60 Cal.App.3d 383, 38132, City of San Marcos v. California Highway Com.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the Court[11] Sims
Citation60 Cal.App.3d 383,131 Cal.Rptr. 804
Date22 July 1976
Docket Number38132
PartiesCity of San Marcos v. California Highway Com.

Page 383

60 Cal.App.3d 383

131 Cal.Rptr. 804

CITY OF SAN MARCOS, Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY COMMISSION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, et al., Defendants and Appellants.

Civ. 38132.

California Court of Appeal, First District, First Division

July 22, 1976.

Page 384

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Page 385

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Page 386

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Page 387

Thomas H. Crawford, San Francisco, Richard D. Ring, Counsel for City of San Marcos, Vista, for plaintiff and respondent.

Page 388

Harry S. Fenton, Chief Counsel, Emerson Rhyner, Deputy Chief Counsel, John B. Matheny, O. J. Solander, Attys. for Dept. of Transp., Sacramento, for defendants and appellants.

John Van Ryn, City Atty. of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Daniel J. Curtin, Jr., City Atty., Walnut Creek, Robert J. Logan, City Atty., Livermore, Joseph Millard, Sp. Counsel, City of Livermore, San Francisco, Alfred A. Affinito, City Atty., Pittsburg, Kenneth C. Scheidig, City Atty., Pleasanton, Rodney R. Atchison, City Atty., Santa Cruz, for amicus curiae.

SIMS, Associate Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment which ordered that a peremptory writ of mandate issue ordering the respondents below (the California Highway Commission and Department of Transportation, the Director of the Department and its attorney) to grant an allocation 1 to

Page 389

the City of San Marcos from fiscal year 1974--1975 funds in the State of California Grade Separation Fund 2 in the amount of $1,462,209 for the construction of a grade separation crossing.

The matter came before the trial court on the city's petition for writ of mandate, and the demurrer and answer filed by the respondents. After hearing oral argument and taking testimony the court ordered the matter submitted. Because of the exigency of the situation, as is reviewed below, the court on June 30, 1975 signed and filed its 'Ruling Re Demurrer, Intended Decision, Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Re Petition For Writ of Mandate' and signed, filed and entered its 'Judgment Granting Peremptory Writ of Mandate' from which this appeal is taken. A 'Peremptory Writ of Mandate' was issued. 3 On appeal the respondents below contend that the court erred in overruling the demurrer interposed in the trial court, and that the judgment is not supported by substantial evidence. The arguments made under those general headings, and other particular points urged against the judgment may be condensed into the following contentions: (1) that the matter is

Page 390

moot because the court erred in entering judgment on June 30, 1975, and no effective judgment for an allocation can be entered subsequent to that date; (2) that the city's petition is barred by laches; (3) the court erred in concluding that it was necessary to comply with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act in adopting regulations governing the review procedure by the department, particularly the requirement of a deadline for the receipt of an application for an allocation; (4) that the court erred in concluding that the application of the deadline (if it was otherwise valid) to the city's application was an abuse of discretion, was arbitrary because it conflicted with the legislative intent, and was unreasonable because of the protracted period prescribed for departmental review; (5) that the court erred in concluding that there was a sufficiency of compliance by the city with the statutory requirements for an allocation; (6) that the Legislature conferred upon the department the sole discretion to determine the manner in which an allocation should be made, and the court erred in attempting to control that discretion by writ of mandamus; and (7) that the court erred in finding that no other applicant, particularly an applicant with higher priority, was prejudiced by the order to make the allocation to the city.

As outlined below, we find that the foregoing contentions are without merit. The judgment of the trial court must be affirmed.

I

Section 632 of the Code of Civil Procedure provided and provides in pertinent part: '. . . In superior courts, upon such trial, the court shall announce its intended decision. Within the time after such announcement permitted by rules of the Judicial Council, any party appearing at the trial may request findings. Unless findings are requested, the court shall not be required to make written findings and conclusions . . .'

