Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The date upon which the cause of action would be deemed to have accrued within the meaning of the Government Claims Act's, Gov. Code, 810 et seq., statute of limitations is the date on which a plaintiff discovers or should reasonably have discovered that she had suffered a compensable injury. The trial court overruled the City's demurrer to a complaint, arguing that the real parties in interest failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement of the Act by not presenting their claim to the City within six months. The Court of Appeal held that the parties in interest presented their claim to the City more than 10 months after the date upon which the cause of action accrued and thus failed to comply with the claim presentation requirement. Accordingly, the court granted the City's petition for writ of mandate. View "City of Pasadena v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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On remand from the California Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal applied the analysis mandated by Los Angeles County Bd. of Supervisors v. Superior Court, (2016) 2 Cal.5th 282, 300, and considered supplemental briefs from the parties. In this case, the ACLU sought disclosure under the California Public Records Act (PRA) of billing invoices sent to the County by its outside attorneys. The superior court granted the ACLU's petition for writ of mandate and compelled disclosure, and the County challenged that decision via a petition for a writ of mandate in this court. The court granted the County's writ petition and remanded for further proceedings. View "County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The Park and Malibu Bay petitioned the trial court to have Measure R, an initiative designed to limit large developments and chain establishments, declared invalid. The trial court granted the petition and defendants appealed. The Court of Appeal held that Measure R exceeds the initiative power because it invalidly annuls or delays executive or administrative conduct. The court also held that Measure R's conditional use permit (CUP) is illegal because it conditions the CUP on the character of the permittee or applicant rather than on the use of the land. The court declined to sever the invalid portions of Measure R and affirmed the judgment. View "The Park at Cross Creek v. City of Malibu" on Justia Law

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The trial court held that the rate charged by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for transporting water (“wheeling”) violated several laws and awarded the San Diego County Water Authority damages for breach of a water exchange agreement between the two agencies. The court held that the Authority lacked standing to challenge a provision in water conservation program contracts between the parties that penalizes the Authority for participating in litigation or supporting legislation to challenge or modify Metropolitan’s existing rate structure. The court of appeal remanded. The trial court erroneously held that although Metropolitan is required to pay its pro rata share of the costs of maintaining the California Aqueduct, these costs may not be considered in calculating Metropolitan’s wheeling charges, essentially because Metropolitan does not own the aqueduct. The inclusion of Metropolitan’s system-wide transportation costs, including transportation charges paid to the State Water Project, in the calculation of its wheeling rate does not violate the wheeling statutes, common law, or the parties’ agreement. The allocation of “water stewardship” charges to the wheeling rate was proper. The Authority has standing to challenge the unconstitutional anti-litigation condition. View "San Diego County Water Authority v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California" on Justia Law

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A.J. and R.G. were the parents of three children, then-aged ten, nine and seven years old. In November 2011, A.J. was arrested and deported to Mexico after he assaulted R.G. R.G. obtained an order prohibiting A.J. from having contact with her and the children. After A.J. was deported, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (Agency) investigated 13 child protective services referrals on behalf of the children. The referrals were largely related to R.G.'s alcohol use and failure to supervise the children. In February 2013, October 2013, and February 2014, the Agency substantiated allegations that R.G. was neglecting the children. In October 2015, the Agency detained the children in protective custody and initiated dependency proceedings after an "extremely intoxicated" R.G. was arrested and jailed on charges of grand theft. A.J. appealed after a 12-month review hearing at which the juvenile court returned his children to their mother's care. He contended the court erred when it found that he had been offered or provided reasonable services. The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the reasonable services finding as to A.J. In all other respects, the findings and orders were affirmed. View "In re A.G." on Justia Law

