The California Supreme Court has ordered the publication of another round in the litigation involving a doughnut shop owner and the City of Hawaiian Gardens. In an opinion issued in June 2002 — but not ordered published until late May of this year — the Second District Court of Appeal overturned a lower court, which dismissed the doughnut shop owner's inverse condemnation lawsuit. The appellate panel ruled that the shop owner should have had the opportunity to amend his lawsuit to prove his case. The court, however, did now determine whether or not the shop owner deserved compensation for inverse condemnation. Last year, the state Supreme Court ordered publication of the Second District opinion in a related case, Kong v. City of Hawaiian Gardens Redevelopment Agency, 101 Cal.App.4th 1317, (see CP&DR Legal Digest, October 2002). In that case, the appellate court ruled that the doughnut shop owner, Veisna Kong, was eligible for relocation benefits as a "displaced person" even though he remained in business for six years on property the city acquired under threat of eminent domain. In this separate lawsuit alleging inverse condemnation, Kong sought damages for losing business goodwill, improvements to his shop and inventory. He also sought precondemnation damages, alleging the city behaved inappropriately before acquiring the property. The city acquired the property where Kong was the sublessee in 1993 and sold it the following year to Dr. Irving Moskowitz, who eventually developed a casino. Kong continued to operate his doughnut shop in the same location until late 1999, when Moskowitz evicted him so he could demolish the building and construct a parking lot for the casino. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Bruce Mitchell sustained the city's demurrer, indicating that he agreed with the city that Kong had not made enough of a case for the litigation to continue. Judge Mitchell refused to let Kong amend his complaint and the judge dismissed the lawsuit. Kong appealed and the appellate panel overturned Mitchell. Kong "has demonstrated that there is a reasonable possibility that he can cure the defects" in his lawsuit, the court ruled. "Consequently, he must be afforded leave to amend his complaint." The city argued that there was no connection between its purchase of the property and Kong's displacement from his place of business. Kong continued to do business at the location for six years after the city acquired the property, which was longer than his original sublease, the city noted. But, as in its ruling regarding displacement benefits, the court held that it was the agency's initial acquisition of the premises that resulted in Kong getting evicted. The Case: Kong v. City of Hawaiian Gardens Redevelopment Agency, No. B146142, 2003 DJDAR 5487. Filed June 13, 2002. Ordered published, May 21, 2003. The Lawyers: For Kong: Anthony Parrille, (626) 294-0010. For the city: M. Lois Bobak, Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart, (714) 558-7000.