Court Decisions

Court of Appeals

  • Annexations

    LAFCo’s approval of annexation of an island to an incorporated area is upheld, finding that Proposition 218 does not apply to annexations and therefore such annexation is not conditioned on the approval of the voters.

  • Annexations

    LAFCo's approval of annexation of territory to an open space district is upheld notwithstanding an incomplete notice of protest hearing and the protest counting methods. First District: 2008 SOS 744. 31 January 2008

  • Deposing Commissioners

    The deliberative process privilege prohibits taking depositions of LAFCo commissioners. Third District: 2008 SOS 2328. 22 April 2008

  • Executive Officer as Independent Contractor

    A LAFCo can contract "executive officer services" to an individual as an independent contractor and conducting a closed-door evaluation of the contractor does not violate the Brown Act. The courts determined that the individual was the LAFCo Executive Officer. Third District. 25 March 2009.

  • Latent Power Activation

    A special district cannot provide a "new or different service" without LAFCo's approval. Third District: 2008 SOS 2324. 22 April 2008

  • Legislature's Watchdog

    "LAFCos were created by the Legislature for a special purpose: to discourage urban sprawl and to encourage the orderly formation and development of local governmental agencies; such a commission is the "watchdog" the Legislature established to guard against the wasteful duplication of services that results from indiscriminate formation of new local agencies or haphazard annexation of territory to existing local agencies." Fifth District: 274 Cal.App.2d 545. 1 July 1969

  • Principal County

    The principal county had jurisdiction to establish the sphere of influence and conduct service reviews for a multicounty district within the boundaries of the affected LAFCos county. Third District: 13 January 2006

  • School Districts

    LAFCo intervention in a in a school impact fee lawsuit was beyond its powers. First District: 86 Cal.App.3d 873. 1 December 1978

United States Court of Appeals

  • Annexations

    A civil rights organization sued Modesto, Stanislaus County and the County Sheriff for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws for entering into a tax-sharing agreement to facilitate annexations which excluded several Latino-dominated islands which were developed without substantial public infrastructure in the 1940s and 50s and which received allegedly inferior municipal services as a result.  The trial court had found insufficient evidence of discrimination and dismissed the suit. 2009 DAR 14628 (9th Cir. Filed 10/8/09)

California Supreme Court

  • Assessment Financing

    The California Supreme Court decided its first substantive case under the assessment provisions of Proposition 218, “The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.”  It struck down an open-space assessment on the ground it did not demonstrate special benefit to the assessed property either as required by Proposition 218 or Proposition 13 and because the amounts assessed were not proportional to the special benefits conferred.  The unanimous decision sets out a new, more demanding standard of judicial review of local government assessment decisions and has significant implications for assessment financing in California. Supreme Court: S136468. 14 July 2008

Superior Court