VOLUME 12 | NUMBER 5 | MAY 2017
dark blue triangle in newsletter heading
Introductory Remarks
Coming Events
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:


Susan J. Booth

First Vice Chair
Caroline Dreyfus

Second Vice Chair
Claire Hervey-Collins

Eric Altoon

Misty Sanford  

Immediate Past Chair
Brant Dveirn  

Barristers Liaison
Christopher Bordenave

Section Administrator
Fatima Jones



Nedra E. Austin
Janna Boelke
James Earle
George Fatheree
Robert T. Flick
Daniel L. Goodkin
Owen P. Gross
Marybeth Heydt
Teresa Y. Hillery
Ben Howell
Laurence L. Hummer
Trudi Lesser
Kyle B. Marks
Beth Peterson
Linda E. Spiegel
Kelsey M. Thayer
Loretta Thompson
Seth Weissman



Michael Bayard
Norm Chernin
Peter Gelles
Byron Hayes
Gordon Hunt
Bryan Jackson
Michael Klein
Mark Lamken
Gregg Loubier
Victor Marmon
O'Malley Miller
Donald Nanney
Gytis Nefas
James Richman
Ronald Silverman
Sarah Spyksma
Theresa Tate
Timothy Truax
Richard Volpert
Ira Waldman,
Pamela Westhoff
Norma Williams
Paula Reddish Zinneman


Commercial Development and Leasing
Marcia Gordon
Construction Law
Donna Kirkner
Jane Hinton
General Real Property
Rachel Sanders
Land Use Planning & Environmental Law
Beth Hummer
Title Insurance
Zi Lin



Introductory Remarks

Please join us June 21, 2017, as we honor award recipients for their outstanding contributions to the real estate industry and install the incoming officers for 2017-2018!

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

Coming Events

June 21, 2017
City Club Los Angeles
6:00 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner

Honoring Award Recipients

Sandra Yavitz, Real Estate Industry Award
Philip G. Nichols, Outstanding Real Estate Attorney
George Fatheree III & Grace Winters, Outstanding Young Lawyers
Jona Goldrich, Ira E. Yellin Posthumous Award

and Installing the Incoming Officers for 2017-2018

Caroline W. Dreyfus Chair
Claire Hervey Collins First Vice Chair
Eric Altoon Second Vice Chair
Misty M. Sanford Treasurer
Nedra Austin Secretary
Susan J. Booth Outgoing Chair Ex-Officio

More Information


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
- CEQA -

County agriculture commissioner's issuance of an erosion-control permit was a ministerial act exempt from CEQA. Although the ordinance under which the permit was issued may allow the commissioner to exercise discretion when issuing erosion-control permits in some circumstances, petitioners failed to show that the commissioner improperly determined that issuing the challenged permit was ministerial. Most of the ordinance's provisions that potentially confer discretion did not apply to the project, and petitioners failed to show that the few that might apply conferred the ability to mitigate potential environmental impacts to any meaningful degree.

Sierra Club v. County of Sonoma (Ohlson) - filed April 21, 2017, First District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2149
Full text click here >


A developer whose project survives a CEQA challenge may obtain a fee award as a private attorney general under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1021.5 if the requirements of the statute are met. A citizens' group that unsuccessfully challenged a project was not a party against whom a Sec. 1021.5 award could be made, because it did nothing to compromise public rights.

Save Our Heritage Organisation v. City of San Diego (Plaza de Panama Committee) - filed April 27, 2017, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2208
Full text click here >


Changes in college's modernization project--including a decision to demolish, rather than renovate, one building complex while renovating two buildings originally slated for demolition--amounted to a modification of the project, so college was required to conduct subsequent review under CEQA. Defendants' use of an addendum to the previously approved mitigated negative declaration violated the subsequent-review provisions because there was substantial evidence to support a fair argument that the project changes might have a significant effect on the environment.

Friends of College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District - filed May 5, 2017, First District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2390
Full text click here >

- Equitable Easement -

Trial court did not abuse its discretion by awarding plaintiff an equitable easement--based on a balancing of hardships--over a small portion of defendant's property based on evidence that defendant did not use that portion and that the easement would allow plaintiff to access a third-party property over which he would have an easement by necessity.

Hinrichs v. Melton - filed May 3, 2017, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2334
Full text click here >

- Loan Modification -

Defendant mortgage lender—by notifying plaintiff that he had 15 days to appeal denial of his request for loan modification—materially violated Civil Code Sec. 2923.6(d), which allows a borrower 30 days to appeal. Plaintiff pled a cause of action for injunctive relief under the statute notwithstanding his failure to appeal within 30 days.

Berman v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. - filed April 11, 2017, publication ordered May 3, 2017, Third District
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2329
Full text click here >

- Land Use -

Action seeking to halt construction of public facility in coastal zone on the grounds that the "site development permit" had expired was untimely. Both Government Code Sec. 65009 and local land use ordinance required that the action be brought within 90 days of the issuance of the building permit.

Citizens for Beach Rights v. City of San Diego - filed March 28, 2017, publication ordered April 20, 2017, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2110
Full text click here

- Leases -

In a condemnation action in which defendants sought to introduce evidence of the value of their land for an underground natural gas storage project based on reservoir volume, trial court properly considered evidence showing the development of an independently operated gas storage market that relies exclusively on surface acres as the valuation metric. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding a volume-based valuation approach based on defendants' failure to present any evidence this approach had ever been used in the market for natural gas storage leases.

Central Valley Gas Storage v. Southam - filed April 19, 2017, publication ordered May 11, 2017, Third District
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2413
Full text click here >


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