The Key Class
By Steven A. Blum   |   July 19, 2022

John Daly was in his mid-60s and had already enjoyed a highly successful career as an international event producer who advised his Fortune 100 corporate clients on proper protocols at the Olympics and World Cup and other such events around the world. But his awareness that the overwhelming need for more civility and social skills […]

Rules for Insurers – Because Insurance isn’t So Sure
By Steven A. Blum   |   June 28, 2018

In the wake of the Montecito Mudslide, most property owners first turned to their insurance companies for funds, and most of the insurers have responded well. A few have not, and some others are still trying to figure out how to handle the claims. In some cases, insurance adjusters from other states have landed in […]

Divine Intervention
By Steven A. Blum   |   June 14, 2018

“It was an act of God,” is a phrase I hear from time to time. Not from preachers but from landowners, and sometimes their insurance adjusters, trying to avoid liability for injury caused by a natural condition on their land to neighbors. The question arises: Does a landowner have the duty to remedy a natural […]

I Lost My House, I Won My Court Case, Now What Do I Get?
By Steven A. Blum   |   May 17, 2018

Our home in Glen Oaks wasn’t destroyed in the January Montecito mudslides, but others within a cat’s prowl lost theirs. This article about measuring “just compensation” in an inverse condemnation case is for my less lucky neighbors and friends. This involves real estate appraisal, which, like poker, is not very interesting unless played for money.  […]

Fire, Flood, Mud, and Lawsuits for Wrongful Death
By Steven A. Blum   |   April 5, 2018

The awesome mountains above us still precariously harbor massive boulders, reminding us daily of our lost friends, neighbors, and family. Some of the 12-foot high boulders that traveled all the way down the mountain, past East Valley Road, sit like monuments to the enduring power of nature. What does the law have to say about […]

Here’s the Emergency: Government’s Failure to Warn in an Emergency
By Steven A. Blum   |   March 29, 2018

On March 22 at 5:19 a.m., Santa Barbara County officials issued emergency phone alerts and calls to evacuate Montecito residents. “Flash flood watch in effect for SB County. Leave now if you are still in evac/burn areas.” The County sent the alert as soon as rains started pummeling Southern California. They used a federal emergency […]

Government Must Pay If It Wants to Stop Us from Rebuilding
By Steven A. Blum   |   March 15, 2018

A few days before the mudslide, my neighbor Curtis Skene moved his 104-year old mother out of their home on East Valley Lane. Around 4 am on the day of the mudslide, he heard crashing sounds, looked out the bedroom window, and saw giant boulders fly by. He hopped out of bed and ran outside. […]

Attack of the Frank Galvins: Ambulance Chasing in Montecito
By Steven A. Blum   |   March 1, 2018

Remember Frank Galvin from Sidney Lumet’s 1982 film, The Verdict? Paul Newman played Galvin, an ambulance-chasing attorney who reads the obituaries to get clients. When we first meet Galvin in the movie, he is bribing funeral directors to let him pass his business cards to the bereaved. Galvin’s ghosts have been trolling for business in […]

Who Says the King Can Do No Wrong? Finding More Ways to Recover Losses
By Steven A. Blum   |   February 22, 2018

When I returned to Glen Oaks after the evacuation, I was still stunned by the physical and emotional devastation as neighbors mourn the loss of friends, relatives, their homes, and nature itself. Even as we begin to pick up the pieces, the weather forecast promised rain which turned out to be sprinkles not a storm. […]

Troubled Waters: Surface Water Law and the Montecito Floods
By Steven A. Blum   |   February 8, 2018

In last week’s issue of The Montecito Journal, I explained that if the facts show a fire, covered by a typical homeowners’ insurance policy, was the “efficient proximate cause” of a later mudslide, then mudslide damage could be covered under a homeowners’ insurance policy. On January 29, California insurance commissioner Dave Jones adopted the same […]

What’s Your Shoe Size? One Size Won’t Fit All Feet: Class Actions, Insurance, And Topography
By Steven A. Blum   |   February 1, 2018

Chris Wilkinson and his son, Kai, filled their truck with emergency supplies and radio equipment. They are members of the Montecito Emergency Response and Recovery Action Group known as MERRAG. It was January 8. KEYT had warned of heavy rainfall. As a third-generation Montecitoan who has lived in the same Glen Oaks home since 1963, […]

The Constitution Protects Private Property Owners
By Steven A. Blum   |   January 25, 2018

I live on Glen Oaks Drive, 200 yards from San Ysidro Creek. On January 9, a torrent of mud and giant boulders tore through my neighborhood and destroyed dozens of homes. Tragically, three of my immediate neighbors lost their lives, and after staying through the week my family and I followed the mandatory evacuation order. […]