City of South San Francisco Receives Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Planning and Environmental Quality

Centennial Way is a the name of South San Francisco’s three-mile trail where walkers, joggers, bicyclists and skaters can be seen enjoying leisure activity and fresh air, as well as commuters and school kids biking and walking to work and school. This ADA-accessible pathway dedicated in 2009, is also frequented by seniors with walkers and in wheelchairs; and the 1.5-acre dog park has become a popular meeting place for dog lovers.

The Centennial Way project recently won the City of South San Francisco the 2010 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in the Planning and Environmental Quality category and is featured in Western Cities magazine.

Meyers Nave negotiated a cooperative agreement between the City of South San Francisco and BART to allow the use of the BART/SamTrans right of way for a linear park above the underground transit system. The linear park was the result of a unique opportunity created when BART expanded and left a swath of unimproved land on top of the underground transit line. Named Centennial Way to commemorate the City’s 100th birthday in 2008, the estimated price tag of $6 million was funded through grant and developer fees with the City committing $100k annually for maintenance.

Running through the center of town and between two BART stations, Centennial Way offers an alternative and healthy mode of transportation that promotes the use of public transit. Additionally, the trail added approximately 15 acres of park land to the city’s open space, which increased the ratio of park acreage per capita, and brought it closer to the national standard. It has stabilized land values of adjacent homes, created a new sense of place, and provides numerous options for healthy activities for the entire community.

Established in 1982 by the League of California Cities, the California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program recognizes outstanding achievements by California’s 480 cities. The Award recognizes and promote the outstanding efforts and innovative solutions by city governments to: improve the quality of life in local communities; implement efficiencies in service delivery and operations; and provide services responsive to the local community. The awards are given in 10 categories including housing, health, ethics, and planning and environmental quality.

Eric Casher Named IMPACT’s March Leader of the Month

The national organization, IMPACT, honored Eric Casher by naming him the March Leader of the Month for his work in the political and legislative arena and fostering civic engagement.  Most notably, Eric served on the National Finance Committee for the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. His work on the Campaign began with grassroots organizing as the Northern California coordinator of Young Lawyers for Obama. After the election, he was a U.S. Speaker and Specialist Grant Recipient for the Department of State.

More recently, Eric chaired the young professionals’ finance committee that supported Kamala Harris’ successful campaign for California Attorney General. He is a founding member of Generation 44, a group of over 300 young lawyers participating in state trips during primary and general elections and conducting fundraising events. In addition, he has served on the boards of Coro and Global Exchange.

While at UC Hastings College of the Law, Eric’s passion for critical race theory and social justice, led him to become editor-in-chief of the Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal during his third year. In 2006, he was awarded Student Leader of the Year.

Daily Journal Recognizes Meyers Nave Principal Amrit Kulkarni as “Top 20 Under 40” Lawyers in California

The Daily Journal named Meyers Nave Principal Amrit Kulkarni on its respected 2010 list of California’s top 20 lawyers under 40. The annual list honors rising stars in California’s legal industry. The Daily Journal recognized Mr. Kulkarni for his major victories in land use matters and noted that Mr. Kulkarni has “risen steadily within the field.”

Mr. Kulkarni joined Meyers Nave in 1999 and is the Chair of the firm’s Land Use Litigation and the Land Use Transactional and Environmental Law Practice Groups and is the youngest Chair in the firm, which consists of 80+ attorneys practicing in 15 areas of public law. Though initially based primarily in the firm’s Oakland office, Mr. Kulkarni transformed and broadened the firm’s land use practice and led the firm’s expansion into Southern California.

“Amrit is a leader in the firm and ensures that our clients benefit from his extensive experience and acumen on every matter. Amrit’s ability to increase our client base in recent years shows how much our clients appreciate the close attention, skill and tenacity with which we handle every matter they entrust to him,” said David Skinner, the firm’s Managing Principal. “We are proud of Amrit for being on this esteemed list of top attorneys in California.”

