None

Source Date: 
October 27, 2014

On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed in to law Senate Bill 785 which, among other things, updates and rewrites the statutory law relating to design-build procurement for public projects throughout the State.  The new law goes in to effect on January 1, 2015.

Senate Bill 785 repeals several design-build statutes that apply to specific agencies in favor of one primary set of design-build procurement standards for all State agencies.  In addition, the new law adds a new chapter to the Public Contract Code (Section 22160 et seq.) which applies to design-build procurement for local agencies and municipalities.  Local agencies are now required to first prepare and issue a request for qualifications in order to pre-qualify a short-list of design build entities who, if qualified, will be invited to bid on the project. 

Source Date: 
October 23, 2014

In a 21-page ruling, Superior Court Judge Timothy M.

Source Date: 
October 22, 2014

Meyers Nave obtained a crucial victory for the University of California, Los Angeles, when Superior Court Judge Thomas I. McKnew, Jr. rejected all the California Environmental Quality Act claims filed by a local community group in its crusade to stop the construction of a conference center and hotel on campus. 

Source Date: 
October 22, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United States granted Writ of Certiorari in the Ninth Circuit’s Reed v. Town of Gilbert (Reed II) case. The Ninth Circuit’s Reed II ruling considered a municipal sign ordinance that, among other things, imposed different limitations on signs depending on whether the sign was classified as a “temporary directional sign,” a “political sign” or an “ideological” sign.  Despite the fact that the sign ordinance drew distinctions based on the subject matter of the speech involved, the Ninth Circuit found that the regulation’s distinctions were content-neutral because the distinctions were not based on a preference for some messages over others. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Reed II was a departure from its previous precedent regarding the test for content-neutrality. While Reed II may have been seen by some as a welcome outcome for municipalities as it allowed potentially more latitude in distinctions and restrictions in sign regulations, its analysis does not appear to comport with previous precedent so left an already nuanced area of First Amendment law even more opaque. 

Source Date: 
September 22, 2014

On September 18, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1147 ("AB 1147") into law. AB 1147 changes numerous provisions of the Massage Therapy Act, effective January 1, 2015. Current law restricts local control over massage therapy businesses that employ therapists and practitioners that have been certified by the California Massage Therapy Council ("CAMTC"). AB 1147 restores local regulatory authority over these businesses.

VERDICT Magazine published this week (at Pages 38-39) features our Appellate Practice Group’s role in two pending California Supreme Court cases that affect the potential liability of public and private health care providers:

Source Date: 
September 18, 2014

On September 16, in Coalition for Adequate Review v. City and County of San Francisco, the First District held that a public agency is not automatically barred from recovering administrative record preparation costs under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") even though the Petitioner has elected to prepare the administrative record.  The Court rejected arguments by the petitioners that their election to prepare the record immunized them from San Francisco's record preparation costs and the argument that high agency record preparation costs would "chill" the filing of CEQA petitions.

Source Date: 
August 27, 2014

Last week, the Ninth Circuit decided the final piece of a decades-old solicitation case, International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 2014 WL 4086794. The religious society, referred to as "ISKCON" by the Court, had challenged, under both the First Amendment and the California Constitution, the Los Angeles airport's ban on the continuous or repetitive requests for the immediate receipt of funds in the airport terminals, parking lots, and on the sidewalks adjacent to both areas. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court's ruling that the ordinance in question was a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral restriction on expressive activity at LAX under the First Amendment. Key to the Court's finding was the fact that the parties agreed that the forum at issue was a nonpublic forum. ISKCON likely did not challenge the classification of the forum given the Supreme Court's decision in International Society for Krishna Consciousness v. Lee (1992) 505 U.S. 672, in which the Court found that airport terminal buildings were a nonpublic forum.   

Source Date: 
August 8, 2014

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday in Tuolomne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court (Walmart) that when a city council receives a voter initiative petition to approve a project and decides to adopt the initiative measure without alteration, its decision is not subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), and therefore does not require an Environmental Impact Report or other CEQA document for the action proposed in the initiative measure.

Source Date: 
August 8, 2014

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that emphasizes the obligation of district courts to independently review the adequacy of proposed consent decrees under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA").  In Arizona v. City of Tucson, ---F.3d--- (9th Cir. 2014), 2014 WL 3765569, eighteen proposed consent decrees between the State of Arizona and de minimis settling parties were remanded because the district court did not compare each party's estimated liability with its settlement amount or explain why the settlements were fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA's objectives.  According to the Ninth Circuit, the district court afforded undue deference to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's conclusions and methodology rather than conducting its own in-depth review of the evidence.  In a 2-1 decision, the majority held that state agencies with environmental expertise are entitled to "some deference" regarding the environmental issues underlying a consent decree.  However, the state agency's interpretation of CERCLA's mandate is not entitled to deference because the state agency is not charged with enforcing CERCLA. 

In a dissent, Judge Consuelo Callahan stated that the majority ignores "the critical role that Congress envisioned for the states under CERCLA and expands the level of scrutiny required for state-sponsored CERCLA settlements.... The decision will ultimately make it more difficult for states to...remediat[e] the numerous polluted sites that blight our nation."  Judge Callahan asserted that state environmental agencies, like U.S. EPA, should be entitled to significant deference in light of the agencies' expertise, CERCLA's policy encouraging settlements, and a recognition that settlements are generally negotiated at arms-length by a party acting in the public interest.

The majority therefore established a standard of review for district court consent decree approval.  A district court must "explain in a reasoned disposition why the evidence indicates that the consent decrees are procedurally and substantively 'fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA's objectives.'"  To fulfill this responsibility, the district court must, inter alia, engage in a comparative analysis of the proposed settlement amounts and find that liability is properly apportioned among the settling parties based upon an acceptable measure of comparative fault.  Failure to perform this comparative analysis is an abuse of discretion.

The question now becomes whether expanding the level of judicial scrutiny for CERCLA consent decrees will discourage early settlement, especially in the case of de minimis parties.  If other parties oppose entry of the consent decree, it may be challenging for plaintiff state agencies and settling parties to efficiently and economically meet the Ninth Circuit's standard.

Source Date: 
July 30, 2014

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) has proposed sweeping changes to its Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Guidance Manual for the Preparation of Risk Assessments—more commonly known as Health Risk Assessments or “HRAs.”

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
July 21, 2014

With 62 percent of voters supporting Proposition 42 last month, Californians added two new provisions to the state constitution. The purpose of Prop. 42, according to its proponents, was to ensure that all local public agencies comply with the California Public Records Act (Government Code Sections 6250 et seq.) and the Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code Sections 54960 et seq.) by enshrining these open government laws in the California Constitution. Although Californians had previously adopted a constitutional amendment for this purpose, the purpose of Prop.

Source: 
Law 360
Source Date: 
July 24, 2014

The nationwide legal industry website, Law360, is featuring Meyers Nave as one of the publication’s 20 California Powerhouse law firms—an elite list on which Meyers Nave is the smallest and one of the youngest firms.

Source Date: 
July 18, 2014

The Governor has recently signed into law SB 854, which mandates several changes in public contracting and prevailing wage laws. SB 854 took effect immediately; however, its provisions affecting public entities apply only as of 2015.

Source Date: 
July 7, 2014

The California Supreme Court will review a lower court decision that e-mails and other messages sent or received by public agency officers and employees on private electronic devices or accounts are not "public records" under the California Public Records Act   Last week, the Court decided it would review the California Court of Appeal's decision in City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith) (Mar. 27, 2014, H039498).

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
May 27, 2014

The anguish over unanticipated sky high costs of public employee pensions has given way to anguish over the sky high costs of retiree medical benefits. Since 2006, public employers have been required to report these liabilities, which now amount to billions in unfunded liabilities. Attempting to reduce these liabilities in order to preserve public services, employers have tried various legislative reforms.

Source Date: 
May 13, 2014

Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that Shaye Diveley has joined the firm’s Land Use and Environmental Practice Group from Morrison & Foerster’s environmental and energy department. Drawn to Meyers Nave by the firm’s continuing expansion of work on large-scale development projects for both corporate and public entities, Shaye brings to the team experience handling land use and environmental matters of national and statewide significance.

Source Date: 
May 6, 2014

Whether the prayer activity at issue in Town of Greecewould also pass muster under the California Constitution remains an open question. For cities, counties and special districts best practices to avoid the perception of ‘coercion’ are advised.

A majority of the Supreme Court has upheld the right of local governments to open their meetings with prayer so long as the practice over time does not proselytize or advance any one faith or disparage another. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Court found that prayers at the opening of legislative sessions lend gravity to the occasion and reflect values that have long been part of the country’s heritage, and that it would be inappropriate for government to act as supervisors or censors of the content of such prayers.

Background

The Town of Greece, New York had been inviting local clergy to offer an opening prayer at Town Board meetings since 1999. The Town did not edit or prescribe the content of the prayers. The Town contacted local religious organizations named in a guide published by the Chamber of Commerce and created a list of chaplains willing to perform the task. Each month a Town employee would go down the list until he or she found someone available. Until 2008, without exception, all were of the Christian faith. After the Board began receiving complaints, however, several clergy from non-Christian denominations were added to the City’s list and a Wiccan priestess, Baha’i chairman, and lay Jewish man provided invocations for a period of time before the practice returned to only speakers of the Christian faith.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
April 21, 2014

On April 16, 2013, at 1 a.m., a stealth attack on a major Pacific Gas and Electric Company substation serving Silicon Valley began by breaking into an underground vault and cutting the AT&T fiber optic communication cables. Then, in what the former head of the Federal Energy Regulatory commission and the electric utility itself characterized as “a very well planned and highly executed (attack) by highly trained individuals,” 17 transformers and six circuit breakers were systematically hit by automatic weapons fire, damaged, and taken out of service.

Source: 
Law 360
Source Date: 
April 1, 2014

Law360, New York (April 01, 2014, 3:19 PM ET) -- The term “drones” — or UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles — may be most commonly associated with overseas military activity, but the use of such technology domestically, on a smaller physical scale, is set to explode. Unlike traditional model airplanes, UAVs are typically equipped with sophisticated cameras, and they can also be equipped with eavesdropping devices or even small arms.

Source Date: 
March 31, 2014

On March 27, 2014, a California Court of Appeal held that when officers and employees of a public agency use private accounts and personal electronic devices to send or receive messages, the messages do not qualify as "public records" under the California Public Records Act ("CPRA"), even when the messages concern public agency business.  (City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith) (Mar. 27, 2014, H039498).)

In 2009, Ted Smith filed a request with the City of San Jose seeking public records related to downtown redevelopment.  The request sought several categories of records, including "voicemails, emails or text messages sent or received on private electronic devices" used by the Mayor and Council members.  When the City objected to this aspect of the request, Smith sought a court order for disclosure of the messages under the CPRA.

Source Date: 
March 31, 2014

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Agencies”) jointly released a proposed rule that further defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). The proposed rule revises the definition of “waters of the United States” and also adds new definitions for the terms “neighboring,” “riparian area,” “floodplain,” “tributary,” and “significant nexus.” The impetus behind this rule is an attempt to reduce the confusion and uncertainty generated in the wake of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that added complexity, rather than clarity, to the determination of whether a water body was a jurisdictional “Water of the United States” regulated under the CWA. See Solid Waste Agency of N. Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs., 531 U.S. 159 (2001); Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).  

The proposed rule's stated purpose is to clarify that most seasonal and rain-dependent streams are jurisdictional; that wetlands near rivers and streams are jurisdictional; and that other types of waters where the connections to downstream waters are unclear will be evaluated on a case-specific basis. For the first time, the rule also proposes to exclude certain categories of waters and features over which the Agencies have not traditionally asserted CWA jurisdiction. However, the longstanding permitting exemptions and exclusions for farming, silviculture, ranching, and other specified activities remain unchanged. As the Agencies explain, the proposed rule is intended to provide the long-awaited “clarity, certainty, and predictability for the regulated public and the regulators.” 

Source Date: 
March 31, 2014

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Agencies”) jointly released a proposed rule that further defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). The proposed rule revises the definition of “waters of the United States” and also adds new definitions for the terms “neighboring,” “riparian area,” “floodplain,” “tributary,” and “significant nexus.” The impetus behind this rule is an attempt to reduce the confusion and uncertainty generated in the wake of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that added complexity, rather than clarity, to the determination of whether a water body was a jurisdictional “Water of the United States” regulated under the CWA. See Solid Waste Agency of N. Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs., 531 U.S. 159 (2001); Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).  

The stated purpose of the proposed rule is to clarify that most seasonal and rain-dependent streams are jurisdictional; that wetlands near rivers and streams are jurisdictional; and that other types of waters where the connections to downstream waters are unclear will be evaluated on a case-specific basis. For the first time, the rule also proposes to exclude certain categories of waters and features over which the Agencies have not traditionally asserted CWA jurisdiction. However, the longstanding permitting exemptions and exclusions for farming, silviculture, ranching, and other specified activities remain unchanged. As the Agencies explain, the proposed rule is intended to provide the long-awaited “clarity, certainty, and predictability for the regulated public and the regulators.” 

Source Date: 
March 14, 2014

Businesses that sell computer “time” in exchange for entries into on-line sweepstakes games likely violate California’s antigambling laws, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held last week.  In People v. Grewal (CON F065450/F065451/F065689), the Court upheld three preliminary injunctions that prohibit “sweepstakes” operations at Internet café businesses in Kern County.  The injunctions were previously granted to the Kern County District Attorney against specific businesses. Read the full opinion here.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
February 11, 2014

It may come as little surprise that in order to assert taxpayer standing, one must be a taxpayer. In fact it may be more surprising to learn that standing to bring suit can be premised only upon payment of taxes. A concept long rejected for federal taxpayers, payers of state and local tax nonetheless have broad standing under California law to bring suits to restrain the illegal expenditure or waste of public funds or property. While this rule has great breadth, it is not without limits.

Source Date: 
February 13, 2014

Retired Employees Association of Orange County  v. County of Orange
2/13/2014 –  U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

Source Date: 
February 14, 2014

Meyers Nave Principal Benjamin Reyes and Associate Eric Casher successfully defended the City of San Leandro (“City”) in a legal challenge brought by a disappointed bidder in a major public works case. On January 28, 2014, the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, affirmed the decision of the City in waiving a bid defect in the case, Bay Cities Paving & Grading v. City of San Leandro, et. al. The case was certified for publication on February 13, 2014. There, the Court held that the City did not abuse its discretion by accepting an immaterial deviation in the low bidder’s bid bond. In applying the substantial evidence standard of review, the Court evaluated the City’s actions and determined that it had properly complied with its procedures. Accordingly, the Court did not second guess the City’s decision in awarding the contract for the BART Pedestrian Interface Project to the low bidder, Gallagher & Burk, Inc.

Source Date: 
February 13, 2014

Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County Local Agency Commission; City of Ceres
1/28/14 - 5th District Court of Appeal

Source Date: 
February 13, 2014

Hagopian v. State of California et al.
1/24/14 - 2nd District Court of Appeal

In a permitting dispute with a Southern California landowner, Meyers Nave obtained a published decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeal in favor of the County of Los Angeles, affirming an earlier trial court victory and securing recovery of costs. The underlying case involved a large property in the Santa Monica Mountains segment of the State’s Coastal Zone. The landowners, who built eight structures, other facilities, and a commercial vineyard without Coastal Development Permits (CDPs), sued the County, the State, and the California Coastal Commission in 2010, after the Commission cited the owners for violating the California Coastal Act. See the 2nd District’s January 24, 2014, opinion here. Please contact Meyers Nave attorneys Deborah Fox or Peter Hayes, who represented the County of L.A. in this matter, with any questions about this decision. 

Source Date: 
February 13, 2014

In a decision issued today, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a U.S. District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the County of Orange in an important case involving the County’s retiree medical program.

Source Date: 
February 6, 2014

Meyers Nave is honored to support 2014 Aids/LifeCycle by participating in their 7-day, 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money and awareness for the HIV and AIDS services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. 2014 marks the thirteen year for AIDS/LifeCycle and the twenty-first for the event overall, and during the week of June 1-7, thousands of Cyclists and volunteer Roadies will come together to do something incredible. Something that will change lives. Something that YOU can be a part of!

Source Date: 
January 30, 2014

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court on Monday decided that employers and unions could agree in collective bargaining agreements to exclude the time workers spend putting on and taking off protective clothing from the work time that is subject to the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for each hour they work beyond forty hours in a week.  But a section of the FLSA (Section 203(o)) provides that if an employer and a union agree to make “time spent in changing clothes” noncompensable under a collective bargaining agreement, that time will not count for purposes of the statute’s minimum wage and overtime provisions. 29 U.S.C. § 203(o). The sole question before the high court in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corporation was whether—and under what circumstances—time spent donning and doffing protective clothing and equipment was time spent “changing clothes” within the meaning of the statute.

Source Date: 
January 29, 2014

In an opinion issued yesterday in Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County LAFCO, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that any challenge to a Local Agency Formation Commission's ("LAFCO") approval of a reorganization or a sphere of influence amendment, whether brought under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") or the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act ("Reorganization Act") must be brought according to the procedural requirements of a reverse validation action.

Source Date: 
January 29, 2014

In an opinion issued yesterday in Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County LAFCO, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that any challenge to a Local Agency Formation Commission's ("LAFCO") approval of a reorganization or a sphere of influence amendment, whether brought under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") or the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act ("Reorganization Act") must be brought according to the procedural requirements of a reverse validation action.

Source Date: 
January 29, 2014

California’s landmark Coastal Act of 1972 provides more than one path for local agencies, such as cities and counties, to assume authority over Coastal Development Permits (CDPs). But the Act does not impose any time limit within which local agencies must assume that authority, according to a newly published decision favoring the State of California and the County of Los Angeles(Hagopian v. State of California). Deborah J. Fox and Peter S.

Source Date: 
December 23, 2013

On December 19, 2013, the California Court of Appeal held that a public agency is not required under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) to seek records it does not prepare, own, use, or retain in the conduct of its business.  In Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court, the Court of Appeal overturned a trial court decision requiring the University of California (“UC”) to use "objectively reasonable efforts" to obtain individual investment fund information from private equity firms with which UC had made investments.

In 2011, the news agency Reuters requested individual fund information regarding UC's investments with three private equity firms.  UC administrators made clear that, other than information disclosed about one fund prior to 2003, and other information already available on UC's website, UC had no additional individual fund data.  In response, in January 2012, Reuters filed a petition for a writ of mandate requesting the fund information.  In February 2013, the trial court issued an order finding that, although UC did not prepare, own, use, or retain individual investment fund information, UC had an obligation to make reasonable efforts to obtain the information.

Source Date: 
December 9, 2013

This month brought a groundbreaking ruling in the Detroit bankruptcy case with huge implications for California cities facing bankruptcy. As a matter of first impression, the court held that Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, and that, state constitutional protections against the impairment of contracts notwithstanding, public employee pensions can be cut.

This ruling reverberated west to Stockton and San Bernardino, two California cities with ongoing bankruptcy cases. In Stockton, the Detroit decision could provide ammunition to a creditor challenging the city’s proposal to make no cuts to its pension obligations. And in San Bernardino, which has been given the green light to file its bankruptcy blueprint, the Detroit ruling may provide support for an argument that the city’s obligations to CalPERS are on the table for cuts as the bankruptcy process moves forward. Anticipating that argument, CalPERS has issued a strongly worded statement challenging the implication that the same rule found to apply in Detroit applies to put pension obligations on the table for reductions here in California.

Source Date: 
November 14, 2013

Introduction

Pension “Spiking”: The State and local public employers obtained a critical ruling in the cases challenging AB 197, California’s anti-pension spiking law. In “phase one” of the litigation, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge David B. Flinn concluded that AB 197 did not change the existing definition of “final compensation” under the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL). He held that, to be included in “final compensation,” CERL required that cash payouts of vacation and other leave time must be both “earned and payable” in the final compensation period. The Judge held that county retirement board policies to the contrary had violated CERL. Upcoming is “phase two” in which the Judge will decide whether the County retirement boards, through settlement agreements and written policies, could nonetheless create vested rights to the cash payouts.

Retiree Health Benefits as Vested Rights. Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard argument for the second time in Retired Employees Association of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange, Case No. 12-56706, a closely-watched appeal that will provide important federal precedent regarding how the legal standard for vested rights—announced by the California Supreme Court in November 2011—should be applied in practice.

Retiree Health Benefits – Prefunding. And on the legislative front, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved a reform to that jurisdiction’s retiree health care trust fund plan that is intended to shore up the fund’s fiscal sustainability by moving to a fully prefunded model with new restrictions on the city’s ability to make withdrawals.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
November 6, 2013

OAKLAND, CA  – The Daily Journal has named Meyers Nave Principals Steven Meyers and Arthur Hartinger to its esteemed list of California’s “Top 20 Municipal Lawyers.”  The list honors lawyers who have accomplished notable achievements in the practice of municipal and public law in the State of California. 

