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Client Alerts


Public Contracts

Environmental Law

Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation

  • Ninth Circuit En Banc Panel Finds Goleta’s Mobile Home Rent Control OrdinanceDecember 23, 2010 An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit, in a much anticipated decision, has found that the City of Goleta’s mobile home rent control ordinance did not cause a taking of the Guggenheim’s property because they received exactly what they bargained for. The court rejected the reasoning of the three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit that previously found a taking had occurred and affirmed the ... read more

Trial and Litigation

  • Restraining Orders: Protecting Public Employees When Public Access Becomes ThreateningDecember 3, 2010Can a city restrict the conduct of a self-described civic-minded individual, with a history of flamboyant speech and dramatic behavior in his communications with the city, without running afoul of free speech rights?In City of San Jose v. William Garbett, filed on November 24, 2010, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal says yes, when the conduct meets the conditions for an ... read more
  • US Supreme Court Holds City’s Review of Employee Messages on City Pager Was Reasonable in Circumstances, But Avoids Clarifying General StandardsJune 17, 2010 In City of Ontario v. Quon, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling that the City's review of a SWAT officer's text messages sent over a City-issued pager was reasonable in the circumstances of that case, and thus did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. But the Court avoided answering two broader questions about how courts should analyze non-investigatory, ... read more
  • Pitchess Discovery Limited to Criminal Cases Involving Allegations That Officer Used Excessive ForceApril 26, 2010On Friday, April 23, 2010, a California appeals court ruled in Brown v. Valverde that motions filed pursuant to California Evidence Code section 1043 et seq. and Pitchess v. Superior Court (Pitchess motions) to request peace officer personnel records are not available in administrative per se hearings conducted by the California Department of Motor ... read more
  • New decision affecting Miranda: Maryland v. ShatzerFebruary 25, 2010 On February 24, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court came to a decision that will have long-lasting implications on police policy with respect to Miranda warnings. The case, Maryland v. Shatzer, 08-680, examined whether a police investigation in Maryland was performed illegally when they re-interrogated a man suspected of sexual assault over two years after the first interrogation. At issue ... read more
  • No More Limits on “Permissible Quantity” of Medical MarijuanaJanuary 25, 2010 On January 21, 2010, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in People v. Kelly (S164830), which essentially eliminates the limitations on the quantity of medical marijuana that a qualified patient or primary caregiver may legally possess or cultivate. After the California voters adopted the Compassionate Use Act (“Act”), the California Legislature enacted Health ... read more

Municipal and Special District Law

Public Finance

  • Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Gives Public Entities New Rights as the SEC Seeks CommentAugust 10, 2010 With the ink barely dry on the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, a new world dawns as municipal and other public agencies get new rights and protections formerly reserved to the investor community. The legislation comprises the most massive and sweeping changes to the financial markets since the Great Depression, and its effects will be multiplied through hundreds of mandated rulemaking and ... read more

Labor and Employment

Economic Development, Real Estate and Housing

Climate Change and Green Initiatives

  • Bay Area Air Quality District Adopts CEQA Guidelines For Greenhouse Gas and Other PollutantsJune 10, 2010The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted new CEQA Guidelines for analysis of air quality impacts. For the first time, it includes guidance on the analysis and determination of significant impacts for greenhouse gases (GHGs).The Guidelines set lower emission levels for other pollutants (such as ozone and particulate matter) that will result in a significant impact under CEQA. ... read more
  • Time to Get Ready for New Mandatory California Green Building CodeMay 26, 2010 California’s first-in-the-nation mandatory green building code - CALGreen - will take effect on January 1, 2011. CALGreen establishes uniform, mandatory minimum green building regulations throughout the State. Local jurisdictions need to carefully review CALGreen before it takes effect to determine if they want to adopt amendments, and how CALGreen affects existing local green building ... read more
  • CA Court of Appeal Issues First Decision on CEQA and Greenhouse Gas EmissionsApril 28, 2010 The California Court of Appeal issued its first decision on the analysis and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Court ruled that the mitigation of GHGs for a large refinery project was inadequate under CEQA and set aside the environmental impact report (EIR) prepared for the project. In Communities For A Better ... read more

Land Use

  • City’s Billboard Bans Do Not Violate Free Speech RightsMay 28, 2010 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that clarifies the current state of the law in balancing a local government’s authority to regulate billboards with First Amendment protections. In World Wide Rush LLC v. City of Los Angeles, the Court held that the City of Los Angeles’ ban on freeway facing billboards does not violate freedom of speech rights where the ban ... read more
  • EIR Set Aside for Inadequate Alternatives Analysis and Failure to Prepare Water Supply AssessmentMay 27, 2010 The Court of Appeal rejected an EIR for a proposed open-air composting facility in San Bernardino County. In Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino, the court ruled that the EIR’s rejection of an enclosed facility alternative as economically and technologically infeasible was not supported by substantial evidence in the record. The court further determined that ... read more
  • Court Holds that Inclusion of a “Supercenter” in a Project Does Not Automatically Mean Urban Decay Impacts Must Be StudiedMarch 26, 2010 In Melom v. City of Madera, the Fifth Appellate District revisited the issue of evaluation of the environmental impacts of “Supercenters” under CEQA addressed previously in Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1184 (Bakersfield Citizens) and held that there is nothing about the inherent nature of a supercenter that ... read more
  • Agreement for City Services to Proposed Tribal Casino is Not a Project under CEQAMarch 1, 2010 The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the City of Richmond did not violate CEQA when it entered into a municipal services agreement (MSA) for a tribal casino proposed on unincorporated lands adjacent to the City. In Parchester Village Neighborhood Council v. City of Richmond, the court reversed a trial court decision and agreed with the City that the MSA was not a project ... read more
  • 8,000 Adult Items in One Store Found “Substantial” by 2nd CircuitFebruary 3, 2010 In VIP of Berlin, LLC v. Town of Berlin, __ F.3d __, 2010 WL 252292 (2nd Cir. Jan. 2010), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling and rejected an as-applied vagueness challenge to a Town of Berlin's ordinance and in so doing, presented an excellent discussion of the vagueness doctrine and its application to the construction of the term ... read more
  • EIR Required For Ordinance Banning Retail Distribution of Plastic BagsJanuary 29, 2010 In Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach, the Second District Court of Appeal (Los Angeles) has held that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) required the City of Manhattan Beach to prepare a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) before approving an ordinance to ban stores and other retail outlets from distributing plastic bags. The case ... read more

Writs and Appeals

Transportation and Infrastructure