Subdivisions (a) and (b) of rule 232, California Rules of Court supplement the code provision, insofar as is material here, as follows: '(a) Upon the trial of a question of fact by the court, the court shall announce its intended decision by an oral statement, entered in the minutes, or by a written statement filed with the clerk. Unless such announcement is made in open court in the presence of all parties who appeared at the trial, the clerk shall forthwith mail to all parties who appeared at the trial a copy of the minute entry or written statement of intended decision, together with a copy of any memorandum of decision filed by the court and shall execute and file a certificate of such mailing.

Page 391

( ) The announcement of intended decision shall not constitute a judgment and shall not be binding on the court . . . ( ) The announcement of intended decision may state whether written findings of fact and conclusions of law, if requested, shall be prepared by the court or by a designated party.

'(b) A request for findings of fact and conclusions of law shall be served and filed within 10 days after oral announcement of intended decision in open court or, if mailing of the announcement of intended decision is required, within 10 days after such mailing . . ..'

It further may be noted that even if findings are not requested a proposed judgment must be prepared and served so that objections may be made to it. (Rule 232(h).) Subdivision (i) reads: 'The court may, by written order, extend any of the times prescribed herein and at any time prior to the entry of judgment, whether or not a signed judgment is filed, it may, for good cause shown and upon such terms as may be just, excuse a noncompliance with the time limits prescribed for doing any act required by this rule.'

Respondents point out that the court failed to comply with the foregoing procedure. Its 'Ruling Re Demurrer, Intended Decision, Proposed Findings Of Fact And Conclusions Of Law Re Petition For Writ of Mandate' was filed on June 30, 1975. It concluded, 'Counsel for petitioner to prepare a Writ of Mandate in accordance with the ruling of the court, and counsel for petitioner and respondents to submit any objections, modifications, additions to the above proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Rule 232 of the California Rules of Court.' On the same day the court signed, filed and entered a judgment and issued a peremptory writ of mandate.

In Hadley v. Superior Court (1972) 29 Cal.App.3d 389, 105 Cal.Rptr. 500, the court pointed out, 'An application for a writ of mandate or administrative mandamus is a 'special proceeding' governed by the provisions of section 1063 et seq. of the Code of Civil Procedure including section 1109. Section 1109 provides: 'Except as otherwise provided in this title (title 1 dealing with special proceedings), the provisions of part 2 of this code (Code of Civil Procedure commencing with section 307) are applicable to and constitute the rules of practice in the proceedings mentioned in this title.' Once an alternative writ has issued and an evidentiary hearing been had, it is contemplated that the proceeding shall be terminated by a judgment, not by a minute order

Page 392

signed by the clerk. (Citation.) The judgment should dispose of the alternative writ theretofore issued as well as the matter of costs. (Citation.) In cases in which the trial court has determined a question of fact, the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, section 632 and rule 232 of the California Rules of Court also apply. (Code Civ.Proc., § 1109, supra; International Assn. of Fire Fighters v. City of Palo Alto, 60 Cal.2d 295, 300--301, 32 Cal.Rptr. 842 . . .; Delany v. Toomey, supra, 111 Cal.App.2d (570) at pp. 571--572.)' (29 Cal.App.3d at p. 394, 105 Cal.Rptr. at p. 503.)

It is also generally stated, 'A judgment entered without findings where findings are required is a nullity . . ..' (Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. Northwestern Mut. Ins. Co. (1971) 17 Cal.App.3d 204, 207, 94 Cal.Rptr. 586, 587. See also Supple v. Luckenbach (1938) 12 Cal.2d 319, 322--323 (cf. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2(c), as amended effective Jan. 1, 1951, and Estate of Hewitt (1958) 160 Cal.App.2d 584, 585--586); McBride v. Alpha Realty Corp. (1975) 49 Cal.App.3d 925, 928, 123 Cal.Rptr. 270; Estate of Hewitt, supra; Petroleum Midway Co. v. Zahn (1944) 62 Cal.App.2d 645, 651--652; and Hulbert v. All Night and Day Bank (1916) 29 Cal.App. 765, 767.)

