45 Berryessa Way, Hillsborough, CA 94010 - MLS 453381 - Coldwell

Berryessa garbage service Inc

Garbage Service / January 17, 2017

LINDA L. QUALLS et al., Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Appellants, v. LAKE BERRYESSA ENTERPRISES, INC., et al., Defendants, Cross-complainants and Appellants.

[Opinion certified for partial publication. fn. * ]

(Superior Court of Napa County, No. 78396, Stephen Thomas Kroyer, Judge.)

(Opinion by Haerle, J., with Kline, P. J., and Ruvolo, J., concurring.) [76 Cal. App. 4th 1278]

COUNSEL

Law Office of Daniel Chester and Daniel Chester for Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Appellants.

Kinman & Curry, Barry Alan Kinman and Marilyn P. Curry for Defendants, Cross-complainants and Appellants Lake Berryessa Enterprises, Inc., and Putah Creek Resort.

John J. Hartford and Alan M. Phillips for Defendants, Cross-complainants and Appellants Stanley Parks and Beverly Parks. [76 Cal. App. 4th 1280]

OPINION

HAERLE, J.

I. Introduction

These consolidated appeals before us arise from a dispute over the placement of a new mobilehome at the Putah Creek Resort on Lake Berryessa. The Quallses, who owned a mobilehome placed on lot No. 149, contend that the Parks, who own the mobilehome on lot No. 148, placed their new mobilehome over the lot line dividing the two mobilehome spaces. Eventually, the Quallses brought suit against the Parks and Lake Berryessa Enterprises, Inc., and Putah Creek Resort (hereafter collectively Putah Creek). The defendants cross-complained. After an extensive trial, the trial court awarded the Quallses $5, 000 for breach of contract by Putah Creek. Using an equitable cost-benefit analysis, the trial court declared a lot line that permitted the Parks' mobilehome to remain where it had been placed. The trial court also ruled that the Quallses and the Parks failed to prove their tort claims against each other. The trial court granted attorney's fees to the Quallses against Putah Creek and denied the Parks' request for attorney's fees from the Quallses.

Each party appeals a portion of the trial court's judgment. Putah Creek contends that the trial court erred in concluding that it breached its contract with the Quallses and in ruling that the County of Napa was not an essential party to the suit. The Quallses argue that the trial court erred in rejecting its trespass and nuisance claims against the Parks. The Parks urge that the trial court erred in denying their request for attorney's fees.

We will affirm the judgment in all respects.

II. Factual and Procedural Background fn. 1

Putah Creek Resort is located on Lake Berryessa. Lake Berryessa Enterprises, Inc., runs Putah Creek Resort under a concession agreement with Napa County. That county, in turn, manages this (and other adjoining) land under an agreement with the federal government, which owns the land. Overall management of this federal land falls under the jurisdiction of the [76 Cal. App. 4th 1281] Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior (Bureau). (See Reclamation Development Act of 1974, Pub.L. No. 93-493, (1974) 88 Stat. 1486, 1974 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News, No. 1, §§ 601-602.)

The Bureau requires Putah Creek to comply with title 25 of the California Code of Regulations as part of its agreement to use federal land. Although the Bureau recognizes no grant of a property interest in the land of Putah Creek Resort, title 25 mandates the establishment of lot lines and sets forth minimum distances between mobilehomes. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 25, §§ 1104, 1330.) However, since following the adoption of operational policy 14 by the Bureau on June 14, 1994, the federal government does not recognize that the California Mobilehome Residency Law applies to Putah Creek.

The Quallses are owners of a mobilehome located on lot No. 149 at Putah Creek Resort. They have occupied that space under an agreement with Putah Creek, since 1979. The agreements for the relevant time period provide for rental in exchange for "Mobilehome Space No. 149" and specified services, such as parking passes and garbage collection. The agreement specifies that the lot may only be used for recreational purposes and may not be used as a permanent residence. It also contains an attorney's fees clause.

In 1992, Putah Creek charged an employee, Dennis Dufault, with the job of reestablishing lot lines by finding existing markers where possible. Putah Creek undertook this task as a result of a Napa County inspection that informed Putah Creek that it was not in compliance with this portion of California Code of Regulations title 25. Dufault found an existing marker on the lakeside between lots Nos. 149 and 148, which was approximately where the Quallses understood the boundary to be. The lot line established by Dufault was approximately three feet from the mobilehome then occupying lot No. 148.

In September 1994, the Parks took possession of the mobilehome located on lot No. 148. They occupied the space pursuant to an agreement identical to the one between the Quallses and Putah Creek. When they took possession of their new space, they asked the resort to clarify the lot lines for that space.

In response to the request of the Parks, Putah Creek wrote a letter to the Quallses and the Parks on September 7, 1994, that set the boundary line halfway between the existing coaches. According to Vernon Smith, Putah Creek's manager, the response was based upon Putah Creek's inability to locate the markers placed by Dufault in 1992.

The Quallses were upset with this decision, because this lot line was closer to their mobilehome than the one established by Dufault in 1992. [76 Cal. App. 4th 1282] They contacted Smith, explained the situation, and convinced him to come to the site and view the Dufault markers. After doing so, Smith "rescinded" his September 7 letter.

The boundary dispute continued between the Parks and the Quallses. In December 1995, the Parks moved a new mobilehome onto lot No. 148. The new mobilehome extends approximately four feet over the boundary line established by Dufault in 1992.

In January 1996, Putah Creek adjusted the lot line again to accommodate the Parks' new mobilehome and the three-foot setback requirement of California Code of Regulations title 25.

In October 1996, the Quallses filed a complaint against Putah Creek and the Parks. The complaint alleged four causes of action: (1) against Putah Creek for breach of contract as a third party beneficiary of Putah Creek's agreement with the Bureau; (2) breach of contract against Putah Creek; (3) trespass against the Parks; and (4) nuisance against Putah Creek and the Parks.

Putah Creek answered and cross-complained for declaratory relief regarding the location of the boundary and for indemnification. The Parks also answered and cross-complained for similar declaratory relief and for indemnification, and further stated several tort claims against the Quallses.

Source: law.justia.com