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Judge dismisses Lin family lawsuit against Pleasanton

Original post made on Feb 25, 2011

Pleasanton has won its legal battle with landowners Jennifer and Fredric Lin, who sued the city for the right to build 51 houses on 600 acres they own in the southeast hills. The Lin family's lawsuit against the city of Pleasanton was dismissed this week by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 25, 2011, 3:39 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Of course their attorney says the decision could be overturned on appeal. If he did not say that he would admit that he knew he was wrong before. He wants more billable hours.

Whether or not you agreed with the vote of the people, the language was very strong in the ordinance plus the lawyer for the Lins told the judge in the first suit, requiring the city to sign the document, that he knew the ordinance was invalid if the referendum went through. If the Lins did not understand that, then they should be suing their lawyer, not the city.

Posted by None of the Above, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Unfortunately, it seems that P'ton may be on the hook for costing the Lin family the use of their land, which will likely run upwards of 30 million dollars...

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

The key issue in this case's ruling is whether the DA was suspended during the time prior to the actual referendum vote. Or was it a valid contract during this time? This judge said no. A prior court ruling implied that it was by requiring the city to sign it. An appeal will clear up this conflict. Therefore, this ruling is most likely to be appealed, in my opinion.

Posted by L is for Lawsuit, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Web Link

Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition LLC v. Town of Mammoth Lakes has little applicability here because it was based on a signed development agreement where the town in question later changed priorities several years after the development agreement.

In Lin, the development was referended per State statutes and signatures turned in within 30 days after the city council approved the development, thus the development agreement never went into effect.

P.S. the value of the Lin land is much much much less than $30 million anyway

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Nothing new. The Lins always use lawyers to scare people into giving in. It is their scare tactic.

If you read the transcripts from the case where the Lins forced the City Manager to sign the development agreement, the judge then said that it had to be signed but it would disappear if the other ordinance were referended, because of the poison pill. The Lins lawyer, in the transcript, said "absolutely".

The Lins and their lawyer are scum. I am so glad they lost on that vote and I hope we never allow them to do anything in Pleasanton anymore. They already destroyed Dublin. That is bad enough.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

The ordinance for the development agreement was NOT REFERENDED. That's the whole point of disagreement here. The PUD ordinance was referended. Did the poison pill language in the PUD ordinance SUSPEND the DA because the PUD was referended? That's the question of what will be appealed. The misunderstanding by the public about this continues as evidenced by the content of these posts.

Posted by L is for Lawsuit, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:44 am

The unambiguous language in Section 5 of the Ordinance 1962 says "This ordinance shall be effective thirty (30) days after is passage and adoption, provided, however, that if Ordinance 1961 is set aside by referendum, this ordinance shall be of no force or effect.

Crystal clear to me. Crystal clear to the judge. Will be crystal clear to the appellate division if the appellate division miraculously agrees to hear the case.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

When the Lins signed the agreement in August of 2008, they signed:

"We have read the letter from Michael Roush, Pleasanton City Attorney, to R. Clark Morrison, dated July 30, 2008, and agree that if the Pleasanton City Manager signs and delivers the Development Agreement as approved by City of Pleasanton Ordinance No. 1962, but if City of Pleasanton Ordinance No. 1961 is set aside through the referendum process, Ordinance No. 1962 shall cease to be of force and effect and we will claim no vested rights under City of Pleasanton Ordinance No. 1962 or the Development Agreement approved by that Ordinance."

That is pretty clear to me.

Then in the court case of Nov 2008 (VG08 416511), the case forcing the city manager to sign the ordinances, the transcript has the Lins attorney telling the judge:

"And what's frustrating about this is that the City attorney in the summer of '08 expressed concern that the Lins would try to over-use this signature; say that this signature by the City manager somehow vests rights irrespective of what happens with a referendum. And we were very clear and they signed off on this letter that's at AR-84 saying we acknowledge that if the referendum by the
28 opponents were successful in setting aside the PUD ordinance, the poison-pill language as it's called -- will have the effect of setting aside the DA as well. We accept that."

So there, in court, the Lins attorney said the if the referendum were successful the poison-pill will have the effect of setting aside the development agreement as well. And they accept that.

