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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/14/2019 at 09:27:47 (UTC).

TABITHA QUIROZ ET AL VS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/12/2016 TABITHA QUIROZ filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are STEPHEN P. PFAHLER and HOLLY J. FUJIE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6770

  • Filing Date:

    04/12/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

STEPHEN P. PFAHLER

HOLLY J. FUJIE

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

QUIROZ MARIO

QUIROZ TABITHA

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Defendants

CORRALES RAYMOND

DEL SOL REALTY INC.

HABER BARBARA

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OF

HABER ROBERT

PRITCHARD KATHY

RTH REALTY INCORPORATED

MARTINEZ FRANK

ADEPT PROPERTY SOLUTIONS

FAJARDO YASMIN M.

RBC INC.

FRIES JOSH

BRAVEHEART PEST AND TERMINTE CONTROL

FAJARDO JOSEPHINA

FAJARDO JOSEPHINA (G.F.S.)

DEL SOL REALTY INC. (G.F.S.)

FAJARDO JOSEPHINA G.F.S.

BAKER ROBERT SCOTT

28 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAW OFFICE OF EDWARD S. ORCHON

ORCHON EDWARD STEPHEN

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

SHAVER DAVID NEAL ESQ.

SCHONEMAN TINA L.

CLOUSE RICHARD ROSS

GROSS MARTIN D. ESQ.

GORDON GREGORY H. ESQ.

GORDON GREGORY HOWARD ESQ.

CARLSON MARK C. ESQ.

CARLSON MARK CHRISTOPHER ESQ.

HOULE RICHARD ESQ.

SCHONEMAN TINA LYNN

MCMAHON LYNCH LAW FIRM

GROSS MARTIN DAVID

THOMAS ALLEN LEE

GROSS MARTIN DAVID ESQ.

Defendant and Cross Defendant Attorneys

THOMAS ALLEN LEE

GROSS MARTIN DAVID ESQ.

8 More Attorneys Available

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

8/11/2017: Minute Order

Other -

10/6/2017: Other -

Notice of Settlement

11/8/2017: Notice of Settlement

Notice of Ruling

4/6/2018: Notice of Ruling

Legacy Document

5/3/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

5/11/2018: Legacy Document

Application

6/19/2018: Application

Demand for Jury Trial

7/19/2018: Demand for Jury Trial

Legacy Document

7/19/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

8/14/2018: Legacy Document

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

8/23/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Certificate of Mailing for

3/28/2019: Certificate of Mailing for

Motion to Compel

4/4/2019: Motion to Compel

Ex Parte Application

5/13/2019: Ex Parte Application

Minute Order

5/15/2019: Minute Order

CIVIL DEPOSIT

9/9/2016: CIVIL DEPOSIT

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

4/7/2017: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

Notice

8/14/2017: Notice

145 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/13/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department F49 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Jury Trial

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  • 04/02/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department F49 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Final Status Conference

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  • 02/19/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department F49 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC)

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  • 08/05/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F49, Stephen P. Pfahler, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 07/29/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F49, Stephen P. Pfahler, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Responses to Special Interrogatories (Set One)) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 07/29/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F49, Stephen P. Pfahler, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Responses to Request for Production of Documents (Set One)) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 07/29/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F49, Stephen P. Pfahler, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Responses to Form Interrogatories (Set One)) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 07/26/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F49, Stephen P. Pfahler, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Responses to Special Interrogatories (Set One)) - Not Held - Trailed

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Responses to Special Interrogator...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/25/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F49, Stephen P. Pfahler, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Responses to Form Interrogatories (Set One)) - Not Held - Trailed

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286 More Docket Entries
  • 08/15/2016
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Frank Martinez (Defendant); Braveheart Pest and Terminte Control (Legacy Party)

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  • 08/15/2016
  • DocketAnswer to Complaint; Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketANSWER OF DEFENDANT COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO COMPLAINT

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES (Legacy Party)

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  • 04/12/2016
  • DocketVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR: 1) NEGLIGENCE; ETC

