Los Angeles Business Journal Names Amrit Kulkarni to 2023 List of Leaders of Influence: Minority Attorneys

The Los Angeles Business Journal has named Amrit Kulkarni, the Chair of the firm’s Land Use, Environmental Law, and Transportation and Infrastructure practice groups, to its 2023 list of “Leaders of Influence: Minority Attorneys.” The feature profiles “minority attorneys considered to be particularly impactful on the legal scene while serving as trusted advisors in the Los Angeles area.”

Amrit was noted as a “California infrastructure heavyweight, providing transaction and litigation counsel on many of the state’s and Los Angeles area’s highest profile, most complex, and sometimes controversial commercial and urban development projects.”

The LABJ highlighted Amrit’s experience serving local, state and national clients involved in the development of airports, passenger transit systems, freight rail networks, ports, highways, water resources, mixed-use residential developments, university campus expansions, and a wide range of commercial and industrial facilities. Amrit also provides transactional counsel during a project’s planning, development and implementation phases, as well as litigation expertise when clients need to defend or challenge a project.

Learn more about Amrit and his practice.

View the LABJ’s 2023 List of Leaders of Influence: Minority Attorneys.

Meyers Nave Elevates Richard D. Pio Roda to Equity Principal

Meyers Nave is pleased to announce the elevation of Richard D. Pio Roda as an Equity Principal of the firm effective January 1, 2023.

Rich is a renowned expert in representing regional and local government entities in all facets of municipal law and litigation risk assessment. In this capacity, he serves as the City Attorney for the City of San Leandro; he acts as general counsel to various special districts and other public agencies in California; and he chairs Meyers Nave’s Public Law Group.

In addition to his regional and local government representations, Rich also acts as a strategic advisor to large, medium and small businesses seeking to successfully navigate the complex, government-regulatory landscape in California in areas of real estate law, technology transactions, procurement and contracts, healthcare and corporate law. Rich is also an active member, and past president of, the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California.

Managing Principal David Skinner explains that “Rich is not only a highly skilled and trusted advisor to our clients, but also leads by example with his great character and integrity.” David states that “Rich has been with us for 18 years. We are pleased and fortunate to have Rich become an owner of the firm.”

Rich adds that “Meyers Nave has been an exceptional match for me, both personally and professionally. I am honored to part of the firm’s dynamic history, its collaborative and inclusive culture, and its extremely dedicated and talented team.” Rich further states that “I am particularly excited to expand my leadership role at Meyers Nave as we continue to serve our valued clients, and as we chart our path for continued, long-term success.”

Learn more about Rich and his practice.

Meyers Nave Ranked as a “Best Law Firm” in Eight Categories by the 2023 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers® and U.S. News & World Report have announced the release of the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings in which Meyers Nave received rankings in eight categories, including two Tier 1 rankings in Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law in the Metropolitan Oakland area.

In addition to our Tier 1 rankings in Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law in the Metropolitan Oakland area, the firm was also ranked in the following categories:

Metropolitan Tier 2

  • Los Angeles – Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Oakland – Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law and Municipal Law

Metropolitan Tier 3

  • Los Angeles – Litigation – Environmental
  • Oakland – Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Sacramento – Municipal Law

Firms included in the 2023 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®, which recognizes 6% of lawyers practicing in the United States. Eight of our attorneys were recognized in 2023 as “Best Lawyers” in their fields.

The Best Law Firms list is determined by client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field and review of additional information provided by law firms.

Best Lawyers says, “Achieving a tiered ranking in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.”

Meyers Nave Represents the Tongva Community in Historic Reclaiming of Ancestral Land in Los Angeles Area After 200 Years

Meyers Nave lawyers Russell Morse and Jon Goetz represented the Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Conservancy in one of the first private land returns to Native Americans in the Los Angeles area. This historic event was widely reported by several Los Angeles media outlets and marks the first time in the nearly 200 years since the California mission system ended that land has been returned to the Tongva people.

Reclaiming ancestral land is rare for any Native American nation, tribe, or band. It is particularly complicated for the Tongva, who lack federal tribal status. Because the tribe was not equipped to process the bequest, Meyers Nave stepped in to provide legal support and advice to the Conservancy which resulted in the successful donation of the property, located in Altadena.

As noted in last week’s Los Angeles Times, “Tongva leaders said they hope the land can provide paths for the community to reconnect with its culture and promote healing from the centuries of trauma.”

Meyers Nave is proud to represent the Conservancy and to have helped secure this landmark victory for the Tongva people.

Meyers Nave Expands Labor and Employment Practice with Arrival of Neha Shah

Neha Shah has joined the firm as a senior associate in the Labor and Employment Practice continuing the group’s strategic growth and strengthening its client offerings. She is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

She handles a broad range of matters, including labor and employment with an emphasis on traditional labor relations, advice and counsel, and workplace investigations. She guides employers to minimize liability through preventative measures and providing practical guidance and training to executives and HR professionals.

Neha has significant first-chair experience representing the employer in arbitration, mediation, administrative proceedings, collective bargaining and negotiations. She has conducted several investigations, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, Title IX, hostile work environment, collective bargaining agreement violations, and health and safety violations.

She is also a frequent presenter and has shared her expertise at conferences and seminars on the topics of public sector labor law, practicing at PERB, equity and inclusion, and human resources best practices.

Prior to joining Meyers Nave, Neha was a senior labor relations manager and Public Employment Relations Board Lead at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor where she served as the lead for unfair practice charge proceedings for a university system comprised of 23 campuses, more than 60,000 employees and 13 bargaining units with a collective annual compensation cost in excess of $4.2 billion.

