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City of Victorville v. the Superior Court of

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION TWO


December 16, 2010

CITY OF VICTORVILLE, PETITIONER,
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, RESPONDENT; EAGLE RANCH, REAL PARTY IN INTEREST.

(Super.Ct.No. CIVVS901408)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert G.Ochoa, Judge

City of Victorville v. Super. Ct. CA4/2

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

OPINION

ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS; petition for writ of mandate. Petition granted.

INTRODUCTION

In this matter, we have reviewed the petition, the response filed by real party in interest, and petitioner's reply. We have determined that resolution of the matter involves the application of settled principles of law, and that issuance of a peremptory writ in the first instance is therefore appropriate. (Palma v. U.S. Industrial Fasteners, Inc. (1984) 36 Cal.3d 171, 178.)

DISCUSSION

The fatal flaw in real party in interest's attempts to satisfy the claims-filing requirements (Gov. Code, § 900 et seq.), is that neither of the communications were sent to a person named as set forth in Government Code section 915. We recognize that whether a claim satisfies the requirements as to its contents is governed by the "substantial compliance" standard. (Westcon Construction Corp. v. County of Sacramento (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 183, 200.) However, a purported "claim" that is not sent to the proper person fails to comply in a crucial element. (Ibid.)

Here, the first letter was sent to the "city engineer" and the second was apparently sent to a law firm whose connection with petitioner is not clear at all. The clarity and simplicity of Government Code section 915, with respect to the recipient of a claim, both makes it easy to comply on the claimant's part and easy for the public entity to understand the intent of a communication. When an ambiguous communication is sent to a person not named in Government Code section 915, the public entity may disregard it as a claim. The fact that the public entity is aware that the sender asserts some demand or request does not excuse noncompliance. (City of Stockton v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 730.)

As the facts with respect to service of the "claim" are undisputed, resolution of the matter is one of law; there is no "triable issue" within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure section 437c. (See also Schaefer Dixon Associates v. Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 524, 531.)

DISPOSITION

Accordingly, we grant the petition.

Let a peremptory writ of mandate issue, directing the Superior Court of San Bernardino County to vacate its order denying petitioner's motion for summary judgment and to enter a new order granting said motion.

Petitioner is directed to prepare and have the peremptory writ of mandate issued, copies served, and the original filed with the clerk of this court, together with proof of service on all parties.

Petitioner to recover its costs.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

McKINSTER

Acting P.J.

We concur: KING J. MILLER J.

20101216

© 1992-2010 VersusLaw Inc.



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