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  • 04/12/2016
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Tabitha Quiroz (Plaintiff); MARIO QUIROZ (Plaintiff); TABITH QUIROZ (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/12/2016
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 04/12/2016
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued

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  • 04/12/2016
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 04/12/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Tabitha Quiroz (Plaintiff); MARIO QUIROZ (Plaintiff); TABITH QUIROZ (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC616770    Hearing Date: December 11, 2020    Dept: F49

Dept. F-49

Calendar # 1

Date: 12-11-20 c/f 12-10-20

Case #BC616770

Trial Date: 1-19-21 c/f 4-13-2020 c/f 8-5-19

DISCOVERY

MOVING PARTY: Defendants/Cross-Defendants/Cross-Complainants, Romeo and Rachel Stoll

RESPONDING PARTY: Unopposed/Plaintiffs Tabitha and Mario Quiroz

RELIEF REQUESTED

Motion to Compel Depositions of Mario and Tabitha Quiroz

Motion to Compel Site Inspection of the Quiroz Property

Joinder, Cross-Defendant, Palmdale Water District

SUMMARY OF ACTION

On June 6, 2014, Plaintiffs Tabitha and Mario Quiroz purchased a home from Defendants Robert and Barbara Haber. The house is located at 455 Westlake Drive in Palmdale. Plaintiffs allege the defendant sellers, real estate brokers and home inspectors failed to adequately inspect and/or disclose defects on the property. Plaintiffs also allege Defendant brokers referred unqualified home inspectors. As to the County of Los Angeles, Plaintiffs allege the County and adjacent property owners Romeo and Rachel Stoll (444 Westlake Drive) improperly diverted water towards the property thereby causing damage.

On April 12, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a verified 17 cause of action complaint for Negligence (1st – 5th, 12th & 16th causes of action), negligent misrepresentation (6th – 8th & 13th causes of action), Fraud (9th – 10th & 14th Causes of Action), and punitive damages (identified as a cause of action).

Plaintiffs settled with certain broker and termite inspector defendants, and dismissed them.

On May 3, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint for Negligence (5th, 12th & 16th causes of action), negligent misrepresentation (13th & 16th causes of action), Fraud (17th Cause of Action), Nuisance, Trespass, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, and punitive damages (identified as a cause of action).

On April 2, 2018, the court granted County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Flood Control District leave to file a cross-complaint against Romeo and Rachel Stoll for indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief. The County parties allege the Stolls poured a concrete swale on their property, so as to cause extra water run-off into the Quioz property.

On July 25, 2018, Romeo and Rachel Stoll answered and filed a cross-complaint against County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Flood Control District for indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief. On July 12, 2019, cross-complainants Romeo and Rachel Stoll substituted in the City of Palmdale for Roe 1, then dismissed the City of Palmdale on September 16, 2019. On October 3, 2019, Romeo and Rachel Stoll substituted in Palmdale Water District for Roe 2.

On January 24, 2020, the court entered the parties stipulation allowing for the filing by Romeo and Rachel Stoll of a first amended cross-complaint for Total Equitable Indemnity, Partial Equitable Indemnity, Declaratory Relief, Contribution, and Demand for Attorney Fees.

RULING: Granted.

Defendants/Cross-Defendants/Cross-Complainants, Romeo and Rachel Stoll move to compel the depositions of Plaintiffs Tabitha and Mario Quiroz. Moving parties originally noticed the deposition for September 16, 2020. When Plaintiffs failed to appear, moving parties took notices of non-appearance.

Defendants/Cross-Defendants/Cross-Complainants, Romeo and Rachel Stoll moves to compel compliance with the demand for inspection of premises. Moving Parties served an inspection demand on August 4, 2020 for an inspection date of August 17, 2020. Plaintiffs were not home on the date of the scheduled inspection, and were unable to gain access to the premises.

Plaintiffs submitted no opposition to the motions. The motions are granted.

A party may file a motion to compel deposition upon a non-appearance of the noticed party. “If, after service of a deposition notice, a party to the action … without having served a valid objection … fails to appear for examination, or to proceed with it … the party giving the notice may move for an order compelling the deponent's attendance and testimony…” (Code Civ. Proc., §2025.450, subd. (a).)

