In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed the trial court’s determination that the firm’s client was the prevailing party and therefore entitled to his costs of suit in a contentious view rights case. [Tavangarian v. Florman (Jan. 25, 2012, 2d Cir.) 2012WL208061, B227269 (not reported in Cal. Rptr. 3d)]
The case was a perfect example of the complex and emotionally charged nature of most neighbor v. neighbor and view rights cases. It also confirms that view right cases require mastering the intricacies and subtle nuances that can make or break your client’s case.
Plaintiff and defendant both own properties with stunning ocean views in the Marquez Knolls area of Pacific Palisades, nested right between world-famous Malibu and Santa Monica. Plaintiff sued to stop the construction of a new home on defendant’s land claiming that the view from his multimillion dollar home would be impacted by the new structure. The experience and expertise of attorney Keith Turner and his legal team, including associate Vartan Saravia, was crucial to defeat the attempts to hinder the rightful construction of our client’s new home, and to impose restrictive covenants running with the land. Our attorneys also succeeded at overpowering an aggressive plaintiff, a well-known developer and real estate speculator in the Los Angeles area, and some questionable litigation tactics by an overzealous counsel.
This case also highlights the importance of offering the right evidence in view rights cases, including in the form of expert testimony, experienced surveyors, and professional photographers, and knowing how to best present it to the court. As the Court of Appeal put it:
There was substantial evidence supporting the trial court’s express and implied findings that the construction of the house on Defendant’s Property did not unreasonably obstruct the views from Plaintiffs’ Property, either before or after the lawsuit was filed. This evidence consisted of statements in the declarations filed in support of defendant’s opposition to plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, as well as photographs attached thereto.