Court Rules in Tramonto Dispute

A State Court of Appeal has affirmed a summary judgment in the continuing Castellammare litigation battle that pitted a homeowner against another neighbor and the local homeowners association…. Franzen was lead counsel in this case, and Palisades Attorney Keith Turner, who is of counsel to his office, worked extensively in the successful summary judgment. Mark Robertson, an associate with Franzen, worked on the Rochmans’ appellate briefs.

 Real the full Palisadian Post article here.

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HOA Board Director conflicts of interest (Castellammare litigation)

The Court of Appeal issued its decision affirming summary judgment in the long standing Castellammare litigation.  The action was filed in 2006 by Saied Kashani to challenge the  Castellammare Homeowners Association’s requirement that he erect story poles to determine the impact his proposed 7,000 square foot home would have on  the ocean and mountain views enjoyed by the neighbors.  Kashani also sued the adjoining property owners Doreen and Jerry Rochman, and their son Harvey Rochman who also lives in Castellammare.  Kashani claimed that the Rochmans used the influence and control as members of the Association Board to essentially deny his building plans.  In essence, the court of appeal ruled that the Rochmans did nothing wrong and affirmed summary judgment against Kashani on all causes of action.  This is an important ruling because it bears on what responsibilities directors of homeowners’ associations have to association members.

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Neighbor Disputes: Law and Litigation

Keith Turner and Don Franzen have been acknowledged as consultants in a new book,Neighbor Disputes: Law and Litigation. Published by the California State Bar Continuing Education Program, the book covers all aspects of neighbor disputes, including view rights, boundary line disputes, and tree-related disputes. More information can be found on the State Bar’s Continuing Education Website.


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100% Attorney’s Fees Win in View Rights Case

The Turner Law Firm was awarded 100% of its attorney’s fees and costs in a view rights dispute.   The case is important because it concerns the reciprocal nature of statutory attorney’s fees provisions, including whether they apply if the defendant prevails in the action on the grounds that the statute is not applicable. Continue reading

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View Rights Dispute in Malibu

It is time to change California law so as to provide property owners with some basic view rights.  English common law long ago recognized the doctrine of “ancient lights,” under which a landowner acquired, by interrupted user, an easement over adjoining property for the passage of light and air.  However, California courts rejected this doctrine during our relative early history. Rather, the only view rights that exist under California law are those provided by deed restrictions, such as CC&Rs, or in a few singular cities, such as Malibu or Tiburon, or if the property falls within the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Act.

The story in the January 29, 2012 Los Angeles Times provides another example of why California law should change.  The incredible drummer Chad Smith (*) (Red Hot Chili Peppers), with the backing of most of his celebrity-neighbors, is trying to save his view that apparently will be unreasonably obstructed by one of those faux Tuscan mansions. Continue reading

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example of preliminary injunction denied (Marquez Knolls)

Many view rights cases are effectively decided at the TRO or preliminary injunction stage, to stop construction of the new or bigger home or structure.   Thus, both sides have to present their best evidence at the beginning of the case.

Tavangarian v. Florman (Jan. 25, 2012, 2d Cir.) 2012WL208061 (B227269) (not reported in Cal. Rptr. 3d) is example of the complex and emotionally charged nature of most neighbor v. neighbor and view rights cases. It also confirms that view right cases require mastering the intricacies and subtle nuances that can make or break your client’s case. Continue reading

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injunction granted – for failure to obtain HOA’s Architectural Committee approval

The recent Tesoro del Valle Master Homeowners Association v. Griffin case provides a good example of power of a well-functioning HOA/ Architectural Control Committee to deny a homeowner’s construction project, and to its right and power to go to court for injunctive relief for removal of a project that it did not approve. Continue reading

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View Rights; Ocean Views; Trees; Spite Fences; and Jury Instructions

On April 15, 2011, the Fourth District of the Court of Appeal issued a decision reversing the San Diego Superior Court in a spite fence case. Vanderpol v. Starr, filed April 15, 2011, Fourth District, Div. One, Cite as D056599. The case involved a classic variation of the neighbor vs. neighbor dispute regarding a row of trees that the downhill neighbor refused to trim, which obstructed the uphill neighbor’s ocean view. Continue reading

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Inverse Condemnation 101; Property Owners Near LAX Lose

On April 12, 2011, the Second District of the Court of Appeal issued its decision in City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Plotkin) (Court of Appeal Case No. B225082).
The case provides a good overview of inverse condemnation law. Continue reading

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New L.A. Ordinance Restricting Size Of Hillside Homes: Baseline Hillside Ordinance

There is another tool in the view rights arsenal: On April 6, 2011, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed new Baseline Hillside Ordinance (“BHO”) (also commonly referred to as the Hillside Mansionization Ordinance), which goes into effect on May 9, 2011. This Ordinance, along with the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (“BMO”) that was adopted in June 2008, are part of the City of Los Angeles’ attempt to regulate “out-of-scale single-family development in the City of Los Angeles.” However, those seeking to build large homes generally dispute whether their home is “out-of-scale.” Continue reading

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