Delayed discovery does not toll the 180-day limitations period for suing to challenge a public entity’s failure to comply with CEQA. When, as in this case, the entity determines that the project is exempt from CEQA, Pub. Resources Code 21167 provides that any suit must be brought within 180 days of (a) the entity’s filing a notice of exemption, (b) the entity’s decision to carry out or approve the project, or (c) the actual commencement of the project. Each of these three events give the public constructive knowledge of the CEQA violation, if there is one. Delayed discovery cannot be used to circumvent a limitations period triggered by events giving prospective plaintiffs constructive knowledge of their claim. Moreover, allowing delayed discovery would conflict with CEQA’s goal of having challenges brought swiftly so as not to tie up projects indefinitely.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1 (Humes, P.J.); July 19, 2016; 2016 WL 3921920