Mr. Kulkarni’s notable clients include the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Port of Los Angeles. He has played a lead role in all three agencies’ multiple large-scale projects, obtaining major victories in litigation. For the City of Los Angeles, he defended it against a developer seeking $100 million in damages for the denial of a large development project prior to completion of CEQA review. For the Port, he successfully defended it at trial in a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit filed by the City of Riverside to challenge the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the China Shipping Container Terminal Project, which is expected to create over 4,500 permanent jobs and result in annual tax revenues of $85 million from operations. For LAX, Mr. Kulkarni assisted in the successful defense of its Master Plan (for a $13-billion expansion) against four consolidated CEQA/California Coastal Act lawsuits. Most recently, Mr. Kulkarni obtained a complete dismissal of a False Claims Act lawsuit which alleged that LAX violated the Clean Air Act and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Mr. Kulkarni has also achieved significant litigation victories in Northern California. For example, Mr. Kulkarni obtained a win for the City of South San Francisco in a six-year battle over a “takings” claim, brought by a developer; represented the City of Benicia in a dispute over construction of an emergency storm water drainage system; and represented the City of San Leandro in its CEQA challenge to the expansion of the Oakland International Airport.

In addition to his litigation successes, Mr. Kulkarni has skillfully handled noteworthy transactional matters. Currently, he advises the City of Barstow regarding CEQA/NEPA compliance and related issues for the DesertXpress, a proposed high speed rail project. He also represents the University of California in multiple campus-expansion projects, including the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Mr. Kulkarni is also active in his community and represented City of Goleta v. Santa Barbara County Superior Court, et al. On behalf of amicus curiae League of California Cities, Mr. Kulkarni successfully argued against a claim that the City was equitably estopped from denying a final subdivision map for a residential development.

Mr. Kulkarni received his BA in Environment Studies/Policy & Planning in 1994 from University of California at Santa Cruz and his JD from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 1998.

About Meyers Nave

Founded in 1986, the law firm of Meyers Nave is recognized for its work with all types of public entities in California. The firm provides the full scope of legal services to cities, counties, redevelopment agencies and special districts statewide. Meyers Nave’s areas of practice include labor and employment, torts, redevelopment, city attorney and general counsel representations, eminent domain, litigation, writs and appeals, public contracts and land use, and environmental law.

Deborah Fox named Who’s Who in Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Deborah Fox has been named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2009 Who’s Who in Law list.

Ms. Fox is the Principal in Charge of Meyers Nave’s Los Angeles office, and she is one of California’s leading authorities on constitutional law in the public sector. She is a formidable and tireless advocate for the interests of public agencies. We congratulate her on this well deserved recognition.

Deborah Fox is an expert litigator who is the “go to” attorney for public entities seeking to maneuver the treacherous shoals of constitutional law. In the field of First Amendment issues, Deborah is recognized by her peers and opponents as a tireless advocate for her clients’ interests. She is committed to assisting public agencies and cities as they promote better quality of life in their jurisdictions by balancing regulatory constraints with constitutional protections. Her First Amendment cases have run the gamut from opposing visually intrusive digital billboards to regulating adult uses and the zoning compatibility of religious institutions. She is frequently asked to present at statewide forums and conferences on constitutional jurisprudence, as well as the mechanics and art of successful litigation.

Two Meyers Nave Principals Named ‘Top Women Litigators’ by Daily Journal

Meyers Nave is pleased to congratulate Principals Kim E. Colwell and Deborah J. Fox on being named two of the Daily Journal‘s Top 100 Women Litigators in California for 2009.

Kim Colwell is recognized by her peers as one of the leading public agency civil rights litigators in California. She has dedicated her 21-year practice to defending the interests of public agencies and helping to resolve conflicts between the rights of the individual and the obligations of public agencies to deliver services and maintain the peace and stability of the community. Over the course of her career, Kim has handled a wide variety of cases, from dangerous condition to wrongful death actions. She has worked for cities, counties, housing authorities, special districts, school districts and private security companies handling torts, civil rights, employment, land use and contract disputes. Ms. Colwell is particularly recognized for her police civil rights litigation skills. From K-9 cases through hostage situations, taser cases and multiple department shootings, Kim has conducted over 60 trials with 80-90 percent of verdicts in favor of her clients.