The court orders the parties to meet and confer regarding the mutual setting of a deposition for Plaintiffs Mario and Tabitha Quiroz to occur within 15 days of this order. If the parties are unable to agree, Moving Parties may unilaterally pick a date, attempt to conduct the deposition, and take a second notice of non-appearance. The subsequent non-appearance may constitute grounds for an evidentiary, issue or even terminating sanction. (Code Civ. Proc., §2025.450, subd. (h).)

“A party may demand that any other party allow the party making the demand, or someone acting on the demanding party's behalf, to enter on any land or other property that is in the possession, custody, or control of the party on whom the demand is made, and to inspect and to measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the land or other property, or any designated object or operation on it.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.010, subd. (d).)

The inspection is to occur within the next 15 days. The parties are to mutually agree to a respective date and time. If the parties cannot agree, moving parties may unilaterally pick a date and time. Like the depositions, failure to comply a second time will constitute potential grounds for further sanctions.

Sanctions in the amount of $500. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2025.450, subd. (g), 2031.300, subd. (c).)

January 19, 2021 trial date to stand.

Moving party to give notice.

Dept. F-49

Calendar # 5

Date: 12-11-20 c/f 12-10-20 c/f 11-30-20

Case #BC616770

Trial Date: 1-19-21 c/f 4-13-2020 c/f 8-5-19

SUMMARY JUDGMENT

MOVING PARTY: Cross-Defendant, Palmdale Water District

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendants/Cross-Defendants/Cross-Complainants, Romeo and Rachel Stoll

RELIEF REQUESTED

Motion for Summary Judgment on the First Amended Cross-Complaint

SUMMARY OF ACTION

On June 6, 2014, Plaintiffs Tabitha and Mario Quiroz purchased a home from Defendants Robert and Barbara Haber. The house is located at 455 Westlake Drive in Palmdale. Plaintiffs allege the defendant sellers, real estate brokers and home inspectors failed to adequately inspect and/or disclose defects on the property. Plaintiffs also allege Defendant brokers referred unqualified home inspectors. As to the County of Los Angeles, Plaintiffs allege the County and adjacent property owners Romeo and Rachel Stoll (444 Westlake Drive) improperly diverted water towards the property thereby causing damage.

On April 12, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a verified 17 cause of action complaint for Negligence (1st – 5th, 12th & 16th causes of action), negligent misrepresentation (6th – 8th & 13th causes of action), Fraud (9th – 10th & 14th Causes of Action), and punitive damages (identified as a cause of action).

Plaintiffs settled with certain broker and termite inspector defendants, and dismissed them.

On May 3, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint for Negligence (5th, 12th & 16th causes of action), negligent misrepresentation (13th & 16th causes of action), Fraud (17th Cause of Action), Nuisance, Trespass, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, and punitive damages (identified as a cause of action).

On April 2, 2018, the court granted County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Flood Control District leave to file a cross-complaint against Romeo and Rachel Stoll for indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief. The County parties allege the Stolls poured a concrete swale on their property, so as to cause extra water run-off into the Quioz property.

On July 25, 2018, Romeo and Rachel Stoll answered and filed a cross-complaint against County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Flood Control District for indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief.  On July 12, 2019, cross-complainants Romeo and Rachel Stoll substituted in the City of Palmdale for Roe 1, then dismissed the City of Palmdale on September 16, 2019. On October 3, 2019, Romeo and Rachel Stoll substituted in Palmdale Water District for Roe 2.

On January 24, 2020, the court entered the parties stipulation allowing for the filing by Romeo and Rachel Stoll of a first amended cross-complaint for Total Equitable Indemnity, Partial Equitable Indemnity, Declaratory Relief, Contribution, and Demand for Attorney Fees.

RULING: Denied.

Request for Judicial Notice: Granted.

The court acknowledges the objections to the request for judicial notice, and only grants judicial notice regarding the actual filing of the subject items, but not the content of any presented documents for purposes of establishing any truth of the matter asserted.

