San Diego’s ordinances set a 30-day limitations period for suits challenging any tax assessment by the city or its subsidiary entities. The short time limit did not deny due process; it was reasonable in light of the city’s need to know promptly whether its assessments would be challenged. The filing of an earlier challenge to the same tax assessment by a different plaintiff could not be a basis for equitable tolling of the limitations period for plaintiff’s suit. Equitable tolling works only for successive suits by the same plaintiff. Nor could the continuing collection of the tax allow plaintiff to avoid the limitations bar on a theory of continuous accrual since the ordinance specified the limitations period ran from the time the tax assessment was levied. Even though plaintiff sought some equitable relief, he could not avoid the statute of limitations and seek applicable of equitable laches instead as the gravamen of the suit governed the applicable time limit, not the relief sought.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1 (Nares, J.); May 25, 2018; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 485