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Blank v. Kirwan

Supreme Court of California

August 1, 1985

L.A. No. 32012

Opinion

 [*316]  [****2]  [**60]  [***720]     We must decide whether efforts to influence municipal action that are intended to and actually do produce anticompetitive effects are violative of the Cartwright Act when both private individuals and public officials participate. We conclude the act does not apply and hence the judgment must be affirmed.

 [**61]  I

The factual background and procedural history of this action are somewhat complicated. On June 29, 1978, the city council of defendant City of Bell enacted Ordinance No. 806, which legalized the operation of poker clubs in the city and established a structure of regulation. In August 1978 the city council adopted zoning ordinances adding a new zone classification for commercial and manufacturing uses (the C-M zone) to the city's zoning regulations and reclassifying to the C-M zone a certain 20-acre parcel controlled by defendants Crow, Crow Los Angeles No. 8, and Trammell Crow  [*317]  Co. (hereafter the Crow defendants). 2  [***721]  Poker clubs were designated as one of a number of permitted uses in the C-M zone. The voters of the city subsequently approved the zoning ordinances.

 [****3]  In the fall of 1978 plaintiff and defendant California Bell Operations (a limited partnership whose general partners were defendants Kirwan, Gasparian, and Simonian) each applied for a poker club license. In December 1978 the city council approved the application of California Bell Operations. At plaintiff's request the city council put off its consideration of his application because he had not obtained, as Ordinance No. 806 required, a lot of at least 7.5 acres properly zoned. California Bell Operations had previously obtained such a lot in the 20-acre parcel.

On July 17, 1979, plaintiff filed his original complaint in this action. In May 1980 the city council formally denied plaintiff's application. In October 1980 plaintiff filed his first amended complaint, in which he alleged six causes of action: (1) violation of his civil rights, against all named defendants and all doe defendants including public officials of the City of Bell; (2) unfair competition ( Bus. & Prof. Code, § 16700 et seq.), against all defendants except the City of Bell; (3) unfair competition (id., § 16600), against Crow Los Angeles No. 8 and Kirwan; (4) unfair competition (id., § 17200), against [****4]  all defendants except the City of Bell; (5) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, against all defendants except the City of Bell; and (6) declaratory relief. In July 1982 plaintiff amended his first amended complaint to name defendant Werrlein, a former member of the city council, as one of the doe public-official defendants.

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39 Cal. 3d 311 *; 703 P.2d 58 **; 216 Cal. Rptr. 718 ***; 1985 Cal. LEXIS 308 ****; 1985-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P66,741

WARREN BLANK, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. KEVIN KIRWAN et al., Defendants and Respondents

Prior History:  [****1]  Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. C-291713, Eli Chernow, Judge.

Disposition: For the foregoing reasons, the judgment is affirmed. 1

CORE TERMS

government action, cause of action, poker, allegations, public official, first amended complaint, conspiracy, zone, trial court, legalize, anti trust law, prosecute, effects, sham, the Cartwright Act, anticompetitive, subdivision, demurrers, of the Sherman Act, coconspirator, defendants', Antitrust, unfair competition, city council, of the Cartwright Act, initiation, monopolize, ordinances, contends, asserts

Civil Procedure, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Defects of Form, Demurrers, Pleading & Practice, Pleadings, Rule Application & Interpretation, Amendment of Pleadings, Leave of Court, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Civil Rights Law, Section 1983 Actions, Elements, Protected Rights, Constitutional Law, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Protection of Rights, General Overview, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Conspiracy Against Rights, Elements, National Origin & Race, Antitrust & Trade Law, Sherman Act, Exemptions & Immunities, Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, Right to Petition Immunity, Scope, Exemptions, Governments, Courts, Judicial Comity, US Department of Justice Actions, Civil Actions, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom to Petition, Regulated Practices, Price Fixing & Restraints of Trade, Local Governments, Claims By & Against, Separation of Powers, Criminal Law & Procedure, Abuse of Public Office, Illegal Political Activity, Penalties, Cartels & Horizontal Restraints, Trade Practices & Unfair Competition, Trademark Law, Federal Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising, Vertical Restraints, Torts, Prospective Advantage, Intentional Interference, Commercial Interference, Business Torts, Legislation, Overbreadth, Licenses, Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Affirmative Defenses, Abuse of Discretion, Service of Process