California Court Tackles Question Of When An Amendment Is A New Agreement
The parties to an agreement agree upon a change to the terms. Should the change be labeled an "amendment" or a "new agreement". Often this will simply be a question of nomenclature. Sometimes, however, more the difference between an amendment and a new agreement can have substantive consequences. Such was the case in Citizens for Amending Proposition L v. City of Pomona, Cal. Ct. Appeal Case No. B283740 (Nov. 7, 2018).
The case involved a challenge to a billboard. After the billboard and the City of Pomona entered into an agreement providing for the erection of billboards in the City, the voters passed a proposition banning new billboards within the city. A month after the original agreement expired, the City passed an ordinance purporting to "amend" the agreement to extend its term. The anti-billboard group contended that a new agreement would violate the proposition. The City did not contest that point but disagreed with the trial court's conclusion that the post-termination extension constituted a new agreement. The Court of Appeal was not swayed by the City's argument and affirmed.