Possibly, you may recall the Half Moon Bay fiasco of a while back. To read our story about that case, click here. Half Moon Bay is a posh little town in Northern California that got itself into trouble (by having a $36 million judgment entered against itself) when it flooded a local property and then had the chutzpa to assert that the aforementioned property thus became a protected “wetland” that could neither be drained, nor filled, nor built upon. Long story short, the city outsmarted itself when it transferred the ensuing inverse condemnation action by the property’s owner from state to federal court, and then argued after a week-long trial — no, we are not making this up — that the case should have been tried in state court all along. The federal judge was not amused, and he entered a $36 million judgment against the city which lucked out because it was able to settle the case for half that amount – $18 million.
Now word reaches us (reported by Mark Noack, City Seeks Payback for Beachwood Loss, Half Moon Bay Review of May 10, 2012 — click here), that the city, in another display of chutzpa, is trying to recoup some of its payments under that settlement, by making a claim against its former insurance company in spite of the fact that the insurance policy in question excludes coverage for inverse condemnation, and it expired 20 years ago. Good luck with that, although this is California, folks, where insurance companies are not exactly coddled by the courts, although things are better for them than they used to be.
We’ll try to keep an eye on this caper, and will let you know how it all turns out.