Learn more about Neha. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment lawyers represent corporations, public entities, non-profit organizations, and public-private partnerships throughout California. We provide day-to-day counseling, draft and review employee handbooks, and conduct internal training programs. Our lawyers also handle workplace investigations, administrative claims, grievances, unfair labor practices and employee relations issues, mediation, arbitration and litigation in state and federal courts.

In 2020, Meyers Nave merged with Brown Law Group, a prominent woman- and minority owned employment law firm based in San Diego serving many of the nation’s largest employers for more than 20 years. Combining Brown Law Group with Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment Law Practice increased the size, state-wide reach and depth of capabilities for representing employers in high-impact litigation.

Learn more about our Labor and Employment practice.

Meyers Nave Obtains Dismissal of Two High-Stakes Federal Lawsuits Against the City of Los Altos Under the Telecommunications Act

Meyers Nave successfully obtained the dismissal of two high-stakes federal lawsuits brought by AT&T and Verizon, respectively, asserting claims against the City of Los Altos under the Telecommunications Act.

The carriers filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Davila) after their combined 13 small cell wireless facility applications were denied by Los Altos for allegedly failing to comply with the City’s 2019 wireless ordinance. The carriers each filed motions for summary judgment, contending that the City’s denials of their small cell sites were not supported by substantial evidence, and that the denials violated the Telecommunications Act for effectively prohibiting the provision of wireless services in Los Altos.

While the motions for summary judgment were pending, Meyers Nave led a team of land use and telecommunications experts to devise a state-of-the-art wireless ordinance for Los Altos that achieved the City’s land use policy objectives while avoiding provisions that were at a greater risk of being successfully challenged under the Telecommunications Act.

In addition to drafting the ordinance, the Meyers Nave team shepherded the ordinance through the complex CEQA process and approval by the Planning Commission and City Council after a series of public hearings. The process required for the development and adoption of a new wireless ordinance – while the prior wireless ordinance was the subject of federal litigation – was highly nuanced and strategic, requiring careful guidance of the City in the face of scrutiny from the carriers and the public alike.

Following the successful adoption of the new ordinance, the Meyers Nave team moved the Court to dismiss the carriers’ pending cases on mootness grounds. Although hotly contested by the carriers, Judge Davila sided with the City and dismissed both cases on the precise grounds articulated in the briefing.

Deborah Fox, who led the Meyers Nave team on this matter, said: “The rights of localities to regulate wireless facilities under the Telecommunications Act is a rapidly evolving area of the law where the advocacy of legal counsel plays an especially critical role in shaping the developing jurisprudence in this area. That, combined with simultaneously litigating an existing wireless ordinance while developing a new wireless ordinance, made this case particularly intellectually and strategically complex. We were happy to both defeat the two federal cases while at the same time assisting Los Altos with the adoption of a new state-of-the-art wireless ordinance.”

The Meyers Nave team included Deborah FoxDavid Mehretu and Kristof Szoke. Learn more about our Trial and Litigation capabilities.

Meyers Nave Named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2022 Most Admired Law Firms List

Meyers Nave is proud to once again be named among the 2022 Most Admired Law Firms by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

The publication noted that the firms selected are “consciously working towards creating diverse, positive and supportive environments to help drive the success of their attorneys.”

The publication noted that Meyer Nave has “tallied numerous wins in pro bono and land use matters with a strong public interest, including the new Los Angeles Clippers stadium and the site for the City of Anaheim’s “Big A 2050” mixed-use plaza for the Los Angeles Angels.”

Meyers Nave aims to distinguish itself by the meaningful work it does for its clients, the difference it makes in its communities and the leadership roles its attorneys hold in the legal profession. The firm is also committed to improving diversity and inclusion throughout its offices, in the legal profession and California’s communities.

Catherine Carlisle Named One to Watch in the Commercial Litigation Category by Best Lawyers

Of counsel Catherine Carlisle was recently named a lawyer to watch by Best Lawyers in the Commercial Litigation category.

The Best Lawyers’ Ones to Watch recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in America. Learn more about Cathy and her background.

Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team Partners With L.A. County Metro to Acquire Property From the Beverly Hills Unified School District for the Westside Purple Line Subway Extension Project

Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team is proud to partner with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Metro”) on its property acquisition needs to extend the Westside Purple Line Subway Extension Project from Downtown Los Angeles to Westwood/UCLA. We recently concluded trials relating to subsurface subway tunnel easements located beneath the Beverly Hills High School and Beverly Hills Unified School District Administration Building.

David Skinner, lead counsel from Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team, explains, “Certainly, trials should be a last resort in eminent domain proceedings. Public entities should always try to resolve their property acquisition needs with landowners by settlement. This is particularly true where the landowner is another public entity.” But, here, there were two separate trials to resolve BHUSD’s legal claims. The first was a “bench trial” in December 2019 to confirm Metro’s legal right to acquire the subsurface subway tunnel easements (as a “compatible” and/or “more necessary” public use) by eminent domain. The second was a “jury trial” in July 2022 to resolve BHUSD’s claims for “just compensation,” including the fair market value of the subsurface easements and severance damages to the remainder property. Ultimately, while BHUSD asked the jury to award (for both cases) a total of $53,814,000, the jury verdict was $1,046,000.

These trial results support Metro’s efforts to reduce traffic, congestion and carbon emissions from automobile use, and to make affordable public transportation options available to all in Los Angeles.

In addition to David Skinner, the Meyers Nave team also included associate Kristof Szoke.