The City of Los Angeles should not be held liable for landslide-related damage to a property in the Pacific Palisades even though it violated municipal code requirements because the code sections had been repealed and the statutes of limitations had run out, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The case involved a house owned by Paul Haggis that was damaged by a landslide triggered in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and later condemned and demolished by the city. After the house was demolished, Haggis filed a claim with the city under the Tort Claims Act. The city denied the claim and then Haggis sued, arguing that the city violated four municipal code section between 1966 and 1979, thus preventing Haggis from discovering the true condition of the property when he purchased it in 1991. In particular, Haggis argued, that in the ‘60s and ‘70s the city failed to record notices of substandard condition; issued permits to permit reconstruction and expansion of the house after prior landslides without requiring dangerous conditions to be corrected; and failing to halt or prevent work on the property until the substandard conditions had been supplied. But the appellate court ruled in favor of the city. Beginning in the late ‘60s, the home now owned by Haggis suffered from a series of landslide-related problems. In 1966, a landslide undermined the integrity of the property and the city declared the home unsafe. The city notified the property owner to comply with relevant codes but did not record that notification. In 1970 — the problems still having not been corrected — the landowner asked the city for permission to relocate the home away from the landslide-damaged bluff. The city approved the project but did not subject the homeowner to a city requirement to swear knowledge of the landslide problems in an affidavit The construction project went forward in 1971 but the city did not demand that the landowner file a land stabilization plan as required under city code. Further changes and expansions to the home occurred up through 1977, but the city still did not require the property owner to comply with the relevant city codes. When Haggis bought the property in 1979, the geological instability was not visually apparent, nor did Haggis learn of the problem from any purchase or loan documents because of the city's failure to record its notices. The appellate court ruled in favor of the city on several grounds. First, the appellate court agreed with the city's argument that the city is immune from liability under Section 818.6 of the Government Code, which provides that a public agency "is not liable for injury caused by its failure to make an inspection ... of any property ... for the purpose of determining whether the property complies with or violates any enactment or contains or constitutes a hazard to health or safety." Second, the appellate court found that Haggis's action is precluded by Code of Civil Procedure Section 337.15, which prohibits a plaintiff from seeking liability on problems related to real estate development that were created more than 10 years before the action was filed. Although the law was originally written to deal with lawsuits against developers, the court concluded it applies equally to public agencies. "There is no rational reason to construe section 337.15 as intending to single out public agencies as liable for latent construction defects discovered beyond the ten-year period, while all others involved in the development process, with perhaps even greater responsibility for a particular loss, are insulated from liability." The Case: Haggis v. City of Los Angeles, No. B108947, 98 Daily Journal D.A.R. 10805 (issued September 17, 1998). The Lawyers: For Haggis: William R. Hart, Hart, King & Coldren, (xxx) xxx-xxxx. For City of Los Angeles: William L. Waterhouse, Assistant City Attorney, (213) xxx-xxxx.