Deborah Fox is an expert litigator who is the “go to” attorney for public entities seeking to maneuver the treacherous shoals of constitutional law. In the field of First Amendment issues, Deborah is recognized by her peers and opponents as a tireless advocate for her clients’ interests. She is committed to assisting public agencies and cities as they promote better quality of life in their jurisdictions by balancing regulatory constraints with constitutional protections. Her First Amendment cases have run the gamut from opposing visually intrusive digital billboards to regulating adult uses and the zoning compatibility of religious institutions. In whatever forum she litigates, whether state or federal court, Deborah is considered to be among the “best of the best.” She is frequently asked to present at statewide forums and conferences on constitutional jurisprudence, as well as the mechanics and art of successful litigation.

“Like the Daily Journal, we recognize that Deborah and Kim are stellar litigators who are real assets to our practice and to our clients. We are so pleased that they are being recognized for the work that they do and will continue to do on behalf of our public agency clients. It is a pleasure to work with these two talented women,” said Meyers Nave Managing Principal Jayne Williams.

About Meyers Nave

Founded in 1986, Meyers Nave is a law firm recognized for its work with all types of public entities in California. The firm provides the full scope of legal services to cities, counties, redevelopment agencies and special districts statewide. Meyers Nave’s areas of practice include labor/employment; torts; redevelopment; city attorney and general counsel representations; eminent domain; litigation; writs and appeals; public contracts and land use; and environmental law.

Meyers Nave Principal Deborah Fox Honored with 2007 Top Women Litigators Award

Meyers Nave announces that Principal Deborah J. Fox has been named one of “California’s 2007 Top Women Litigators” by the Daily Journal, the state’s premier legal publication.

The honor is bestowed upon the state’s most prominent women litigators for their career achievements and contributions to the profession. Deborah Fox is one of California’s foremost experts on First Amendment issues affecting the public sector. Fox’s 24-year career in First Amendment law together with constitutional and complex land use litigation, and her extensive trial experience earned her this honor.

“Deborah is known to city councils, city managers and city attorneys throughout the state for her expertise in adult use and First Amendment legal issues, as well as for her ability to successfully balance land use regulation constraints and constitutional protections. I am extremely pleased that the Daily Journal has recognized Deborah’s achievements in this unique and complex area of law,” states Jayne Williams, Managing Principal of Meyers Nave.

Deborah brings an additional value to her clients by not only successfully defending cities in such matters, but also achieving awards in attorneys’ fees for her municipal clients. In a climate of dwindling budgets and limited funding for public agencies, Deborah’s expertise is vital to California cities’ successful defense against illegitimate claims.

Deborah is a principal in Meyers Nave’s Los Angeles office. Deborah’s practice area includes trial and appellate work in both state and federal courts and frequently involves claims for violation of substantive and procedural due process, equal protection, the First Amendment and civil rights, inverse condemnation and takings claims. She has lectured and written extensively on the First Amendment including publications in Urban Lawyer. She is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell for reaching the height of professional excellence and recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. Additionally, she is listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s 2004, 2005 and 2006 Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

Deborah is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the League of California Cities Adult Use Task Force where she participated in the preparation of the League’s Model Ordinance. She serves as a settlement officer for the North Central District Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court and is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of California, United States Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and several U.S. District Courts.

Deborah received her J.D. from the University of San Diego, School of Law in 1983 and her B.A. in Political Science and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1980.

About Meyers Nave

Meyers Nave is a full-service law firm recognized for its work with all types of public entities in California. Founded in 1986, the firm’s 90 attorneys provide a full scope of legal services to cities, counties, redevelopment agencies and special districts statewide. Meyers Nave is headquartered in Oakland with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Santa Rosa. Meyers Nave’s areas of practice include labor/employment; eminent domain; city attorney/general counsel representations; land use; torts; redevelopment and housing; airport regulatory and public law; litigation; writs and appeals; public contracts and construction; environmental law; and public power and telecom.