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Grist Creek owns property in Mendocino County on which it has aggregate and asphalt processing operations. The County Air Quality Management District approved a permit to construct a “Crumb Rubber Heating and Blending Unit” for the production of rubberized asphalt, on the property. The District Hearing Board’s four members who considered an appeal split evenly on their vote; the Board stated no further action would be taken, leaving the permit in place. Oponents filed a petition for writ of administrative mandate, claiming that Grist Creek should have conducted an environmental review and that the District and Hearing Board violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA, Pub. Resources Code, 21000) and District regulations by failing to require one. The trial court dismissed the action against the Board with leave to amend, finding the tie vote was not a decision, so there was nothing to review. The court of appeals reversed. The Board’s tie vote, in this context, resulted in the denial of the administrative appeal, subject to judicial review. View "Grist Creek Aggregates, LLC v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The Dissolution Law directed redevelopment agencies to continue making payments on enforceable obligations, but prohibited those agencies from incurring additional obligations, freezing all such activities. the day before the Dissolution Law was signed by Governor Brown and became effective, City of Big Bear Lake and its former redevelopment agency, knowing about the imminent change of law and the Legislature’s intent, signed the Cooperation Agreement, under which, the City agreed to transfer to City of Big Bear Lake $23.5 million and the city agreed to undertake specified public improvements. Also on that day, the City entered into an agreement with Matich Corporation for street and drainage improvements for about $2.5 million. The city also had a 2006 agreement with Wireless Consulting – Joseph A. Cylwik (also referred to as Cylwik Property Management) to provide engineering services on an as-needed basis. Under this contract, Cylwik Property Management provided services related to the Matich Corporation project. In this case, the issues presented centered on: (1) whether the Matich and Cylwik contracts (the contested transactions) did not create enforceable obligations of the former redevelopment agency; (2) whether the Dissolution Law’s invalidation of sponsor agreements (agreements between a city and its former redevelopment agency) did not violate the California Constitution; and (3) whether it was irrelevant that City of Big Bear Lake claimed it no longer possessed the funds it received from the former redevelopment agency. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court with respect to these issues, and concluded the statutory remedy of offsetting City of Big Bear Lake’s sales, use, and property taxes to capture a $2.6 million was unconstitutional. Therefore, the Court modified the trial court’s judgment to the extent it found the proposed sales, use, and property tax offsets constitutional. View "City of Big Bear Lake v. Cohen" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs and appellants Eugene G. Plantier, as Trustee of the Plantier Family Trust (Plantier); Progressive Properties Incorporated (Progressive); and Premium Development LLC (Premium), on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated (collectively plaintiffs), appeal the judgment in favor of defendant and respondent Ramona Municipal Water District (District or RMWD). On appeal, plaintiffs contend the trial court erred when it found there was a mandatory exhaustion requirement in section 6 of article XIII D. Plaintiffs further contended they satisfied the administrative remedy in the Ramona Municipal Water District Legislative Code, and that, in any event, the exhaustion doctrine in section 6 should not have been applied to them because the remedy therein was inadequate and because it was "futile" to purse any administrative remedy under this constitutional provision. The Court of Appeal concluded plaintiffs' class action was not barred by their failure to exhaust the administrative remedies set forth in section 6 because plaintiffs' substantive challenge involving the method used by District to calculate its wastewater service fees or charges was outside the scope of the administrative remedies, and because, under the facts of this case, those remedies were, in any event, inadequate. View "Plantier v. Ramona Municipal Water Dist." on Justia Law

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Casiopea Bovet, LLC appealed a judgment on the pleadings granted in favor of the California State Controller (Controller) on grounds that Casiopea could not claim escheated property under the Unclaimed Property Law as an assignee of Financial Title Company (Financial Title) because Financial Title was a suspended corporation, which lacked legal capacity to prosecute an action. Casiopea argued on appeal: (1) the penalty provisions of Revenue and Taxation Code section 23301 should not apply to a claim made pursuant to an assignment ordered under the Enforcement of Judgments Law as distinguished from a voluntary assignment under Civil Code section 954; (2) Casiopea, as an assignee, was an "innocent third party" and should be able to claim the property under equitable principles; and (3) the court abused its discretion in denying Casiopea's request for continuance or leave to amend its complaint. The Court of Appeal disagreed with each of these contentions and affirmed the judgment. View "Casiopea Bovet, LLC v. Chiang" on Justia Law

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Monterey County entered into an agreement with the Monterey County Deputy Sheriffs Association, including a longevity performance stipend that provided that a member of the Association who achieved 20 years of service with the county and a satisfactory or outstanding performance evaluation could receive an additional stipend of up to eight percent. Plaintiffs sued the county, the Sheriff’s Office, and the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), seeking to compel the county to report the longevity performance stipend to CalPERS as an item of special compensation and to compel CalPERS to include the longevity performance stipend in calculating their retirement benefits. The trial court ruled as a matter of law that the longevity performance stipend was not reportable to CalPERS as an item of special compensation under California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 571(a), and granted judgment on the pleadings. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the longevity performance stipend does not qualify as an item of special compensation that must be reported to CalPERS and included in the calculation of plaintiffs’ retirement benefits. View "DiCarlo v. County of Monterey" on Justia Law