Client Alerts

The California state legislature and courts as well as local governments are continuously changing the legal landscape.  Staying abreast of new laws, regulations and other legal developments, and analyzing their impact on local governments is what makes our attorneys some of the best in the state. In addition, we write timely alerts to keep our clients informed of developing legal news and analysis.

Client e-Alerts are emailed to our clients, and they can also be viewed on our website.  If you are interested in receiving our Client Alerts via email, please complete the subscription information in the left column.
Some of our most recent alerts are presented below grouped by their practice area. Older alerts are available in the Archives, which can be accessed via the links in the left column.

California Drought – Legal Services & Resources

State Water Board Seeks Public Comment On Storm Water Strategic Initiative

July 16, 2015, Gregory J. Newmark, Sarah N. Quiter , Lindsey F. Zwicker

While 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 Regional Water Quality Control Boards (“Water Boards”) are working to augment and improve the quality of local water supplies through more effective storm water management.

Construction and Facilities

City of Sacramento Beats All Challenges to New $477 Million Downtown Sports Arena

August 21, 2015

Cities, 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 operation of a new arena can generate an endless range of expected and unexpected legal and regulatory challenges.  

Economic Development, Real Estate and Housing

Build the Arena, and Lawsuits Will Come

September 14, 2015, Amrit S. Kulkarni, Dawn McIntosh

The most valuable player in the competition to retain and recruit professional sports teams is the promise of a new arena -- multi-million dollar projects that are often controversial, particularly when public funding is involved. The critical question is how to turn the promise into reality, and the answer sheds light on strategies that can be used to help move forward all types of major economic development projects.

Environmental Law

SJVAPCD Adopts Stricter Health Risk Calculation Methods; Strives To Avoid Unnecessary Barriers to Development

July 23, 2015, Peter S. Hayes, Amrit S. Kulkarni

The 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 finding any given project to have a significant health risk impact, are based upon recent revisions to the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's (OEHHA's) Guidance Manual for Preparation of Health Risk Assessments ("Guidance Manual"), and may provide insight into how other local "Air Districts" around the state will incorporate OEHHA's new advice. Because the Air Districts issue permits to "stationary sources" of air pollution, and because their health risk thresholds are often followed by other local agencies in preparing Environmental Impact Reports under CEQA, adoption of stricter health risk assessment practices by Air Districts could lead to an increase in the number of projects determined to pose significant health risk impacts to the environment.

First District Decision May Be the End of State Lands Commission’s Practice of Exempting Land Exchanges Under CEQA

September 23, 2015, Shaye Diveley

In Defend Our Waterfront v. California State Lands Commission (Sept. 17, 2015) __Cal.App.4th __, the First District of the California Court of Appeal rejected the California State Lands Commission's attempt to use a statutory exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for title and boundary disputes to approve a land exchange for the embattled 8 Washington Street mixed-use project on San Francisco's waterfront.

First Amendment

Appellate Court Says Accidental Disclosure of Documents Does Not Waive Privileges

August 24, 2015, Nicholaus W. Norvell, Ruthann G. Ziegler

A 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 County (July 31, 2015, A142963).)

Labor and Employment

California Supreme Court Resolves District Attorney's Obligations to Produce Potentially Exculpatory Information vs. State Law Protection for Peace Officer Personnel Records

July 21, 2015

Under the United States Supreme Court's decision in Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, District Attorneys must give accused persons information that may be favorable to the defense, including records of past misconduct involving police officers in the case. But under the California Supreme Court's decision in Pitchess v.

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