Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

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Sayta leased a bedroom in a San Francisco apartment; renewal was on a month-to-month basis after August 2013. In 2013-2015, disputes between Sayta and the landlords were taken to the superior court and San Francisco Rent Board. In 2015, Sayta filed contract and tort claims. The landlords cross-complained. A Settlement Agreement included a mutual release, dismissal, withdrawal of pending rent board petitions, termination of Sayta’s tenancy, waiver of unpaid rent, and return of Sayta’s security deposit. The Agreement stated that it “shall remain confidential” and provided for liquidated damages of $15,000 and for summary enforcement (Code of Civil Procedure 664.6). Months later, Sayta claimed he had received only a partial refund and the landlords “had placed [the Agreement] . . . on the public record,” potential landlords had access to the Agreement, and Sayta had been denied housing as a result. The landlords acknowledged providing the Board a copy of the Agreement in response to the Board’s request concerning an earlier-filed proceeding that Sayta had not dismissed. The court of appeal held that, because the parties failed to request, before dismissal, that the trial court retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement, or seek to set aside the dismissals, the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain Sayta's motion. View "Sayta v. Chu" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's finding that defendant violated her settlement agreement with the City and permanently enjoining her from terminating tenancies at 1263–1267-1/2 North Crescent Heights Boulevard in West Hollywood. However, the court reversed the trial court's imposition of a permanent injunction because the injunction in its current state was unenforceable. In this case, defendant offered units 1265-1/2, 1265-3/4 and 1267 for rent within 10 years of their withdrawal. Consequently, defendant must offer the previously withdrawn units for rent or lease to the displaced tenants. However, defendant does not have to offer the units at their previous rental rates. The court explained that, after remand and upon motion, the trial court should exercise its discretion and determine once again which party is entitled to recover attorney fees. View "City of West Hollywood v. Kihagi" on Justia Law

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After a shopping center tenant defaulted on a secured loan, the lender took possession of the premises through foreclosure and transferred its interest to a third party. The third party then surrendered the premises and the landord filed suit against the lender to enforce the lease obligations. The Court of Appeal reversed the grant of summary adjudication for the landlord, holding that the purchase of the leasehold estate in this case—identified in the deed of trust by reference to the lease—did not constitute an express agreement to assume the obligations of the lease. In this case, the record showed that the lender did not expressly assume the lease. View "BRE DDR BR Whittwood CA, LLC v. Farmers & Merchants Bank" on Justia Law

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Duarte's Oakland property was occupied by Bowers. Bowers’s daughter, Pleasants, moved into the property and remained after Bowers died. In February 2012, Duarte gave Pleasants a 45-day notice to quit, but she did not leave. On April 19, Duarte obtained landlord-tenant insurance coverage for the property with Pacific, including “Owners, Landlords & Tenants Liability Coverage,” effective April 19, 2012. In June 2012, Pleasants sued Duarte, alleging that habitability defects had allegedly existed throughout the tenancy. Duarte tendered defense of the suit to Pacific, which denied coverage. Duarte sought a declaration that the policy required Pacific to defend the tenant suit and sought damages for breach of contract. Pacific alleged material misrepresentations by Duarte on the application; he represented that there were no disputes concerning the property although he knew that the tenant had complained to the city and that there was no business conducted on the property although he knew the tenant was running a business. The court of appeal ruled in favor of Duarte. Pacific’s question about the existence of pending claims, property disputes, or lawsuits concerning the property was “utterly ambiguous.” Pacific did not show that Duarte knew a “business” was conducted on the property at the time he submitted his application. View "Duarte v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The landlord filed a unlawful detainer action against Nancy, her adult son Donn, and Donn‘s wife Olga, alleging that they refused to vacate a unit in a building that was withdrawn from residential rental use pursuant the Ellis Act. (Gov. Code 7060). The trial court granted a motion to quash the complaint, finding that the landlord failed to tender a relocation payment to Donn and Olga‘s minor son David, as required by section 37.9A(e) of the San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance. The landlord had paid each of the adults $2,632.55 and had given Nancy another $1,755.03, as payment of the first half of additional relocation payment due to her senior status. The appellate division of the superior court affirmed the trial court‘s order. The court of appeal reversed, holding that a minor displaced by an Ellis Act eviction is not a “tenant” under the Ordinance. The court distinguished between “lawful occupants” and “tenants.” View "Danger Panda, LLC v. Launiu" on Justia Law