Source Date: 
November 8, 2013

In Volpei v. County of Ventura, 2d Civil No. B243954, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal on Thursday (November 7) denied the County’s petition to compel arbitration, holding that a grievance provision in a collective bargaining agreement did not prevent a County employee from filing a lawsuit alleging claims of retaliation, harassment and discrimination under the California Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”). The Court’s analysis suggests that with more specific waiver language the employee could have been compelled to arbitrate such claims.

Source Date: 
October 18, 2013

The California Court of Appeal recently issued the first published decision that adjudicates a municipal stormwater test claim on the merits.  In State Department of Finance et al. v. Commission on State Mandates, the Court of Appeal held that municipal stormwater requirements in a Los Angeles County National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit to install trash receptacles at transit stops and to conduct inspections of commercial, industrial, and construction sites are not unfunded state mandates as a matter of law.  The Los Angeles County permittees, therefore, are not entitled to reimbursement for implementing these specific requirements under the California Constitution, article XIII B, section 6.   The Court of Appeal largely relied on the “highly flexible” “maximum extent practicable” standard of the Clean Water Act in ruling that these requirements are federal mandates, but limited its ruling to the specific mandates at issue.  As a result, public agencies that own and operate municipal separate storm sewer systems in California may still seek subvention for other NPDES permits with requirements that exceed the “maximum extent practicable” standard. 

Source Date: 
October 14, 2013

Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown capped off this year's legislative session by signing or vetoing the remaining bills on his desk.  The following is a brief summary of the most notable labor and employment related bills from the past session relevant to public agencies:

Source Date: 
October 7, 2013

Effective January 1, 2014, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) will be able to provide advice to public officials and employees about Government Code Sections 1090 et seq. (“Section 1090”), the prohibition on self-dealing in making a contract.  In addition, the FPPC will for the first time be able to seek civil and administrative fines for violations of Section 1090.

Section 1090 prohibits a public official or employee from participating in the process by which a contract is developed, negotiated, or executed, if the public official or employee has a financial interest in that contract, as defined in Section 1090.  Prior to passage of the new legislation, Section 1090 was exclusively a criminal prohibition that could be prosecuted as a felony by a local district attorney or the Attorney General. 

A group of California mayors has filed a proposed state ballot initiative that would amend the California constitution to provide state and local governments increased authority to reform their pension and retiree healthcare  systems on a “going forward basis.”  This initiative measure is a potential game-changer and is sure to be challenged by public employee unions in the political and judicial arena.

Source Date: 
October 8, 2013

Does your city have a contaminated, boarded-up, abandoned, graffiti- and trash-encrusted property sitting in the middle of what was a vibrant and busy area?

Source: 
UC Hastings Magazine
Source Date: 
September 25, 2013

Over the past decade, journal notes by UC Hastings students have been cited more than 65 times by federal and state appellate courts and trial judges around the country. This recognition reveals just how much impact student-run journals can have on the adjudication of cases in courts at every level.

Source Date: 
September 3, 2013

On August 29, 2013, U.S. Attorney General James Cole issued a memorandum (“Memorandum”) to federal prosecutors providing guidance on marijuana enforcement under the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

Source Date: 
August 22, 2013

The United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management Dist.has broad implications for state and local governments attempting to work with developers to find mutually agreeable solutions that will mitigate the impacts of development projects.  The decision expands the application of the unconstitutional conditions doctrine articulated in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 U.S. 825 and Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 ("the Nollan/Dolan standard") to a broader range of land use permitting decisions while providing little guidance as to how reviewing courts will actually apply the expanded doctrine.  Previously, in limited circumstances where an adjudicative land use permitting decision required a dedication of property to offset impacts on the public from a particular project, reviewing courts would apply the Nollan/Dolan standard to ensure that the requisite property dedication had a reasonable nexus to the public impact of the proposed project and was roughly proportional to the size of the impact of the project.  If these two prongs were not satisfied, the dedication was found to be a taking of private property requiring payment of just compensation under the Fifth Amendment.  In Koontz, the Supreme Court found that the Nollan/Dolan standard applies beyond the takings context to any situation in which the government's demand of a permit applicant is "excessive."

In Koontz, the Supreme Court considered a situation where a Water Management District provided a landowner with three options to issue a permit for development of his property that would destroy protected wetlands - 1) develop 3.7 acres and conserve 11 acres of onsite wetlands as proposed in the application but also purchase mitigation credits to improve an offsite protected wetland, 2) reduce his development proposal from 3.7 acres to 1 acre and increase the protected acreage from 11 acres to 13.7 acres, or 3) some other equivalent option.  The landowner rejected the District's proposed conditions and his permit was rejected. 

Source: 
The Public Law Journal
Source Date: 
August 15, 2013

Seventeen years after the passage of Proposition 215 (the “Compassionate Use Act” or “CUA”) and nine years after the adoption of Senate Bill 420 (the “Medical Marijuana Program Act” or “MMPA”), local governments still wrestle with medical marijuana’s continued controversies. Issues faced by local governments range from regulating or banning dispensaries and marijuana cultivation to balancing individual rights against community interests.

Source Date: 
August 14, 2013

In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the Court of Appeal upheld BAAQMD’s adoption of significance thresholds under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for air quality impacts.  The trial court had struck down the Thresholds for failure of BAAQMD to conduct environmental review under CEQA. 

The Court ruled that the adoption of the Thresholds was not a Project under CEQA.  The Court held that BAAQMD satisfied all CEQA requirements by complying with CEQA Guidelines section 15064.7.   Section 15064.7 requires CEQA significance thresholds to be adopted through a public review process and supported by substantial evidence.  It does not require an EIR or other CEQA document as part of promulgating the regulation.  The Court found that the preparation of an EIR or other CEQA document would be redundant of the Section 15064.7 process and would not add any new or different information than what was already required.  Therefore, under this ruling, local agencies should follow the Section 15064.7 process in adopting local CEQA thresholds.

Source: 
Los Angeles Business Journal
Source Date: 
July 22, 2013

Shiraz Tangri is shaping the Southern California real estate landscape through his exceptional success leading several high-profile land use, environmental and real property development cases. His practice involves all aspects of land use entitlements, compliance, litigation and lobbying, including the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Tangri specializes in mixed-use and urban in-fill projects in Los Angeles and other Southern California cities, including housing, shopping centers and transit-oriented development.

Source Date: 
July 23, 2013

On Friday, July 19, the State Water Resources Control Board ("State Water Board") issued the latest draft of the Statewide General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated With Industrial Activities (the "IGP").  The IGP is issued under the federal Clean Water Act and state law to regulate operators of industrial facilities that discharge storm water into "waters of the United States."  The IGP contains many significant changes from the previous general industrial storm water NPDES permit issued in 1997, which remains in effect until the new IGP is adopted (the State Water Board anticipates adoption in January 2014).  A number of the IGP's changes are summarized below.

The State Water Board is accepting public comments on the IGP through noon on August 29, 2013, and will also hold a public hearing to accept verbal comments at 9:00 am on August 21, 2013.  The notice of opportunity to comment and all relevant permit documents related to the fourth draft IGP are available here.

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
July 17, 2013

Meyers Nave Principal Arthur Hartinger has been named to the Daily Journal's prestigious “Top 75 Labor & Employment Attorneys” list for 2013.

Please click here to read the Daily Journal article in its entirety.

Source Date: 
July 17, 2013

In Today’s Fresh Start, Inc. v. Los Angeles County Office of Education et. al, the California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a Court of Appeals ruling that the procedures established in the Education Code charging county superintendents, offices of education, and their governing board with oversight of charter schools, including conducting investigations and charter revocation proceedings, does not deprive a charter school of constitutionally required due process.  

Today’s Fresh Start, Inc. (“Charter School”) a nonprofit public benefit corporation, petitioned and was granted a countywide charter by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (“LA County Office”).  The LA County Office issued the countywide charter through its governing board, the Los Angeles County Board of Education (“Board of Education”).

The charter petition authorized as grounds for revocation “a material violation of any of the conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in this Petition.”  The petition also provided that prior to revocation, the Charter School would receive notice of any violation and an opportunity to cure.  In June 2007 the LA County Office advised the Charter School that it planned to investigate concerns raised about the school regarding, among other issues, student legal rights, student attendance procedures and testing procedures.  The County Superintendent of Schools also submitted requests for documents regarding the Charter School’s compliance with the Corporation’s Code.  

Source Date: 
July 16, 2013

OAKLAND, CA – Meyers Nave has landed top Northern California construction trial attorney Eric Firstman to further secure its position as the preeminent construction law practice in the state. In making this announcement, the firm also named Firstman the Practice Group Chair of the firm’s restructured Construction and Facilities law practice. The Practice Group was restructured to emphasize its specialization and full service support of large scale construction project management, litigation and trial practice. Firstman is joining the firm as a partner in its Oakland office.

Source Date: 
July 9, 2013

In an opinion with potentially significant consequences for the preparation of EIRs and other environmental review documents under CEQA, the Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fresno) has ruled in Citizens for Ceres v. City of Ceres that any attorney-client privilege or work product protection which initially attaches to a document is waived if that document is shared, prior to project approval, between a project applicant and the agency conducting CEQA review.  This would mean that otherwise privileged documents that concern the project at issue or compliance with CEQA generally, if shared among applicant and agency prior to project approval, are subject to disclosure and must be included in the administrative record which the court reviews in CEQA litigation.     

CEQA generally requires that any document in the lead agency’s files that is relevant to the proposed project or compliance with CEQA must be included in the administrative record.  In the past, however, some agencies had relied on the so-called “common interest” doctrine of non-waiver of privilege to exclude from the record otherwise relevant documents prepared by or for attorneys for either the applicant or the agency, even if those documents had been communicated between the applicant and the agency considering the project. 

Source Date: 
June 12, 2013

On May 31, in San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced, the Fifth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion holding that the Merced County Planning Commission violated the Brown Act by failing to post a sufficiently specific agenda prior to consideration of a subdivision proposal.  The Commission posted an agenda for its meeting that included the potential approval of a development proposal.  However, the agenda did not specify that the Commission would consider whether or not to adopt a CEQA mitigated negative declaration concerning the environmental impact of the project.  At the meeting, the Commission approved the subdivision project and adopted the mitigated negative declaration by separate motion.

The San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center filed a petition for writ of mandate against the County challenging both motions for violation of the Brown Act.  Under the Act, a legislative body must post, at least 72 hours before a regular meeting, an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting.  The Center also filed an administrative appeal with the Board of Supervisors which directed the Commission to vacate its approval of the project and hold a new meeting after issuing an agenda with the mitigated negative declaration specifically listed.

Source Date: 
May 31, 2013

County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Employee Relations Commission; Service Employees International Union, Local 721, Real Party in Interest, Supreme Court No. S191944 (May 30, 2013)

Source Date: 
May 30, 2013

SANTA ROSA, CA – The City of Petaluma voted at its June 3 City Council meeting to appoint Eric Danly as the City’s in-house City Attorney.  Eric has served as Petaluma’s City Attorney while a Principal at Meyers Nave since his appointment on December 5, 2005.  Meyers Nave has provided legal services to the City of Petaluma since 1994.   

Source: 
SF Gate and KGO-SF
Source Date: 
May 6, 2013

Steven Meyers announced the filing of a claim of $2.25 billion for the City of San Bruno against PG&E in front of PG&E headquarters in San Francisco on Monday, May 6, 2013.

Please click here to read this article on the SF Gate website in its entirety.

Source Date: 
May 8, 2013

On May 6, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued the long awaited decision in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc.

Source Date: 
April 22, 2013

The Second District Court of Appeal, in Sabey v. City of Pomona (B239916), remanded a decision related to discipline of a police officer on the basis that his due process rights were violated  when one partner from a law firm represented the Police Department in the officer's arbitration matter, and a different partner from the same firm represented the city council in the officer's appeal of his termination.  Even though there was no evidence of bias, the court believed the risk of bias, when two partners from the same firm were involved in different levels of the contested hearing, "too high to be acceptable under constitutional principles."  As explained by the court, "[t]he rule we announce is simple.  Agencies are barred from using a partner in a law firm as an advocate in a contested matter and another partner from the same law firm as an advisor to the decision maker in the same matter."

Due process requires impartiality in administrative hearings, and prevents an attorney from performing dual roles in contested quasi-judicial hearings such as administrative, disciplinary or code enforcement hearings.  Based on that principle, agencies have used one attorney to represent the agency in an administrative hearing, while allowing another attorney to represent the board that reviews the  decision stemming from that hearing.  This approach was permissible as long as there existed "assurances that the adviser for the decision maker is screened from any inappropriate contact with the advocate."  (Howitt v. Superior Court (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 1575.)  "Ethical walls" were set up by law firms in order to comply with Howitt and to ensure an attorney did not communicate about the matter or access the files of the other attorney participating in the matter.

Source Date: 
March 28, 2013

On Feb. 25, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request by plaintiff-appellant Acosta for a panel rehearing of its decision last September in Acosta v. City of Costa Mesa (2012) 694 F.3d 960 (Acosta), which concerns the constitutionality of an ordinance governing rules of decorum at city council meetings.  

The Ninth Circuit order went on to withdraw the prior published opinion;  it can no longer be cited as precedent.  The petition for rehearing en banc was denied as moot.  No schedule was provided for briefing or argument. 

Source: 
Top Rated Lawyers
Source Date: 
March 7, 2013

OAKLAND, CA  –Top Rated Lawyers named Meyers Nave Principals Deborah Fox and Ruthann G. Ziegler to its esteemed list of the nation’s “Women Leaders in the Law” for 2013.  The list honors women lawyers who have the “highest levels of ethical standards and professional excellence.”

Source: 
The Recorder
Source Date: 
February 4, 2013

What does it take to start a law firm? What’s it like? Was it easier a few decades ago? What has changed? Where do the pitfalls lie? To try to answer some of these questions, Don Oppenheim, former law firm executive director and consultant to many California law firms, interviewed three founders or co-founders of leading Bay Area law firms, each now in the later stages of his career.

Source Date: 
February 28, 2013

The Ninth Circuit has reversed the District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by retired employees against their former employer seeking to avoid the reduction of retiree healthcare benefits.  In Sonoma County Ass’n of Retired Employees v. Sonoma County, No. 10-17873 (9th Cir. Feb. 25, 2013), the Ninth Circuit cited and relied on the California Supreme Court’s recent holding that a public agency may form a contract with implied terms with its employees under specified circumstances.  (See Retired Employees Ass’n of Orange Cnty., Inc. v. Cnty. of Orange (REAOC II), 52 Cal. 4th 1171, 1176 (2011))

Source Date: 
February 19, 2013

The California Supreme Court has unanimously decided to accept review of Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court. The plaintiff alleges that the City of Sonora violated CEQA when it adopted a voter-sponsored initiative as an ordinance to approve expansion of a Wal-Mart into a 24-hour “supercenter” without submitting the measure to a popular vote and without completing environmental review.  The Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling in this case will clarify whether adoption of such an ordinance is a “ministerial project” exempt from CEQA.

Source Date: 
February 13, 2013

OAKLAND, CA  – The Daily Journal listed defense verdict Michael Booker, et al., v. City of Richmond, et al. on its Top Verdicts List of 2012 in the state of California.  On behalf of the City of Richmond, Meyers Nave Principal Arthur (Art) Hartinger and Geoff Spellberg led the trial team with assistance from Meyers Nave attorneys Camille Pating, and Nancy Park.  The list honors defense verdicts that have an impact in California.

Source Date: 
February 11, 2013

On February 6, 2013, in Browne v. County of Tehema (C068800) the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Tehema’s ordinance ("Ordinance") regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana, finding that the Ordinance does not conflict with either the Compassionate Use Act ("CUA") or the Medical Marijuana Program Act ("MMPA").

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
September 13, 2012

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2012

Contact:
David W. Skinner
Managing Principal510-808-2000
dskinner@meyersnave.com

OAKLAND, CA – The Daily Journal has selected Arthur A. Hartinger, a principal at Meyers Nave, as one of the “Top 100 Attorneys” in California. Mr. Hartinger chairs the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group and represents public entities statewide. 

Source Date: 
August 28, 2012

The Governor announced an agreement with legislative leaders this morning on a pension reform package.  His intention is to have pension reform law in place before the November 6 General Election when his tax measure will be considered by the voters. 

News reports indicate that the Legislature will vote on the reform package by Friday. 

The proposed reform bill, the Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2012, is not yet in print, and many important details will be clarified in the coming hours and days. 

However, we wanted you to know that the Governor has said that the terms of the proposed package would include the following provisions of relevance to local governments.  Please note that in some cases it is not yet clear which of these reforms apply to current employees as opposed to persons hired in the future.

Source: 
San Francisco Business Times
Source Date: 
August 17, 2012

David Skinner, Managing Principal of Meyers Nave, is highlighted in this interview with the San Francisco Business Times.

Please click here to read the article in its entirety.

Source Date: 
March 14, 2012

C.A., a Minor v. William S. Hart Union High School District S188982

On March 8, 2012, a unanimous California Supreme Court ruled that under Government Code Section 815.2, a school district may be held vicariously liable for the negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of an employee who harms a student, even if the employee’s conduct is deemed outside the scope of employment.

Source: 
Western City Magazine
Source Date: 
December 1, 2011

Civil gang injunctions are public nuisance actions that city attorneys or district attorneys bring in civil court to curb and disrupt gang-related criminal and noncriminal activities. Cities seek gang injunctions to intervene in, prevent and suppress gang activity in an affected neighborhood. Typically, gang injunctions not only prohibit already illegal activities but also impose restrictions on behavior of gang members that could lead to criminal acts, such as displaying gang colors or symbols or associating in public with other gang members.

Source Date: 
March 23, 2011

On March 11, the California Department of Conservation (“Department”) issued an opinion entitled “Considerations in Citing Solar Facilities on Land Enrolled in the Williamson Act” (“Opinion”). This provides suggestions to cities and counties for permitting solar development on agricultural land under contract in the California Land Conservation Act (“Williamson Act”).

October 29, 2014, by Anya J. Freedman

The Los Angeles Times reports that the board of the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System, which administers retirement benefits for the city's civilian employees, voted on October 28, 2014 to cut its long range earnings forecast from an average yearly return of 7.75% to 7.5%.

October 29, 2014, by Arthur A. Hartinger

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc maximus velit pellentesque lacus rhoncus posuere. Proin vel porta magna, quis ornare erat. Praesent sagittis ipsum urna.

October 29, 2014, by Arthur A. Hartinger

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc maximus velit pellentesque lacus rhoncus posuere. Proin vel porta magna, quis ornare erat. Praesent sagittis ipsum urna.

October 28, 2014, by Arthur A. Hartinger

In a decision issued today, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a U.S. District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the County of Orange in an important case involving the County’s retiree medical program.

September 18, 2014, by Edward Grutzmacher, Amrit S. Kulkarni

On September 16, in Coalition for Adequate Review v. City and County of San Francisco, the First District held that a public agency is not automatically barred from recovering administrative record preparation costs under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") even though the Petitioner has elected to prepare the administrative record.  The Court rejected arguments by the petitioners that their election to prepare the record immunized them from San Francisco's record preparation costs and the argument that high agency record preparation costs would "chill" the filing of CEQA petitions.

August 27, 2014, by Jennifer E. Faught, Margaret Rosequist

Last week, the Ninth Circuit decided the final piece of a decades-old solicitation case, International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 2014 WL 4086794. The religious society, referred to as "ISKCON" by the Court, had challenged, under both the First Amendment and the California Constitution, the Los Angeles airport's ban on the continuous or repetitive requests for the immediate receipt of funds in the airport terminals, parking lots, and on the sidewalks adjacent to both areas. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court's ruling that the ordinance in question was a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral restriction on expressive activity at LAX under the First Amendment. Key to the Court's finding was the fact that the parties agreed that the forum at issue was a nonpublic forum. ISKCON likely did not challenge the classification of the forum given the Supreme Court's decision in International Society for Krishna Consciousness v. Lee (1992) 505 U.S. 672, in which the Court found that airport terminal buildings were a nonpublic forum.  