Evidentiary Objections to the Separate Statement of Palmdale Water District: Overruled.

The court finds the declaration of expert Keegan supported and admissible. Furthermore, contrary to certain objections, Keegan in fact visited the site regardless of the argument in opposition that the Stolls denied Keegan entry to their property, combined with the lack of any declaration from the Stolls actually attesting to said denial of entry. [Index of Exhibits, Ex. H: Declaration of Kevin Keegan, ¶¶ 4, 13.]

Evidentiary Objections

· Pekin Declaration: Overruled.

· Chang Declaration: Overruled.

· Stoll Declaration: Overruled.

· Haber Deposition: Overruled.

· Separate Statement of the Stolls in Opposition: Overruled

Palmdale Water District moves for summary judgment on the first amended cross-complaint. Moving party brings the instant motion on multiple grounds, including: failure to timely serve a government claim; the water drainage constitutes a privileged, consented to, and reasonable action, and caused no damage; and, cross-complainants cannot state a claim for indemnity without any basis of liability against the water district.

Government Claim

Moving party contends the government claim was untimely filed. Cross-Complainants stated in responses to special interrogatories, that the facts giving rise to the indemnity claim occurred when the first amended complaint was served on them by Plaintiffs on June 19, 2018. [Index of Exhibits, Ex. J, Response to Special Interrogatory, number 1.] The government claim was not filed until September 10, 2019. [Index of Exhibits, Ex. L.]

Notwithstanding the verified response to special interrogatory number one admitting to a June 19, 2018 awareness date, responding parties counter that they only first became aware of the Palmdale Water District water line maintenance practices on May 8, 2019, when the fire hydrant was utilized. The second time occurred on July 10, 2019. The claim was filed in September 2019—within the one year of the accrual of the claim. The continuous course of conduct prevents a specific single accrual period.

For purposes of calculating time limits for a government claim, the date of action accrual is the same date of accrual pursuant to the applicable statute of limitations. (Loehr v. Ventura County Cmty. College Dist. (1983) 147 Cal. App. 3d 1071, 1078.) Cross-Complainants allege first discovering the maintenance practices causing the water flow to their property on July 10, 2019. [Decl. of Rome Stoll, ¶ 6.] Moving party in reply reiterates the late government claim.[1]

Neither party addresses the legal standard for accrual of an indemnity claim itself—the foundation of the operative pleading. “The indemnity action … does not accrue for statute of limitations purposes when the original accident occurs, but instead accrues at the time that the tort defendant pays a judgment or settlement as to which he is entitled to indemnity.” (People ex rel. Dept. of Transportation v. Superior Court (1980) 26 Cal.3d 744, 748.) Plaintiffs’ underlying action which triggered the subject indemnity cross-complaint continues. While Cross-Complainants were required to submit a claim in order to proceed with the action against Moving Party, nothing in the mere service of Cross-Complainants without any conclusive adjudication on the claim leads to a finding of the accrual of the cause of action for timely government claim purposes.

To the extent Moving Party only and exclusively moved for summary judgment on the entire action, the motion is denied on this basis in that Moving Party fails to establish an invalid government claim. Given the other arguments can adjudicate the entire action, the court addresses the remaining arguments.

Privileged Activity

Moving party next contends that any water run-off caused by maintenance of the water line via flushing water from a fire hydrant on upslope property on May 8, July 10 and October 8, 2019, channeled into a “natural watercourse,” which Plaintiff’s property intersects. All water stayed in the natural watercourse, and caused no flooding or nuisance. Responding Parties counter that under the objective standard of review for water discharge, triable issues material fact exist regarding the reasonableness of moving parties maintenance practices. Moving party reiterates the reasonableness of the water release in conjunction with the water line maintenance practices.

A claim of liability against the government entity finds support where the discharge of water is found unreasonable.

