By Donna Jones

The California Court of Appeal in Trancas Property Owners Association v. City of Malibu, 2006 WL 802483 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)), upon a rehearing requested by the California League of Cities as Amicus Curiae, recently re-affirmed its decision (discussed in this blog on October 13, 2005) that the City’s adoption of a settlement agreement in a closed session violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, Gov’t Code section 54950 et seq. (Brown Act).

In the rehearing, the court reaffirmed its previous conclusion, holding that by entering into a settlement agreement with a developer in closed session, the City violated the Brown Act even though the agreement was to settle pending litigation. The court stated that although the Brown Act contains an implied allowance for adoption of settlements in closed session, this implied allowance is subject to limits. Specifically, the court concluded that local governments may not decide upon or adopt in closed session a settlement that accomplishes or provides for action for which a public hearing is required by law, without such a hearing.

For more information please contact Donna Jones.  Donna D. Jones is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s San Diego office. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism, with honors, from Texas A&M University in 1981. She graduated with a J.D. from the University of Texas, with high honors, as a member of Order of the Coif and as Grand Chancellor, in 1990. She has spent her legal career specializing in land use in San Diego.