August 8, 2014, by Gregory J. Newmark, Sarah N. Quiter

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that emphasizes the obligation of district courts to independently review the adequacy of proposed consent decrees under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"). In Arizona v. City of Tucson, ---F.3d--- (9th Cir. 2014), 2014 WL 3765569, eighteen proposed consent decrees between the State of Arizona and de minimis settling parties were remanded because the district court did not compare each party's estimated liability with its settlement amount or explain why the settlements were fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA's objectives.  According to the Ninth Circuit, the district court afforded undue deference to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's conclusions and methodology rather than conducting its own in-depth review of the evidence.  In a 2-1 decision, the majority held that state agencies with environmental expertise are entitled to "some deference" regarding the environmental issues underlying a consent decree.  However, the state agency's interpretation of CERCLA's mandate is not entitled to deference because the state agency is not charged with enforcing CERCLA. 

May 6, 2014, by Deborah J. Fox

A majority of the Supreme Court has upheld the right of local governments to open their meetings with prayer so long as the practice over time does not proselytize or advance any one faith or disparage another. In Town of Greece v.

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
April 7, 2014

The California Public Records Act declares that “access to information conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” Government Code Section 6250. Failure to comply with the CPRA carries a significant penalty: A successful plaintiff is entitled to mandatory award of its attorney fees against the public entity which withheld records which it should have released. Section 6259(d). Communication by electronic media raises multiple questions as to which emails, texts and tweets to and from public officials and employees are, or are not, public records subject to disclosure under the CPRA.

March 31, 2014, by Nicholaus W. Norvell, Ruthann G. Ziegler

On March 27, 2014, a California Court of Appeal held that when officers and employees of a public agency use private accounts and personal electronic devices to send or receive messages, the messages do not qualify as "public records" under the California Public Records Act ("CPRA"), even when the messages concern public agency business.  (City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith) (Mar. 27, 2014, H039498).)

March 31, 2014, by Gregory J. Newmark, Sarah N. Quiter

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("Agencies") jointly released a proposed rule that further defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act ("CWA"). The proposed rule revises the definition of "waters of the United States" and also adds new definitions for the terms "neighboring," "riparian area," "floodplain," "tributary," and "significant nexus." The impetus behind this rule is an attempt to reduce the confusion and uncertainty generated in the wake of two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that added complexity, rather than clarity, to the determination of whether a water body was a jurisdictional "Water of the United States" regulated under the CWA. See Solid Waste Agency of N. Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs., 531 U.S. 159 (2001); Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).  

March 13, 2014, by Katherine A. Cook

Businesses that sell computer “time” in exchange for entries into on-line sweepstakes games likely violate California’s antigambling laws, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held last week.  In People v. Grewal (CON F065450/F065451/F065689), the Court upheld three preliminary injunctions that prohibit “sweepstakes” operations at Internet café businesses in Kern County.  The injunctions were previously granted to the Kern County District Attorney against specific businesses. Read the full opinion here.

February 14, 2014, by Eric S. Casher, Benjamin T. Reyes

Meyers Nave Principal Benjamin Reyes and Associate Eric Casher successfully defended the City of San Leandro ("City") in a legal challenge brought by a disappointed bidder in a major public works case.  On January 28, 2014, the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, affirmed the decision of the City in waiving a bid defect in the case, Bay Cities Paving & Grading v. City of San Leandro, et. al.   The case was certified for publication on February 13, 2014.  There, the Court held that the City did not abuse its discretion by accepting an immaterial deviation in the low bidder's bid bond.  In applying the substantial evidence standard of review, the Court evaluated the City's actions and determined that it had properly complied with its procedures.  Accordingly, the Court did not second guess the City's decision in awarding the contract for the BART Pedestrian Interface Project to the low bidder, Gallagher & Burk, Inc.  

February 11, 2014, by Benjamin T. Reyes

Existing law under the Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act requires prime contractors bidding public construction projects to list the names and locations of each subcontractor performing work for a public works project.  The statute calls for contractors to identify each subcontractor performing more than one-half of one percent of the contractor’s total bid, or $10,000, whichever is greater.  (Public Contract Code Section 4104).

Source Date: 
December 27, 2013

On December 23, 2013, the Court of Appeal decided a case that has important implications for how public agencies go about providing a defense to employees sued for acts or omissions related to their employment.  In Lexin v. City of San Diego, the Court ruled that a broadly worded resolution passed by the San Diego City Council required the City of San Diego ("City") to pay for the criminal defense costs of certain employees, despite the fact that the resolution did not include formal determinations required by the Government Code when agreeing to pay such criminal defense costs.  Instead the Court was willing to imply such findings and broadly interpreted the City's resolution to include criminal defense when the resolution did not expressly include such.  As a result of the Court's decision, public agencies should cautiously draft resolutions providing an employee's defense to ensure that they are not so broad as to include criminal matters where this is not intended.

Source Date: 
December 19, 2013

In 2012, the California Legislature passed and the governor signed into law AB 197, which amended the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL) to prohibit "spiking" of the final compensation figure upon which pensions are based.  Specifically, AB 197 specifies certain categories of compensation that may not be included in the calculation of final compensation.

In November 2012, public employee unions sued four county retirement boards to stop implementation of the new law, contending that the law violates current employees’ vested rights to have these categories of compensation included in the calculation of final compensation. The California Attorney General is defending AB 197 against this challenge, as is the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, which is represented by Meyers Nave.  

November 14, 2013, by Anya J. Freedman, Arthur A. Hartinger, Linda Ross

New developments include a key ruling in cases challenging California's pension anti-"spiking" law (AB 197); the passage of a San Francisco measure aimed at reforming that jurisdiction's retiree health care trust fund plan; and arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a closely watched matter that will provide important federal precedent regarding how the legal standard for vested rights should be applied in practice. Read our full analysis.

October 21, 2013, by Gregory J. Newmark, Sarah N. Quiter

The California Court of Appeal recently issued the first published decision that adjudicates a municipal stormwater test claim on the merits.  In State Department of Finance et al. v. Commission on State Mandates, the Court of Appeal held that municipal stormwater requirements in a Los Angeles County National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") permit to install trash receptacles at transit stops and to conduct inspections of commercial, industrial, and construction sites are not unfunded state mandates as a matter of law.  The Los Angeles County permittees, therefore, are not entitled to reimbursement for implementing these specific requirements under the California Constitution, article XIII B, section 6.   The Court of Appeal largely relied on the "highly flexible" "maximum extent practicable" standard of the Clean Water Act in ruling that these requirements are federal mandates, but limited its ruling to the specific mandates at issue.  As a result, public agencies that own and operate municipal separate storm sewer systems in California may still seek subvention for other NPDES permits with requirements that exceed the "maximum extent practicable" standard.

Please click here for more information on this case.

October 8, 2013, by Meyers Nave

Does your city have a contaminated, boarded-up, abandoned, graffiti- and trash-encrusted property sitting in the middle of what was a vibrant and busy area? In the good old days (pre-2012, that is), redevelopment agencies could compel cleanup of contaminated properties in redevelopment project areas using the Polanco Redevelopment Act. Akin to a nuisance action, the redevelopment agency would give notice to the responsible parties, usually the owner of the property or the operator of the former business, to clean up the property. If the responsible party failed to comply, the redevelopment agency could conduct the cleanup and recover its full costs, including attorneys' fees and cost of staff time. But what can be done now that redevelopment agencies no longer exist? 

August 22, 2013, by Adam U. Lindgren, Dawn McIntosh

The United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management Dist. has broad implications for state and local governments attempting to work with developers to find mutually agreeable solutions that will mitigate the impacts of development projects.  The decision expands the application of the unconstitutional conditions doctrine articulated in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. City of Tigard (“the Nollan/Dolan standard”) to a broader range of land use permitting decisions while providing little guidance as to how reviewing courts will actually apply the expanded doctrine.  This standard was previously applied only in limited circumstances where an adjudicative land use permitting decision required a dedication of property to offset impacts on the public from a particular project to ensure that the requisite property dedication had a reasonable nexus to the public impact of the proposed project and was roughly proportional to the size of the impact of the project.  If these two prongs were not satisfied, the dedication was found to be a taking of private property requiring payment of just compensation under the Fifth Amendment. 

August 14, 2013, by Timothy D. Cremin

The Court of Appeal upheld the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's (BAAQMD) 2010 adoption of thresholds of significance for air quality impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (California Building Industry Association v. BAAQMD).  The Thresholds establish levels of emissions for air pollutants that would be considered a significant impact under CEQA.

A trial court decision last year invalidated the Thresholds based on BAAQMD's failure to comply with CEQA in the adoption process.  The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court decision finding that an agency adoption of significance thresholds was not a project under CEQA.  The Court ruled that the public process for adoption of significance thresholds in CEQA Guidelines section 15064.7 does not require formal environmental review.  The Court also ruled that the alleged indirect environmental impact of the Thresholds on future projects was too speculative and not reasonably foreseeable.

July 23, 2013, by Sarah N. Quiter

On Friday, July 19, the State Water Resources Control Board ("State Water Board") issued the latest draft of the Statewide General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated With Industrial Activities (the "IGP").  The IGP is issued under the federal Clean Water Act and state law to regulate operators of industrial facilities that discharge storm water into "waters of the United States."  The IGP contains many significant changes from the previous general industrial storm water NPDES permit issued in 1997, which remains in effect until the new IGP is adopted (the State Water Board anticipates adoption in January 2014).  A number of the IGP's changes are summarized below.

The State Water Board is accepting public comments on the IGP through noon on August 29, 2013, and will also hold a public hearing to accept verbal comments at 9:00 am on August 21, 2013.  The notice of opportunity to comment and all relevant permit documents related to the fourth draft IGP are available here.

This fourth draft of the IGP is the State Water Board's latest attempt to update the 1997 general industrial storm water NPDES permit, which demonstrates the long history and contentious issues that have prolonged the reissuance process. 

Source: 
Meyers Nave
Source Date: 
August 10, 2012

The Occupy Movement blew through California cities last year challenging the capacity of city officials to find the right balance between the city’s police powers and the Occupy Movement’s First Amendment rights.  The clash was more than just theoretical, as arrests were numerous in every major California city and several smaller jurisdictions as well.  By the end of the year, the Occupy Movement had cost taxpayers millions of dollars and left public officials more uncertain than ever about their rights and obligations under the First Amendment.

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
July 19, 2013

Arthur Hartinger is quoted in this Daily Journal article regarding the City of San Jose's upcoming trial to decide the fate of a 2012 voter initiative regarding the City's pension plan, and whether to allow video cameras in the courtroom so the proceedings could be posted online.

July 15, 2013, by Sarah N. Quiter

In Sierra Club v. The Superior Court of Orange County, the California Supreme Court ruled last week that data in a geographic information system (“GIS”) file format is a public record subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”, Government Code section 6250 et seq.).  The Supreme Court explained that, although GIS mapping software falls within the CPRA statutory exclusion of “computer software” generally, the ordinary meaning of “computer software,” does not include data that is stored in computers and formatted in such a way to be used with particular software.  If data in a GIS file format is statutorily exempt from CPRA disclosure, then any information stored on a computer in a specific format to be manipulated by software would arguably be exempt as well, and that is not what the Legislature intended.

Source Date: 
July 15, 2013

In Sierra Club v. The Superior Court of Orange County, the California Supreme Court ruled last week that data in a geographic information system (“GIS”) file format is a public record subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”, Government Code section 6250 et seq.).  The Supreme Court explained that, although GIS mapping software falls within the CPRA statutory exclusion of “computer software” generally, the ordinary meaning of “computer software,” does not include data that is stored in computers and formatted in such a way to be used with particular software.  If data in a GIS file format is statutorily exempt from CPRA disclosure, then any information stored on a computer in a specific format to be manipulated by software would arguably be exempt as well, and that is not what the Legislature intended.

July 10, 2013, by Edward Grutzmacher, Amrit S. Kulkarni

In an opinion with potentially significant consequences for the preparation of EIRs and other environmental review documents under CEQA, the Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fresno) has ruled in Citizens for Ceres v. City of Ceres that any attorney-client privilege or work product protection which initially attaches to a document is waived if that document is shared, prior to project approval, between a project applicant and the agency conducting CEQA review.  This would mean that otherwise privileged documents that concern the project at issue or compliance with CEQA generally, if shared among applicant and agency prior to project approval, are subject to disclosure and must be included in the administrative record which the court reviews in CEQA litigation.     

CEQA generally requires that any document in the lead agency's files that is relevant to the proposed project or compliance with CEQA must be included in the administrative record.  In the past, however, some agencies had relied on the so-called "common interest" doctrine of non-waiver of privilege to exclude from the record otherwise relevant documents prepared by or for attorneys for either the applicant or the agency, even if those documents had been communicated between the applicant and the agency considering the project. 

Source Date: 
July 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA – Meyers Nave announced today that Shiraz Tangri joined Meyers Nave’s Los Angeles office as Of Counsel to expand the firm’s Land Use and Environmental Practice Group.

Shiraz has 18 years of experience, and focuses on complex, energy and infrastructure commercial and residential project in Southern California.  He routinely handles land use entitlements, regulatory compliance, and litigation matters involving the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws.  Additionally, Shiraz has extensive experience handling complex litigation involving water rights, contaminated properties, and toxic torts.  Prior to joining Meyers Nave, Shiraz was a partner with Alston & Bird.

Source: 
The Almanac
Source Date: 
June 4, 2013

Questions linger months after the Almanac broke the story about the arrest, firing and reinstatement of veteran Menlo Park police officer Jeffrey Vasquez: How, exactly, does a police officer keep his job after being caught naked with a prostitute in a Sunnyvale motel room? How does he not only get reinstated after his firing, but awarded $188,000 in back pay, despite reportedly admitting that wasn't the first time he'd solicited a hooker for sex?

Source: 
The Almanac
Source Date: 
June 4, 2013

Menlo Park and at least 15 other jurisdictions in California rely on binding arbitration to resolve police disciplinary cases.

The Almanac spent five months investigating the process to find out how Officer Jeffrey Vasquez got his job back, with $188,000 in back pay, despite being fired after he was caught naked with a prostitute in a motel room, and admitting, according to the police report, that it wasn't his first time soliciting a hooker for sex.

Source: 
Western City
Source Date: 
June 3, 2013

Most people are generally unaware of what lies beneath the streets they travel on each day. Depending on the level of urbanization in a given community there may be multiple systems of lines and pipes for conveying water, sewage, storm drainage, petroleum, gas and communications systems including fiber optic, telephone and cable television services — as well as electrical conduits and transformer vaults — and the occasional subway system and pedestrian walkway. In some metropolitan areas, high-pressure steam is also pumped underground for heating purposes.

May 31, 2013, by Arthur A. Hartinger

County of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Employee Relations Commission;
Service Employees International Union, Local 721, Real Party in Interest
,
Supreme Court No. S191944 (May 30, 2013)

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Corrigan, the California Supreme Court ruled that Los Angeles County must disclose home phone numbers, and home addresses, of employees who are not union members.  The Court rejected the court of appeal’s imposition of an opt out procedure designed to give non-members an avenue to object and elect not to have their personal information disclosed.

Source: 
Meyers Nave
Source Date: 
May 8, 2013

OAKLAND, CA – Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that Brenda Aguilar-Guerrero, Kevin Gilbert, and Stephen Taber have been elevated to Principal status.  Brenda is a statewide leader on complex eminent domain and inverse condemnation matters; Kevin is a noted civil litigator; and Stephen is a recognized public finance attorney.

May 17, 2013, by Sky Woodruff

It's a fairly common occurrence for cities and counties: the general election for the legislative body may be cancelled for various reasons, but the local agency also wants to place a general tax measure on the ballot, and Article XIIIC, section 2(b) of the California Constitution requires that an election on a general tax must be "consolidated with a regularly scheduled general election for members of the legislative body." So, is a "regularly scheduled general election for members of the legislative body" a type of election, allowing an agency to place a general tax measure on the ballot even if no candidate will stand for election, or must a candidate actually appear on the same ballot with such a tax measure?

Source Date: 
May 17, 2013

It's a fairly common occurrence for cities and counties: the general election for the legislative body may be cancelled for various reasons, but the local agency also wants to place a general tax measure on the ballot, and Article XIIIC, section 2(b) of the California Constitution requires that an election on a general tax must be "consolidated with a regularly scheduled general election for members of the legislative body." So, is a "regularly scheduled general election for members of the legislative body" a type of election, allowing an agency to place a general tax measure on the ballot even if no candidate will stand for election, or must a candidate actually appear on the same ballot with such a tax measure?

The Sixth Appellate District recently provided its answer in Silicon Valley Taxpayers Assn. v. Garner (H038971), holding that a "regularly scheduled general election for members of the legislative body" is a type of election. In the case, the County of Santa Clara held an election for the Board of Supervisors in June 2012. Candidates for two seats ran unopposed, and the third received a majority of votes. A runoff election in November 2012 was therefore unnecessary. The Board of Supervisors proceeded to place a general tax measure on the November 2012 ballot, even though no candidate for the Board would stand for election. Plaintiffs alleged that Article XIIIC, section 2(b) requires a candidate to appear on the ballot with general tax measures. The court disagreed.

May 8, 2013, by Ruthann G. Ziegler

On May 6, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued the long awaited decision in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc. et al., (S198638) upholding the ban by the City of Riverside ("City") on medical marijuana collectives, cooperatives and dispensaries ("dispensaries").  The Court held that the City's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries was not preempted by California law, as set forth in the Compassionate Use Act ("CUA") or the Medical Marijuana Program Act ("MMPA"), and thus the ban was valid.  Local regulation of dispensaries does not duplicate or contradict state law, nor does such regulation enter an area or field fully occupied by state law; consequently, local governments may choose to regulate or ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

April 22, 2013, by Arthur A. Hartinger, Steven T. Mattas, Ruthann G. Ziegler

The Second District Court of Appeal, in Sabey v. City of Pomona (B239916), remanded a decision related to discipline of a police officer on the basis that his due process rights were violated  when one partner from a law firm represented the Police Department in the officer's arbitration matter, and a different partner from the same firm represented the city council in the officer's appeal of his termination.  Even though there was no evidence of bias, the court believed the risk of bias, when two partners from the same firm were involved in different levels of the contested hearing, "too high to be acceptable under constitutional principles."  As explained by the court, "[t]he rule we announce is simple.  Agencies are barred from using a partner in a law firm as an advocate in a contested matter and another partner from the same law firm as an advisor to the decision maker in the same matter."

Due process requires impartiality in administrative hearings, and prevents an attorney from performing dual roles in contested quasi-judicial hearings such as administrative, disciplinary or code enforcement hearings.  Based on that principle, agencies have used one attorney to represent the agency in an administrative hearing, while allowing another attorney to represent the board that reviews the  decision stemming from that hearing.  This approach was permissible as long as there existed "assurances that the adviser for the decision maker is screened from any inappropriate contact with the advocate."  (Howitt v. Superior Court (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 1575.)  "Ethical walls" were set up by law firms in order to comply with Howitt and to ensure an attorney did not communicate about the matter or access the files of the other attorney participating in the matter.

April 15, 2013, by Edward Grutzmacher, Amrit S. Kulkarni

On April 9, 2013, the Superior Court for the County of Alameda, the Honorable Judge Frank Roesch presiding, issued a statement of decision in Planning and Conservation League et al., v. State of California and the California State Controller, Case No.

Source Date: 
April 15, 2013

On April 9, 2013, the Superior Court for the County of Alameda, the Honorable Judge Frank Roesch presiding, issued a statement of decision in Planning and Conservation League et al., v. State of California and the California State Controller, Case No.

April 5, 2013, by Jose M. Sanchez, Ruthann G. Ziegler

A California Court of Appeal recently affirmed the lower court's decision to deny the release of documents relating to academic research under the "catch-all" exemption of the California Public Records Act ("CPRA").  SeeHumane Society of the United States v. Superior Court of Yolo County (Regents of the University of California), filed March 27, 2013, C067081.  Under the "catch-all" exemption, a court balances whether the public interest is better served by releasing or withholding the documents.  Here, the court relied almost exclusively on the balancing test as the basis for withholding the documents, which is uncommon in court decisions analyzing the CPRA.

In this case, the Humane Society of the United States ("HSUS") sued to obtain records from the University of California Regents ("Regents") relating to research leading to a published study by the University's Agricultural Issues Center.  The Regents objected to releasing the records, claiming they consisted of preliminary data, prepublication thoughts, conversations and informal exchanges of ideas among researchers.  The Regents argued that the public interest would be better served by allowing researchers to engage in informal discussions and brainstorming.

Source Date: 
April 5, 2013

A California Court of Appeal recently affirmed the lower court's decision to deny the release of documents relating to academic research under the "catch-all" exemption of the California Public Records Act ("CPRA").  SeeHumane Society of the United States v. Superior Court of Yolo County (Regents of the University of California), filed March 27, 2013, C067081.  Under the "catch-all" exemption, a court balances whether the public interest is better served by releasing or withholding the documents.  Here, the court relied almost exclusively on the balancing test as the basis for withholding the documents, which is uncommon in court decisions analyzing the CPRA.

