Oakland, CA (Originally published Sept. 12, 2014) Claassen, Professional Corporation has joined with the Pacific Legal Foundation in filing the Opening Brief in an appeal challenging the City of Oakland’s administration of building code enforcement.

Since the economic crisis of 2008, it has become painfully clear that homes represent a large portion of people’s assets. Oakland in both 2000 and 2011 was slammed by, among others, the Alameda County Civil Grand Jury for messing with people’s biggest asset unfairly. It received particular criticism for its high fees and fines, heavy-handed and arbitrary enforcement, and unfair appeals process.

The brief challenges the unfair appeals process, which has not materially improved despite the criticism. It seeks to compel Oakland to follow state law in the administration of building code appeals. California Building Code section 1.8.8 lays out an appeals process to be used by building departments. Among other things, hearings should be held before an independent appeal panel made up of people with industry experience. Yet Oakland uses a single hearing officer who it pays, who is often a former employee of the City Attorney’s office, and who does not have industry experience.

The net result is an appeals process heavily stacked against owners. Oakland does not make public the percentage of appeals brought by owners that result in reversals. One can only surmise that it is exceedingly low.

John Claassen practices civil litigation from the offices of Claassen, P.C. in Oakland, California. For more information about the firm, please click here. While this blog entry is published for informational purposes, portions of this blog post may constitute “communications” within the meaning of California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400. Thus, as a possible “Advertisement” it is not intended to constitute legal advice. Similarly, no statement made in this blog post is intended as a guarantee, warranty, or promise about the outcome of any litigation matter taken on by the firm. This Advertisement is not intended for any matter that would require the rendition of legal services outside of the State of California or under the laws of any jurisdiction outside of the State of California. Copyright 2014-15. All rights reserved.

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