Seems like a slam-dunk to me.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Except that if the DA was in effect from the date of signing to June 8, 2009 when the referendum on the other ordinance voted it down, the city had an obligation under the DA language to do everything in its power to preserve the vested rights. They did not. They were explicitly asked to revise ordinance 1961 to remove the poison pill language and they did not. Therefore, the Lin's contend they breached the DA contract during its existence prior to June 8, 2009. This has nothing to do with the DA going away after June 8, 2009. If an appeals court rules the DA was in fact SUSPENDED, then the Lin's claim of a BREACH OF CONTRACT will die.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

First of all, frank, your date is wrong. The date of the referendum voted down was June 8, 2010, not June 8, 2009.

Having dealt with 18 years of Lin lawsuits, I am not surprised that Pleasanton now has to deal with this awful set of developers.

The development agreement never became effective because signatures were turned into the city 30 days after the City Council approved Oak Grove. The city had no obligation to preserve any so-called 'vested rights' because vested rights never existed. The development agreement never became effective, which is what the prior city attorney said, the current city attorney said, and now the judge says.

Per the Govt Code, the Lins had 90 days to protest the poison pill after Nov 2007. Seems they were to busy running "Do Not Sign Petition" campaigns with Jennifer Hosterman, Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Kathy Narum, and Jerry Pentin so they must have forgotten to do that. Oh well.

Posted by Fran, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:44 am

O sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
What a wonderful thing a sunny day.

Score one for Pleasanton!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Bill wrote: "The development agreement never became effective because signatures were turned into the city 30 days after the City Council approved Oak Grove."

It is not so simple. There were two ordinances and only one (not the development agreement one) had signatures turned in after 30 days. The poison pill language only said "set aside". As the other court said, the City Manager had to sign the development agreement because the development agreement ordinance was not suspended and could not be suspended due to anticipation. All parties agreed that a successful referendum would in fact "set aside" both ordinances and therefore the development agreement.

Posted by SO WRONG, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

Typical Pleasanton NIMBY'S so WRONG !!! NO one should be unable to develop their land this is one of the fundementals of property go from 600 +/- houses to 98 houses to 51 houses and the city to receive 500 acres for free AMAZING how so few people can take away someones rights...SOOOOOO WRONG, so very wron

Posted by Ngo Lin, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

So Wrong,

Excuse me, but you are so wrong. The idea that if you own a property you can do anything you want with it is preposterous. What if they wanted to have a toxic waste dump, grow dope, have a nuclear bomb factory, or build build 10,000 units of ultra-low-cost housing on thier land?

BTW, what is all the sympathy with the Lins all about anyway? They are foreign land speculators purely motivated by greed. They don't give a rat's a** about Pleasanton or the Tri-Valley. They also are a corrupting influence (i.e. The Three Stooges on the Pleasanton City Council).

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

Nicely said Ngo!

All of this sympathy for the Lin's when I jsut read an article in the Weekly this past week about a couple that barely won the right to add a second floor to their home! They even tried to work with their neighbors (unlike the Lins).

Posted by No Lins in Pleasanton, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Adding to the posts that elaborate on the Lins. If some of you folks did a little digging/research, you'd find out just how much property the Lins have owned and had developed in and around the Tri-Valley, including Dublin and San Ramon. Anyone who's familiar with their vast land-holdings over the years ain't shedding any tears for these uber-rich carpetbaggers.

Posted by Wondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Who are the three stooges and why do you call them that?

Posted by Susan Cervantes, a resident of Dublin
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Be thanks full that someone has taken a strong stand with these foreign investors that really do not give a damm about your community or the Tri Valley area....they are in it for profit and POWER.....They have made plenty of money in the Tri Valley area and I am sure they are not sharing any of it with their fellow country men.
We can only hope they pick up their marbles and leave the area....

Posted by b, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Just how many millions of dollars is this train wreck ultimately going to cost the taxpayers of Pleasanton? Nevermind our basic rights as property owners to make reasonable use of our land. Thanks, Kay and Karla.

Posted by b, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm

The Lins should therefore be punished, simply because they've made wise investments?

Their developments have also provided homes for many of our neighbors (including many who have fought this latest home development) and substantial incremental tax dollars that have benefited the rest of us.

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