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Mobilehome Park Conversion Damages Case Dismissed

Aleshire & Wynder’s Rent Control and Mobilehome Park Law Team (including Partners Bill Wynder, Sunny Soltani, and Associate Jeff Malawy) are pleased to report a victory in what we believe is the first decision in a damages lawsuit involving regulation of mobilehome park conversions.

In 2007 and 2008, Carson adopted a moratorium on mobilehome park conversions and an ordinance requiring resident support in order for a conversion to be approved.  James Goldstein, the wealthy owner of Colony Cove Mobile Estates mobilehome park, sued the City for $78,500,000 in inverse condemnation and substantive due process damages allegedly caused by the ordinances.  He had previously filed petitions for writs of mandate to facially invalidate the ordinances as preempted by state law.  (See, Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson (2010) 187 Cal. App. 4th 1487.)

Aleshire & Wynder attorneys demurred to the damages lawsuit, arguing that the parkowner failed to exhaust his administrative and judicial remedies before bringing the damages claim -- essentially, a facial writ challenge to the ordinances does not exhaust remedies because it does not challenge a final decision applying the ordinance to the plaintiff.  We also argued his damages claims were barred by the statute of limitations.

On March 23, 2011, Judge Joanne O'Donnell of the Los Angeles County Superior Court sustained the City's demurrer without leave to amend, thereby dismissing the entire damages lawsuit.  The decision is a significant victory for all municipalities with mobilehome park residents throughout the state.

Feel free to call Bill Wynder, Sunny Soltani, or Jeff Malawy at (949) 223-1170 for more information.