Weiss v. People ex rel. Department of TransportationAnnotate this Case
In this inverse condemnation action, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal reversing the judgment of the trial court, holding that the trial court erred in borrowing section 1260.040 from the Eminent Domain Law and using to it making a dispositive pretrial ruling on inverse condemnation liability.
The public entity defendants in this inverse condemnation action asked the trial court to use Cal. Code Civ. P. 1260.40, which authorizes a pretrial motion for a ruling on "an evidentiary or other legal issue affecting the determination of compensation," in inverse condemnation procedure. The trial court granted the motions and entered judgment in the defendants' favor. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the procedure at issue did not meaningfully supplement existing pretrial procedures governing a summary judgment motion. Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this Court declines to import section 1260.070 into inverse condemnation procedure; and (2) the trial erred in entering judgment on the defendants' "Motion for Legal Determination of Liability," holding that the trial court erred in using the procedures because the summary judgment statute was available for that purpose, and any disputes could have been resolved in a bench trial.