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Galland v. City of Clovis

Supreme Court of California

February 5, 2001, Decided

No. S080670.


 [*1008]   [**134]   [***716]  MOSK, J. 

In Kavanau v. Santa Monica Rent Control Bd. (1997) 16 Cal. 4th 761, 782-786 [66 Cal. Rptr. 2d 672, 941 P.2d 851] [****3]  (Kavanau), we decided that under rent control, adjustment of future rents was generally sufficient to compensate for prior rent ceilings that were set so low as to be confiscatory, and that such adjustments precluded a claim for inverse condemnation. We left open the question, however, whether a future rent adjustment, which we will refer to as a Kavanau adjustment, also forecloses a suit for damages for violation of a right to constitutional due process (U.S. Const., 5th & 14th Amends.) under 42 United States Code section 1983 (hereafter section 1983). 3 We address that question here and conclude that a Kavanau adjustment would preclude section 1983 damages if it is adequate to prevent constitutional injury by compensating for previous excessively low rent ceilings. As in Kavanau, we further conclude that this matter must be remanded to the government agency responsible for setting rent ceilings to  [*1009]  attempt to formulate an adequate Kavanau adjustment, subject to judicial review. In the present case, the trial court did not have the benefit of our Kavanau decision, and the Court of Appeal misapplied that decision in concluding [****4]  that a Kavanau adjustment was not available as a matter of law. We further explain that the trial court appears to have made some fundamental errors in determining whether and to what extent the rent ceilings imposed in this case were confiscatory.

 [**135]  We further consider whether unreasonable costs, in the form of administrative and attorney fees, imposed on landlords seeking rent increases, may themselves [****5]  be the basis of a section 1983 claim. We conclude that they may if either of two conditions is present: (1) the costs imposed are part of a government effort to deliberately flout established law, e.g., deliberately obstruct legitimate rent increases; or (2) the landlord suffers confiscation as a result of the imposition of such costs. Because the trial court's method of determining and calculating damages for this type of injury, affirmed by the Court of Appeal, was incorrect, the matter should be remanded to the trial court for reconsideration.


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24 Cal. 4th 1003 *; 16 P.3d 130 **; 103 Cal. Rptr. 2d 711 ***; 2001 Cal. LEXIS 530 ****; 2001 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1034; 2001 Daily Journal DAR 1313

ROGER GALLAND et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. CITY OF CLOVIS et al., Defendants and Appellants.

Subsequent History:  [****1]  As Modified March 21, 2001. The modification does not affect the judgment.

Rehearing Denied March 21, 2001, Reported at: 2001 Cal. LEXIS 1819.

Certiorari Denied October 1, 2001, Reported at: 2001 U.S. LEXIS 5660.

Prior History: Superior Court of Fresno County. Super. Ct. No. 418831-4. Gary Ray Kerkorian, Judge.

Court of Appeal of California, Fifth Appellate District. No. F025257.

Disposition: The judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed with directions to remand the cause to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion, including remand to the City of Clovis if appropriate.


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