Trial and Litigation
Meyers Nave’s Trial and Litigation Practice attorneys work to uphold public entities’ rights under the law and prevent plaintiffs from tapping into public money or thwarting a public entity’s plans for civic betterment. Our practice also includes a Commercial Litigation team that is focused on dispute resolution needs between private businesses as well as issues that may arise between public entities and private businesses. Our attorneys concentrate on resolving disputes early, favorably and cost-effectively, with minimal disruption to our clients’ daily operations. We use alternative avenues of dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, when appropriate for the specific matter at issue and the client’s goals at stake, and we are very successful in litigation when it is necessary. Meyers Nave represents and defends clients in every stage of litigation, from initial complaint, through discovery, motion practice, trial and appeal.
We handle a comprehensive range of litigation matters, involving:
- Americans with Disabilities Act
Represented the City of Walnut Creek and the City of Riverside in federal ADA litigation regarding shared mobility devices (electric scooters and electric bicycles) in public rights of way. Plaintiffs alleged that shared mobility device users ride too fast and improperly park or ride the devices in the public pedestrian rights of way, and that shared mobility devices obstruct access on sidewalks, crosswalks and curb ramps. Successfully obtained dismissals of both public entities at the early stage of two separate federal proceedings through motions to dismiss filed in the Northern and Central Districts.
- Civil Rights Claims
Defended the City of Pico Rivera regarding a civil rights challenge to the adult use ordinance. Bench trial before United States District Court Judge Tevrizian on constitutional adequacy of sites. Successfully negotiated consent decree resolving the litigation with sunset provisions on the adult facility’s operation.
- Class Actions
Represented the City of Los Angeles in one of the largest class action disability lawsuits in the state. Plaintiffs filed several lawsuits seeking to compel the City to install curb cuts and undertake sidewalk repairs throughout the City. The case also involved substantial motion practice, two dozen depositions and two appeals before the Ninth Circuit.
- Coastal Issues and Sensitive Lands
Successfully defended Los Angeles County on a complex coastal issue in the Santa Monica Mountains. The landowners built numerous structures without coastal development permits. Challenge to the proper permit-enforcement agency, and the need to complete and certify a Local Coastal Program.
- Constitutional Law
Defending counties, cities and public officials throughout California in federal and state court litigation challenging Shelter In Place Orders, Public Health Orders and Reopening Plans related to the coronavirus pandemic. Plaintiffs are single and/or multiple churches, gyms, nail salons, restaurants, wine bars, brew pubs, lodging establishments, and other businesses challenging restrictions on the operation of their organizations during the pandemic. The issues involve complex constitutional questions regarding local and state governmental powers during public health and safety emergencies intertwined with alleged violations of various rights under the California and U.S. Constitutions, ranging from First Amendment freedoms of expression, religion and assembly to civil rights claims for alleged violations of the due process and equal protection clauses to economic claims under the takings and commerce clauses.
- Eminent Domain, Inverse Condemnation
Defended the City of Palmdale in actions brought by more than 30 plaintiffs involving inverse condemnation, nuisance, negligence, and trespass claims as a result of a massive 2015 rain storm that caused substantial flash flooding and debris flow. The storm was rated to have a “return frequency” of 1000 years and overwhelmed the City’s public improvements. Successful resolutions included (1) negotiating the dismissal of Palmdale from one action within a few months of the filing of the action, (2) winning a dispositive motion for summary judgment in another case for judgment based on establishing that the epic storm was an intervening factor that broke the causal chain for liability, and (3) obtaining a definitive legal ruling on a summary judgment motion that served as the catalyst to get the remaining cases settled and involved payment by the pooling entity with a minimal contribution from the City.
- Environmental Claims/CEQA
Represented the County of Los Angeles in a CEQA challenge to the Cemex mining project and the County’s environmental impact report and land use entitlements. U.S. District Judge Matz ruled in the County’s favor finding the County’s environmental review legally adequate and awarding in excess of $500,000 in attorneys’ fees.
- Federal Preemption
Defended a decision by the Palmdale City Council to revoke a permit for an amateur radio tower and a challenge to the City of Palmdale’s ordinance regulating amateur radio antennas. The published decision found that cities may properly utilize their land use authorities to restrict and even ban large amateur radio antennas in dense suburban neighborhoods. The court also found that such regulations are not preempted by state and federal law.
- First Amendment
Represented the City of Modesto regarding a Straight Pride event. The National Straight Pride Coalition applied for a permit to hold a rally in the City of Modesto, creating a crisis that caused local controversy, national debate and international news coverage. Provided the City with comprehensive First Amendment legal, regulatory, litigation, public relations, and risk and crisis management advice, often on an urgent basis. Resolution of the matter included drafting an ordinance restricting the weaponization of water bottles, protest signs and the like and imposing further time, place and manner restrictions to forestall the violence that accompanied straight pride events in other cities.
- Government Investigations
Assisted Moreno Valley in a major government corruption investigation of the Mayor and every member of the City Council. The investigation was conducted by a joint federal and state task force involving the FBI, the IRS criminal investigative division, and the District Attorney’s office. This involved use of e-discovery to cull through 500,000+ pages of documents from City departments, councilmembers’ email accounts, and various City defendants.
Provided legal guidance to the County of San Bernardino on sober living facilities including drafting zoning provisions and evaluating potential code enforcement actions against variety of facilities licensed and unlicensed.
- Land Use
Achieved a closely watched victory for the County of Los Angeles in a final ruling that awarded $6.6 million in attorneys’ fees, sanctions and civil penalties plus permanent injunctive relief in a land use case that involved the illegal transport and dumping of concrete and other construction debris in an ecologically sensitive region in the Santa Susana Mountains. Initially obtained a preliminary injunction banning all Class 6 trucks and higher from the illegal waste disposal operation, along with additional restrictions. After granting our motion for summary judgment, the Court ordered briefing on the appropriate remedies. The Court’s subsequent ruling granted a permanent injunction banning Class 6 and higher trucks. Civil penalties and attorneys’ fees were awarded in the amount of $6,638,192.33.
- Peace Officer Defense
Defended the County of Santa Clara and 44 other county defendants including the sheriff, county counsel, and 38 sheriff’s deputies, in a federal court action concerning alleged systemic abuses of prisoners in the Santa Clara County Jail. Numerous appearances as lead counsel before the court to argue a series of discovery disputes that ultimately forced the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the case with prejudice.
- Post-Redevelopment Issues
Established an enviable record of saving successor agencies more than $50 million in a wide range of complex matters, including the enforceability of contracts, the distribution of agency funds, and the future of properties owned by RDAs. The relationship she cultivated with the head of the legal team at DOF was invaluable at resolving these matters without the need for litigation.
Represented the City of Chula Vista in a civil trial and obtained a permanent injunction to close a strip club that had violated zoning codes. The case was a complete validation of the constitutionality of the City’s adult zoning and licensing regulations which we drafted.