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Law Alerts!

California Supreme Court Upholds San Jose's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance As Valid Land Use Restriction
In a unanimous decision that included two concurrences, the California Supreme Court upheld San Jose's inclusionary housing ordinance against a facial challenge that alleged an unconstitutional taking of the developer's property interests. See California Bldg. Indus. Ass'n v City of San Jose (June 15, 2015, S212072) 2015 Cal App Lexis 3905. The ordinance requires developers to price at levels affordable to low and moderate income households at least 15 percent of all for-sale units in all-new residential developments creating 20 or more new units.
Trial Court's Discretion to Award Costs to Prevailing Defendant in FEHA Action Is Subject to Christiansburg Standard
The California Supreme Court held that a prevailing defendant in an action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Govt C §§12900–12996) is entitled to an award of costs only in the discretion of the trial court under Govt C §12965(b) and not as a matter of right under CCP §1032(b). Williams v Chino Valley Indep. Fire Dist. (2015) 61 C4th 97, 105. The court found that §12965(b) is an express exception to §1032(b) and thus governs costs awards in FEHA cases, noting that this determination is consistent with federal courts' interpretation of similar language in the Americans With Disabilities Act (see 42 USC §12205). 61 C4th at 108.
Amendments to the California Family Rights Act Regulations Take Effect on July 1, 2015
The Office of Administrative Law has approved the California Fair Housing and Employment Council's proposed amendments to the regulations implementing the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (Govt C §12945.2). The amendments will take effect on July 1, 2015. The CFRA's regulations are currently found in 2 Cal Code Regs §§11087–11098.
New Digital Privacy Rights for Minors in California
As of January 1, 2015, a new California law grants several new privacy protections to California minors. See Bus & P C §§22580–22582. Most notably, one new provision (called the "Eraser Law") requires an operator of an Internet website or mobile app to permit a minor who is a registered user of the operator's website or app to remove (or to request and obtain removal of) content or information posted by the minor, with certain exceptions. Operators are also required to provide notice to minors of their right to remove content or information as specified.
Congress Extends Foreclosure Postponements for Military Servicemembers
At the 11th hour (late December, 2014), Congress extended special provisions in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) (50 USC App §§501–597a) that mandate postponement of a foreclosure on a military servicemember's property. See Pub L 113–286.
Equitable Redemption: California Legislature Breathes New Life Into an Old Doctrine
A revision to the California Enforcement of Judgments Law (EJL) this year resurrected the judicial doctrine of equitable redemption and almost went unnoticed. It is a significant remedy for former real property owners who have lost their properties in execution of judgment sales under the EJL, and the doctrine might even be invoked by borrowers after a judicial foreclosure.
Effective January 1, 2015, New Court Holiday Will Affect Litigation Deadlines
Government Code §6700(a), which lists California state holidays, will include an additional holiday effective January 1, 2015. Assembly Bill 1973 added Native American Day to the list, and it's slated to occur every fourth Friday in September. In 2015, Native American Day will fall on September 25th.
California State Bar to Undertake Second Revision of Rules of Professional Conduct
he California Supreme Court has returned to the State Bar 17 revisions to the California Rules of Professional Conduct that the Bar had previously submitted to the court. The court asked the State Bar to set up a second commission to further revise the rules. The original set of revisions was drafted by a State Bar commission of attorneys over a 10-year period beginning in 2001. Those revisions generally followed the ABA's Model Rules format, albeit with many significant departures from the substance of the ABA Model Rules. In August the State Bar requested the court to return the rule submissions for reconsideration and restructuring of the rule revision process. In September the supreme court granted that request and returned the filings to the State Bar, along with a letter asking the State Bar to establish a second commission by Thanksgiving, with a deadline for submission of final rule changes by the end of March 2017.
California Retroactively Extends Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief, But Only For 2013
At the end of July, the California state legislature enacted an extension of its modified conformity to federal mortgage debt forgiveness tax relief for 1 year, through 2013. The law allows exclusion of income realized as a result of debt reduction on a taxpayer's principal residence resulting from a loan modification, workout, short sale, foreclosure, or deed in lieu of foreclosure. It was retroactively extended to apply only to discharges occurring on or after January 1, 2013, and before January 1, 2014. Qualified principal residence indebtedness is limited to $800,000 ($400,000 for married/RDP filing separate), and taxpayers may exclude from gross income up to $500,000 ($250,000 for married/RDP filing separate) of mortgage debt forgiven.
Amendment to California's Prevailing Wage Laws Requires Construction Contractor Registration
Covered Proposals and Contracts: A new issue facing counsel involved in construction law is the contractor registration requirement (see Stats 2014, ch 28, §§62–63) enacted in June as an amendment to California's prevailing wage laws (Lab C §§1770–1815). These laws govern all public works and many hybrid construction projects, and establish minimum wages and overtime pay for covered laborers. The 2014 amendment applies "to any bid proposal submitted on or after March 1, 2015, and any contract for public work" governed by the prevailing wage laws "entered into on or after April 1, 2015."