California Supreme Court Watch

Aug 12, 2020
Zolly v. City of Oakland, S262634.

#20-209 Zolly v. City of Oakland, S262634. (A154986; 47 Cal.App.5th 73; Alameda County Superior Court; RG16821376.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment in a civil action. This case presents the following issue: Must city franchise fees that are subject to California Constitution, article XIII C, be reasonably related to the value of the franchise?

Review granted: 8/12/2020

Case fully briefed: 2/22/2021 (supplemental briefs ordered by the Court; reply to supplemental brief filed 4/25/2022)

The Supreme Court directed the parties to serve and file supplemental letter briefs addressing the following questions: (1) Does Cal. Const., art. XIII C, § 1, subdivision (e)(4) apply to the fees paid under the waste management contracts at issue in this case, and if so, why? (2) Are any other exemptions within article XIII C applicable to these fees?

Cause argued and submitted: 5/24/2022

Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full: 8/11/2022

See the California Court of Appeal Opinion.

See the Petition for Review.

See the Oral Argument.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Zolly v. City of Oakland (2022) 13 Cal.5th 780.)

“We granted review to decide how [waste hauler] fees [included in two contracts that the City of Oakland entered into with private waste haulers] should be treated under article XIII C of the California Constitution, which sets forth voter approval requirements that apply to taxes imposed by local government….  Oakland claims that article XIII C, as amended in 2010 by Proposition 26, categorically exempts its challenged fees from such voter approval requirements, while plaintiffs Robert Zolly, Ray McFadden, and Stephen Clayton argue that the fees are exempt only if the amount of the fee bears a reasonable relationship to the value of the franchise.

We hold that Oakland has not shown on demurrer that its challenged fees are exempt from article XIII C’s voter approval requirements. Accordingly, we affirm the Court of Appeal’s judgment.”

Justice Liu authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Kruger, Groban, and Guerrero concurred.

Justice Jenkins filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Corrigan concurred.