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California Municipal Law Blog

Court Holds Amendments to Heritage Tree Ordinance Are not Exempt from CEQA

by on November 16, 2015

posted in CEQA, Recent Court Decisions,

The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) exempts governmental actions to protect natural resources and the environment from the requirement to prepare an environmental impact report.  In a recent case, a court clarified what standard agencies must meet to justify the use of these exemptions, known by practitioners as the “Class 7” and “Class 8” exemptions. In Save Our Big Trees v. City of Santa Cruz, the San Jose-based Sixth District Court of Appeal held that a city’s use of both exemptions could not be used to justify amendment of its heritage tree ordinance, which was ... Continue Reading

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tags: CEQA, Class 7 Exemption, Class 8 Exemption, Heritage Tree Ordinance,

PERB Releases 2015 Annual Report

by on November 4, 2015

posted in Employment Law,

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has issued their annual report for 2014-15. PERB’s report details the activities of the Board during the preceding year regarding public agency labor relations work among other issues handled by the Board. This year saw the reappointment of Board member Eric Banks, and the appointment of new Board Member Mark Gregersen.  The 74 Board Decisions issued in 2014-15 are down from 87 in 2013-14, however, moving forward into next year, the Board will be fully constituted, while it was one member short for most of 2014-15.  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Annual Report, factfinding, mmba, PERB, representation cases, unfair practices,

Condemnation that Separates Land into Discrete Parts does not “Divide” Land Under Subdivision Map Act

by on November 2, 2015

posted in Eminent Domain, Recent Court Decisions, Subdivisions,

When government condemns a strip of land across a single parcel of property for a public improvement (such as a road), does the condemnation create two legal parcels (one on each side of the strip)?  No, says a recent appellate court opinion.  In Save Mount Diablo v. Contra Costa County, the court held that the physical separation of land by condemnation does not “divide” the land under the Subdivision Map Act (“Map Act”).  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Certificates of Compliance, Condemnation, Court Ruling, Eminent Domain, Lawful Parcel, Subdivision Map Act,

Howell and Uninsured Plaintiffs

by on October 19, 2015

posted in Damages,

A new case came out from the 4th District Court of Appeal applying the Howell rule to uninsured plaintiffs. Bermudez v. Ciolex. The plaintiff in this case was an uninsured pedestrian.  His medical bills were $450,000, none of which were paid.  He requested $691,000-984,000 in future medical expenses. Defense counsel argued the necessity and reasonableness of past medical expenses and suggested that past medical expenses should be $135,000. He did not provide a number for future medicals. The special verdict form awarded $460,431 in past medicals and $425,000 in future medical expenses. The total ... Continue Reading

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tags: Bermudez v. Ciolex, Damages, Howell, medical bills, uninsured pedestrian,

State Supreme Court Expands Government Liability for Dangerous Condition of Public Property

by on August 17, 2015

posted in Damages, Public Works, Recent Court Decisions, Streets and Sidewalks,

A car driving along a road is sideswiped by another car, causing it to veer into a median and hit a tree.  Tragically, all but one of the car’s occupants is killed; the sole survivor is seriously injured.  Although the driver of the other car was clearly at fault, the city that maintained the tree is sued under the theory that the tree’s placement in the median was a “dangerous condition of public property.”  Can the city be held liable? Yes, says the State Supreme Court.  In Cordova v. City of Los Angeles, the Court held that local agencies may be liable for a dangerous condition of ... Continue Reading

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tags: automobile accident, causation, city trees, medians, negligence, Public Beautification Programs,

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