Hanson Bridgett Secures Victory For Watson Land Company
November 17, 2023 (Los Angeles, CA) – On November 8, 2023, Hanson Bridgett counsel Alene Taber and associate Wiemond Wu secured a decisive legal victory on behalf of client Watson Land Company in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The Court declared the City of Carson's taxing practice involving a community facility district (CFD) and "Future Annexation Area" was unconstitutional, illegal, and null and void ab initio. The landmark judgment includes a permanent injunction that prevents the City from enforcing the unlawful tax on future landowners.
"This was truly a team effort and our client could not be more delighted," said Taber. "Watson Land Company's concerns were constitutional in nature and they stood their ground. It is generally difficult to achieve a successful outcome when opposing a government entity, which makes this favorable ruling particularly gratifying."
Background of the Case
In November 2018, the City of Carson enacted a series of resolutions and ordinances that established a community facility district (CFD) under the Mello-Roos Act with one parcel of land and labeled the remaining properties in the City as a “Future Annexation Area.” No landowners in the Future Annexation Area voted on the formation of the CFD or the special parcel tax that was imposed. Upon submitting development permit applications over multiple years, the City conditioned projects on both annexation and payment of a special parcel tax.
The Los Angeles Superior Court issued writ, declaratory, and injunctive relief, and ruled that:
- The annexation and taxation is unconstitutional as it fails to comply with Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act.
- The scheme violated the Watson's and other landowners’ right to vote under both State and Federal Constitutions.
- The City's imposition of the taxing requirement as a condition of a permit is an unconstitutional condition.
About Hanson Bridgett
Hanson Bridgett LLP is a full service AmLaw 200 law firm with more than 200 attorneys across California. Creating a diverse workforce by fostering an atmosphere of belonging and intentional support has been a priority at Hanson Bridgett since its founding in 1958. We are dedicated to creating an environment that provides opportunities for people with varied backgrounds, both for attorneys and administrative professionals. As the first law firm recognized as a certified B Corp, we are committed to the communities where our employees live and work and consider it part of our professional obligation to serve justice by encouraging and supporting pro bono and social impact work.
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