Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

When Does a Lien Placed By a California Governmental Agency Violate Due Process? (Part 2)

Yesterday, we ended with two questions: What happens when the State of California ups the ante? Does a property holder have the right to due process in California?

In 2011, the Department sent a letter of its intent to increase the lien to over $833,000 and advised Van Horn of her right to a hearing regarding the lien on her property. At hearing before a neutral officer, the sole issue under consideration was whether the Department had a reasonable basis to believe that the statutory elements for the Department to place the lien were satisfied. The Department did not provide a hearing concerning the propriety of the lien amount or the specific properties covered by the lien.

In the trial court, Van Horn requested a writ of mandate requiring the Department to remove the increased lien amount and to hold a hearing on the propriety of the lien increase, the properties covered by the proposed line, and the information obtained by the Department justifying the work performed. The court dismissed the writ. Van Horn appealed.

Appeal Court Held That Lien Procedures Violated Due Process Rights

On appeal, the court held that the California’s “Superfund” statute lien procedures violated due process because it “fails to allow an affected landowner to dispute the amount of the lien, the extent of the property burdened by the lien, and the characterization of the landowner as a responsible party.” As a result, the court directed the Department to remove the increased lien and to hold a lien procedure hearing at which plaintiff will be allowed to challenge the increased lien and the properties covered by the lien.

Contact a California Lien Attorney

If you have a lien placed on your personal or business assets by a federal or state governmental agency, an experienced California lien attorney can help. Janathan L. Allen, APC’s California lien attorneys have extensive experience helping individuals and businesses to contest liens placed by various agencies. Contact a California lien attorney today for help.