Miller Barondess Wins Summary Judgment Ruling on Behalf of Ygrene Energy Fund, Inc.

Miller Barondess Wins Summary Judgment Ruling on Behalf of Ygrene Energy Fund, Inc.

The Miller Barondess team of Bernadette Bolan and Daniel Paluch have won a summary judgment ruling on behalf of Ygrene Energy Fund, Inc., the parent company of a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program administrator. The defense verdict was published in Daily Journal’s Verdicts and Settlements (subscription required) on July 8, 2022.

Plaintiffs used PACE financing to fund the installation of a solar power system on their home. The PACE financing, administered by Ygrene’s subsidiary on behalf of Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA), would be repaid by plaintiffs through a special tax levied by GSFA on their property. Plaintiffs allege that after their solar power system was installed, the tax assessor informed them that their property taxes had increased as a result of a claim made by Ygrene. In turn, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Ygrene seeking declaratory relief regarding the parties’ rights and duties for repayment of the solar power installation; and seeking injunctive relief from the demanded excessive assessment against the plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs denied that they had contracted with Ygrene or anyone else with which they had an obligation to repay for the installation; and also denied their obligation to repay for the installation through an assessment of their property taxes.

Ygrene filed a motion for summary judgment contending that it was entitled to judgment in its favor because the undisputed facts did not support the premise for the declaratory relief sought by plaintiffs. Ygrene asserted that there was no contractual relationship between it and plaintiffs, which was the basis alleged for its involvement. Ygrene further contended that neither it nor its subsidiary entered into financing contracts with the property owners.

On May 16, 2022, The Honorable Rosemary T. McGuire, Fresno County Superior Court, granted summary judgment in favor of Ygrene ruling that the evidence supported defendant’s assertion that there is no contractual relationship between plaintiffs and either Ygrene entity. The Judge’s ruling further clarified that Ygrene’s subsidiary administers PACE programs on behalf of GSFA, and that GSFA is the lienholder being repaid through the special property tax assessment on plaintiffs’ property.

Jose Avila and Silvina Estrada v. Ygrene Energy Fund, Inc., et al., 19CECG02943 (Fresno Sup. Ct., filed Aug. 13, 2019)