COSTA MESA, Calif., July 23, 2014 – Peter Howell, senior counsel, and Ann Levin, associate, with Rutan & Tucker, LLP, California’s largest full-service law firm based in Orange County, recently achieved a victory in an appellate matter for its client City of Laguna Beach.
A married couple and their two minor children filed claims against the City in which they contended they suffered significant health problems and a reduction of real property value as an alleged result of diesel exhaust fumes from a fire station adjacent to the family residence.
The City had rejected the claims, primarily on the ground they were untimely. The family members sued to obtain permission to file late claims, alleging that they had only recently discovered the basis for their claims and further alleging that they had been misled by statements of City employees discounting the dangers of the fumes. The Orange County Superior Court denied the request, the family members appealed, and the Court of Appeal sitting in Santa Ana upheld the decision.
The Court of Appeal concluded there was “overwhelming” evidence showing the family members suspected they had been harmed by the diesel exhaust fumes from the fire station long before the date on which they filed their claims.” The Court of Appeal also concluded that once the family members suspected they had been harmed, any statements made by City employees could change the deadline within which a claim had to be filed.
“This is an extremely important case of interest to all cities and counties in California, as well as their residents and taxpayers, who want to ensure that people claiming personal injuries or real property damages present their claims in a timely manner,” said Phil Kohn, the City Attorney for Laguna Beach.
About Rutan & Tucker LLP
Rutan & Tucker is California’s largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County, California with offices in Costa Mesa and Palo Alto. Primary practice areas include corporate and securities law, business and real estate litigation, labor and employment law, intellectual property, real estate, government and regulatory law, land use law, bankruptcy, condemnation and property valuation, environmental law, and taxation and estate planning. Detailed information about the firm is available at www.rutan.com.