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Client Alerts


Municipal and Special District Law

California Public Records Act

Labor and Employment

  • State Anti-Spiking Law Survives Vested Rights Challenge, With Narrow LimitsDecember 19, 2013In 2012, the California Legislature passed and the governor signed into law AB 197, which amended the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL) to prohibit "spiking" of the final compensation figure upon which pensions are based.  Specifically, AB 197 specifies certain categories of compensation that may not be included in the calculation of final compensation. In November 2012, public ... read more
  • Appellate Court Suggests Grievance Arbitration May Be Exclusive Remedy for FEHA ClaimsNovember 8, 2013In Volpei v. County of Ventura, 2d Civil No. B243954, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal on Thursday (November 7) denied the County’s petition to compel arbitration, holding that a grievance provision in a collective bargaining agreement did not prevent a County employee from filing a lawsuit alleging claims of retaliation, harassment and discrimination ... read more
  • California Supreme Court Orders Disclosure by Public Agencies of Employee Home Addresses and Telephone Numbers to Representative Labor UnionsMay 31, 2013County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Employee Relations Commission; Service Employees International Union, Local 721, Real Party in Interest, Supreme Court No. S191944 (May 30, 2013) In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Corrigan, the California Supreme Court ruled that Los Angeles County must disclose home phone numbers, and home addresses, of employees who are not union ... read more
  • Ninth Circuit Permits Plaintiffs One More Chance to Amend Retiree Healthcare LawsuitFebruary 28, 2013The Ninth Circuit has reversed the District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by retired employees against their former employer seeking to avoid the reduction of retiree healthcare benefits.  In Sonoma County Ass’n of Retired Employees v. Sonoma County, No. 10-17873 (9th Cir. Feb. 25, 2013), the Ninth Circuit cited and relied on the California Supreme Court’s recent holding ... read more
  • U.S. Supreme Court to Determine the Meaning of “Changing Clothes”February 26, 2013The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a private sector "donning and doffing" case. In Sandifer v. United States Steel, the plaintiff steel factory employees assert that the FLSA requires they be paid for time spent changing into and out of protective gear, specifically "flame retardant pants and jacket, work gloves, metatarsal boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, and a ... read more
  • Court Approves Pregnancy Discrimination Action Under FEHA Even After Exhaustion of Required PDLL LeaveFebruary 25, 2013In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeal (Second District) found that an employee who has exhausted all permissible leave available under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), may nevertheless state a cause of action for discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  (Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 131 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d ... read more

Environmental Law

  • Court of Appeal Issues Narrow Opinion on Subvention for Municipal Stormwater Permit RequirementsOctober 18, 2013The California Court of Appeal recently issued the first published decision that adjudicates a municipal stormwater test claim on the merits.  In State Department of Finance et al. v. Commission on State Mandates, the Court of Appeal held that municipal stormwater requirements in a Los Angeles County National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit to install trash ... read more
  • Governor Brown Signs AB 440October 8, 2013Does your city have a contaminated, boarded-up, abandoned, graffiti- and trash-encrusted property sitting in the middle of what was a vibrant and busy area? In the good old days (pre-2012, that is), redevelopment agencies could compel cleanup of contaminated properties in redevelopment project areas using the Polanco Redevelopment Act. Akin to a nuisance action, the redevelopment agency would ... read more
  • U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Ninth Circuit Ruling on Municipal Storm Water DischargesJanuary 14, 2013Good news for owners and operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems, also known as “MS4s.”  In Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Supreme Court held that storm water flowing from an improved, channelized portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved, natural portion of the same waterway does not qualify as a ... read more

Land Use

  • The Supreme Court Expands the Nollan/Dolan StandardAugust 22, 2013The United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management Dist.has broad implications for state and local governments attempting to work with developers to find mutually agreeable solutions that will mitigate the impacts of development projects.  The decision expands the application of the unconstitutional conditions doctrine articulated in ... read more
  • Bay Area Air District CEQA Significance Thresholds Survive Legal ChallengeAugust 14, 2013In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the Court of Appeal upheld BAAQMD’s adoption of significance thresholds under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for air quality impacts.  The trial court had struck down the Thresholds for failure of BAAQMD to conduct environmental review under CEQA.  The Court ruled that ... read more
  • California Supreme Court Holds Local Governments May Ban Medical Marijuana DispensariesMay 8, 2013On May 6, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued the long awaited decision in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc. et al., (S198638) upholding the ban by the City of Riverside ("City") on medical marijuana collectives, cooperatives and dispensaries ("dispensaries").  The Court held that the City's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries was not ... read more
  • Superior Court Finds CEQA’s Fast-Track Provisions UnconstitutionalApril 15, 2013On April 9, 2013, the Superior Court for the County of Alameda, the Honorable Judge Frank Roesch presiding, issued a statement of decision in Planning and Conservation League et al., v. State of California and the California State Controller, Case No. RG12-626904, invalidating CEQA's "fast-track" provisions in Public Resources Code section 21185(a)(1).  The statute provides, for certain ... read more
  • Fourth Draft of Statewide Industrial Storm Water Permit Available for Public CommentJuly 23, 2013On Friday, July 19, the State Water Resources Control Board ("State Water Board") issued the latest draft of the Statewide General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated With Industrial Activities (the "IGP").  The IGP is issued under the federal Clean Water Act and state law to regulate operators of industrial facilities that ... read more

Education Law

First Amendment