At a meeting on October 17, 2006, the City Council decided to present an overview of pending lawsuits filed against the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. To obtain additional information concerning case history, status, and documents filed with the courts, you may visit the appropriate website found at the bottom of this page.
The following cases are open and pending:
Bodiwala, Shipla and Viramontes, William and Rachel (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number BC347943)
This case involves the Pontevedra storm drain that lies in an easement between two homes and empties into a CalTrans storm drain in Western Avenue. Both property owners allege the City storm drain system is failing, causing structural damages to the homes. The complaint is for inverse condemnation and nuisance. The amount of damages claimed by the two homeowners is $5.5 million. The case is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Hickson, Carl, and Clark et al. (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number BC347635)
This case involves three homes allegedly damaged during the February 19-20, 2006 rainstorms and mudslide on Sea Cove Drive. There are multiple defendants, including the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The complaint is for inverse condemnation, dangerous condition of public property, nuisance, negligence, personal injuries, and property damage. The three claims submitted by the parties total $12.1 million. The case is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Indian Ridge Crest Gardens, L.P. v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes Redevelopment Agency, et. al (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC272155).
On April 17, 2002, Indian Ridge Crest Gardens, L.P. filed a lawsuit against the City, the Agency, two City Council Members and the City Attorney seeking unspecified compensatory damages and punitive damages for the City’s and the Agency’s alleged breach of contract relating to the repurchase of property that was being considered for development for an affordable housing project. Motions were filed on behalf of the individual defendants and on behalf of the Agency and the City pursuant to the Anti-Slapp statute. All of the defendants’ motions were granted by the trial court, and judgment was entered. Plaintiff appealed from the court’s orders, and the court of appeal reversed the trial court’s decision regarding the City and the Redevelopment Agency. On remand, a demurrer was filed on behalf of the City, and it was sustained without leave to amend the complaint. Plaintiff appealed from that ruling. On December 1, 2006, the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the Superior Court. No further appeal was filed. Accordingly, the case is concluded.
Kay, James (U.S. District Court Case No. 02-3922-MMM.)
Mr. Kay sued the City in federal court, alleging that certain conditions attached to the conditional use permit (CUP) that was issued by the City to allow antennas on a residential property are invalid under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Mr. Kay also prayed for damages in an unspecified amount and for an award of attorney’s fees. A court trial was held on May 11, 2004. The Court issued its decision on July 13, 2004, finding in favor of the City on all of Mr. Kay’s claims except for his claim that one condition of his Conditional Use Permit violated the Telecommunications Act. Following the District Court’s decision, the City Council amended that condition to conform to the Court’s ruling. Thereafter, the Court denied Mr. Kay’s requests for damages and attorneys’ fees. Mr. Kay has appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and the City filed a cross-appeal. All briefs have been filed. The Court of Appeals has not yet scheduled a date for the oral argument.
Lowrance, Jeffrey (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number YC053707)
This case is related to a motorcycle accident on Palos Verdes Drive South near Schooner Drive on January 9, 2006. The motorcycle allegedly struck a hump in the road, and the rider was thrown from his motorcycle resulting in bodily injuries. The amount of damages has not yet been determined but is estimated to exceed $25,000. The case is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Maus, Rudy and Dakin, Mavis (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number BC351570)
This case alleges that during a heavy rainstorm on February 19 – 20, 2005, the home and property on Sea Cove Drive sustained flood related damages. The complaint is for property damage, personal injury and inverse condemnation. The amount of damages that have been claimed is $200,000. The case is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Monks, John v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, et al. (Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. YS 010425.)
Several landowners have filed a lawsuit claiming that a longstanding moratorium on development in the landslide area of the City causes an unconstitutional taking of their property under the California Constitution, and that the City has made it impossible for the landowners to satisfy the exception to the moratorium that would allow development of their properties and have prayed for damages in an unspecified amount. The State Court action was tried on Plaintiffs’ Petition for Writ of Mandate, and judgment was entered in favor of the City. Plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court for a full evidentiary trial. Trial commenced in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on September 18, 2006.
Monks v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes ( U.S. District Court Case No. 02-5424-RSWL)
The same landowners also have raised a takings claim in federal court, but under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. They also have raised an Equal Protection claim and claims for unspecified damages. The federal District Court has abstained from hearing the entire case until the companion state case (discussed immediately above) is decided.
Taniform, Protus (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number BC356116)
This civil case requests compensation from the City and the company that issued a title insurance policy allegedly for real estate loss and damages associated with the plaintiff’s purchase of real property located at 41 Cherryhill Lane in March 2006. The plaintiff claims damages in the amount of $2,216,000.
Ulman, Dale (Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number YC051480)
This cross-complaint arose out of a claim by the Los Angeles County Sanitation District for damage to their sewer line. Claimant alleges the City failed to disclose the location of the County’s sewer main, which was damaged during private construction by a contractor. The County Sanitation District served Ullman with a complaint for real property damage on September 13, 2005 and Ullman filed a cross-complaint against the City. The case is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
ACCESS TO CASE DOCUMENTS:
To access information concerning case history, status, and documents filed with the courts, you may visit the appropriate website below.
Records of Los Angeles County Superior Court Cases are available online at http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/ the Superior Court of County of Los Angeles website. Under the “Civil” column heading, click on “Case Summaries” then enter the Case Number at the bottom of the page as requested.
Federal case records are available through an electronic public access service called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Visit http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/ to register an account and then download pages to print.