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Andrew Contasti, An Individual; Annette Contasti, An Individual; Joe Hernandez, An Individual v. City of Solana Beach

July 26, 2011

ANDREW CONTASTI, AN INDIVIDUAL; ANNETTE CONTASTI, AN INDIVIDUAL; JOE HERNANDEZ, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF SOLANA BEACH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge:

ORDER

The matter before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative Summary Adjudication of Issues (ECF No. 32) filed by Defendant City of Solana Beach.

I. Undisputed Material Facts

Plaintiffs own two adjacent lots, Lots 9 and 10, located in the City of Solana Beach at 360 North Granados Avenue. Plaintiffs applied for development review permits and structure development permits to build homes on each lot. At a hearing on July 11, 2007, the City Council requested that Plaintiffs reduce the size of the home planned for Lot 9 by 230 square feet. Plaintiffs agreed to the reduction and submitted revised drawings after the hearing, which were approved by the City Council. At the same hearing, the City Council denied the permits for Lot 10. After the hearing, Plaintiffs submitted revised drawings which reduced the size of the home on Lot 10 by 258.25 square feet. At a hearing on September 19, 2007, the City Council denied Plaintiffs' proposed home on Lot 10.

The City Council issued City Resolution 2007-125 denying a development review permit and structure development permit for Lot 10, which states: "The proposed single-family residence is designed in a manner that is incompatible with other nearby residences because it is not compatible with existing or potential future single family development. Adverse effects upon neighboring properties have been identified from this development." (ECF No. 32-3 at 58). The Resolution also states: "The site layout and design of the proposed project do not visually and functionally enhance its intended use as a single-family residence because the bulk and scale of the proposed project is incompatible with nearby structures." Id. at 58-59.

On October 29, 2007, Plaintiffs Andrew Contasti and Joe Hernandez filed a petition for writ of mandate pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1085 and a complaint for damages alleging violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego. On February 15, 2007, Plaintiffs Andrew Contasti and Joe Hernandez filed an amended petition for writ of mandate pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1085 and a complaint for damages alleging violations of due process rights and equal protection pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On August 15, 2008, the state court issued an order denying the petition for writ of mandate pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1085 and sustaining a demurrer to Plaintiffs' claim for violation of equal protection pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The order granted Plaintiffs twenty days to file an amended petition for writ of mandate or to amend the equal protection claim. On September 3, 2008, Plaintiffs Andrew Contasti, Annette Contasti, and Joe Hernandez filed a second amended complaint which asserted claims for inverse condemnation and violation of due process pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The second amended complaint did not contain an amended petition for writ of mandate or an amended claim for violation of equal protection.

On January 28, 2010, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint ("FAC") in the Court which is the operative complaint in this case. (ECF No. 15). Plaintiffs assert two claims for relief. First, Plaintiffs assert that the City Council's denial of Plaintiffs' application for a development review permit and structure development permit for Lot 10 was arbitrary and unreasonable, constituting a deprivation of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment violating 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Second, Plaintiffs assert that the City Council's denial of Plaintiffs' application for a development review permit and structure development permit for Lot 10 constituted a deprivation of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment violating

42 U.S.C. § 1983.

On April 29, 2011, a Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative Summary Adjudication of Issues was filed by Defendant City of Solana Beach. (ECF No. 32). Plaintiffs have not responded to the motion.

II. Discussion

Summary judgment is appropriate under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure where the moving party demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material when, under the governing substantive law, it could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute over a material fact is genuine if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.

A party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the nonmoving party must "go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 324 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)). "Regardless of whether . . . [the nonmoving party] responded at all[] to [a] motion for summary judgment," a court may not grant summary judgment unless the moving party "affirmatively showed" that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Martinez v. Stanford, 323 F.3d 1178, 1182 (9th Cir. 2003). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view all inferences drawn from the underlying facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

A. Claim One - Deprivation of Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment in Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983

Defendant contends that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiffs' first claim for deprivation of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment,on the grounds that the claim is barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs failed to file a writ of mandate under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5 ...


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