only applies when making a decision to delist, not when reviewing the status of a species; the Fish and Wildlife Service must still determine on whether there is a sufficiently distinct and protectable remnant population, so that the delisting of a distinct population segment will not further threaten the existence of the remnant.

Crow Indian Tribe v. United States - filed July 8, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 18-36030
Full text click here >

- Environmental Impact -

The Bureau of Land Management did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when it chose to geld and release a portion of the male wild horse population in Nevada to restore ecological balance to the area; an environmental impact statement was not required since the BLM used the existing evidence to assess the level of uncertainty and made reasonable predictions based on prior data to conclude that there would be no significant environmental impact. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act did not require BLM to discuss explicitly all expert opinions submitted during the public-comment period.

American Wild Horse Campaign v. Bernhardt - filed July 2, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 18-17403
Full text click here >

The Bureau of Land Management’s 2017 offer and sale of oil and gas leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska represented an irretrievable commitment of resources necessitating site-specific analysis in an environmental impact statement; a programmatic EIS prepared for a broad-scale land use plan categorically can provide the site-specific analysis required for irretrievable commitments of resources.

Northern Alaska Environmental Center v. U.S. Department of the Interior - filed July 9, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 19-35008
Full text click here

- Foreclosure -

Under Nevada law, a promise to make a payment at a later date or once a certain condition has been satisfied cannot constitute a valid tender; a mere offer to pay at a later time, after the superpriority amount is determined, does not constitute a valid tender. Acts that immediately or potentially threaten a debtor’s possession of its property are barred by a bankruptcy stay until such property is no longer property of the estate.

CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Corte Madera Homeowners Association - filed June 19, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 17-16404
Full text click here >

- Homeowners Bill of Rights -

The Homeowners Bill of Rights clearly prescribes a definition for the full owner-occupied term; the fact that a person may reside at a property does not mean it is her principal residence.

Adams v. Bank of America - filed June 30, 2020, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3251
Full text click here >

- Minerals -

Dinosaur fossils were not within the ordinary and natural meaning of minerals and so fossils found on a property belong to the owner of the surface estate

Murray v. BEJ Minerals - filed June 17, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 16-35506
Full text click here >

- Proposition 65 -

An administrative body making a quasi-legislative decision is not generally required to either make findings or explain how the evidence supports its decision; it cannot be assumed that committee members, who were made up of independent experts and twice instructed to follow guidance criteria, were led astray by the chairperson’s somewhat confusing and possibly erroneous interpretation of the guidance criteria.

American Chemistry Council v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment - filed June 10, 2020, publication ordered July 8, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3386
Full text click here >

- Quiet Title -

Under 12 U.S.C. §4617(b)(12), a quiet title action is a contract claim that is subject to a statute of limitations of at least six years.

M & T Bank v. SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC - filed June 25, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 18-17395
Full text click here >

- Title -

The beneficiary of an indisputably valid deed of trust on a property had no legal obligation to monitor the status of its title or to take affirmative steps to rid public records of improperly recorded documents relating to the property.

WFG National Title Insurance v. Wells Fargo Bank - filed June 12, 2020, publication ordered July 7, 2020, Second District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S.3392
Full text click here >

Although a purchaser may rely on the recorded chain of title, the purchaser may not ignore information that comes to him from outside the recorded chain of title, to the extent such information puts him on notice of information that reasonably brings into question the state of title reflected in the recorded chain of title; there is no authority requiring that an index search need be performed using a middle name as a first name.

Vasquez v. LBS Financial Credit Union - filed June 17, 2020, publication ordered July 14, 2020, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3552
Full text click here >

- Water Regulation -

The State Water Resources Control Board possesses broad authority to regulate the unreasonable use of water in this state by the adoption of regulations establishing minimum flow requirements protecting the migration of threatened fish species during drought conditions and declaring diversions of water unreasonable where such diversions would threaten to cause the flow of water in the creeks in question to drop below required levels; adoption of such regulations is a quasi-legislative act that is reviewable by ordinary mandamus. Neither the due process guarantees of the federal and California Constitutions, nor Article X, §2 of the California Constitution require the board to hold an evidentiary hearing prior to adoption of a regulation governing reasonable water use.

Stanford Vina Ranch Irrigation Company v. State of California - filed June 18, 2020, Third District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2974
Full text click here >


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