Nonsuit Obtained by Senior Litigator, Harold W. Potter, on behalf of the City of Fullerton

Senior Litigator Harold W. Potter obtained a nonsuit on January 14, 2016, after the close ofplaintiffs evidence, in a case entitled Teresa Silva v. City of Fullerton. Silva sued Fullerton alleging a violation of her civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, along withvarious pendenstate law claims,stemming from code enforcement activities on her rental property in Fullerton that housed an unpermitted granny unit” above a detached garage. Silva contended the code enforcement activities against her were selective, in that neighboring properties were also unpermitted but not required to bring their structures up to code. Silva also alleged city personnel had a vendetta against her causing her to suffersevere emotional distress and trauma.

Potter made the oral motion, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §581(c), immediately after the close of plaintiffs opening statement.The court reserved its ruling without prejudice and allowed plaintiff to present evidence. Potter followed the oral motion with written points and authorities during plaintiffs presentation of her case. The Court allowed plaintiff the opportunity to file an opposition to Potters motion, which the Court referred to as epic.

After plaintiff rested, the Court granted the nonsuit. In ruling on the motion, the Court opinedplaintiff failed to establish evidence of disparate treatment or selective enforcement and that the actions of Fullerton were justified, reasonable and subject to various governmentalimmunitiesMoreover, the Court found the action was time barred due to plaintiffs prior knowledge of her claims and her failure to strictly comply with the government claim statuterelated to her state causes of action.

The evidence established thegranny unitwas built on top of unreinforced adobe, did not have smoke detectors, the balcony railings were of insufficient height and unsupported andthe electrical system was woefully deficient.

Although Fullerton granted plaintiff a conditional use permit to bring the granny unitup tocode, she failed to do so. Fullerton is now contemplating further enforcement.