Update: Still No Decision on Major Medical Marijuana Case

July 26, 2010

Earlier this year, we reported on the case of Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim, which is pending with the California Court of Appeal.  The case concerns whether the City of Anaheim’s ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries is valid, or if it is preempted by California’s Compassionate Use Act and Medical Marijuana Program (also known as Prop. 215, which passed in 1996).

The case is significant because the number of medical marijuana dispensaries around the state has grown significantly, with many cities such as Los Angeles experiencing major growing pains.  If Anaheim’s ordinance is not preempted, then it will likely lead to a number of additional cities banning dispensaries entirely.

Earlier this month, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, vacated

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Verbal Promise by Mortgage Lenders May Be Enforceable

July 25, 2010

There has been significant activity recently which may impact mortgage lenders’ practices which contributed to the current real estate downturn.

First, the California Court of Appeal recently decided a case which may have far-reaching impact on mortgage lenders as they communicate with clients.

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Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages are the Rich

July 9, 2010

The NY Times is reporting that wealthy homeowners are quickly becoming the most common homeowners to go into default and foreclosure.  The article stated that homeowners with mortgages over $1 million are much more likely to stop paying, with 1 in 7 of these wealthy homeowners currently seriously delinquent, compared to 1 in 12 for homeowners with mortgages below the million dollar level who are currently seriously delinquent.

The article stated:

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

This is consistent with what I have seen throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area.  In my experience advising clients on various real estate and land use issues, I have seen numerous wealthy homeowners with properties and mortgages far north of $1 million who have fallen upon hard times.  For many of these homeowners, their own option is to stop paying their mortgages.  Sometimes homeowners are fortunate to have many years of ownership and equity built up, so they have options such as selling the property.

When they don’t have equity, then they need to consider attempting a short sale or a loan modification.  Unfortunately, due to the passage of SB 94 this past fall, homeowners attempting a loan modification are very unlikely to be able to hire an attorney to advise them on how to accomplish a modification.  That leaves a short sale or simply walking away as the most likely option.

Read the full article here.

John Corcoran is an Associate with Plastiras & Terrizzi law firm in San Rafael, California (Marin County).  He advises clients on real estate matters, small business issues, estate planning, and general civil litigation.  He may be reached at jcorcoran@ptlegal.com or (415) 472-8100 x211.


“When To Litigate and When to Avoid It” by Basil Plastiras published in North Bay Biz magazine

June 30, 2010

North Bay Biz magazine published “When to Litigate and When to Avoid It” by Basil Plastiras in their July 2010 issue.  Here is an excerpt:

The vast majority of lawsuits resolve, by settlement or dismissal, before reaching trial. In some counties in California (Marin, for example), only 2 percent of all suits filed go to trial. Most counties in California resolve more than 90 percent of all civil suits prior to trial.

The preferred method of resolving legal disputes in California is by settlement. This is the “public policy” of our state. Settlement is usually less expensive for all concerned, less stressful and far less risky than going to trial.

To read the full article, click here.

Basil Plastiras is an attorney, expert witness, mediator and real estate broker. He is the founding partner of Plastiras & Terrizzi in San Rafael, a general civil litigation law firm. He can be reached at (415) 472-8100 or basil@ptlegal.com.


Legal Forms for Startup Businesses

June 9, 2010

One of the fundamental questions for a entrepreneur starting up a new business is how to legally structure the new entity. Each has its advantages or disadvantages, and no one structure will work for every kind of business or individual owner.

If you are thinking of starting a new business, it is best to thoroughly research the pro’s and con’s of the respective entities and think through your goals in starting the business. Do you want a side business that generates a little extra income to supplement a primary job? Do you want to grow the business to be the next Apple or HP? Is this a simple business with minimal risk or do you anticipate your new business’s activities could expose you and your personal assets to a lot of risk? How you come down on these issues will help you determine what entity is right for you.

The most common ways of organizing a new business are as a sole proprietor, a partnership, an LLC, or a corporation.

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Plastiras & Terrizzi featured in North Bay Business Journal

March 2, 2010

The North Bay Business Journal featured this article today which mentions Plastiras & Terrizzi:

Four agents, broker join Parkway Properties
Eisberg, Perlmutter, Angel and Walwyn more over from Orion

SAN RAFAEL – Parkway Properties Investment Corp., which has been handling commercial real estate transactions and property management for a pool of Bay Area investors, made a significant move further into property brokerage with the addition of a broker and four well-known North Bay agents.

Brian Eisberg, Jerry Angel, Martin Perlmutter and David Walwyn left commercial real estate brokerage Orion Partners Ltd. in late January to join Parkway.

Mr. Eisberg …. was attracted to Parkway for reasons including its investment advisory and virtually in-house real estate law counsel with Plastiras & Terrizzi.

Read more here


Security Deposits Can Be Used for Unpaid Rent

February 10, 2010

Security deposit

One of the most common areas of friction between a landlord and tenant is the repayment of the security deposit after a tenant has moved out.
Landlords and tenants often squabble over when and under what circumstances a landlord is entitled to deduct from a tenant’s security deposit.
In California, a landlord of both residential and commercial property can deduct for unpaid rent from the tenant’s security deposit.

Residential Lease Security Deposits

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