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Higher Education

For nearly three decades, Meyers Nave attorneys have been providing legal services to public and private higher education institutions throughout California. We have assisted nearly every type of post-secondary education organization, from large state university systems and community college districts to private liberal arts colleges and technical schools.

Representative Matters

  • Multi-Campus Long-Range Development Plans and Implementation. For more than a decade, Meyers Nave has served as lead land use and environmental counsel to the University of California on high-profile and complex capital development and public-private partnership projects across the statewide system. We currently advise UC on the CEQA review of a new generation of Long Range Development Plans to guide future development to accommodate enrollment growth of over 20,000 new students on campuses throughout the UC system, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and UC San Diego. For the planning process, we help guide the campuses through the CEQA and regulatory approval process for individual projects that add and expand administration offices, student and workforce housing, student services, academic buildings, research centers and healthcare facilities, often using public-private partnerships and innovative funding mechanisms. We also represent UC in the Merced 2020 project, implementing the preliminary aspects of an innovative public-private master development plan to accommodate a planned increase in students from 6,800 to 10,000. The pioneering project involves negotiating a range of new and innovative agreements, such as utility services and transportation agreements with the City of Merced and Merced County, as well as agreements to implement wetland mitigation requirements.
  • UCLA: Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center. Meyers Nave obtained dismissals of numerous claims and defeated two trial court cases and six appeals that were filed against the EIR and LRDP Amendment for the 294,000- square foot $162-million Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center. Our successes included numerous court orders requiring the plaintiffs to pay over $200,000 in fees and costs. During the environmental review and preparation process, we provided pre-litigation advice to help bulletproof the Environmental Impact Report in anticipation of potential CEQA challenges. Our advice was instrumental in defeating land use and environmental claims at trial and in the Court of Appeal. A series of courtroom victories culminated with an appellate judge rejecting all CEQA claims filed by a community opposition group that attempted to halt the project.
  • UC Davis: LRDP Support and Approval, Sole CEQA Suit Dismissed.  Meyers Nave began providing land use and environmental advice related to the preparation of a new LRDP for the UC Davis campus in 2017. The plan, which proposes the development and construction of an additional 2 million square feet of academic and administrative building space, was approved by the UC Regents in July 2018. Meyers Nave successfully defended UC against a subsequent suit challenging approval of the EIR and CEQA findings for the UC Davis LRDP, with the trial court denying all causes of action and dismissing the lawsuit.
  • UC San Diego Hillcrest Medical Center: CEQA Compliance and Litigation For New Long Range Development Plan.  Meyers Nave advised UC San Diego on the plan to replace a 57-year-old hospital and 36 other buildings with up to 1.4 million gross-square-feet in new medical facilities. The Hillcrest Health Care District will include 300 inpatient beds in a new main hospital with emergency care facilities; an outpatient pavilion with clinics, exam rooms, surgery facilities, and a clinical lab; and a mixed-use building with research labs and instruction areas, medical offices, administrative uses, and parking. UC retained Meyers Nave in 2017 to identify a permitting and CEQA strategy for the Hillcrest LRDP and provide regulatory and transactional support in the process. Our work included review and suggestions for documents including the responses to 34 letters of comment on the plan, the findings, and statement of overriding considerations – all with the goal of precluding or blunting any future CEQA litigation. After the UC Regents certified the final EIR in November 2019, just one writ of mandate was filed to challenge the plan. The petitioners voluntarily dismissed their entire action with prejudice in January 2020.
  • UC Santa Cruz: North Campus Expansion. In Community Water Coalition v. Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 1317, we successfully represented UC Santa Cruz in a lawsuit challenging the ability of the University to apply to LAFCO for water service associated with expansion of its North Campus. The trial court sustained the University’s demurrer to the complaint and the court of appeal upheld the ruling in a published decision.
  • UC Berkeley: Solar Energy Research Center. Meyers Nave successfully defended Lawrence Berkeley National Labs in CEQA litigation challenging an Environmental Impact Report for a new Solar Energy Research Center, one of the first EIRs to address the potential environmental impacts ofnanoparticle research and handling.