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March 2016 Archives

5 Things to Consider if Your Property is in the CA Coastal Zone

If you own property or a house in the California Coastal Commission's jurisdiction (the "Coastal Zone"), and you're in need of a coastal development permit, here are five things you should know and consider.

Who are the parties to a revocable living trust?

With many people's familiarity with terms such as "executor" or "personal representative," clients are often confused when we discuss a revocable trust as an estate planning instrument and they hear new terms such as "trustor", "trustee", and "beneficiary." Below we are going to discuss these different parties to the revocable trust and explain their individual roles.

Cosby Relies Upon Homeowners' Insurance to Defend Litigation

In a move that many people would consider questionable, Bill Cosby moved forward to use an umbrella policy tied to his homeowners' insurance to pay his legal fees and any potential judgments stemming from the litigation brought against him. This attempt, however, has been challenged by his insurance company, American International Group (AIG), who argues that Cosby isn't covered because of exclusions for sexual misconduct. In November, a federal judge ruled against AIG and found that the exclusion doesn't apply because Cosby's statements, not his alleged sexual misconduct, are the subject-matter of the pending defamation lawsuits (ten women across three states). Since then, AIG has stated that they plan to appeal the ruling and have amended their complaint citing other reasons that they shouldn't be required to cover Mr. Cosby.

Social Media Post Regarding Commercial Lease Agreement Goes Viral

Last week, a social media post regarding a commercial real estate lease has gone viral. Yes, you read that correctly, a social media post regarding a commercial real estate lease went viral (over 1,800 comments and 2.5 million views). I never thought I'd see that day. With that said, it's understandable based on the interesting facts of this story.

Termination of Tenancies in Mobilehome Parks

Unlike typical eviction actions for tenants renting a home or apartment, evictions in mobilehome parks are complex and have a variety of pitfalls to watch out for. In addition, evictions of tenants in mobilehome parks are governed by the Mobilehome Residency Law, a completely separate and distinct set of laws from standard landlord-tenant laws.

Corporations - Don't Forget About Your Annual Meeting Minutes

About this time each year, The Loftin Firm sends out reminder letters to its business clients reminding them of their upcoming 2016 annual meeting requirement. Far too often, businesses are so focused on driving business-related growth that the simple compliance matters simply fall by the way-side. This, however, is a huge mistake. While annual meeting minutes appear to be an issue of small concern, they are actually much more important than many business people think.

Sue Loftin Named 2016 Businessperson of the Year

On Friday evening, at its 2016 Annual Business Awards Dinner, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce selected the Firm's founder and managing shareholder, Sue Loftin, as Businessperson of the Year.

Relocating a Business? A Real Estate Attorney Can Help!

To the untrained eye, a commercial real estate transaction should seem simple. A business sees an ideal location, finds out how much it would cost to run their operations from the location, negotiates a price with the owner, and the transaction concludes.

Can Proper Estate Planning Save Money in the Long-Run?

A revocable trust is an estate planning instrument (1) created by a Settlor (2) during his or her lifetime, and (3) funded during his or her lifetime with the bulk of the Settlor's assets (4) for the purposes of avoiding probate. Although there are certainly other purposes of a revocable trust, many of our clients opt for a revocable trust in order to avoid probate and save the cost/time associated with that court-supervised process.

SeaWorld To End Orca Breeding Practices and Theatrical Orca Shows

In an interesting turn of events, SeaWorld Entertainment announced that it's ending its orca breeding program (effective immediately) and theatrical orca whale shows (phasing out over the next year). Despite public backlash from the documentary "Blackfish" and onerous coastal development conditions imposed by the California Coastal Commission, SeaWorld has steadfastly argued that it has a right to continue its' orca breeding practices. In fact, this is one of SeaWorld's primary arguments in its lawsuit filed in late 2015.

Acting Executive Director Appointed by California Coastal Commission

On March 9th, Jack Ainsworth - previously the senior deputy director - was appointed Acting Executive Director by the California Coastal Commission. In an 11-1 vote, Ainsworth was elected and will serve for an interim term until December 8, 2016, or until a new executive director is appointed, whichever occurs first.

New Notification Requirements for 501(c)(4) Nonprofit Organizations

As we've previously noted on this blog, a homeowners' association generally meets the requirements to qualify as a social welfare organization under Section 501(c)(4). As a result, homeowners' associations, and all other social welfare and community benefit organizations (e.g., employee organizations and other organizations that promote social community goals) recognized under Section 501(c)(4) should be aware of new notification requirements enacted by Congress. Regardless of whether you intend to become a 501(c)(4) organization or if you were such an organization prior to December 19, 2015, these new requirements will be important for your compliance.

City of Carlsbad Launches Pilot Program to Decrease Processing Time for Coastal Projects

The City of Carlsbad recently announced that it's launching a first-of-its-kind program to decrease the processing time for coastal development projects. In particular, the city will provide funding for additional staff resources at the California Coastal Commission over the next thirty (30) months. By adding another coastal program analyst to the Coastal Commission's staff, the public and private projects within Carlsbad's coastal zone will received expedited review.

Homeowners' Association as a Social Welfare Organization - IRS 501(c)(4)

Homeowners' Associations, as nonprofit corporations, generally meet the requirements to qualify as a tax-exempt Social Welfare Organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4).  Other types of activities may also qualify under Section 501(c)(4), such as bringing about civic betterment or social improvements.

Business Threats of Cyber Invasion

Businesses face many challenges including the increasing threat from cyber invasion of files.  Protecting businesses and people from the data breaches which creates financial and personal vunerability is an important concern for the State of California.  In February 2016, California Attorney General Harris issued a white paper addressing these concerns entitled "California Data Breach Report". For California businesses and individuals, the white paper is a valuable read. 

Arbitration & Class Actions in BRE Applications

Chris Neri, Assistant Commissioner - Subdivision Division of Bureau of Real Estate ("BRE") released on March 4, 2016 a memorandum regarding subdivision documents which require arbitration and prohibit class actions.  The Chris Neri memorandum, in part, states that:

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Challenge to San Jose's "Inclusionary Housing Ordinance"

As this Firm anticipated back in September, the Supreme Court recently declined to hear a challenge to the California Supreme Court's decision in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, 61 Cal. 4th 435 (2015), cert. denied, 577 U.S. __ (2016). At issue in BIA's Petition for Writ of Certiorari was whether the city's "Inclusionary Housing Ordinance," which required that residential developments of at least twenty (20) homes sell at least fifteen percent (15%) of the homes at below-market prices (as determined by the City) to buyers with qualifying income levels, was an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Business Owners of All Types - New Financial Accounting Rules

Business owners have new financial accounting rules. As has been widely reported, the Financial Accounting Standards Board released new guidance on lease accounting. Under the new rule, all leases with terms in excess of 12 months must be included on the balance sheet-generally a right-of-use asset, and a liability equal to the present value of the payments over the term of the lease. Private companies and nonprofits must implement this standard for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019.

Caruso Concedes Defeat in Measure A Special Election in Carlsbad

After a hard-fought campaign fraught with controversy, Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso has conceded defeat in the special election held in Carlsbad on February 23. The special election was regarding a Caruso Affiliated proposed real estate development adjacent to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon (near I-5 and Cannon Road), which was intended to decrease "visitor-serving commercial development" from 48.3 acres to 26.7 acres and increase the amount of land designated as "permanent open space" from 155.1 acres to 176.7 acres.

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The Loftin Firm, P.C.
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Carlsbad, California 92008-4713

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