In this case, the Humane Society of the United States ("HSUS") sued to obtain records from the University of California Regents ("Regents") relating to research leading to a published study by the University's Agricultural Issues Center.  The Regents objected to releasing the records, claiming they consisted of preliminary data, prepublication thoughts, conversations and informal exchanges of ideas among researchers.  The Regents argued that the public interest would be better served by allowing researchers to engage in informal discussions and brainstorming.

April 4, 2013, by John D. Bakker, Sky Woodruff

With increasing frequency in the last several years, school districts around the state have been relatively successful in obtaining voter approval of parcel taxes.  The First District Court of Appeal's recent decision in Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 135 is significant because absent legislative action it will constrain the ability of school districts, special districts, and counties-but not cities-to get parcels taxes approved by the voters.

Borikas involved a parcel tax imposed by the Alameda Unified School District.  The tax, which received the requisite two-thirds voter approval, was levied on property at differential rates: residential parcels and commercial parcels of less than 2000 square feet paid $120 per year and commercial parcels of greater than 2000 square feet paid $0.15 per square foot per year, capped at $9500.  The plaintiff commercial property owner argued that the District's tax measure violated Government Code section 50079's requirement that school district special taxes "apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property."  The Court of Appeal agreed with the plaintiff and held that Government Code section 50079 does not authorize school districts to impose special taxes that differentially tax property within the district.

Source Date: 
April 4, 2013

With increasing frequency in the last several years, school districts around the state have been relatively successful in obtaining voter approval of parcel taxes.  The First District Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 135 is significant because absent legislative action it will constrain the ability of school districts, special districts, and counties—but not cities—to get parcels taxes approved by the voters.

Borikas involved a parcel tax imposed by the Alameda Unified School District.  The tax, which received the requisite two-thirds voter approval, was levied on property at differential rates: residential parcels and commercial parcels of less than 2000 square feet paid $120 per year and commercial parcels of greater than 2000 square feet paid $0.15 per square foot per year, capped at $9500.  The plaintiff commercial property owner argued that the District’s tax measure violated Government Code section 50079’s requirement that school district special taxes “apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property.”  The Court of Appeal agreed with the plaintiff and held that Government Code section 50079 does not authorize school districts to impose special taxes that differentially tax property within the district.

Source: 
City of San Leandro
Source Date: 
April 2, 2013

Mayor Stephen Cassidy announced that last night the San Leandro City Council voted unanimously to appoint Assistant City Attorney Richard D. Pio Roda to be City Attorney, effective April 8, 2013. He takes over this position from Jayne Williams, who has served as San Leandro’s City Attorney for nine years and will continue to provide legal services to the City as an assistant to the City Attorney.

 

April 1, 2013, by Deborah J. Fox, Dawn McIntosh

On March 26, 2013, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the City of Lancaster's policy and practice of allowing local congregations of any denomination to give an invocation at the beginning of City Council meetings.  Plaintiffs challenged the policy and practice as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution because the invocations used sectarian references and because a majority of invocations were given by Christian denominations, which they contended had the effect of promoting one religious sect over others.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding that neither the City's policy nor practice promoted any particular religion in violation of the Establishment Clause or the California Constitution (which employs the same language and standards as the Establishment Clause). 

Source Date: 
April 1, 2013

On March 26, 2013, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the City of Lancaster's policy and practice of allowing local congregations of any denomination to give an invocation at the beginning of City Council meetings.  Plaintiffs challenged the policy and practice as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S.

March 28, 2013, by Deborah J. Fox, Dawn McIntosh

On February 25, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to rehear a case in which it had found a Costa Mesa ordinance governing rules of decorum at city council meetings to be unconstitutionally overbroad because the ordinance prohibited insolent behavior by someone attending the meeting even if such behavior did not cause a disruption of the meeting.  (Acosta v. City of Costa Mesa (2012) 694 Fl.3d 960.) 

Source Date: 
March 21, 2013

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled this week that the California Public Records Act ("the Act") requires City officials to turn over private emails and texts messages related to City business.  

The decision, although not binding in other jurisdictions, sends a strong message that attitudes may be changing on exactly what amounts to a "public record" requiring disclosure under the Act.  The ruling requires emails, voicemails, and text messages sent and received on the private electronic devices of San Jose City officials to be disclosed-if the messages relate to City business.  The case, Smith v. City of San Jose, et al. (Case No. 1-09-CV-150427), stems from an individual's 2009 request to the City of San Jose for records related to a redevelopment project.  

March 21, 2013, by Katherine A. Cook, Michael F. Dean

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled this week that the California Public Records Act (“the Act”) requires City officials to turn over private emails and texts messages related to City business.

Source: 
The Recorder
Source Date: 
April 9, 2012

The Recorder, April 9, 2012 - A household name among governmental entities, the firm routinely scores wins for its municipal clients at trial and on appeal. It also advises on CEQA, water rights and land use issues, and represents municipalities in multimillion-dollar development projects in Northern California and across the state.

Please click here to see the full list in The Recorder - April 9, 2012 Issue

Source: 
State of California, Office of the Attorney General
Source Date: 
March 11, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced her appointment of Eric Casher to a four-year term on the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“Eric’s commitment to justice, fairness and the rule of law will make him a strong asset on the Fair Political Practices Commission,” said Attorney General Harris.  “The people of California will be well-served by his diligence and his judgment.”

Please click here to read the press release in its entirety on the Attorney General's website.

Source Date: 
February 26, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a private sector "donning and doffing" case. In Sandifer v. United States Steel, the plaintiff steel factory employees assert that the FLSA requires they be paid for time spent changing into and out of protective gear, specifically "flame retardant pants and jacket, work gloves, metatarsal boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, and a snood." (678 F.3d 590 (2012).) Section 203(o) of the FLSA (found at 29 U.S.C. § 203(o)) specifically provides that an employer is not required to compensate employees for time spent "changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday" unless required by the "express terms or by custom or practice" under a collective bargaining agreement. The issue is whether the type of protective gear at issue in the case constitutes clothing under Section 203(o). Although Sandifer does not involve police officers or other public sector workers, the Court's decision could modify the state of the law in regards to all employees, including those in the public sector.

February 26, 2013, by Edward L. Kreisberg,

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a private sector "donning and doffing" case. In Sandifer v. United States Steel, the plaintiff steel factory employees assert that the FLSA requires they be paid for time spent changing into and out of protective gear, specifically "flame retardant pants and jacket, work gloves, metatarsal boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, and a snood." (678 F.3d 590 (2012).) Section 203(o) of the FLSA (found at 29 U.S.C. § 203(o)) specifically provides that an employer is not required to compensate employees for time spent "changing clothes or washing at the beginning or end of each workday" unless required by the "express terms or by custom or practice" under a collective bargaining agreement. The issue is whether the type of protective gear at issue in the case constitutes clothing under Section 203(o). Although Sandifer does not involve police officers or other public sector workers, the Court’s decision could modify the state of the law in regards to all employees, including those in the public sector.

February 25, 2013, by Arthur A. Hartinger,

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeal (Second District) found that an employee who has exhausted all permissible leave available under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), may nevertheless state a cause of action for discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  (Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 131 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Feb. 21, 2013).)

Plaintiff Ana Sanchez was diagnosed early in her first trimester with a high-risk pregnancy, requiring bedrest through her delivery date.  Sanchez requested and was granted a temporary leave of absence.  Sanchez proceeded to exhaust all of her vacation time in addition to the time provided under the PDLL (for a total of more than 19 weeks of leave).  When that leave ran out, however, she still had more than three months before her scheduled delivery date.  Because she was unable to return to work when she ran out of leave, Swissport fired her.

Source Date: 
February 25, 2013

In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeal (Second District) found that an employee who has exhausted all permissible leave available under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), may nevertheless state a cause of action for discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  (Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 131 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Feb. 21, 2013).)

Plaintiff Ana Sanchez was diagnosed early in her first trimester with a high-risk pregnancy, requiring bedrest through her delivery date.  Sanchez requested and was granted a temporary leave of absence.  Sanchez proceeded to exhaust all of her vacation time in addition to the time provided under the PDLL (for a total of more than 19 weeks of leave).  When that leave ran out, however, she still had more than three months before her scheduled delivery date.  Because she was unable to return to work when she ran out of leave, Swissport fired her.

Source: 
San Francisco Sentinel
Source Date: 
February 20, 2013

The City of San Leandro’s City Council will continue to retain the law firm of Meyers Nave and City Attorney Jayne Williams and Assistant City Attorney Richard D. Pio Roda as the City’s legal advisers.   The Council on Tuesday Feb. 19 asked that Williams and the City Manager Chris Zapata develop a new contract between Meyers Nave and the City to continue its contractual services to San Leandro.

February 11, 2013, by Ruthann G. Ziegler

On February 6, 2013, in Browne v. County of Tehema (C068800) the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Tehema’s ordinance ("Ordinance") regulating the cultivation of medical marijuana, finding that the Ordinance does not conflict with either the Compassionate Use Act ("CUA") or the Medical Marijuana Program Act ("MMPA").

January 15, 2013, by Gregory J. Newmark, Sarah N. Quiter

Good news for owners and operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems, also known as "MS4s."  In Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Supreme Court held that storm water flowing from an improved, channelized portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved, natural portion of the same waterway does not qualify as a "discharge of a pollutant" under the Clean Water Act.  The Ninth Circuit had ruled to the contrary, that the flow of pollutants from channelized portions of two rivers into what it termed "naturally occurring portions of those rivers" was the point where a "discharge of a pollutant" occurred.  In a five-page opinion authored by Justice Ginsburg, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision as wholly inconsistent with the rule announced in South Florida Water Management District v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, 541 U.S. 95 (2004), which held that the flow of polluted water between two parts of the same waterway does not constitute a "discharge of a pollutant" under the Clean Water Act.

To read more about this case, follow this link.

Source Date: 
January 14, 2013

Good news for owners and operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems, also known as “MS4s.”  In Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. Supreme Court held that storm water flowing from an improved, channelized portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved, natural portion of the same waterway does not qualify as a “discharge of a pollutant” under the Clean Water Act.  The Ninth Circuit had ruled to the contrary, that the flow of pollutants from channelized portions of two rivers into what it termed “naturally occurring portions of those rivers” was the point where a “discharge of a pollutant” occurred.  In a five-page opinion authored by Justice Ginsburg, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision as wholly inconsistent with the rule announced in South Florida Water Management District v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, 541 U.S. 95 (2004), which held that the flow of polluted water between two parts of the same waterway does not constitute a “discharge of a pollutant” under the Clean Water Act.

Source Date: 
January 8, 2013

Meyers Nave is pleased to congratulate Principal Kim Colwell on her appointment by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to the Alameda County Superior Court.

Judge Colwell was the Chair of the Litigation Practice Group at Meyers Nave and a preeminent litigator in the state of California.  Judge Colwell devoted her 25 years of practicing law largely to public entity work.  Her practice focused on federal and state civil rights violations, employment discrimination allegations and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims.  Several of Judge Colwell's cases involved national high-profile police civil rights litigation, including the closely-watched internal affairs investigation of the officer-involved shooting death of Oscar Grant.

Source Date: 
December 31, 2012

Thursday's decision by the California Supreme Court in Ralphs Grocery Company v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8 ("Ralphs") eliminates the uncertainty regarding how store owners should treat peaceful labor picketers on their private store property.  Police departments responding to requests to remove such persons should take note that the Court overturned a Court of Appeal's 2010 decision, and found the Moscone Act and Labor Code section 1138.1 to be constitutional.  Therefore, unless the picketers are disorderly, blocking access to or egress from the store, breaching the peace, or engaging in some other unlawful activity, if their speech is directed at a labor dispute involving that store, they should not be removed.

California's Moscone Act prohibits certain labor-related activities from being restrained, including, among other things, communicating the facts of a labor dispute and peacefully picketing involving a labor dispute.  Similarly, Labor Code section 1138.1 prohibits a court from issuing an injunction in a labor dispute unless certain facts are found, including that unlawful acts have been threatened and that public officers are unable to adequately protect the complainant's property.  Both statutes were modeled after parts of the federal Norris-LaGuardia Act. 

December 21, 2012, by Edward L. Kreisberg,

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is seeking to sue the bankrupt City of San Bernardino to require the City to meet its pension obligations.   The City entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings in August 2012, in part due to an unfunded pension liability of upwards of $140 million. 

In In re San Bernardino, Case No. 12-28006 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Cent. Dist. Cal.), CalPERS argued that it should be placed ahead of other creditors because the City’s debts to CalPERS are statutory liens, required to be paid by state law.  CalPERS asserts that since the City declared bankruptcy, the City has failed to make almost $7 million in required payment to CalPERS.  Accordingly, CalPERS asked the court for permission to sue the City to require the City to make all missed payments and to make the necessary future payments going forward; or alternatively for the City to be kicked out of bankruptcy court altogether.

Source Date: 
December 21, 2012

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is seeking to sue the bankrupt City of San Bernardino to require the City to meet its pension obligations.   The City entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings in August 2012, in part due to an unfunded pension liability of upwards of $140 million. 

Source Date: 
December 18, 2012

On Monday, December 17, 2012 the California Supreme Court issued an order in a disability access case that will greatly assist public entities in defending against the all too common  lawsuits brought under Civil Code Section 55.  In Jankey v. Lee, the Court confirmed that a prevailing Defendant who successfully defeats a claim of disability access violations brought under Civil Code Section 55 may recover all of its defense fees and costs from Plaintiff, even if the losing party is the Plaintiff and even if the claims were brought under both state law and the ADA.

The case was originally filed on behalf of Plaintiff Les Jankey who was represented by an attorney who is a prolific filer of disability rights actions.  Jankey alleged that a 4-inch step at the store entrance prevented him and other individuals in wheelchairs from entering the store. He sued under three California laws including the Disabled Persons Act, as well as the ADA; such allegations appear standard for Plaintiff's counsel, whose firm appears to have filed at least 223 lawsuits in federal courts in 2004 alone alleging violations of the ADA and California disability laws, according to a 2005 federal court opinion.

December 17, 2012, by Arthur A. Hartinger,

The California Labor Code protects whistleblowers by prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee "for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation."  Cal. Labor Code § 1102.5(c).

In Edgerly v. City of Oakland (Alameda Super. Ct. No. RG09461220), the former City Administrator of Oakland, Deborah Edgerly, asserted she was wrongfully terminated as a whistleblower for her refusal to violate the City's Charter, Municipal Code, and civil service rules and resolutions.  Edgerly allegedly questioned and sometimes denied numerous requests that came to her from the Mayor's office, including requests for reimbursement, and to approve contracts in excess of the Mayor's authority. She alleged that she was terminated by the Mayor as a result.

Source Date: 
December 17, 2012

The California Labor Code protects whistleblowers by prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee "for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation."  Cal. Labor Code § 1102.5(c).

In Edgerly v. City of Oakland (Alameda Super. Ct. No. RG09461220), the former City Administrator of Oakland, Deborah Edgerly, asserted she was wrongfully terminated as a whistleblower for her refusal to violate the City's Charter, Municipal Code, and civil service rules and resolutions.  Edgerly allegedly questioned and sometimes denied numerous requests that came to her from the Mayor's office, including requests for reimbursement, and to approve contracts in excess of the Mayor's authority. She alleged that she was terminated by the Mayor as a result.

Source Date: 
December 5, 2012

OAKLAND, CA  – The Daily Journal named Meyers Nave Principals Steven Meyers and Arthur Hartinger to its esteemed list of California’s “Top 25 Municipal Lawyers.”  The list honors lawyers who have accomplished notable achievements in the practice of municipal and public law in the State of California.  The Daily Journal honored four Meyers Nave Principals on its list in 2011.    

Source Date: 
December 13, 2012

Kenneth Lui v. City and County of San Francisco,2012 Cal. App.
LEXIS 1248 (December 11, 2012)

Police departments across the state should take note: a California appellate court has held that "strenuous duties" are essential functions of administrative sworn-officer positions in the San Francisco Police Department.

In Lui v. City and County of San Francisco, the First Appellate District affirmed the trial court's judgment against a disabled retired officer who had raised Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) disability claims against the San Francisco Police Department.  The court held that even though officers in administrative positions were not frequently required to engaged in strenuous activities such as making forcible arrests and detentions, these activities were essential because "the Department has a legitimate need to be able to deploy officers in those position in the event of emergencies and mass mobilizations."

Source Date: 
December 7, 2012

Yesterday the California Supreme Court issued an opinion on whether or not the delivery of a government claim presented to a public entity for consideration satisfied the requirements of the Government Claims Act—granting a victory to public entities.

Source Date: 
November 28, 2012

Richey v. AutoNation, Inc., 2012 Cal.App. LEXIS 1177 (November 13, 2012)

Earlier this month, a California appellate court rejected an employer's honest-belief defense to a California Family Rights Act ("CFRA") claim, holding that an employer seeking to terminate an employee for abusing medical leave must prove that the employee actually abused the leave. 

In Richey, the Second Appellate District reviewed an arbitrator's decision upholding Avery Richey's termination during a medical leave based on his employer's "honest belief" that Richey violated a company policy prohibiting work during his leave.  The arbitrator concluded that, "[a]n employer who honestly believes that it is discharging an employee for misusing [medical leave] is not liable even if the employer is mistaken."

The Second Appellate District rejected this reasoning.  The court held that an employer bears the burden of "adequately investigating and developing sufficient facts to establish the employee had actually engaged in misconduct warranting dismissal."

Source Date: 
November 27, 2012

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Vance v. Ball State University, a workplace harassment case on appeal from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in which the Court is being asked to decide the proper definition of “supervisor” under Title VII.  The definition is extremely important for employers, because the employer is usually automatically liable for damages when a supervisor unlawfully harasses a worker—a stricter standard for employer liability than if the harassment is done by a non-supervisor co-worker.

The plaintiff in the case, Maetta Vance, claims she was harassed by one of her immediate “supervisors.”  The Seventh Circuit dismissed the case, finding the alleged harasser did not fit the definition of “supervisor,” because she did not have the required authority to “hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline [the] employee.”  646 F.3d 461, 470 (2011).  Other circuits (including the Ninth Circuit) have adopted a broader standard of supervisor liability, under which an individual qualifies as a “supervisor” if he or she has the authority to direct an employee’s daily activities, or to assign work or set work schedules.  The Seventh Circuit expressly noted this split of authority in its opinion.

Source: 
Community Voice
Source Date: 
November 16, 2012

Come next year, Cotati will have a new city attorney.

The Cotati City Council, at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 21, was expected to approve the hiring of Robin Donoghue to replace the retiring Richard Rudansky, who announced he would step down at the end of the year.

Please click here to read the article in its entirety on The Community Voice website.

Source Date: 
November 26, 2012

International Brotherhood v. City of Redding,2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 1149 (November 2, 2012)

Since 1979, MOU’s between the City of Redding (City) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) contained the following (or substantially similar) language:“The City will pay fifty percent (50%) of the group medical insurance program premium for each retiree and dependents, if any, presently enrolled and for each retiree in the future who goes directly from active status to retirement and continues the group medical insurance without a break in coverage.”  All MOUs were approved by the City Council.

In 2008, the City proposed during bargaining for a new MOU that the City change the retiree health benefit to provide a subsidy of 2% per year of service, up to a maximum of 50%.  The union rejected the proposal.  After further negotiations, the City imposed terms and conditions, including the term altering the retiree health benefit.

The union petitioned for writ of mandate, and the City demurred.  The superior court sustained the City’s demurrer without leave to amend and dismissed the action.  The union appealed, and the Court of Appeal reversed.

Source: 
CSDA e-News
Source Date: 
November 19, 2012

The California Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) brought significant changes to public pensions in California that will take effect on January 1, 2013. PEPRA has sparked strong reactions from public agencies, unions and the public.  While the voice of retired annuitants has received less attention, PEPRA does impact retired annuitants in a number of ways.

Eddie Kreisberg answers the question of how PEPRA will affect retired annuitants in this article featured in CSDA e-News.

Source Date: 
November 2, 2012

It is well settled that projects placed on the ballot by voter initiative are exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).  In Tuolumne Jobs and Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court (“TJSBA”),the Fifth District Court of Appeal held that CEQA’s ballot initiative exemption does not apply when lead agencies directly adopt a project after it qualifies for the ballot by voter initiative, rather than placing the project on the ballot for voter approval. 

