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Gaggero v. San Diego, County of

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20145
Nos. No. D043012, (Cal. App. 4th Dist., 12/01/2004)

A California appellate court held that a landfill is an "improvement" within the meaning of the 10-year statute of repose provided by the California Code of Civil Procedure §337.15. The case arose after the current owners of the landfill who turned it into a nursery noticed severe subsidence on the property. In 2000, the owners filed a claim against a county that originally owned the landfill alleging inverse condemnation, nuisance, negligence, trespass, and recovery of toxic waste response costs. Contrary to the current owners' contention, the county's construction and operation of the landfill was an improvement under §337.15. While the county's primary goal may not have been to obtain a profit from eventual sale of the landfill, in filling it, covering it and selling it, the county was engaged in making the real property suitable for further use by others. Thus, because operation of the landfill ceased in 1967 and the county sold it in 1969, the current owners' complaint is time barred under the statute.