Validity of Ordinance Damages Claim

In Hensler v. City of Glendale (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 1 32 Cal. Rptr. 2d 244, 876 P.2d 1043, the issue was the validity of a zoning ordinance which prohibited construction in certain areas of the City of Glendale. In an effort to avoid the short statute of limitations applicable to actions that affect subdivisions, the plaintiff claimed he was not challenging the validity of the ordinance itself, but was merely seeking damages for a "taking" that resulted from its enforcement. (Id. at pp. 24-26.) The Supreme Court rejected the plaintiff's attempt to recharacterize the nature of his claim to avoid the statute of limitations bar. "Plaintiff cannot transform the action into one which does not challenge the validity of the ordinance, regulations, and administrative actions by acquiescing in the taking, assuming the validity of those actions, and seeking only damages." (Id. at p. 26.) The court went on to hold that since the plaintiff's damage claim depended upon the validity of the ordinance, it was necessarily a challenge to the ordinance itself, and was therefore governed by the statute of limitations applicable to such actions. (Id. at pp. 24-26.)