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Appeals Court Reverses Judgment on David’s Restaurant Eviction

On Wednesday a California appeals court reversed an eviction decision against David’s Restaurant, sending the case back to the trial court with a directive to reverse the ruling. Read the decision here: Court Decision

It’s the latest move in a long-running attempt by Santa Clara — technically, the Santa Clara Sports and Open Space Authority (SOSA) — to dislodge long-time lease holder  David Ebrahimi — owner of David’s Restaurant and Banquet Hall — from property earmarked for Related Companies’ proposed City Place development on Tasman.

“We conclude the trial court erred by granting Landlord’s summary judgment* motion, and we reverse the judgment,” wrote California Court of Appeal Judge Helen Williams. “The case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

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The dispute turns on whether Santa Clara waived its right to evict David’s Restaurant by accepting a month’s rent in June 2017 after serving Ebrahimi with an eviction notice.

The trial court judge had found that Ebrahimi had failed to substantiate his claim that by accepting the rent, the City had implicitly waived its eviction rights for that month.

In reversing the trial court, Judge Williams wrote that the City’s contract clause that “acceptance of rent will not impair any right, power, privilege or option arising from any default or be construed a waiver of default” wasn’t applicable.

“The case did not arise from any breach or default of the terms of the lease,” she wrote. “Thus the non-waiver clause did not provide Tenant with actual notice that acceptance of rent would not constitute a waiver of Landlord’s notice of termination…”

The case now goes back to the trial court, which will reverse its decision. “The same facts that supported the reversal, support our motion” for a summary judgment in Ebrahimi’s favor, said his attorney Gary Wesley. Also reversed is the $15,000 in damages that was awarded to the SOSA/City.

It’s unlikely that Ebrahimi will choose to move back into the restaurant for a month, but a claim for damages isn’t off the table, Wesley said.

The eviction lawsuit is unrelated to the eminent domain action against David’s Banquet Hall, which Ebrahimi is also challenging in court.

*Summary judgment means that the case is so clear cut that it can be decided solely on the basis of the information submitted to the court, without a trial.

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2 Comments
  1. ABecker 7 months ago
    Reply

    Tragic way to treat a longtime businessman in Santa Clara with tons of history. They should have included David in the new plans. I have my own personal reservations against this project based on environmental concerns, yet in all I realized that City Place is a money driven agenda on top of a former dump.
    Trust me, my baby diapers are in there, maybe my toys and all my junk from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. I know my couch is in there somewhere.
    Having the golf course on top and the large open space was our own Shoreline. The best thing was the late afternoon bay breezes through there with all the lush green landscape a great way to reallocate a dump.
    But real estate talks around here. A broom closet can probably be rented for $1,000 a month easily.

    I am sad to see David Ebrahimi treated this way. He pleaded to many for help including myself. I am ashamed of myself that I couldn’t do anything to stop the greed.
    It’s unethical that the city committed eminent domain because the strings from above were being pulled. When the puppetmaster moves, the puppets move. But that is my opinion. Its wrong our council treated this Santa Clara business veteran this way. But money talks and bulldung walks.
    All I know is if I was a leader I would find a better way to make progress happen rather than destroy someones livelihood.
    I applaud this that he get this tiny victory and I hope for another victory related to the eminent domain case.
    Yet both of these even if they are victorious it is still a loss for David, and the city of Santa Clara.

  2. Gary Wesley 7 months ago
    Reply

    The appellate court was actually the Appellate Department of the Superior Court which, like the higher Court of Appeal, decides cases with a 3-judge panel. All 3 judges in this case voted to reverse the judgment. The case will be returned to the “trial court” judge who will deny the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and grant the defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, the defendant will seek costs and attorney fees to be added to the defense judgment. Or maybe we will skip all of that and settle the case.

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