Writs and Appeals
- Court Holding: Even Accidental Disclosure Under CPRA Waives PrivilegesDecember 15, 2014A California appellate court has recently held that disclosure of a document under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA,” Government Code §§ 6254 et seq.) waives any privileges attached to the document, even if the disclosure was accidental or by a “low-level” employee not authorized to waive privileges. (Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (Dec. 10, 2014, ... read more
- Court of Appeal Allows Sacramento Kings Arena To Move ForwardNovember 25, 2014In a published decision (Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento), the Third District of the California Court of Appeal rejected both constitutional challenges to the special statute passed to streamline the City of Sacramento's CEQA review of the new Kings arena and the project opponents appeal of the trial court's denial of a preliminary injunction to halt the project. This is the first ... read more
- First District Re-Affirms Public Agency’s Ability to Recover Administrative Record Preparation Costs Even Where the Petitioner Elects to Prepare the RecordSeptember 18, 2014On September 16, in Coalition for Adequate Review v. City and County of San Francisco, the First District held that a public agency is not automatically barred from recovering administrative record preparation costs under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") even though the Petitioner has elected to prepare the administrative record. The Court rejected arguments by the petitioners ... read more
- Supreme Court Holds Projects Approved By Council-Adopted Initiative Are Exempt From CEQAAugust 8, 2014The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday in Tuolomne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court (Walmart) that when a city council receives a voter initiative petition to approve a project and decides to adopt the initiative measure without alteration, its decision is not subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), and therefore ... read more
- Proposed OEHHA Changes Could Dramatically Increase Number of Projects with Significant Health Risk ImpactsJuly 30, 2014The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) has proposed sweeping changes to its Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Guidance Manual for the Preparation of Risk Assessments—more commonly known as Health Risk Assessments or “HRAs.”
The proposed revisions would include new, age-specific criteria for determining the risks of contracting cancer from exposure to air ... read more
- Fifth District Court of Appeal Holds CEQA Challenges Seeking to Overturn LAFCO Approvals Are Subject to Reverse Validation Action RequirementsJanuary 29, 2014In an opinion issued yesterday in Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County LAFCO, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that any challenge to a Local Agency Formation Commission's ("LAFCO") approval of a reorganization or a sphere of influence amendment, whether brought under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") or the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government ... read more
- 2nd District: Coastal Development Oversight Can’t Be Forced on CountyJanuary 29, 2014California’s landmark Coastal Act of 1972 provides more than one path for local agencies, such as cities and counties, to assume authority over Coastal Development Permits (CDPs). But the Act does not impose any time limit within which local agencies must assume that authority, according to a newly published decision favoring the State of California and the County of Los Angeles (Hagopian ... read more
- New Legislation Revamps Design Build Procurement Requirements For All Public Projects Throughout The StateOctober 27, 2014On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed in to law Senate Bill 785 which, among other things, updates and rewrites the statutory law relating to design-build procurement for public projects throughout the State. The new law goes in to effect on January 1, 2015.
Senate Bill 785 repeals several design-build statutes that apply to specific agencies in favor of one primary set of ... read more
- Court of Appeal Affirms the Discretion of a City in Waiving an Error in a Bid for a Public Works ProjectFebruary 14, 2014Meyers Nave Principal Benjamin Reyes and Associate Eric Casher successfully defended the City of San Leandro (“City”) in a legal challenge brought by a disappointed bidder in a major public works case. On January 28, 2014, the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, affirmed the decision of the City in waiving a bid defect in the case, Bay Cities Paving & Grading v. City of San ... read more
- Anticipated Supreme Court Ruling in First Amendment Sign Ordinance CaseOctober 22, 2014The Supreme Court of the United States granted Writ of Certiorari in the Ninth Circuit’s Reed v. Town of Gilbert (Reed II) case. The Ninth Circuit’s Reed II ruling considered a municipal sign ordinance that, among other things, imposed different limitations on signs depending on whether the sign was classified as a “temporary directional sign,” a “political ... read more
- Ninth Circuit Upholds Reasonable Restrictions on Solicitation of Funds at LAXAugust 27, 2014Last week, the Ninth Circuit decided the final piece of a decades-old solicitation case, International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 2014 WL 4086794. The religious society, referred to as "ISKCON" by the Court, had challenged, under both the First Amendment and the California Constitution, the Los Angeles airport's ban on the ... read more
- Supreme Court Upholds Legislative Prayer at Local Government LevelMay 6, 2014Whether the prayer activity at issue in Town of Greecewould also pass muster under the California Constitution remains an open question. For cities, counties and special districts best practices to avoid the perception of ‘coercion’ are advised.
A majority of the Supreme Court has upheld the right of local governments to open their meetings with prayer so long as the ... read more
Municipal and Special District Law
- New Legislation to Increase Local Authority over Massage EstablishmentsSeptember 22, 2014On September 18, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1147 ("AB 1147") into law. AB 1147 changes numerous provisions of the Massage Therapy Act, effective January 1, 2015. Current law restricts local control over massage therapy businesses that employ therapists and practitioners that have been certified by the California Massage Therapy Council ("CAMTC"). AB 1147 restores local regulatory ... read more
- Fifth Appellate District Affirms Preliminary Injunctions Prohibiting Internet “Sweepstakes” Café OperationsMarch 14, 2014Businesses that sell computer “time” in exchange for entries into on-line sweepstakes games likely violate California’s antigambling laws, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held last week. In People v. Grewal (CON F065450/F065451/F065689), the Court upheld three preliminary injunctions that prohibit “sweepstakes” operations at Internet café businesses in Kern County. The ... read more
- Ninth Circuit Expands Judicial Scrutiny of CERCLA SettlementAugust 8, 2014
The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that emphasizes the obligation of district courts to independently review the adequacy of proposed consent decrees under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"). In Arizona v. City of Tucson, ---F.3d--- (9th Cir. 2014), 2014 WL 3765569, eighteen proposed consent decrees between the State of ... read more
- Regulatory Scope of “Waters of the United States” to be ClarifiedMarch 31, 2014Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Agencies”) jointly released a proposed rule that further defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). The proposed rule revises the definition of “waters of the United States” and also adds new definitions for the terms “neighboring,” “riparian area,” ... read more
Construction and Facilities
- New Legislation to Affect Public Contracting and Prevailing Wage LawsJuly 18, 2014The Governor has recently signed into law SB 854, which mandates several changes in public contracting and prevailing wage laws. SB 854 took effect immediately; however, its provisions affecting public entities apply only as of 2015.
SB 854 has three different compliance dates in 2015, each identified below.
Contractor Registration Requirements. SB 854 amended the Labor Code to require ... read more
California Public Records Act
Labor and Employment
- U.S. Supreme Court Tells Us What “Changing Clothes” Really MeansJanuary 30, 2014In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court on Monday decided that employers and unions could agree in collective bargaining agreements to exclude the time workers spend putting on and taking off protective clothing from the work time that is subject to the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Under the FLSA, employees are ... read more