“When alterations or improvements on upstream property discharge an increased volume of surface water into a natural watercourse, and the increased volume and/or velocity of the stream waters or the method of discharge into the watercourse causes downstream property damage, a public entity, as a property owner, may be liable for that damage. The test is whether, under all the circumstances, the upper landowner's conduct was reasonable. This rule of reasonableness applies to both private and public landowners, but it requires reasonable conduct on the part of downstream owners as well. This test requires consideration of the purpose for which the improvements were undertaken, the amount of surface water runoff added to the streamflow by the defendant's improvements in relation to that from development of other parts of the watershed, and the cost of mitigating measures available to both upper and downstream owners. Those costs must be balanced against the magnitude of the potential for downstream damage. If both plaintiff and defendant have acted reasonably, the natural watercourse rule imposes the burden of stream-caused damage on the downstream property.

(Locklin v. City of Lafayette (1994) 7 Cal.4th 327, 337.)

“The rule we deduce from these and other authorities is that the upper owner has the right to discharge reasonable and noninjurious amounts of irrigation water through natural areas of flow onto the lower owner's property. The lower owner has a co-equal burden to receive reasonable and noninjurious amounts of irrigation water through natural flowage channels. It further appears that the construction of artificial drainage systems by the upper owner may increase the velocity though not the volume of discharge.”

(Martinson v. Hughey (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 318, 328.)

The parties submit competing expert declarations. Moving party submits the declaration of civil engineer Kevin Keegan. [Index of Exhibits, Ex. H.] Keegan states the water discharge practices by the Palmdale Water Distrcit complied with industry standards for non-erosive drainage, thereby constituting a reasonable practice. [Keegan Decl., ¶¶ 16-19.] The Stolls submitted their own civil engineering expert declaration from Wayne Chang. [Decl. of Wayne Chang.] Chang also inspected the property, and concludes that the reasonableness of any water flow cannot be determined without proper testing and observation. [Chang Decl., ¶¶6, 7.]

While the Chang declaration definitively declines to state the release was unreasonable in direct contradiction to Keegan, the declaration establishes triable issues of material fact on grounds that any determination of reasonableness cannot be determined as a matter of law for purposes of ruling on the instant motion for summary judgment. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843; Hinesley v. Oakshade Town Center (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 289, 294.)

Given the minimal argument and lack of evidence from either party on actual damages to the property, the court declines to consider this argument, and need not consider it either way for purposes of this portion of the motion.

Indemnity

To the extent the water run-off was both privileged and caused no damage, moving party contends the indemnity claim fails. Responding parties contend with the argument that liability remains disputed.

For the reasons addressed above, the court finds triable issues of material fact on the issue of indemnity. Moving party fails to definitively establish reasonable conduct, and therefore a lack of liability. Also, as referenced above, the indemnity claim has not accrued yet, given the lack of any actual payment on a claim for damage. (Jocer Enterprises, Inc. v. Price (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 559, 574.)

Doctrine of Consent

Moving party lastly contends that cross-complainants lack proof of the non-consensual release of the water, thereby undermining the claim of nuisance. According to moving party, the disclosure of the “Natural Drainage Course” condition during the sale of the property constitutes an act of consent for the subject water drainage. Responding parties counter that the disclosures in no way covered the flushing activities into the natural water course.

“Accordingly, when it appears the defendant conducted a lawful activity on a landowner's property with the consent of the landowner, the landowner will be precluded from pursuing a cause of action for nuisance based upon that consensual activity.” (Beck Development Co. v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1160, 1215.) The court continued to address the affirmative defense and made clear that determination is both factual, and that it will not automatically excuse a public nuisance claim. (Id. at pp. 1215-1216.)

Even if the defense applied to all causes of action and not just the nuisance claim, a successful argument still depends on a finding of reasonableness. As addressed above, triable issues of material fact remain on grounds of reasonableness of the discharged water, and therefore the subject argument also fails.

For all the reasons stated, the motion for summary judgment is denied.

January 19, 2021 trial date to stand.

Moving party to give notice.


[1]The parties also submit arguments regarding inverse condemnation and trespass. Neither of these claims were raised in the pleading or motion and are therefore not substantively addressed.

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