Gion v. City of Santa Cruz

2 Cal. 3d 29, 84 Cal. Rptr. 162, 465 P.2d 50 (1970)

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Gion v. City of Santa Cruz

California Supreme Court
2 Cal. 3d 29, 84 Cal. Rptr. 162, 465 P.2d 50 (1970)

Facts

[Editor’s Note: The case before the California Supreme Court involved three consolidated cases presenting similar issues. The casebook Water Resource Management: A Casebook in Law and Public Policy (Reed D. Benson, Burke W. Griggs, & A. Dan Tarlock eds., 8th ed. 2021) limits the discussion to the Dietz v. King case.] In 1959, Robert and Helen King (defendants) acquired a property in Mendocino County, California. The property included a road that led to a beach area. Since at least the nineteenth century, the public had used the road to access the beach with little interruption or objection. In 1960, the Kings placed a log over the road to block public access, but beachgoers quickly removed it. The Kings then posted no-trespassing signs, which the public generally ignored. The second attempt at placing a large log over the road also resulted in its quick removal. In 1966, the Kings hired a crew to block the road permanently. Lester and Lotus Dietz (plaintiffs), acting on behalf of the public, filed an action in superior court and obtained a temporary restraining order to stop the work. The Dietzes focused their case on the Kings’ property ownership, not long-term public use. Ultimately, the court determined that the Kings had not impliedly dedicated the road for public use and therefore ruled in favor of the Kings. The Dietzes appealed, and the appellate court reversed the decision. The Kings successfully petitioned the California Supreme Court to consider the case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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