Robinson v. City of Yucaipa, 28 Cal. Ap
This groundbreaking appellate decision challenged mobile home park rent control and ultimately established property rights law. Mr. Coldren prevailed on behalf of his client awarding them a large rent increase in their mobile home park. Affirmed on appeal, Mr. Coldren successfully broadened the definition of “rent” for rent increase petition purposes. The case involved preemption under the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL), and important administrative law issues.
Carson Gardens, L.L.C. v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Bd., 135 Cal. App. 4th 856
In one of Southern California’s toughest mobile home park rent control jurisdictions, Mr. Coldren and his client took on both the city and the rent review board. The rent review board had ignored the city’s own methodology for determining rent increases. The trial court issued a writ ordering the city to abide by its own methodology within its ordinance. On appeal, the park owner won again and the city was obligated to re-hear the matter and grant the appropriate rent increase to Mr. Coldren’s client.
REDEEM MOBILE HOME PARK INDUSTRY
Manufactured Home Communities, Inc. v. County of San Luis Obispo, 167 Cal. App. 4th 705
In this mobile home industry precedent setting decision, Mr. Coldren succeeded in overturning a rent-control board’s denial of rent increase and securing a big case. The defendant (county rent control board) first concluded that the proposed rent increases were invalid. The park owner filed a petition for writ of administrative mandamus, but the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, California, denied the petition. The park owner appealed. The Court of Appeals ultimately agreed with Mr. Coldren and his firm that the rent control board had unlawfully denied his client due process rights when they allowed written or oral testimony from the tenants without any right of cross-examination of those witnesses by the park owner.
This case shined a spotlight on the California’s general disdain for mobile home park owners. The appellate court (tongue in cheek undoubtedly) opened this important case with the following:
[**370] GILBERT, P. J.—The Constitution protects everyone, the poor, the wealthy, the weak, the powerful, the guilty and the innocent. This court has held its guarantees extend to lawyers (Cunningham v. Superior Court (1986) 177 Cal.App.3d 336 [222 Cal. Rptr. 854]); dogs (more precisely their owners) (Phillips v. San Luis Obispo County Dept. etc. Regulation (1986) 183 Cal.App.3d 372 [228 Cal. Rptr. 101]<); and even politicians (Beilenson v. Superior Court (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 944 [52 Cal. Rptr. 2d 357]). HN1> Here we add to our list—mobilehome park owners.”
Mr. Coldren’s work for park owners includes exposing and mitigating prejudice within the legal system and the public at large.
Brea Imperial v. Auto. Wheels, 2010 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8873
Mr. Coldren represented a property owner who had leased manufacturing buildings to a wheel manufacturing facility. After a multi-week jury trial with Mr. Coldren as lead counsel, the Court found that the tenant contaminated the property and otherwise breached the agreements respecting the use and maintenance of the facility. The jury awarded big damages (7 figures) to Mr. Coldren’s client. The trial court however took the punitive damages originally awarded by the jury away from the property owner and both sides appealed. Mr Coldren handled the appeal and the Court of Appeal not only upheld the verdict and judgment for the damages Mr. Coldren had obtained, but also reversed the trial court on the issue of punitive damages, finding that the property owner was entitled to recover and collect on all damages incurred.
Notably, since the judgment debtor was an undercapitalized subsidiary of Titan Wheel, a large publicly traded corporation, Mr. Coldren also triumphed in “piercing the corporate veil” for his client and recovering all financial assets they initially lost.
FAILURE TO MAINTAIN LITIGATION
Criswell v. MMR Family LLC, 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 313
In this case Mr. Coldren and the park owner defeated a tenant’s lawyer’s claim for “class certification” of a failure to maintain lawsuit. Denial of class certification is typically referred to as “the death knell” of plaintiff cases, since it renders the dollar value of the case insufficient to pursue. Among other issues, the appellate court in siding with Mr. Coldren and his client concluded that individual questions of law and fact predominated over common questions in failure to maintain lawsuits, rendering class certification inappropriate. This was a big victory for a park owner faced with a “failure to maintain” litigation in which Mr. Coldren and the tenants were awarded zero dollars against the park owner – a remarkable feat other industry FTM lawyers will tell you is “unachievable.”
WMA ASSOCIATION REP
Rubin v. Green, 4 Cal. 4th 1187
In this very important California Supreme Court case for the mobile home park industry, the court concluded that a park owner who is sued in a failure to maintain lawsuit cannot turnaround and sue the tenants and the tenants’ lawyers who are suing him for unlawful solicitation of other tenants to join the lawsuit.
One would think that is a loss. However, in this case Mr. Coldren, who filed as “amicus” for this client, the Western Manufactured Home Community Owners Association WMA, established the law that while the aggrieved park owner cannot sue, and Association can sustain a lawsuit against the lawyer for unfair business practices, since the WMA is not a party in the underlying mobile home park failure to maintain lawsuit. An important tool for park owners.
IN A CATEGORY OF ITS OWN
Rosales v. Huntington-By-The-Sea Mobilehome Park, etc. et al, 240 Cal.
Mr. Coldren represented a park owner who had been sued over its age restriction for their park occupancy. Mr. Coldren and his client won both in the trial court and again in the Court of Appeal. The court found that the MRL creates an exception to the California Act that mobile home parks are a form of housing that is “sui generis” (Latin for roughly ‘in a category of its own’).
Natter v. Palm Desert Rent Review Com, 190 Cal. App. 3d 994
In this important mobile home park case, Mr. Coldren established the principle that in a rent control discretionary rent increase request based upon “maintenance of net operating income,” the rent review board is required to “annualize” base year numbers, magnifying the awarded rent increase in this case by 200%. The theory of “maintenance of net operating income” provides that a park owner is entitled to maintain his or her net operating income as it stood at the time the rent control law was adopted, adjusted to present by inflation. In this case, the park owner instituted a rent increase in the last three months of the base year, and the rent review board and the trial court refused to impute that higher rent in calculating the full 12 months of the base year. The Court of Appeal and Mr. Coldren set them straight, and the rent increase was awarded.