Election Code Section 9214 allows cities to directly adopt voter initiatives that qualify for the ballot without submitting the initiative to the voters.  Under this provision, the City of Sonora approved the expansion of a Wal-Mart after it qualified for the ballot.  The City determined that the project was exempt under CEQA as a voter-sponsored initiative.  The City relied on Native American Sacred Site & Environmental Protection Assn. v. City of San Juan Capistrano (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 961 (“Native American Sacred Site”), where the Fourth District upheld San Juan Capistrano’s determination that a project approval under Elections Code Section 9214 was exempt from CEQA.  The TJSBA court squarely disagrees with Native American Sacred Site and holds that “[e]nvironmental review can be avoided when the voters choose to bypass it, not when the lead agency chooses to bypass the voters.”  TJSBA sets up a direct conflict between the Fourth and Fifth appellate districts, which makes this case a strong candidate for Supreme Court review.     

Source Date: 
October 17, 2012

Last month, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1964, also known as the Workplace Religious Freedom Act ("WRFA").  The WRFA expands the California Fair Employment and Housing Act's ("FEHA's") prohibition of employment discrimination based on religious creed.

Source Date: 
October 15, 2012

Governor Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 2386, which clarifies that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) definition of “sex” includes “breastfeeding and conditions related to breastfeeding.”  The current definition of sex includes gender, pregnancy, childbirth, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.  Although the amendment is effective January 1, 2013, AB 2386 states that its changes are declaratory of existing law.  In other words, employers should treat these changes as effective immediately. 

Source Date: 
October 10, 2012

On September 27, 2012 Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1844 (“AB 1844”).  Starting January 1, 2013, employers will be prohibited from asking or requiring a job applicant or employee to disclose usernames and passwords to their personal social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter.  Employers will also be prohibited from requiring an applicant or employee to log in to their social media accounts “in the presence of the employer.”

Source: 
California State University, East Bay Magazine
Source Date: 
September 27, 2012

The Recorder, a newspaper serving the Black Oakland legal community, has named Jayne Williams, ’70 sociology, to its “2012 Women Leaders in Law” list.

Please click here to read the article on the CSU East Bay Magazine website. 

© Copyright California State University, East Bay.

Source: 
California Special District Magazine
Source Date: 
September 20, 2012

At some point, most special district boards will face the task of filling a vacant seat. For districts with appointed boards, vacancies are typically filled by the “appointing authority,” which is often the county board of supervisors. (Gov. Code § 1779.)

Source: 
The Recorder
Source Date: 
September 13, 2012

The Recorder has chosen Jayne Williams, a principal at Meyers Nave, for its 2012 “Women Leaders in Law” list. Ms. Williams heads Meyers Nave’s Crisis Management Practice Group, is the City Attorney for the City of San Leandro and previously served as the public agency firm’s Managing Principal.

The Recorder selected 40 female lawyers who have been innovative and active in networking in order to create opportunities for their firms and for others.

Source: 
The Recorder
Source Date: 
September 13, 2012

For Immediate Release
September 13, 2012

Contact:
David W. Skinner
Managing Principal

OAKLAND, CA – The Recorder has chosen Jayne Williams, a principal at Meyers Nave, for its 2012 “Women Leaders in Law” list. Ms. Williams heads Meyers Nave’s Crisis Management Practice Group, is the City Attorney for the City of San Leandro and previously served as the public agency firm’s Managing Principal.

The Recorder selected 40 female lawyers who have been innovative and active in networking in order to create opportunities for their firms and for others.

“Jayne has accomplished both. First, Jayne is a remarkable attorney and her prominence in this field has paved the way early on for many other female and minority lawyers in California,” said Managing Principal David W. Skinner. “Second, Jayne has helped the firm expand significantly over the last decade. Without a doubt, she leads a busy life as both a leading attorney and a community leader.”

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
September 12, 2012

The Daily Journal has selected Arthur A. Hartinger, a principal at Meyers Nave, as one of the “Top 100 Attorneys” in California. Mr. Hartinger chairs the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group and represents public entities statewide. 

“This recognition is certainly well-deserved,” said Managing Principal David W. Skinner. “Since Art joined the firm in 1999, he has worked hard on behalf of our public agency clients to achieve some of the most notable accomplishments in labor and employment law today.”

Source Date: 
August 21, 2012

Donnelly v. Greenburgh Central School District, No. 7 (Second Circuit, August 10, 2012)

In Donnelly, the Second Circuit found undocumented “hours worked” could count toward the 1,250 hours required for FMLA eligibility. 

Plaintiff teacher (Donnelly) sued defendant School District, claiming he was not granted tenure in retaliation for taking leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Defendant School District alleged, in part, that Plaintiff Donnelly was not eligible for leave because he had not worked 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to his leave request, as required by the FMLA to be eligible for leave.

The governing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) acknowledged the District’s and the Union’s “recogni[tion] that teachers have responsibilities which they readily and willingly perform that extend beyond the pupil’s regular school day. Among these responsibilities are classroom preparation, correction of papers, clerical work, record keeping, tutoring, parent-teacher and student-teacher conferences, staff meetings, curriculum planning and development, and in-service training.”

August 15, 2012, by Arthur A. Hartinger

REAOC vs. County of Orange, SACV-01-1301 AG

On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, the United States District Court granted summary judgment on behalf of Orange County in longstanding litigation stemming from the County’s decision to “de-pool” retiree and active health care rates.

Source Date: 
August 15, 2012

REAOC vs. County of Orange, SACV-01-1301 AG

On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, the United States District Court granted summary judgment on behalf of the County in longstanding litigation stemming from Orange County’s decision to “de-pool” retiree and active health care rates.

Source Date: 
September 11, 2012

Trends In Land Use Law

In our previous quarterly summary, we told you about the Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley case, in which Meyers Nave represents the real party in interest project applicant. We are happy to report that the California Supreme Court has since accepted the case for review. The appellate court decision had examined CEQA Guidelines section 15300.2(c), which provides that categorical exemptions from CEQA review may not be used where a project may have a significant effect on the environment due to “unusual circumstances.” The decision was troubling because it departed from previous cases, which looked to whether an alleged impact was due to circumstances that made the project “unusual” compared to others in the same exempt category. In Berkeley Hillside Preservation, by contrast, the court held that any sort of potentially significant impact (whether or not due to an unusual characteristic of the project) is itself an “unusual circumstance” which defeats use of a categorical exemption. With the Supreme Court’s action, the appellate court’s decision may not be cited, pending the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision in the case. 

See our client alert for more discussion of the Berkeley Hillside Preservation case. 

See also Meyers Nave’s opening brief for the Supreme Court.

Another CEQA case that was described in our previous summary, Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, has also been accepted for Supreme Court review.  In Neighbors for Smart Rail, the Second District Court of Appeal had ruled that an agency conducting CEQA review may, for projects whose impacts will be experienced over a long time, compare at least some types of impacts against a “baseline” of environmental conditions which are anticipated in the future, after approval of the proposed project.  That ruling created a split of authority, since the Sixth District, in Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association v. City of Sunnyvale (2010), had previously held that CEQA review must compare project impacts to a baseline of conditions prior to project approval.  The Supreme Court’s grant of review will allow for resolution of this hotly disputed issue, which is crucial to agencies preparing CEQA review.

Source: 
California Special Districts Association
Source Date: 
July 24, 2012

The reimbursable provisions of the Brown Act, California’s open meetings law, were suspended by the Legislature in this year’s budget and the California Department of Finance has officially notified special districts of the suspension.  When a reimbursable mandate is suspended, local governments are no longer eligible for reimbursement, nor statutorily obligated to adhere to the mandate. In spite of this, special districts are rightly upholding all requirements of the Brown Act. 

Although failing to follow the unfunded reimbursable mandates within the Brown Act is no longer a violation of state law, CSDA strongly advises all special districts to continue abiding by all Brown Act provisions in order to ensure public transparency and accountability. Our communities are accustomed to these requirements, which help ensure confidence in local service providers.  For a more detailed explanation of the legal ramifications and the ability of districts to claim reimbursements for past years, please review the below contributions by experts in the fields of state mandated local requirements and reimbursements.

Source Date: 
July 24, 2012

Under the “private attorney general” statute (Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5), courts may award attorney’s fees to a party that prevails in litigation which benefits the general public by enforcing an important public right.  A court may award attorney’s fees under section 1021.5 if it determines that the financial cost of such litigation outweighs the purely “personal” stake of the prevailing party.

Such awards are regularly given to private petitioners (such as environmental groups) in land use and CEQA cases.  Public agency litigants are also eligible for attorney’s fees under section 1021.5.  In the past, however, courts have denied fee awards to public agencies which sued to advance their own environmental policy interests, or the environmental welfare of their citizens.  In a new decision, City of Maywood v. Los Angeles Unified School District, the Second District Court of Appeal departs from these cases. 

Source Date: 
July 5, 2012

CEQA requires agencies to support their environmental conclusions with “substantial evidence.”  In City of Hayward v. Board of Trustees of the California State University, the First District Court of Appeal held that the University’s Master Plan EIR for the expansion of its East Bay campus largely complied with CEQA, except that the University failed to rely on substantial evidence to support its conclusion that the project would have a less than significant environmental impact on parkland resources.  The University complied with CEQA’s requirements in its analysis of impacts on fire services, traffic and parking.  

The decision is instructive on several issues, including a project sponsor’s responsibilities to mitigate impacts to the provision of emergency services, tiering of environmental documents, the deferral of environmental analysis in an EIR, and the adequacy of evidence to support an EIR’s conclusions.  The Court held that the City, not the University, is ultimately responsible for the provision of emergency services.  CEQA requires that EIRs need only analyze and mitigate the environmental impacts of expanding services.  The Court further held that the University properly tiered its environmental analysis and complied with CEQA in deferring some analysis and mitigation.  However, the Court found the EIR’s analysis of impacts on parkland resources was not supported by substantial evidence in the record. 

July 3, 2012, by Meyers Nave

On Monday, July 2, 2012, the California Supreme Court clarified that Charter Cities may exempt themselves from paying prevailing wages on public works projects where the projects are funded with local dollars.  The long anticipated case, State Building and Constructions Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v. City of Vista, held that the ordinances of charter cities supersede state law with respect to “municipal affairs.”  The majority opined that the construction of a city-operated facility for the benefit of a city’s inhabitants is “quintessentially a municipal affair, as is the control over the expenditure of a city’s own funds.”

Source Date: 
July 3, 2012

On Monday, July 2, 2012, the California Supreme Court clarified that Charter Cities may exempt themselves from paying prevailing wages on public works projects where the projects are funded with local dollars.  The long anticipated case, State Building and Constructions Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v.

Source Date: 
June 19, 2012

CEQA requires that, before a public agency approves a project which may adversely affect the environment, the agency must conduct environmental review of the “whole” of the proposed project.  In Van De Kamps Coalition v.

June 18, 2012, by Dawn McIntosh

In Kaahumanu v. State of Hawaii, the Ninth Circuit rejected plaintiff’s constitutional challenge and upheld a regulation requiring commercial wedding vendors to obtain a permit before conducting weddings on public beaches in Hawaii.  (Click here to read the opinion in Kaahumanu v. State of Hawaii, 2012 DJDAR 7472 (9th Cir. 2012).)  The permit requirement eliminates the possibility of holding spontaneous weddings on Hawaii beaches, but the Court found there was no undue burden placed on protected speech because there no real interest in conducting such weddings in Hawaii and because it satisfied the criteria for a reasonable time, place and manner restriction on protected speech in a public forum.  The Court distinguished the case factually from its recent decision in Berger v. City of Seattle, 569 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2009) where it invalidated a regulation requiring street performers to obtain permits before performing in the public grounds of the Seattle Center, in part because it precluded all spontaneous speech by performers from the Center grounds.  This decision highlights some of the limits of the Berger decision and reiterates the general rule that the constitutionality of regulations affecting protected speech is heavily dependent on the particular factual situation before the court. 

Source: 
Western City Magazine
Source Date: 
June 1, 2012

Members of the public and local agency officials carrying out the public’s business use electronic media to communicate, and this type of communication is increasingly widespread. Local agencies also use electronic media for external and internal communications and to create, transmit and store official information.

This article provides an overview of the law affecting local agency electronic information, discusses some emerging electronic records issues affecting local agencies and offers suggestions regarding local agency electronic records programs.

Source Date: 
June 15, 2012

In Tomlinson v. County of Alameda (June 14, 2012, S188161) __ Cal.4th __, the California Supreme Court affirmed that the “exhaustion doctrine” applies to an agency’s determination that a project is categorically exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). 

Source Date: 
June 15, 2012

In Kaahumanu v. State of Hawaii, the Ninth Circuit rejected plaintiff’s constitutional challenge and upheld a permit requirement for weddings on public beaches in Hawaii.  (Click here to read the opinion in Kaahumanu v. State of Hawaii, 2012 DJDAR 7472 (9th Cir. 2012).)  The Court found that the permit requirement satisfied the four criteria for a time, place and manner restriction on protected speech in a public forum – it was content-neutral, left ample alternative spaces for holding a wedding, did not vest too much discretion in the licensing official and was narrowly tailored to minimize conflicting uses of limited beach area and conserve the physical resource of the beaches.  The Court reached this conclusion even though the permit requirement applied to weddings involving as few as three people, distinguishing its decision in Berger v. City of Seattle, 569 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2009) where the Court invalidated a permitting requirement in part because it applied to single speakers. 

Source Date: 
June 5, 2012

San Jose, Calif. - On June 5, San Jose voters approved a pension reform ballot measure with 69.58% of the vote. Under Measure B, city employees in San Jose will retain pension benefits earned and accrued to date. On a going-forward basis, the following changes were approved:

Source: 
The Recorder
Source Date: 
May 28, 2012

Introduction:

Employers often conduct criminal background checks during the hiring process. Advances in technology have made accessing applicants’ criminal history oftentimes as easy as pressing a button. As a result, employers may discover criminal records more frequently than in the past.

Please click here to read the full article.
 

May 29, 2012, by Meyers Nave

This informative seminar will cover typical oil and gas title litigation issues, including procedural issues; default notices; limitations issues; commencement and continuous drilling operations; and quiet title actions, among others.

For a complete agenda, please click here.  To register, click here.

Topics covered to include:

• Procedural issues: venue, standing, joinder and indispensable parties
• Default notices
• Limitations issues
• “Paying quantities” and other lease termination issues
• “Or” vs “Unless” leases
• Drilling operations- commencement and continuous operations
• Other claims —drainage, ejectment, trespass, waste, partition, excess surface use, surface entry termination, etc.
• Quiet title actions: 

     o Litigation guarantees
     o Conveyances outside the chain of title
     o Lis pendens, preliminary title report and title insurance
     o Parties and service of process

May 29, 2012, by Ruthann G. Ziegler

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion declaring that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") does not protect medical marijuana users claiming discrimination based on their use of marijuana. In James v. City of Costa Mesa, the Court held that doctor-recommended marijuana use, authorized by state law, but prohibited by federal law, is an illegal use of drugs for purposes of the ADA.  (No. 10-55769, May 21, 2012.)  This ruling highlights the continued conflict between state and federal law over the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and recognizes that marijuana has no legitimate use under federal law.

Plaintiffs sought to prevent the efforts by the cities of Costa Mesa and Lake Forest ("Cities") to close medical marijuana collectives; plaintiffs' theory was that the Cities’ actions of closing the collectives interfered with plaintiffs’ access to medical marijuana. Plaintiffs further alleged that the closure of the collectives amounted to discrimination in the provision of public services, thus violating the ADA. 

Source Date: 
May 25, 2012

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion declaring that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") does not protect medical marijuana users claiming discrimination based on their use of marijuana. In James v. City of Costa Mesa, the Court held that doctor-recommended marijuana use, authorized by state law, but prohibited by federal law, is an illegal use of drugs for purposes of the ADA.  (No. 10-55769, May 21, 2012.)  This ruling highlights the continued conflict between state and federal law over the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and recognizes that marijuana has no legitimate use under federal law.

Plaintiffs sought to prevent the efforts by the cities of Costa Mesa and Lake Forest ("Cities") to close medical marijuana collectives; plaintiffs' theory was that the Cities’ actions of closing the collectives interfered with plaintiffs’ access to medical marijuana. Plaintiffs further alleged that the closure of the collectives amounted to discrimination in the provision of public services, thus violating the ADA. 

Source Date: 
May 23, 2012

The Supreme Court has voted unanimously to grant review of the First District Court of Appeal's controversial decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 656.

May 11, 2012, by Michael C. Hughes,

On April 25, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  The Enforcement Guidance clarifies and updates the EEOC's longstanding policy that a categorical exclusion from employment of individuals with a criminal record raises disparate impact concerns. 

Source Date: 
May 11, 2012

INTRODUCTION

On April 25, 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  The Enforcement Guidance clarifies and updates the EEOC’s longstanding policy that a categorical exclusion from employment of individuals with a criminal record raises disparate impact concerns.

The EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance comes at an important time.  In the last 20 years, an increasing number of Americans, including a disproportionate number of persons from protected status groups, have had contact with the criminal justice system.  As a result, more and more job applicants now have criminal records.  Simultaneously, advances in technology have made accessing applicants’ criminal history oftentimes as easy as pressing a button.  Given these developments, it is essential for employers to maintain proper policies for criminal record screening.

Source: 
San Francisco Daily Journal
Source Date: 
April 26, 2012

Considerable anxiety about the condition of local finances exists because revenues continue to stagnate, weighed down by the on-going malaise in real estate markets, especially in housing.

Moreover, there has been a recent trickle of Chapter 9 filings – the section in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that applies to local government filings.

Source Date: 
April 26, 2012

On April 17, 2012, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in Filarsky v. Delia held that an outside attorney temporarily retained by a public entity to conduct an internal workplace investigation is entitled to qualified immunity from a §1983 lawsuit. 

The case involved an internal affairs investigation of City of Rialto firefighter Nicholas Delia by an outside attorney hired by the City of Rialto Fire Department.  Delia brought a §1983 lawsuit against the City, several fire department managers involved in the investigation, and the outside attorney.

The trial court had held that the outside attorney instigated an unconstitutional search by requiring Delia to bring personal construction material from inside his house to his lawn for inspection by a supervisor, and the question for the Supreme Court was whether an outside attorney working for the government is entitled to qualified immunity.  The Supreme Court said the answer was yes.

This case is significant for California public agencies because agencies may retain an outside attorney to conduct an investigation without worrying about their own employees suing the outside attorney.  Qualified immunity will protect the outside attorneys just as it protects government employees.  In addition, the Supreme Court’s decision encourages outside consultants to continue serving public agencies without fear of liability.

In today’s economy, outside consultants perform many of the specialized services upon which government depends, and the Court’s decision acknowledges and encourages the importance of this role.

Source Date: 
April 23, 2012

Just over a year ago, the Sixth District Court of Appeal sparked controversy when it ruled, in Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Assn. v. City of Sunnyvale City Council (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 1351 (“Sunnyvale West”), that CEQA requires as a matter of law that environmental impacts of a proposed project to be analyzed in comparison to “baseline” environmental conditions as they existed at or before project approval.  The Fifth District Court of Appeal subsequently adopted this rule in Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 48 (“Madera Oversight Coalition”).  Then, in Pfeiffer v. City of Sunnyvale (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 1552, the Sixth District loosened its application of the rule of Sunnyvale West, and held that agencies have discretion to analyze project impacts against a baseline of conditions anticipated to exist in the future, if that baseline is supported by substantial evidence. 

Now, another appellate district has weighed in, with a decision that “fundamentally” disagrees with the rule of Sunnyvale West and Madera Oversight Coalition.  In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (2012) __ Cal.App.4th __ (April 17, 2012), the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled that an agency not only has discretion to compare project impacts to a future conditions baseline, but that for at least some types of impacts, comparison against a pre-project approval baseline may be incorrect under CEQA.  The Court held that for projects whose impacts will be experienced over a long time period, a future baseline is appropriate if future conditions can be accurately projected based on substantial evidence, and if comparison to future conditions would provide the most realistic picture of how impacts will be felt when they actually occur. 

With the publication of Neighbors for Smart Rail, there are now four decisions in three different appellate districts offering multiple interpretations of what baselines may (and may not) be used to assess traffic, air quality and greenhouse gas impacts.  These cases illustrate the high stakes for public agencies and developers alike in this increasingly confusing and complicated area of law.  Using the wrong baseline can jeopardize the legal adequacy of an EIR and result in the invalidation of project approvals.  Public agencies and developers are therefore encouraged to seek legal advice and give careful consideration to what baseline should be used in environmental review, particularly of projects that will have impacts over a long term of years.

