Hernandez v. Town of Apple ValleyAnnotate this Case
Defendant-appellant Town of Apple Valley (Town) and real-party-in-interest and appellant Wal-mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart) appealed the grant of the motion for summary judgment in favor of plaintiff-respondent Gabriel Hernandez. This case involved a measure passed by the Town’s electorate in a special election (Initiative) that amended the general plan to allow for a 30-acre commercial development, which would include a Walmart Supercenter. Walmart provided a gift to Town to pay for the election and Town accepted the payment by adopting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at a regular council meeting held on August 13, 2013. Hernandez argued the agenda for the Town’s council meeting failed to provide the proper notice of the actions to be taken at the meeting, e.g., that the Town council would vote to send the Initiative to the voters and approving the MOU that accepted the gift from Walmart to pay for the special election. Further, Hernandez alleged that although Walmart was not specifically named in the Initiative, it was clear from the other ballot materials that Walmart was identified within the meaning of article II, section 12 rendering the Initiative unconstitutional. The trial court granted the Motion finding the MOU and Initiative were void and invalid. The Court of Appeal concluded that the Motion was properly granted on the violation of the Brown Act, which invalidated the special election on the Initiative. Since it was likely that the matter would again be placed on the ballot or voted on by the Town council, the Court of Appeal also found that the Initiative as written did not violate article II, section 12. The award of costs was reversed as the memorandum of costs was filed late without a showing by counsel that such late filing was due to mistake of law, inadvertence, or surprise. The attorney fee award was affirmed.