Law Office of  JANET FOGARTY 



In a recent case, Myrick v. Mastagni (2010 DJDAR 9270), decided June 21, 2010, Owners of rental property were found liable for negligence for failing to seismically retrofit their building in Paso Robles, when two women were killed when a portion of the building collapsed on them during a 2003 earthquake, even though the owners did not need to comply with the city's retrofit ordinance until 2018.  The court found that, since they were aware that the building did not conform to seismic safety requirements, they should have taken action to correct the problem regardless of the city ordinance.  The families of the victims were awarded nearly $2,000,000.  The Court held the owners to be jointly and severally liable despite the fact that only one owner managed the property.     The lesson to be learned:  "The basic rule of tort liability for property owners is that an owner must use ordinary care in the management of his or her property to prevent injury to another. (Civil Code sec. 1714) The test is whether an owner has acted as a reasonable person in view of the probability of injury. [Citation omitted.] "   

Our advice to property owners in light of this recent case: If you are aware of a health or safety issue with your rental property, or with common area property which you manage, do not wait to get it handled.  Even if you have time remaining in which to comply with health and safety ordinances or laws, that fact will not insulate you from liability should someone be hurt because you delayed, or you allowed the manager to delay,  in fixing the problem.  Also, if you are a co-owner, and the other co-owner manages the property, you need to take action to see that any repairs are made within a reasonable time, because you may be held jointly and severally liable merely from the fact of your ownership of an interest in the property.


"Janet Fogarty is not your ordinary attorney.  She is sensitive and caring, as well as very astute and legally capable.  When I found myself overwhelmed with a business issue, I turned to Janet and she gave me excellent advice and guidance resulting in an outcome that was very successful.  I really appreciated her willingness to listen. I highly recommend both Janet Fogarty and her associate, Dena Hein.  In my 30 years of business, I have rarely found such teamwork and rapid understanding of a situation.  They offer both the legal know-how and the human touch---so important when finding oneself in confusion and in need of support. Their ethics are impeccable".  

  Former Client, Small Business Owner

“I have known Janet Fogarty for many years through the Soroptimists of Millbrae/San Bruno, the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce and most recently the Rotary Club of Millbrae. As my attorney, I have been very impressed with Janet’s outstanding knowledge of the law and real estate. The clients I have referred to Janet have appreciated her attention to detail and her ability to clearly explain complex legal issues. Janet is a joy to work with - I highly recommend her services.” June 9, 2009
Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity 
Judy Clarke
Hired Janet in 2005

 “Janet is always my first line of legal advice - well before I need any defense! I've found her in every single case to be complete, proficient, creative, accessible and knowledgeable. She finds every t to cross, every i to dot and draws very clear pictures when she explains potential consequences. I have benefited over and over from her patient explanations and kind encouragement of my own input. I cannot recommend Janet too highly.” September 4, 2007
Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
Steven Burgess
Hired Janet in 1991, and hired Janet more than once

“Janet is one of the finest people I've worked with in my 30 year real estate career, I cannot recommend her highly enough, as both a colleague and attorney! Janet and I worked on several very difficult and involved real estate investment partnerships over five years that required lengthy due diligence, letters of intent, and detailed ownership and real estate legal documents. She persevered through simultaneous negotiations with lenders, title companies, owners and investors, some living overseas. Janet's ability to understand everyone's interest, both business and legal, brought the transactions to a smooth closing within the deadlines every time. To this day I marvel at her patience. Active in her community affairs and a former mayor of Millbrae, she is also an expert at working with local planning commissions, zoning boards and city councils, as well as various State of California agencies. She is also a long-time member of Soroptomist International of San Bruno-Millbrae. Janet goes the extra step for her clients; she takes an interest in other projects and activities, and will dig into her rolodex for referrals where others might assist. Work with her if you get the chance!” September 8, 2009
Philip Clock , Owner, Pacific First Group
Hired Janet when working with another company 

Disclaimer:  Testimonials and endorsements do not consitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

111 Anza Blvd. Suite 206
Burlingame, CA  94010

(650) 343-8332
(650) 343-8336 FAX