Source: 
The Bar Journal
Source Date: 
April 16, 2012

On November 26, 1981, in an effort to bring publicity to the plight of the homeless, 20 protestors pitched tents and slept overnight across the street from the White House in Washington D.C.’s Lafayette Park in violation of National Park Service regulations that prohibited camping in the Park. At dawn the next day, the United States Park Police advised the protestors to leave and a half-hour later arrested the six activists who remained.

Source Date: 
April 12, 2012

SAN BRUNO, Calif.—The City of San Bruno and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced an agreement for PG&E to pay San Bruno $70 million in restitution to support the City and community’s efforts to recover after the Sept. 9, 2010 PG&E pipeline tragedy.

“I am pleased to announce that San Bruno has reached a settlement with PG&E for restitution for the community of San Bruno,” said Mayor Jim Ruane. “This money will be used for the benefit of all the citizens of our city and to help us, as a community, get beyond the tragedy and devastation caused by PG&E’s explosion and fire.”

Source Date: 
April 10, 2012

Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland, et al, Slip Opinion (March 20, 2012)

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits employees to take twelve weeks of unpaid administrative leave for: (a) the care of a newborn; (b) the adoption of a child; (c) the care of a family member with a serious medical condition; or (d) the employee's own serious health condition. Sections (a)-(c) are referred to as the "family care" provisions, while section (d) is referred to as the "self care" provision. Previously, States were liable for money damages for violations of all four provisions.[1] In Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court held that States are no longer liable for violations of the "self care" provision (section d); States remain liable for violations of the "family care" provisions (sections a-c).

Meyers Nave congratulates the City of Richmond, Police Chief Chris Magnus and now-retired Deputy Chief Lori Ritter on their victory in a racial discrimination case brought by seven police officers. After a three month trial, with Arthur Hartinger and Geoff Spellberg of Meyers Nave representing the City, Chief Magnus and retired Deputy Chief Lori Ritter, the jury unanimously found in favor of the Chief, former Deputy Chief and the City on all 28 causes of action.  We are gratified by the jury's unanimous affirmance of the defense position.   

Source Date: 
April 10, 2012

Meyers Nave is proud to announce that Principal Jayne Williams will be honored by the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) at its annual President's Reception on April 13. CABL and its President, Vernon C. Goins, will be honoring African-American General Counsels from around the state of California and selected Ms. Williams due to her work as the City Attorney for the City of San Leandro.

Source Date: 
April 9, 2012

On March 29, 2012, the Federal District Court of the Virgin Islands rejected a Contract-Clause challenge to the Virgin Islands Economic Stability Act (“VIESA”), which provided that all executive and legislative branch employees making more than $26,000 would receive an eight percent (8%) wage reduction.  United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union AFL-CIO-CLC v. Government of the United States Virgin Islands et al.  (D.V.I. March 29, 2012, Civ. No. 2011-76 et al.) 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 43461 (hereafter “United Steel Workers v. Virgin Islands”).

The facts in the Court’s opinion paint a picture that is all too familiar to California public agencies.  Between fiscal year 2008 and 2010, the Virgin Islands’ tax revenue plunged by $250 million.  During this same period, the government’s predicted fiscal year deficits ballooned to $300 million.  To reduce the deficit, it borrowed $500 million. 

In Fall 2010, salary increases required by several MOUs were projected to cost $31 million.  Salaries and benefits of government employees accounted for seventy percent (70%) of all government expenditures.  In early 2011, the fiscal year 2011 budget was estimated to run a deficit of $75 million. 

In response to the projected deficits, the Virgin Islands in the first half of 2011 imposed a new marine terminal user’s tax, reduced appropriations for the executive and judicial branches, and increased taxes, court filing fees, and traffic fines.  It also maintained a limited hiring freeze, sought to reduce energy consumption, and reduced training and travel expenditures. 

Despite the government’s actions, the deficit for fiscal year 2011 was still projected to be $17 million and was projected to rise to $50 million for fiscal year 2013.

In June 2011, the Virgin Islands considered several cost-cutting measures including the lay off of 600 employees, furloughs, workweek reductions, the elimination of paid holiday leaves, and a gross-receipts tax increase from 4.5% to 5%.  By late June 2011, the Governor had exhausted his $500 million statutory borrowing authorization.

Source: 
San Benito County Today
Source Date: 
March 22, 2012

The San Benito County Parks and Recreation Commissioners held a public workshop March 13 to share different types of special districts that could be pursued to support community services as well as the funding mechanisms behind them.

Sky Woodruff and John Bakker, of Meyers Nave Law Firm, led the presentation and answered questions for those in attendance.

Source Date: 
March 16, 2012

Yesterday, the Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) voted 3-2 to adopt an amendment to Regulation 18705.5. The regulation allows local public officials to vote on their own appointments to compensated positions on various types of boards, including, for example, boards of county sanitation districts, joint powers authorities and local area planning organizations.

The FPPC’s amendment also requires that information about the boards be posted on the local agency’s website, including the name of the appointed official, the amount of compensation (stipend or salary) for the position and the term of the position.

Source Date: 
March 14, 2012

A recent California appellate court has issued a potentially significant opinion, declaring that local governments may not completely ban medical marijuana dispensaries, with the limitation that the Legislature authorized medical marijuana dispensaries only at sites where medical marijuana is "collectively or cooperatively...cultivate[d]." (See City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective, (G043909).) This ruling is significant for local governments because it is the first published California case to declare that local governments may not ban medical marijuana dispensaries and that medical marijuana can only be dispensed from the cultivation site.

Source: 
PublicCEO.com
Source Date: 
February 13, 2012

Plaintiffs brought an action against police officers under 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that the officers violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering their home without a search warrant.  In a closely-watched decision, the U.S.

Source Date: 
February 13, 2012

Introduction

In what is being hailed as a “signal event in Fourth Amendment history,”[1]the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on January 23, 2012 that peace officers who placed a Global Positioning Tracker (GPS) device on a suspect’s car for 28 days violated the car owner’s right to privacy.  The Supreme Court opinion, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority in U.S. v. Jones,[2]held that placement of the GPS unit on the defendant’s car constituted a physical intrusion upon a person’s “effects” by a governmental entity, for which the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures requires that the government first obtain a warrant supported by probable cause.  While the minority also agreed that the GPS placement was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, it found that the violation was based upon Jones’ reasonable expectation of privacy, rather than his right to be free from unreasonable searches of his private property.  Regardless, what this landmark case makes clear is that prior to placing a GPS tracker on a suspect or person of interest’s vehicle, law enforcement must first obtain a valid search warrant. 

Source Date: 
February 9, 2012

Richard Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles(2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1207

In Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles, the California Court of Appeal recently held that an employer may lawfully terminate an employee based on a good faith belief that the employee has filed a false sexual harassment complaint.

Source Date: 
February 2, 2012

Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

On January 24, 2012, the Court of Appeal ruled that a report of a personnel investigation was subject to public disclosure. In Marken, the Court ruled that, under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), public interest in disclosure of a report of a personnel investigation finding a teacher had violated his employer's sexual harassment policy outweighed the teacher's privacy interests.

In 2008, Ari Marken (Marken), a mathematics teacher at Santa Monica High School, was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint. The complaint was received by the mother of a ninth grade student, who submitted a document outlining alleged improper conduct towards her daughter, a student of Marken's. The District hired an independent attorney investigator to investigate the complaint and issue a report. The report contained a summary of the evidence gathered and made "partial findings" regarding certain conduct that she concluded "more likely than not did occur." Because no students were interviewed, however, the report stated that the investigation was not considered complete. Based on the report, the District issued a written reprimand, finding Marken had violated the District's policy on sexual harassment.

February 2, 2012, by Edward L. Kreisberg,

On January 24, 2012, the Court of Appeal ruled that a report of a personnel investigation was subject to public disclosure. In Marken, the Court ruled that, under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), public interest in disclosure of a report of a personnel investigation finding a teacher had violated his employer's sexual harassment policy outweighed the teacher's privacy interests. 

Source Date: 
January 23, 2012

Plaintiffs brought an action against police officers under 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that the officers violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering their home without a search warrant. The Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit Court's decision and held that the Fourth Amendment allows officers to enter a residence without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable belief that an occupant is imminently threatened with serious injury.

Source Date: 
January 6, 2012

 AB 1344, which became effective on January 1, 2012, changes the law regarding employment and compensation for public agency managers.  It also requires public agencies to post meeting agendas on their websites and imposes new restrictions on changes to city charters.    Here is a summary of significant changes: 

January 6, 2012, by Steven T. Mattas, Benjamin T. Reyes

 AB 1344, which became effective on January 1, 2012, changes the law regarding employment and compensation for public agency managers.  It also requires public agencies to post meeting agendas on their websites and imposes new restrictions on changes to city charters.    Here is a summary of significant changes:  

Source Date: 
January 3, 2012

Meyers Nave announced today that recognized public law attorney Maribel Medina joined the firm as Principal, expanding the firm’s education law practice.  Ms. Medina brings extensive experience with over sixteen years of public law experience and most recently served as General Counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District, the highest performing school district in California. 

Source Date: 
December 29, 2011

The California Supreme Court today issued an opinion in the California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos case, upholding Assembly Bill x1 26 (the "Redevelopment Dissolution" bill) and invalidating Assembly Bill x1 27 (the "Voluntary Payment" bill). The Court provided a four month extension for all deadlines contained in AB x1 26 that arise prior to May 1, 2012. As a result, effective February 1, 2012, all redevelopment agencies in California will be dissolved.

Prior to their dissolution, agency activities are limited to carrying out "enforceable obligations" as defined in AB x1 26. Following dissolution, the successor entity (the city or county that formed the agency, unless such jurisdiction elects not to fill this role) is charged with winding up the affairs of the dissolved agency, subject to review by an oversight board composed of representatives appointed by the city, the county, the local school district, the local community college district, and the largest local special district. By March 1, 2012, the successor entity is required to prepare a draft recognized obligation payment schedule describing enforceable obligations payable during the period from January through June 2012. The successor entity is directed to dispose of the assets of the former redevelopment agency with the proceeds to be transferred to the county auditor-controller for distribution to local taxing entities. The successor entity may elect to retain the housing assets and functions previously performed by the redevelopment agency; however, funds on deposit in the Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund are not retained by the successor entity.

The Court held that AB x1 27 (the measure that would have permitted cities and counties to continue the operation of their local redevelopment agency by agreeing to make specified payments for the benefit of schools and special districts) violates Proposition 22, the ballot measure adopted in 2010 that limits the legislature’s ability to require local government payments.

Six justices signed the majority opinion. The Chief Justice issued a dissenting and concurring opinion in which she opined that AB x1 27 does not on its face compel the violation of Proposition 22.

Please contact any member of the Meyers Nave Redevelopment Practice Group for further information.

December 21, 2011, by Julia Bond,

In Ballona Wetlands Land Trust v. City of Los Angeles, the Court addressed an apparent inconsistency between the CEQA Guidelines and the statute.  The Court held the CEQA does not require analysis of the impacts of the existing environment on a proposed project (as distinguished from the impacts of the project on the environment), and sharply criticized the CEQA guidelines that suggest otherwise.  The opinion also upheld the EIR's discussion of mitigation for impacts to archeological resources, provides useful guidance on return to writ proceedings, and held that Respondents were prevailing parties for the purpose of awarding costs on the return to the writ, even though they lost the first round of CEQA litigation that led to initial issuance of the writ. 

This case potentially eliminates the need for agencies to determine the significance of certain types of impacts -- including some seismic risk, flood hazard, and climate change impacts -- to the extent that those impacts would be caused by the existing environment and would be experienced by the proposed project or its users.  Nevertheless, CEQA review likely still needs to analyze whether the proposed project would significantly exacerbate seismic risks, flood hazards, and climate change impacts on the environment.  This distinction will not always be easy to identify, and agencies should obtain legal advice before deciding to eliminate review of impacts traditionally considered in CEQA documents.

Go here for the full analysis of the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust v. City of Los Angeles case.

Source Date: 
December 21, 2011

Ballona Wetlands Land Trust v. City of Los Angeles is the second in a series of challenges to CEQA review of a mixed-use residential development, the Playa Vista Phase Two Project.  In a prior case concerning the same Project, the Court issued a writ of mandate invalidating a 2004 EIR for failing to consider “in-place” preservation of archeological artifacts, and for presenting a misleading project description and an inadequate analysis of wastewater impacts.  The writ further instructed the City to vacate certification of the 2004 EIR and project approvals, and to revise the EIR to address the deficiencies pointed out by the court.  In response to the Court’s writ, the City in 2010 certified a Revised EIR for the Project and sought to discharge the writ.  Petitioners objected and filed a new petition for a writ of mandate.  The Court consolidated the new petition with the pending case. 

The most significant portion of the new ruling was only reached because, in addition to the revised analysis required by the writ, the City also included a new climate change impacts analysis in the Revised EIR.  Petitioners attacked the climate change analysis for inadequately analyzing the impacts of sea-level rise caused by climate change on the project.  Petitioners relied on CEQA Guidelines section 15126.2, which states that “[t]he EIR shall also analyze any significant environmental effects the project might cause by bringing development and people into the area affected” by environmental impacts or hazards.  The Court disagreed that the Revised EIR was required to analyze the impacts of climate change on the Project, holding that “the purpose of an EIR is to identify the significant effects of a project on the environment, not the significant effect of the environment on the project.”   The Court held that CEQA Guidelines section 15126.2 is only consistent with the CEQA statute to the extent it requires analysis of the project’s impacts on the environment, and not vice-versa.  The Court went on to criticize Appendix G of the CEQA Guidelines, which is used to guide an agency’s initial study, for including questions that address the impacts of the environment on the project.

December 8, 2011, by Dawn McIntosh

In 2007, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (“Coalition”) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”), Greater Yellowstone Coalition Inc. v. Servheen, challenging the Service’s final rule (“Rule”) to remove the Yellowstone distinct population segment of grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act’s threatened species list.  The Coalition prevailed on summary judgment, convincing the district court that two key grounds supporting the Rule – 1) adequate regulatory mechanisms were in place to protect the grizzly and 2) declines in whitebark pine did not threaten the grizzly - were not rationally supported by the record.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, reiterating the importance of a well-documented Agency record.

Source Date: 
December 7, 2011

OAKLAND, CA  – The Daily Journal named Meyers Nave Principals Ruthann G. Ziegler, James Casso, Steven Mattas and Arthur Hartinger to its esteemed list of California’s “Top 25 Municipal Lawyers.”  The list honors lawyers who have excelled in the practice of municipal and public law in the State of California. 

“These four attorneys are leaders in the field of municipal and public law,” said David Skinner, the firm’s Managing Principal.  “We are proud that four out of the top 25 municipal lawyers on this list are from Meyers Nave.  This further evidences the firm’s expertise in advising public agencies on the day to day and complex legal issues facing public agencies today.”

Source Date: 
November 29, 2011

In a decision interpreting a long-standing statutory provision, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that Stanislaus County erred when it denied a residential development but did not make findings under Government Code section 65589.5(j).

November 22, 2011, by Arthur A. Hartinger,

In Retired Employees Association of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange (“REAOC”), the California Supreme Court addressed a question posed to it by the Ninth Circuit: “Whether, as a matter of California law, a California county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees.”  REAOC, No. S184059, at *1 (Cal., filed Nov. 21, 2011). 

In REAOC, retired employees challenged the County’s 2007 decision to split active employees and retirees into separate pools for purposes of calculating health insurance premiums.  REAOC argued that the County’s decision constituted an impairment of contract, and that the long-standing practice of pooling had created an implied contractual right to a continuation of a single unified pool for retirees and actives. 

The California Supreme Court held “that a county may be bound by an implied contract under California law if there is no legislative prohibition against such arrangements, such as a statute or ordinance.”  REAOC, at *1.  The Court did not address the question of whether an implied vested right existed for Orange County retirees.  Accordingly, the case now returns to the Ninth Circuit for that determination.

For further analysis, click here.  To read the Court’s full decision in REAOC v. County of Orange, click here

Source Date: 
November 22, 2011

In Retired Employees Association of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange (“REAOC”), the California Supreme Court addressed a question posed to it by the Ninth Circuit: “Whether, as a matter of California law, a California county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees.”  REAOC, No. S184059, at *1 (Cal., filed Nov. 21, 2011). 

In Orange County, retirees and active employees of the County had traditionally been pooled together for the purposes of calculating a single set of health insurance premiums—generally resulting in lower premiums for retirees (which are paid largely by the retirees themselves) and higher premiums for actives (which are paid largely by the County).  In REAOC, retired employees challenged the County’s 2007 decision to split active employees and retirees into separate pools. 

November 15, 2011, by Meyers Nave

On November 9, 2011, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, issued a ruling holding that state law does not preempt the City of Riverside's ("City") ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries ("MMD").  (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al. (2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 1406).)

Source Date: 
November 14, 2011

On November 9, 2011, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, issued a ruling holding that state law does not preempt the City of Riverside's ("City") ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries ("MMD").  (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, Inc., et al. (2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 1406).)

Having opened in the City in 2009, Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, Inc. ("Inland Empire Center") was a non-profit mutual benefit corporation, established as a MMD.  The City's municipal code prohibited MMDs on two grounds.  First, the City's zoning ordinance specifically lists MMDs as a prohibited use, and secondly, the City's code proscribes any use that is prohibited by state and/or federal law.  The City's code also declares that any use that violates the City's code is considered a public nuisance.

November 14, 2011, by Arthur A. Hartinger, Jesse Lad

Signed by Governor Brown on October 9, 2011, AB 646 amends the collective bargaining process for local public agencies by requiring the parties to proceed to fact finding after mediation and before a local public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best, and final offer.  Several commentators have pointed out ambiguities with respect to the scope and application of the fact finding process.  On November 8, 2011, the California Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") held the first of two meetings to introduce drafts of proposed emergency regulations for implementing AB 646 and to seek feedback regarding issues that might require regulatory action by PERB in advance of January 1, 2012, when the legislation takes effect. 

The meeting was attended by attorneys and employees representing both labor and management for public agencies throughout the state.  Multiple issues were discussed during the meeting, including: (1) whether local public agencies are allowed to adopt reasonable local rules to tackle issues that were not addressed by the legislation; (2) whether peace officers and managers are covered by AB 646; (3) what process is going to be used by PERB for appointing fact finders; (4) whether mediation after impasse is now mandatory; (5) whether fact finding is required if the parties do not proceed to mediation; and (6) how long the fact finding process typically takes.  While PERB representatives did not provide much feedback or insight regarding these issues and questions, they did introduce proposed emergency regulations that they hope to adopt before January 1 and invited general feedback regarding issues that might require regulatory action.

To view the current drafts of PERB's proposed emergency regulations click here.  PERB has asked that feedback be sent by email to Division Chief Les Chisholm (lchisholm@perb.ca.gov) or General Counsel Suzanne Murphy (smurphy@perb.ca.gov) by no later than November 18, 2011.  Mr. Chisholm indicated that all comments may be posted publicly on PERB's website, so please keep that in mind if you decide to provide feedback.  We would urge all public agency representatives to take advantage of this opportunity to provide feedback to PERB on this very important issue.  To read a detailed explanation of AB 646 and some of the substantial ambiguities that exist within the legislation click here

Source Date: 
November 10, 2011

Signed by Governor Brown on October 9, 2011, AB 646 amends the collective bargaining process for local public agencies by requiring the parties to proceed to fact finding after mediation and before a local public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best, and final offer.  Several commentators have pointed out ambiguities with respect to the scope and application of the fact finding process.  On November 8, 2011, the California Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”) held the first of two meetings to introduce drafts of proposed emergency regulations for implementing AB 646 and to seek feedback regarding issues that might require regulatory action by PERB in advance of January 1, 2012, when the legislation takes effect. 

The meeting was attended by attorneys and employees representing both labor and management for public agencies throughout the state.  Multiple issues were discussed during the meeting, including: (1) whether local public agencies are allowed to adopt reasonable local rules to tackle issues that were not addressed by the legislation; (2) whether peace officers and managers are covered by AB 646; (3) what process is going to be used by PERB for appointing fact finders; (4) whether mediation after impasse is now mandatory; (5) whether fact finding is required if the parties do not proceed to mediation; and (6) how long the fact finding process typically takes.  While PERB representatives did not provide much feedback or insight regarding these issues and questions, they did introduce proposed emergency regulations that they hope to adopt before January 1 and invited general feedback regarding issues that might require regulatory action.

