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Decisions In Civil, Contract, Tort, Property and Administrative Matters

By FindLaw Staff on May 27, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Howard v. County of San Diego, No. D055419, the Fourth District dealt with plaintiffs' suit against a county claiming that the county inversely condemned their property when it allegedly refused to process plans for a metal barn on their property, because its location was in the footprint of a potential road.  In reversing the trial court's grant of county's motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissal of the complaint, the court held that the trial court erred in refusing to grant leave to amend because an issue of fact exists as to whether the county's decision was "final" and whether any further attempt by plaintiffs to exhaust their administrative remedies would be futile.  The court went on to hold that, if what plaintiffs seek to accomplish regarding development of their property can only  be remedied through a general plan amendment, they have adequately exhausted their administrative remedies because a general plan amendment is a legislative, not administrative, process. 

Sandarg v. Dental Bd. of California, No. B210072, concerned a challenge to the Superior court's denial of plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate seeking reinstatement of his dental license, which was revoked by the Dental Board of California.  In affirming the denial of plaintiff's petition, the court held that the standard of proof for a petition to revoke a dental licentiate's probation is preponderance of the evidence.  

Huverserian v. Catalina Scuba Luv, Inc., No. B212823, concerned a wrongful death action against a scuba diving equipment rental company for the death of plaintiff's son arising from a scuba diving incident.  In reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, the court held that the exculpatory language at issue is inapplicable and provides no defense upon which summary judgment may be based.     

Adolph v. Coastal Auto Sales, Inc., No. G041771, concerned a plaintiff's suit against an automobile dealer for failing to transfer ownership of a trade-in vehicle to itself, causing her to be charged with parking fines, towing and impound fees, and a tax garnishment related to the trade-in.  In affirming the trial court's denial of defendant's petition to compel arbitration, the court held that the trial court's factual finding that defendant waived its right to arbitrate is supported by substantial evidence.     

Barnett v. First Nat'l Ins. Co. of Am., No. B203310, concerned plaintiffs' suit against their home owner's insurance company for damage to their home.  In affirming the trial court's denial of defendant's request for expert fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 998, the court held that, although in the future the court would consider defendant's settlement offer to plaintiffs valid under section 998, trial court's decision is affirmed.     

Bomersheim v. Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Ctr., No. B208730, concerned plaintiffs' negligence suit claiming that defendant accepted a duty to provide medical care consistent with the applicable standard of care and breached that duty by negligently administering an improper dosage for syphilis.  In reversing the trial court's denial of plaintiff's motion to certify a class, the court held that the trial court's order is based on improper criteria and is not supported by substantial evidence, and class treatment would be a superior method of resolving the claims. 

In re Elec. Refund Cases, No. B206881, concerned plaintiffs' suit against Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Arizona) to recover for the alleged unjust and unreasonable rates the plaintiffs had been charged during the California's energy crisis of May 2000 to June 2001.  In reversing the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, the court held that any failure of the plaintiffs to challenge Arizona's jurisdictional status did not implicate the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine, and as such, it was an error to sustain the demurrer on this ground. 

Beutz v. County of Riverside, No. E046318, concerned a residential property owner's suit against a county to void a landscape assessment on the ground that it violated article XIII D of the California Constitution.  In reversing the judgment in favor of the county, the court held that, although the county properly based the assessment on the larger public improvement project of which the landscaping costs were a part, namely, a master plan to acquire and develop the parks and parks facilities, rather than on the landscape portion of the plan, the county failed to meet its constitutional burden of demonstrating that the assessment was proportional to, and did not exceed, the value of the special benefits that the use and enjoyment of the parks would confer on assessed parcels.  

Scott v. Thompson, No. G041860, concerned a plaintiff's claims for wrongful death, negligence, and dangerous condition of public property arising from a traffic accident in which her half-brother was killed by an intoxicated driver.  In affirming the trial court's judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims and grant of the half-brother's presumed father's motion for summary adjudication, the court held that the plaintiff's lack of standing to challenge the presumed father's paternity under the marital presumption eviscerates her claim.  

Lastly, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, Inc. v. Happening House Ventures, No. A125264, the First District dealt with a free medical clinic's suit for breach of fiduciary duty and other claims against its founder and a limited partnership, formed to assist the clinic by acquiring real estate.  In vacating the trial court's denial of defendant's special motion to strike, the court held that the acts that are protected  under the SLAPP statute are not "merely incidental" to a cause of action simply because they represent a relatively small number of many alleged wrongful acts.   

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