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Client Alerts

2015

Environmental Law

  • CA Supreme Court Issues Major Ruling on “CEQA-In-Reverse”December 26, 2015A significant outstanding issue under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is whether the analysis of the impact of existing environmental conditions on a proposed project is required. Since the central purpose of CEQA is to analyze a project's adverse impact on the environment, this issue has been called "CEQA-In-Reverse". In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area ... read more
  • CA Supreme Court Issues Major Decision Regarding Mitigation for Impacts on Protected Species Under CEQADecember 11, 2015In Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Game (11/30/2015), the California Supreme Court set aside California Department of Fish and Wildlife's ("DFW") approval of an environmental impact report ("EIR") for the proposed Newhall Ranch development, a planned community that would house 58,000 people on nearly 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River. The ... read more
  • Appellate Court Rules on CA Supreme Court’s Seminal CEQA “Unusual Circumstances Exception” CaseOctober 19, 2015In Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (Oct. 15, 2015), __ Cal.App.4th __, the First District of the California Courts of Appeal applied the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on remand, and found that substantial evidence supported the City of Berkeley’s finding that a project was categorically exempt from further CEQA review.  Earlier this year, the Supreme Court clarified ... read more
  • SJVAPCD Adopts Stricter Health Risk Calculation Methods; Strives To Avoid Unnecessary Barriers to DevelopmentJuly 23, 2015The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD, or "District") has adopted changes to the methodology it uses to assess health risks from development projects' air pollution emissions, and the thresholds it uses to determine whether such projects' cancer risk is "significant" under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. These changes, which increase the likelihood of ... read more

Trial and Litigation

California Drought – Legal Services & Resources

  • State Begins Process to Consider Extension of Emergency Water Conservation RegulationsNovember 15, 2015On Nov. 9, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) issued a public notice that it is soliciting comments and holding a workshop on the potential extension of emergency water conservation regulations imposed on Urban Water Suppliers in May 2015.  Written comments are due by December 2, 2015, and the workshop will be held December 7, 2015.  While California hopes it will not ... read more
  • State Water Board Seeks Public Comment On Storm Water Strategic InitiativeJuly 16, 2015While storm water is typically viewed as a source of pollution that impairs water quality, it also represents a potential water source to offset drought-related shortages. As the pressure on water quality and supply in California increases, the utilization of storm water as a water source has become critical to drought mitigation efforts. As a result, the State Water Resources Control Board and ... read more
  • Drought Advisory: State Water Board Solicits Comments on “Conservation Water Pricing”June 11, 2015Governor Brown's April 1, 2015 executive order addressing California's historic drought directed the State Water Resources Control Board to take steps to require urban water suppliers to develop pricing mechanisms to maximize water conservation.  The Water Board did not address this directive in its emergency water conservation regulations, which it adopted on May 5, 2015.  On June 10, the ... read more
  • California Drought Advisory – Drought Impact on Land Use ProcessJune 4, 2015 The Governor’s declaration of a water emergency, the issuance of water use reduction requirements and the State’s cutbacks in water supply to local water purveyors have brought issues relating to the ongoing drought to a head.  Water has always been a significant issue in the land use entitlement process in California.  The impact of development on water supply is required to be analyzed ... read more
  • California Drought Advisory – Water Conservation RegulationsMay 27, 2015After an expedited rulemaking process, the State Water Resources Control Board's ("Water Board") emergency drought regulations ("regulations") became effective when the Office of Administrative Law approved them on May 15. The regulations are designed to result in an immediate statewide 25% reduction in potable urban water usage, in compliance with the Governor's April 1, 2015 Drought Emergency ... read more
  • Governor’s Drought Executive Order Will Impact Local Agency Water Suppliers and Water Users (and Lawns)April 7, 2015On April 2, Governor Brown issued the third and most significant in a series of Executive Orders addressing the ongoing drought. They followed his 2014 proclamation of a State of Emergency resulting from drought conditions. The Executive Orders direct various state agencies to implement various actions. They also suspend laws and regulations, using the Governor’s statutory authority to do so ... read more
  • Contaminated Sediment: Appellate Court Muddies the Water for TMDLsApril 4, 2015On March 30, a short opinion from California's Second Appellate District raised a long list of unanswered questions in a case concerning a Regional Water Quality Control Board's authority to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load ("TMDL") for contaminated sediment.  (A TMDL is a regulation that calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant an impaired water body can receive and still meet water ... read more
  • New State Water Resources Control Board Petition RegulationsJanuary 7, 2015The indefinite wait to challenge a California Regional Water Quality Control Board’s action or failure to act has come to an end.  New regulations became effective on January 1 that, for the first time, place time limits on the State Water Resources Control Board to grant review of or dismiss administrative petitions filed pursuant to Water Code section 13320.  Previously, the State Board had ... read more

Land Use

Special District Operation

  • Appellate Court Says Accidental Disclosure of Documents Does Not Waive PrivilegesAugust 24, 2015A California appellate court recently held that, when a public agency inadvertently releases documents protected by the attorney-client privilege or attorney work product privilege in response to a request under the California Public Records Act ("CPRA," Government Code §§ 6250 et seq.), the release does not waive the privileges. (Newark Unified School District v. Superior Court of Alameda ... read more

Writs and Appeals

  • City of Sacramento Beats All Challenges to New $477 Million Downtown Sports ArenaAugust 21, 2015Cities, counties and private enterprises throughout the U.S., particularly in California, are competing to recruit and retain professional sports teams. The decisive factor in nearly every proposed deal is providing a new multi-million dollar sports arena. As the City of Sacramento experienced during the past four years, the planning, approval, environmental review, financing, construction and ... read more

Municipal and Special District Law

First Amendment

California Public Records Act

Public Contracts

  • Public Agencies Cannot Withhold Retention Over Contract Price DisputeFebruary 4, 2015In FTR International, Inc. v. Rio School District, case number B238618, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, affirmed, in part, a trial judgment against Rio School District (“District”) for improperly withholding retention funds due to a dispute between the contract price resulting from approximately 150 proposed change orders by FTR International, Inc. (“FTR”). The ... read more

Labor and Employment