On July 7, 1975, respondents attacked the judgment on the foregoing grounds in their motion to quash an order to show cause issued on the city's application (see fn. 3 above), and they accompanied their motion with a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law. Two days later the city proposed modifications and additions to the findings set forth in the court's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law which had been signed and filed June 30, 1975. The city's proposal contained the following recitals: 'Said cause having been heard, evidence both oral and documentary having been introduced, and said cause having been submitted for decision, with the understanding of counsel and court that a decision must be rendered prior to the end of fiscal year 1974--75, on June 30, 1975, the court made a ruling re demurrer, intended decision, proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law re petition for writ of mandate on June 30, 1975. . . . ( ) On June 30, 1975, counsel for...

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9 practice notes
  • 113 Cal.App.3d 579, 58740, California Coastal Com. v. Quanta Investment Corp.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 19 Diciembre 1980
    ...regulations enacted without adherence to the requirements of the APA are invalid. (City of San Marco v. California Highway Com. (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, 131 Cal.Rptr. 804 (failure to give adequate notice or to permit interested parties to participate in formulation of a We are of the opini......
  • 105 Cal.App.3d 240, 18306, Stackler v. Department of Motor Vehicles
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 29 Abril 1980
    ...by statute. (Dickey v. Raisin Proration Zone No. 1 (1944) 24 Cal.2d 796, 810; City of San Marcos v. California Highway Com. (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, 405, 131 Cal.Rptr. 804.) As a matter of rational administrative practice, DMV must retain copies of licenses issued in order to have a comple......
  • 137 Cal.App.3d 729, 53017, Stoneham v. Rushen
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 24 Noviembre 1982
    ...experience].) In so holding the Supreme Court cited with approval our decision in City of San Marcos v. California Com. (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, 131 Cal.Rptr. 804, involving a state agency's disallowance of a city's application for allocation of grade separation funds on grounds the underl......
  • Neri v. City of Los Angeles, 032812 CAAPP2, B231266
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 28 Marzo 2012
    ...that “‘[a] judgment entered without findings required is a nullity.’” (See City of San Marcos v. California Highway Commission (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, But the law has changed. “Under former law, written findings of fact and conclusions of law were required when a question of fact was deci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • 113 Cal.App.3d 579, 58740, California Coastal Com. v. Quanta Investment Corp.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 19 Diciembre 1980
    ...regulations enacted without adherence to the requirements of the APA are invalid. (City of San Marco v. California Highway Com. (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, 131 Cal.Rptr. 804 (failure to give adequate notice or to permit interested parties to participate in formulation of a We are of the opini......
  • 105 Cal.App.3d 240, 18306, Stackler v. Department of Motor Vehicles
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 29 Abril 1980
    ...by statute. (Dickey v. Raisin Proration Zone No. 1 (1944) 24 Cal.2d 796, 810; City of San Marcos v. California Highway Com. (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, 405, 131 Cal.Rptr. 804.) As a matter of rational administrative practice, DMV must retain copies of licenses issued in order to have a comple......
  • 137 Cal.App.3d 729, 53017, Stoneham v. Rushen
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 24 Noviembre 1982
    ...experience].) In so holding the Supreme Court cited with approval our decision in City of San Marcos v. California Com. (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, 131 Cal.Rptr. 804, involving a state agency's disallowance of a city's application for allocation of grade separation funds on grounds the underl......
  • Neri v. City of Los Angeles, 032812 CAAPP2, B231266
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 28 Marzo 2012
    ...that “‘[a] judgment entered without findings required is a nullity.’” (See City of San Marcos v. California Highway Commission (1976) 60 Cal.App.3d 383, But the law has changed. “Under former law, written findings of fact and conclusions of law were required when a question of fact was deci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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