To view the current drafts of PERB’s proposed emergency regulations click here.  PERB has asked that feedback be sent by email to Division Chief Les Chisholm (lchisholm@perb.ca.gov) or General Counsel Suzanne Murphy (smurphy@perb.ca.gov) by no later than November 18, 2011.  Mr. Chisholm indicated that all comments may be posted publicly on PERB’s website, so please keep that in mind if you decide to provide feedback.  We would urge all public agency representatives to take advantage of this opportunity to provide feedback to PERB on this very important issue.  To read a detailed explanation of AB 646 and some of the substantial ambiguities that exist within the legislation click here

October 26, 2011, by Edward Grutzmacher,

After surviving a highly publicized ballot box challenge and lawsuit, the California Air Resources Board ("CARB") unanimously adopted a final greenhouse gas ("GHG") cap-and-trade program regulation.  The cap-and-trade program is considered to be the cornerstone of CARB's implementation of California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Assembly Bill 32 ("AB 32").  The first of CARB's cap-and-trade program auctions for allowances for use in 2013 will be held August 15 and November 14, 2012. 

Major industrial sources and electric utilities must begin compliance with the cap-and-trade program in 2013.  By 2015, distributors of transportation fuel and natural gas also become obligated to comply with cap-and-trade program requirements.   In addition, the cap-and-trade program will likely create a market for CARB-certified offset projects in areas of livestock management, elimination of ozone depleting substances, urban forest projects, and U.S. Forest projects.

To view the full summary of the program, follow this link.

Source Date: 
October 26, 2011

After surviving a highly publicized ballot box challenge and lawsuit, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) unanimously adopted a final greenhouse gas (“GHG”) cap-and-trade program regulation.  The

October 24, 2011, by Timothy D. Cremin,

Three important reform bills designed to streamline California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) processing and review for certain classes of projects have been enacted and will take effect January 1, 2012.  SB 226 creates a new exemption for urban infill and renewable energy projects.  It also makes a variety of amendments to both CEQA and SB 375, the landmark 2008 legislation designed to integrate California's land use, transportation and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies.   AB 900 shortens the Court review for CEQA challenges to certified "leadership projects" by authorizing lawsuits to be brought directly in the Court of Appeal on an expedited schedule.  "Leadership projects" must be certified LEED silver or higher, be carbon neutral, create "high-wage, highly skilled" jobs, and result in an investment of at least $100 million in California's economy (among other requirements).  SB 292 is a narrow bill designed to accommodate a new sports stadium and convention center in downtown Los Angeles by  streamlining judicial review in exchange for reductions in GHG emissions and traffic impacts.

SB 226 is likely to have the broadest effects for public agencies and private developers by facilitating urban infill projects.  It will likely reduce the time and expense for CEQA review for infill projects.  SB 226 expands the definition of urban infill projects, strengthens CEQA's tiering provisions, and provides that impacts from greenhouse gas emissions will not defeat the urban infill exemption under certain conditions.

Click here for a more detailed analysis of these recent CEQA amendments.   

Source Date: 
October 24, 2011

Three important reform bills designed to streamline California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) processing and review for certain classes of projects have been enacted and will take effect January 1, 2012.  SB 226 creates a new exemption for urban infill and renewable energy projects.  It also makes a variety of amendments to both CEQA and SB 375, the landmark 2008 legislation designed to integrate California’s land use, transportation and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies.   AB 900 shortens the Court review for CEQA challenges to certified “leadership projects” by authorizing lawsuits to be brought directly in the Court of Appeal on an expedited schedule.  “Leadership projects” must be certified LEED silver or higher, be carbon neutral, create “high-wage, highly skilled” jobs, and result in an investment of at least $100 million in California’s economy (among other requirements).  SB 292 is a narrow bill designed to accommodate a new sports stadium and convention center in downtown Los Angeles by  streamlining judicial review in exchange for reductions in GHG emissions and traffic impacts.

At the outset, it is important to note that these three new CEQA bills were rushed through at the very end of a legislative session and were not subjected to legislative staff review.  Each bears some technical flaws and inconsistencies which may create difficulties for agencies applying these new provisions.  Clean up legislation in the future may be warranted.  As a result, we encourage public agencies and developers to consult with legal counsel before relying on the new legislation, especially the exemption for urban infill projects. 

Source Date: 
October 14, 2011

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed legislation that creates new requirements for local government entities considering Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings. The final bill allows a local government entity to file a bankruptcy petition so long as it has either declared a fiscal emergency or engaged in a specified mediation process with its major creditors.

This legislation was promoted by public sector labor unions, which have made several attempts following the City of Vallejo bankruptcy filing to restrict local government entities' access to the bankruptcy courts.

Local government entities took great interest in this legislation and, after significant negotiations, the bill was amended in the final days of the legislative session. As amended, the legislation provides that a Chapter 9 filer must either have engaged in mediation or declared a fiscal emergency by a majority vote of its governing board.

Source Date: 
October 10, 2011

Governor Brown signed AB 646 - which amends the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ("MMBA") to require fact finding after mediation and before a local public agency may unilaterally implement its last, best and final offer. 

Effective January 1, 2012, when a local public agency has reached an impasse during collective bargaining with representatives of a recognized employee organization, the employee organization will be able to require the bargaining impasse to be submitted to a fact finding panel.  Specifically, if a mediator is unable to effect settlement between the parties within thirty (30) days of being appointed, the employee organization may request that the parties' differences be submitted to a tri-partite fact finding panel consisting of one representative from each of the sides and a chairperson selected by the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB").  The parties may mutually agree on a different chairperson in lieu of the person selected by PERB within five (5) days after PERB selects the initial chairperson.  The costs for the services of the panel chairperson shall be split equally between the parties.

October 10, 2011, by Arthur A. Hartinger, Jesse Lad

Governor Brown signed AB 646 - which amends the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ("MMBA") to require fact finding before an agency may unilaterally implement its last, best and final offer.

The bill prohibits a public agency from implementing its last, best and final offer until at least 10 days after the "fact finders" (a tri-partite panel with one "neutral" selected by the parties) submit written findings of fact and recommend terms of settlement.

October 6, 2011, by Meyers Nave

In a closely-watched and high-profile case involving a civil gang injunction against the violent Norteños gang, Meyers Nave attorneys Tricia Hynes and Britt Strottman, working with the Oakland City Attorney's Office, succeeded in obtaining a civil gang injunction against Norteños gang members. Civil gang injunctions are court orders prohibiting a particular criminal street gang from engaging in various activities that are harmful and injurious to the community, its residents and business owners. The Honorable Robert Freedman of the Alameda County Superior Court granted the City of Oakland's request for a preliminary civil gang injunction order in full, relying upon all of the evidence and testimony submitted by the City. What this means is that the individually named gang members in the first phase of the litigation are now prevented from engaging in a broad range of activities, some of which are already crimes in their own right, and some of which are not crimes, per se, but have the real propensity to lead to crimes. Within a designated "Safety Zone" covering the neighborhoods where the gang operates, the enjoined individuals will be prohibited from associating with one another, intimidating witnesses, recruiting youth into the gang, knowingly being in the presence of drugs or firearms, wearing gang colors or being on the streets between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. 

Source Date: 
October 5, 2011

In a closely-watched and high-profile case involving a civil gang injunction against the violent Norteños gang, Meyers Nave attorneys Tricia Hynes and Britt Strottman, working with the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, succeeded in obtaining a civil gang injunction against Norteños gang members.  Civil gang injunctions are court orders prohibiting a particular criminal street gang from engaging in various activities that are harmful and injurious to the community, its residents and business owners.  The Honorable Robert Freedman of the Alameda County Superior Court granted the City of Oakland’s request for a preliminary civil gang injunction order in full, relying upon all of the evidence and testimony submitted by the City.  What this means is that the individually named gang members  in the first phase of the litigation are now prevented from engaging in a broad range of activities, some of which are already crimes in their own right, and some of which are not crimes, per se, but have the real propensity to lead to crimes.  Within a designated “Safety Zone” covering the neighborhoods where the gang operates, the enjoined individuals will be prohibited from associating with one another, intimidating witnesses, recruiting youth into the gang, knowingly being in the presence of drugs or firearms, wearing gang colors or being on the streets between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

September 27, 2011, by Edward L. Kreisberg,

In Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Association, __ F.3d __ (9th Cir. 2011), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals approved an employer's rule against hiring job applicants who have previously tested positive for drug and alcohol use.  The court's initial ruling was released in March 2011, but on September 21, 2011, the court denied the job applicant's petitions for rehearing.

September 27, 2011, by Deborah J. Fox

The Ninth Circuit invalidated a City of Redondo Beach ordinance that prohibits solicitation between day laborers and occupants of motor vehicles on streets and highways. In Comite De Jornaleros De Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, Ninth Circuit Case No. 06-55750, No. 06-56869, the Ninth Circuit en banc opinion reversed the prior panel decision that held the Redondo Beach ordinance constitutional. The Court held that the Redondo Beach ordinance is not narrowly tailored to the City's objective and that the City could use less restrictive means to ensure traffic flow and safety.

Source Date: 
September 27, 2011

Public entities that utilize the UPCCAA should take note that the monetary thresholds for bidding on public projects has changed as follows:

(a) Public projects of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or less may be performed by the employees of a public agency by force account, by negotiated contract, or by purchase order.

(b) Public projects of one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000) or less may be let to contract by informal procedures as set forth in this article.

(c) Public projects of more than one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000) shall, except as otherwise provided in this article, be let to contract by formal bidding procedure.

Source Date: 
September 26, 2011

The Ninth Circuit invalidated a City of Redondo Beach ordinance that prohibits solicitation between day laborers and occupants of motor vehicles on streets and highways. In Comite De Jornaleros De Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, Ninth Circuit Case No. 06-55750, No. 06-56869, the Ninth Circuit en banc opinion reversed the prior panel decision that held the Redondo Beach ordinance constitutional. The Court held that the Redondo Beach ordinance is not narrowly tailored to the City’s objective and that the City could use less restrictive means to ensure traffic flow and safety.

Redondo Beach’s ordinance regulates "soliciting" employment, business, or contributions from the occupant of a motor vehicle. The Court rejected the City’s argument that the ordinance regulated only conduct, holding that solicitation is a form of protected speech. In reaching this finding, the Court overruled ACORN v. City of Phoenix, 798 F.2d 1260 (9th Cir. 1986), which had found that an almost identical ordinance regulated only conduct. Although streets and sidewalks are a public forum, the City can impose regulations that are content-neutral and a reasonable limit on the time, place, and manner of expression. To satisfy judicial scrutiny, the regulation must be "narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and leave open ample alternative channels of communication."

Source Date: 
September 25, 2011

In Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Association, __ F.3d __ (9th Cir. 2011), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals approved an employer’s rule against hiring job applicants who have previously tested positive for drug and alcohol use.  The court’s initial ruling was released in March 2011, but on September 21, 2011, the court denied the job applicant’s petitions for rehearing.

The employer has a policy whereby any applicant who tests positive for drug and alcohol use during the pre-employment screening process may not ever again apply for a position.  The applicant originally applied for a position with the employer in 1997 but was rejected after testing positive for marijuana despite having seven days notice of the pre-employment drug test.  Under the employer’s “one-strike rule,” the applicant was rejected again when he re-applied in 2004 after allegedly kicking his drug habit.

September 9, 2011, by Meyers Nave

Meyers Nave’s Oil, Gas and Energy Law Group welcomes Paul Williams to our Los Angeles office.

Paul comes to Meyers Nave after practicing oil and gas law as a Barrister and Solicitor with the Energy Group at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Calgary, Alberta, where he advised international and domestic oil and gas and pipeline companies on a wide variety of transactional and regulatory matters. Paul has advised both domestic and international oil and gas companies on disputes, corporate structuring, regulatory compliance, as well as a wide variety of oil and gas transactions. He has advised clients on due diligence and title review for oil and gas mergers and acquisitions and also on corporate structuring for investment security and maximum tax efficiency. Paul has advised privately held international oil and gas exploration and production companies in the negotiation of commercial terms for operations, including production sharing agreements, joint venture agreements, joint operating agreements, farm-in and farm-out agreements, drilling contracts, and service contracts on a worldwide basis, with a focus on South America and West Africa.  Paul has strong advisory experience in a number of areas of operation, and has assisted with projects that are onshore, offshore, conventional oil, heavy oil, oil sands, and shale.

Source: 
San Diego Union Tribune
Source Date: 
July 15, 2011

By Michael A. Sweet & Max Neiman

Local government bankruptcies are rare. Nevertheless, some public employee organizations aim to make the local government bankruptcy option nearly impossible, as evidenced by AB 506. This bill would require a tortuous process before a municipality could even file for federal bankruptcy protection. Other large, complex states, notably New York, Texas and Florida, do not hem in their local governments in anything like the way AB 506 threatens to do. 

Source: 
PublicCEO.com
Source Date: 
June 23, 2011

In May 2011, a Court of Appeal clarified for the first time that, like public employee salaries, county retiree names and pension amounts are public records subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act. 

Source Date: 
June 2, 2011

OAKLAND, CA – The National Bar Association named Meyers Nave Associate Eric Casher on its esteemed list of Top 40 lawyers under 40 for 2011.  The annual list honors rising advocates in the nation’s legal industry.

Source: 
FireRescue1.com
Source Date: 
May 31, 2011

Fire departments are now not liable for injuries caused by vehicles at the scene of a fire in Calif.

Source: 
Legal Pad
Source Date: 
March 19, 2010

Take a guess – is this a spiritual observation or lesson in wavelengths? “A rock dropped into a smooth pond can cause ripples on distant shores.”

Neither! It’s an Environmental Impact Report observation by Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald Bauer, part of his recent written order rejecting the City of Riverside’s attempt to stop an expansion project at the Port of Los Angeles – a victory for Meyers Nave attorney Amrit Kulkarni.

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
May 11, 2011

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Daily Journal named Meyers Nave Principal Ruthann Ziegler to its respected list of California’s “Top 25 Women Corporate and Transactional Lawyers.”  The list honors lawyers who have excelled in the practice of corporate and transactional law.  The Daily Journal recognized Ms. Ziegler for her perseverance and ingenuity in transactional matters during a downward economy.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
May 11, 2011

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Daily Journal named Meyers Nave Principal Ruthann Ziegler to its respected list of California’s “Top 25 Women Corporate and Transactional Lawyers.”  The list honors lawyers who have excelled in the practice of corporate and transactional law.  The Daily Journal recognized Ms. Ziegler for her perseverance and ingenuity in transactional matters during a downward economy. 

Source: 
The Daily Journal
Source Date: 
April 28, 2011

OAKLAND, CA – The Daily Journal named Meyers Nave Principal Amrit Kulkarni to its inaugural list of California’s Top 25 Land Use Lawyers.

Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Source Date: 
April 29, 2011

Meyers Nave Chief Operating Officer Don Oppenheim helps an Afghanistan teen achieve his dream of getting an education in the United States.

Source Date: 
April 15, 2011

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. 

Source Date: 
March 28, 2011

The City of Sacramento has hired Meyers Nave to review loan agreements signed in 1997 between the City and the Kings Basketball Team. The Kings are contemplating relocating from Sacramento to Anaheim, but before they do, they will need to fulfill a legal requirement to repay a city loan in the amount of $77 million. 

Source Date: 
March 24, 2011

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.

Source Date: 
March 24, 2011

The employment discrimination case, Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 131 S.Ct 1186, 2011 WL 691244 (U.S.), decided on March 1 by the U.S. Supreme Court highlights the critical importance in conducting an objective investigation that confirms the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for discipline before taking action against an employee.

Source Date: 
March 2, 2011

At its March 1st council meeting, the City Council of the City of Livingston appointed Jose Sanchez as its City Attorney.

Source Date: 
March 16, 2011

On March 1-3, 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") conducted a federal public hearing on the devastating September 9th pipeline explosion with testimony from San Bruno Fire Chief Dennis Haag, PG&E executives, pipeline industry representatives, state and federal regulators, and safety advocates.

Source: 
Public Law Journal
Source Date: 
March 9, 2011

Amidst high-profile scandals and a lagging economy, public sector wage and benefit packages are coming under ever-increasing scrutiny. Overly-optimistic investment forecasts and questionable planning led to long term labor contract commitments that have become unsustainable. Some jurisdictions estimate unfunded liabilities in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Source Date: 
February 24, 2011

Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 23rd, the State Department of Finance released language for a proposed budget trailer bill that addresses the Governor’s proposal to disestablish redevelopment agencies.   The 26-page bill has not yet been formally introduced, but may be introduced and considered by the Budget Conference Committee within the next few days.  It is likely that the bill will undergo modification prior to consideration by the legislature, and if adopted, the bill may be subject to legal challenge.  

Source Date: 
February 16, 2011

The California State legislature recently passed AB 2036, codified as Section 20103.7 of the Public Contract Code, which provides that "[a] local agency taking bids for the construction of a public work project or improvement, upon request from a contractor plan room service, must provide an electronic copy of a project's contract documents at no charge to the contractor plan room."

Source: 
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Source Date: 
February 15, 2011

Reversal of the district court's judgement in International Church of Foursquare Gospel v. City of San Leandro, 632 F.Supp.2d 925 (N.D. Cal. 2008). District Judge finds a triable issue regarding whether the City imposed a substantial burden on the Church's religious Exercise under RLUIPA and that the City failed to prove a compelling interest for its actions. 

Please click here to read the full opinion.

Source: 
lawandordermag.com
Source Date: 
February 9, 2011

Every day lawsuits are won and lost based on the quality of the evidence presented at trial. Most law enforcement agencies are well trained in the collection and preservation of evidence in the criminal arena. However, many of these same agencies never fully contemplate the ramifications of civil suits. 

Source: 
PublicCEO.com
Source Date: 
February 8, 2011

In Thompson v. North American Stainless LP, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") protected an individual from being terminated in retaliation for his fiancée's prior complaint of discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

Source Date: 
February 7, 2011

In the second published decision by the Ninth Circuit in this case, the Court addresses the new framework and burden shifting standard put in place by the United States Supreme Court when addressing constitutional challenges to ordinances aimed at reducing the secondary effects of adult entertainment businesses. 

Source Date: 
February 4, 2011

When Governor Jerry Brown proposed  to eliminate the state’s 400 redevelopment agencies to help balance the budget, many cities and redevelopment agencies reached out to Meyers Nave to help devise strategies to save redevelopment projects should the Governor’s plan come to fruition. 

Source Date: 
February 1, 2011

Under the broad language of proposed rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), intended to implement provisions of Section 975 (“Section 975”) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), non-elected members of the governing board of a municipal entity may fall under the definition of “municipal advisor” and thereby become subject to SEC registration, record-keeping requirements and expanded securities fraud liability.

Source Date: 
January 27, 2011

In Thompson v. North American Stainless LP, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") protected an individual from being terminated in retaliation for his fiancée's prior complaint of discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

Source: 
Court of Appeal, Second District
Source Date: 
January 27, 2011

Second District Court of Appeal Opinion in Zubarau v. City of Palmdale(2011) --- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, 2011 WL 242423 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.), 11 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 1351, 2011 Daily Journal D.A.R. 1655.

Please click here to read the Second District's opinion in its entirety.

Source Date: 
January 26, 2011
Source Date: 
January 12, 2011

OAKLAND, CA – 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.”

Source Date: 
December 28, 2010

In Azusa Land Partners v. Department of Industrial Relations, the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal has upheld the California Director of Industrial Relations and the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in determining that use of Mello-Roos bonds to fund certain infrastructure required for a city’s approval of a mixed-use project requires payment of prevailing wages for the construction of all public facilities and infrastructure improvements required for the Project, and not just the public improvements funded by the bond proceeds.

Source: 
Western City Magazine, League of California Cities
Source Date: 
December 27, 2010

"As innocent as a council member’s motives may be, when he or she personally attends a planning commission meeting or another subordinate committee meeting, he or she may be crossing an ethical boundary."

Source Date: 
December 23, 2010

An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit, in a much anticipated decision, has found that the City of Goleta’s mobile home rent control ordinance did not cause a taking of the Guggenheim’s property because they received exactly what they bargained for.

Source Date: 
December 9, 2010

Los Angeles, CA – In Los Angeles Superior Court on December 7, 2010, Judge Robert O’ Brien found that a monitor is not necessary to oversee the operations of the City of Bell (the "City").

Source: 
Sacramento Bee
Source Date: 
December 9, 2010

After a 7 day trial in October, chaired by David Skinner and Neli Palma, Judge Cadei issued a ruling in the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Rancho Cordova v. The Lily Company case.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
December 9, 2010

Meyers Nave's Public Finance Group will advise the Community Development Department of Los Angeles on its federal applications tax credits to help finance two real estate development projects.

Source Date: 
December 7, 2010

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave today announced that David Skinner has been named managing principal of the law firm, effective January 1, 2011.

