In an unpublished decision, North County Watch v. County of San Luis Obispo (2012) 2012 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 2312, the Second Appellate District upheld the trial court’s determination that a petitioner was barred as a matter of law from prevailing on its CEQA challenges because petitioner failed to request a hearing within 90 days of filing its petition. The appellate court, however, reversed the trial court’s ruling imposing sanctions against the petitioner for failing to comply with local court rules and court orders thereby causing undue delay in the proceeding. While the court agreed that the petitioner failed to timely pay for the administrative record, failed to timely raise challenges to the adequacy of the administrative record, failed to file its opening brief on time, and even acknowledged the petitioner failed to comply with the court rules on appeal, the Court nevertheless concluded that counsel is entitled to due process which requires adequate notice and opportunity to be heard on a motion for sanctions. The notice of motion for sanctions only identified the petitioner, not its counsel, and, therefore, due process required reversal of the sanctions imposed on their counsel.
Written By: Tina Thomas and Chris Butcher
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