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Marina Point, Ltd. v. Wolfson

Supreme Court of California
496 P.2d 115 (1982)


Facts

In January 1974, the Wolfsons (defendants) became tenants in a building owned by Marina Point Ltd. (Marina Point) (plaintiff). Marina Point’s rental policy excluded families with children or pregnant women, although at the time, many of its tenants had minor children. Marina Point decided that any existing children could remain but that it would not allow any more children going forward. In September 1975, Mrs. Wolfson gave birth to a son, Adam, who then lived with them. The Wolfsons renewed their lease without informing Marina Point about their new son. Marina Point later refused to renew the lease because of Adam. When the Wolfsons failed to surrender the apartment at the end of their lease, Marina Point filed an unlawful detainer action. The Wolfsons claimed that Marina Point’s discrimination against families with children violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Marina Point argued that their exclusionary policy was based on past experiences with unruly and disruptive children. It also presented expert, but anecdotal, testimony that maintenance costs increase if there are children. But it did not present any evidence that Adam had ever been disruptive. The trial court held that children and families with children were not protected from housing discrimination because they are not included in any statute or case law.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tobriner, J.)

Dissent (Richardson, J.)

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