Source Date: 
December 3, 2010

The City of Union City envisioned an efficient, vibrant transit-oriented development adjacent to the BART station. On Thursday, December 2, 2010, Union City celebrated the completion of the first phase of its major BART expansion. The City’s mayor, Mark Greene, was joined by Ben Reyes, Kit Faubion, Sue Bloch, Britt Strottman and Lindsey Staples from Meyers Nave at the Ribbon Cutting of the Union City BART Project - the Union City Intermodal Station, which will integrate transportation, housing and jobs.

Source Date: 
November 12, 2010

Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that John Bakker and Sky Woodruff are members of a League of California Cities (LOCC) taskforce preparing guidance regarding the implementation of Proposition 26. The measure imposes new procedural and substantive requirements on some local fees.

Source Date: 
November 8, 2010

Voters approved Proposition 26 at the November 2, 2010 election, and, upon certification of the results, the measure will be effective as of November 3.

Source: 
SacBee.com
Source Date: 
October 25, 2010

Meyers Nave eminent domain attorneys David Skinner and Neli Palma are defending the Rancho Cordova Redevelopment Agency against landowner-developer, Lily Company, which is fighting to block the Agency from taking 9.5 acres through eminent domain.

Source Date: 
October 14, 2010

Los Angeles, CA – The City of Bell ("City") has not stepped away from the bargaining table regarding the Court-Appointed Monitor as suggested by the California Attorney General's office.

Source Date: 
October 5, 2010

San Francisco, CA – Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that Richard D. Pio Roda has been elevated to Principal status.

Source: 
The Informant, KALW News
Source Date: 
October 5, 2010

In June, Alameda Superior Court Justice Robert Freedman approved Oakland’s first gang injunction against 15 individuals City Attorney John Russo dubbed the “North Side Oakland” gang.

Source Date: 
September 21, 2010

Oakland, CA – The district attorney took significant action today. However, the need for justice to be served is only one aspect of a much broader situation.

Source: 
The Override, published by the Los Angeles Association of Professional Landmen
Source Date: 
September 15, 2010
Source Date: 
August 10, 2010

With the ink barely dry on the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, a new world dawns as municipal and other public agencies get new rights and protections formerly reserved to the investor community.

Source Date: 
August 4, 2010

Oakland, CA – The City of Bell announced today that it has retained attorney James Casso from the law firm of Meyers Nave to serve as its interim City Attorney.

Source Date: 
August 4, 2010

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that Greg Newmark has been elevated to Principal status.

Source: 
North Bay Business Journal
Source Date: 
August 2, 2010

Officials say non-binding standards on building projects add uncertainty to the complex process of environmental impact reviews.

Source Date: 
July 27, 2010

Given the California appellate court's recent ruling in Ralphs Grocery Company v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8 (January 19, 2010) 2010 DJDAR 11199, police departments may now receive increased requests to remove peaceful picketers in labor disputes from private property.

Source Date: 
July 14, 2010

In Los Angeles Unified School District v. Great American Insurance Co. S165113, a decision filed July 12, 2010, the California Supreme Court decided whether a contractor on a public works project may recover in a contract action for extra work or expenses necessitated by a public entity's failure to disclose information that materially affects the cost of performance.

Source Date: 
July 14, 2010

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave announced today that Principal Arthur A. Hartinger has been named to the Daily Journal list of Top Employment Lawyers in California for 2010.

Source Date: 
July 13, 2010

Under state law, counties are authorized to charge fees to cities and other local governments that receive property tax revenues for the costs of administering the property tax system in proportion to the amount of property tax received.

Source Date: 
July 12, 2010

Oakland, CA – Nine attorneys from Meyers Nave law firm, representing four practice areas, have been selected to the 2010 lists of the Northern California’s Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, designations that the Super Lawyers organization uses to denote a “high degree of professional achievement.”

Source: 
City of Chino Press Release
Source Date: 
July 12, 2010

Late last Friday, attorneys Deborah Fox and Ed Grutzmacher from Meyers Naves filed a motion to intervene to allow the City of Chino’s interests to be protected in regards to the reuse of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Heman G. Stark site.

Source Date: 
July 2, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor issued an Opinion Letter clarifying that an employee who has day-to-day responsibilities to either care for or financially support a child qualifies for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), even if the employee has no biological or legal relationship with the child.

Source Date: 
July 1, 2010

This morning, in City of San Jose v. Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, the California Supreme Court held that a public employer must generally first seek relief from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) before asking a superior court for injunctive relief when the employer believes that a threatened strike may endanger the public welfare.

Source Date: 
July 1, 2010

The California State Water Resources Control Board substantially revised the statewide General Permit for Discharges of Storm Waters Associated with Construction Sites that regulates water quality at construction sites ("Construction General Permit").

Source Date: 
June 24, 2010

In County of Los Angeles v. Glendora Redevelopment Project, the Court invalidated the City of Glendora’s Redevelopment Plan for the Merged Glendora Redevelopment Project (Plan) because the Court found that the administrative record did not contain substantial evidence of physical blight in the project area.

Source Date: 
June 22, 2010

Meyers Nave was retained by the City of Stockton in connection with its Declaration of Emergency based on fiscal circumstances.

Source Date: 
June 18, 2010

In San Diego Navy Broadway Complex Coalition v. City of San Diego, California Court of Appeal has ruled that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not require a subsequent or supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for allegedly significant impacts which the reviewing public agency does not have authority to reduce or avoid by imposing mitigation measures.

Source: 
California Special District, Volume 5, Issue 3
Source Date: 
June 18, 2010
Source Date: 
June 17, 2010

In City of Ontario v. Quon, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling that the City's review of a SWAT officer's text messages sent over a City-issued pager was reasonable in the circumstances of that case, and thus did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Source Date: 
June 11, 2010

In Comite De Jornaleros De Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, the Ninth Circuit has held that a Redondo Beach ordinance, which prohibits persons from standing on a street or highway and soliciting employment, business, or contributions from motorists, is a content-neutral, reasonable time place and manner restriction that does not violate First Amendment freedom of speech rights.

Source Date: 
June 10, 2010

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted new CEQA Guidelines for analysis of air quality impacts. For the first time, it includes guidance on the analysis and determination of significant impacts for greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
June 9, 2010

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued the first comprehensive guide for developers of residential and commercial projects to determine when a project needs to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

Source Date: 
May 28, 2010

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that clarifies the current state of the law in balancing a local government’s authority to regulate billboards with First Amendment protections.

Source Date: 
May 27, 2010

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a “low-level” public employee’s First Amendment retaliation claim could proceed to trial because the employee’s duties did not include reporting misconduct and false statements made to the public agency’s governing board.

Source Date: 
May 27, 2010

The Court of Appeal rejected an EIR for a proposed open-air composting facility in San Bernardino County.

Source Date: 
May 26, 2010

California’s first-in-the-nation mandatory green building code - CALGreen - will take effect on January 1, 2011. CALGreen establishes uniform, mandatory minimum green building regulations throughout the State.

Source: 
Meyers Nave Investigative Report - Published in San Jose Business Journal
Source Date: 
May 21, 2010

Jayne Williams, managing principal of Meyers Nave, and Terry Roemer, employment law specialist, were retained by San Jose Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations of financial and administrative improprieties by Chancellor Rosa Perez.

Source: 
State Water Resources Control Board
Source Date: 
May 18, 2010

Memorandum from State Water Resources Control Board, Office of Chief Counsel

Source Date: 
May 7, 2010

A recent California Supreme Court decision has created an air of less certainty surrounding the finality of arbitration awards.

Source Date: 
May 4, 2010

In a setback for redevelopment agencies, Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled today to deny petitions seeking to overturn AB 26 x4 which mandates a statewide contribution from redevelopment agencies equal to an aggregate $1.7 billion during fiscal year 2009-10 and an additional $350 million in fiscal year 2010-11.

Source Date: 
April 29, 2010

A California Court of Appeal recently held that redevelopment agencies may use Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund (“LMIHF”) monies to purchase and renovate buildings that will not themselves be used for affordable housing so long as there is a nexus between the expenditures and the goal of improving and increasing affordable housing.

Source Date: 
April 28, 2010

The California Court of Appeal issued its first decision on the analysis and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Source Date: 
April 27, 2010

The California Court of Appeal recently held that a deputy coroner’s principal duties and functions do not fall within the scope of “active law enforcement” under Government Code section 20436(a).

Source Date: 
April 27, 2010

Oakland, CA - Meyers Nave announced today that Brenda Aguilar-Guerrero and Henry Hewitt have joined the firm, expanding the firm’s well-known eminent domain practice with two recognized eminent domain attorneys.

Source Date: 
April 26, 2010

On Friday, April 23, 2010, a California appeals court ruled in Brown v. Valverde that motions filed pursuant to California Evidence Code section 1043 et seq. and Pitchess v. Superior Court (Pitchess motions) to request peace officer personnel records are not available in administrative per se hearings conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on driver’s license suspensions.

Source Date: 
April 19, 2010

In an opinion published on April 16, 2010 the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District held that in cases in which a plaintiff has alleged that a dangerous condition of public property caused injury, the public entity defendant cannot rely on the absence of prior accident claims to prove that the public property did not pose a substantial risk of injury to the plaintiff.

Source Date: 
April 16, 2010

The State Aeronautics Act is not commonly the subject of land use lawsuits, but it was for the Sixth District Court of Appeal in the case of Watsonville Pilots Association v. City of Watsonville.

Source: 
American City and County
Source Date: 
April 14, 2010

Prosecutors use public nuisance actions to stop gang-related activities

Source Date: 
April 12, 2010

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ("Lab") is a special research facility which, though located primarily in the Berkeley hills on land owned by the Regents of the University of California, is financed by the federal government.

Source: 
The Recorder.
Source Date: 
April 6, 2010

California cities have struggled for decades to combat the gang-related crime and violence that destroy lives and neighborhoods. Despite those efforts, gangs remain a seemingly intractable problem.

Source Date: 
April 2, 2010

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that filing a Notice of Exemption triggers CEQA’s 35-day statute of limitations and that plaintiffs cannot avoid the limitations period by claiming defects in the underlying project approval process.

Source Date: 
March 29, 2010

General contractors on public works projects often assert close-out claims against the public entity at the end of projects. When this occurs, the method in which the general contractor can prove its damages on a claim is often the major issue.

Source Date: 
March 29, 2010

In International Society for Krishna v. City of Los Angeles the California Supreme Court ruled that the solicitation regulations at the Los Angeles International Airport ("LAX") are valid as reasonable time, place and manner restrictions under state law.

Source Date: 
March 26, 2010

In Melom v. City of Madera, the Fifth Appellate District revisited the issue of evaluation of the environmental impacts of “Supercenters” under CEQA addressed previously in Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1184 (Bakersfield Citizens) and held that there is nothing about the inherent nature of a supercenter that would require a lead agency to evaluate urban decay impacts.

Source Date: 
March 25, 2010

The Ninth Circuit has held that the donning and doffing of uniforms and accompanying safety gear by police officers is not compensable work under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if officers may don and doff at home.

Source Date: 
March 24, 2010

In September 2009, the Ninth Circuit, in a split decision authored by Judge Bybee, departed from established takings jurisprudence to find that the vacancy control provision of a rent control ordinance for mobile home parks in the City of Goleta caused a taking for which just compensation must be paid, despite the fact that the ordinance clearly did not interfere with the property owner's reasonable investment-backed expectations for the property.

Source Date: 
March 22, 2010

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave announces that Stephen L. Taber has joined the firm as the newest member of its growing Public Finance Practice Group.

Source Date: 
March 17, 2010

In Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s decision and held that analyzing the “worst case” emission impacts of a new refinery project against the existing facility’s maximum permitted emission levels was inconsistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, §§ 21000, et seq. “CEQA”).

Source Date: 
February 25, 2010

On February 24, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court came to a decision that will have long-lasting implications on police policy with respect to Miranda warnings.

Source: 
Cal Law
Source Date: 
February 22, 2010

Recent legal developments have provided some guidance on the difficult question of how to analyze the environmental impacts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for land use projects under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Source Date: 
February 12, 2010

Yesterday, in Committee for Green Foothills v. County of Santa Clara, the California Supreme Court considered the question, if a notice of determination ("NOD") has been filed, but an action alleges that no environmental review was undertaken, which statute of limitations applies: (1) the general 30-day limit on challenges following a notice, or (2) the longer 180-day period provided for a case alleging that no environmental determination was made (§ 21167, subd. (a)).

Source Date: 
February 9, 2010

The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the California Department of Forestry (CDF) improperly approved an exemption for harvesting less than three acres of timber where previous timber harvesting plans included mitigation measures prohibiting tree-cutting in the proposed area.

Source Date: 
February 8, 2010

On January 27, 2010 the Court of Appeal filed its decision in Los Angeles Unified School District v. County of Los Angeles et al., in which the Court analyzed the overlap between the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (“ERAF”) legislation in the Revenue and Taxation Code and the pass-through legislation applicable to redevelopment agencies found in the Health and Safety Code.

Source Date: 
February 5, 2010

Meyers Nave is proud to be a founding member of the Guardians of Justice Campaign. Along with other law firms in Alameda County, we support the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (VLSC), an arm of the Alameda County Bar Association, to bridge the justice gap in our community.

Source Date: 
February 5, 2010

The proponents of “The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010,” which would legalize marijuana for personal use by those twenty-one years of age or older, reportedly submitted over 700,000 signatures to the Secretary of State on January 28, 2010, in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2010 ballot (“Initiative”).

Source Date: 
February 3, 2010

In VIP of Berlin, LLC v. Town of Berlin, __ F.3d __, 2010 WL 252292 (2nd Cir. Jan. 2010), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling and rejected an as-applied vagueness challenge to a Town of Berlin's ordinance and in so doing, presented an excellent discussion of the vagueness doctrine and its application to the construction of the term "substantial".

Source Date: 
January 29, 2010

In Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach, the Second District Court of Appeal (Los Angeles) has held that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) required the City of Manhattan Beach to prepare a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) before approving an ordinance to ban stores and other retail outlets from distributing plastic bags.

Source Date: 
January 25, 2010

On January 21, 2010, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in People v. Kelly (S164830), which essentially eliminates the limitations on the quantity of medical marijuana that a qualified patient or primary caregiver may legally possess or cultivate.

Source Date: 
January 15, 2010

It has long been established that a petitioner challenging a local agency’s compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) must “request” a court hearing within 90 days of filing the petition, or face mandatory dismissal. A new case, County of Sacramento v. Superior Court (Forster-Gill, Inc.) clarifies that the request for a hearing must be filed in writing, and that an oral request will not suffice to avoid dismissal.

Source Date: 
January 14, 2010

The Court of Appeal has published its December opinion in JSM Rivara, LLC v. the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles (JSM Rivara, LLC v. CRA/LA).

Source Date: 
January 13, 2010

The California Supreme Court has clarified that a local agency’s decision to deny renewal of a private party’s existing, time-limited land use permit is not a “project” to which the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) applies.

Source Date: 
December 23, 2009

In September 2007, the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) after much public debate adopted comprehensive design guidelines for redevelopment in the North Hollywood Project.

Source: 
Westlaw; Court of Appeal, Second District
Source Date: 
December 17, 2009

Final Decision in PR/JSM Rivara v. Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles(2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 1475. [Redevelopment, density bonus, CEQA]

Please click here to read the entire final decision by the Second District Court of Appeal.

Source Date: 
December 15, 2009

Oakland, CA – Thanks in part to a brief written by Meyers Nave attorneys Joseph Quinn and Nancy Thorington, the U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear City of Ontario v. Quon.

Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Source Date: 
December 11, 2009

The city of Oakland is expected to pay $1.75 million in legal fees and will offer vacation time and money to police officers who claimed in a lawsuit that they had been underpaid for working extra hours and for the time they spent putting on their uniforms, attorneys said Thursday.

Source: 
Mountain Democrat
Source Date: 
December 10, 2009

El Dorado County Water Agency Board of Directors voted to terminate its general manager, Bill Hetland, in a closed session on December 9, 2009.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
December 7, 2009

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, California has enacted significant reforms to protect property owners. This article explores these new protections while still providing cities and redevelopment agencies with eminent domain to revitalize deteriorated and blighted areas.

December 3, 2009, by Meyers Nave

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 2009 WL 39250233 (9th Cir. 2009) reaffirms the Court’s acceptance that speaker-based and event-based exemptions to municipal sign codes may be a content-neutral regulation. Cities may confidently consider speaker-based and event-based exemptions to sign regulations but should take extreme care in drafting well tailored language.

Source Date: 
December 3, 2009

On December 2, the First Appellate District issued an important decision in Schellinger Brothers v. City of Sebastopol rejecting a developer’s ability to challenge a lead agency’s decision to continue processing an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), even after the expiration of the one-year period for certification of an EIR set forth in CEQA section 21151.5.

Source Date: 
December 1, 2009

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 2009 WL 39250233 (9th Cir. 2009) reaffirms the Court’s acceptance that speaker-based and event-based exemptions to municipal sign codes may be a content neutral regulation.

Source: 
Tracy Press
Source Date: 
November 25, 2009

Art Hartinger successfully defended the City of Tracy against a wrongful termination suit brought by Tracy's former head of personnel, Kathy McFall.

Source Date: 
November 23, 2009

Following a decision by the California Supreme Court to not review or depublish the appellate court decision in Palmer/Sixth Street Properties v. City of Los Angeles, cities and counties should evaluate their inclusionary housing ordinances with respect to rental properties.

Source Date: 
November 16, 2009

With the California High Speed Rail Authority (the Authority) moving forward with efforts to bring high speed rail (HSR) service to California, local agencies should be aware that they may be required to consider the HSR project in analyses of the environmental impacts of their local projects.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
November 13, 2009

Despite the state of the economy and the real estate markets, cities can benefit by getting their stalled redevelopment projects back on track. This article discusses how cities can revive their projects and the benefits of doing so.

Source Date: 
November 4, 2009

Regulations for the analysis of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) have been finalized and are moving towards adoption. The final amendments to the State CEQA Guidelines have been released and are out for public comment until November 10, 2009.

Source Date: 
October 29, 2009

A recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California may re-energize plaintiffs who hope to recover contamination clean-up costs from public agency sewer system owners.

Source: 
PoliceOne.com
Source Date: 
October 14, 2009

After a rapid-transit officer kicked up a public dirt storm by shooting an unarmed passenger during a platform melee in the San Francisco Bay Area last New Year’s, the California law firm of Meyers Nave was hired to conduct a wholesale “best practices” review of his agency’s operational policies and general orders.

Source Date: 
October 7, 2009

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

Source Date: 
October 2, 2009

Two recent cases have provided public agencies with important guidance concerning the selection and evaluation of alternatives in Environmental Impact Report ("EIR"s) prepared under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), as well as on other important issues.

Source Date: 
October 1, 2009

In its split decision in Guggenheim v. City of Goleta , 2009 WL 3068152 (C.A.9 (Cal.)), the Ninth Circuit departed from established takings jurisprudence to find that the vacancy control provision of a rent control ordinance for mobile home parks caused a taking for which just compensation must be paid, despite the fact that the ordinance did not interfere with the property owner's reasonable investment-backed expectations for the property.

Source Date: 
September 28, 2009

Meyers Nave congratulates Dawn McIntosh for receiving the Phoenix Award at the fall meeting of the ABA's Section on Environment, Energy and Resources held in Baltimore.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
September 23, 2009

San Francisco - The California Supreme Court is considering reviewing a question posed by the San Francisco Public Defender's Office: Can James J. McBride, presiding judge of the San Francisco County Superior Court, limit to two the number of judges authorized to accept pretrial pleas and, if so, must this "new policy" be put in writing?

Source: 
Legal Pad, a Cal Law Blog
Source Date: 
September 21, 2009

In a reply brief filed today with the state Supreme Court, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office portrayed Presiding Judge James McBride of the San Francisco court as a power-tripping judge overstepping his station by enforcing a policy that permits only two particular judges could approve a plea deal.

Source: 
Contra Costa Times
Source Date: 
September 21, 2009

Pittsburg - Don't let the empty, unfinished building along Railroad Avenue fool you. There is plenty of activity going on related to the Vidrio downtown project -- only it is occurring in court.

Source Date: 
September 18, 2009

On September 16, the California Energy Commission (CEC) released long-awaited guidance on grant allocations for small cities and counties, defined as those cities with a population of less than 35,000 and those counties with a population of less than 200,000, under the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, one of the DOE’s stimulus act (the American Reinvestment and Recover Act, or "ARRA") programs.

Source Date: 
September 17, 2009

In a significant published CEQA and land use decision, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, rejected a developer’s challenge to the City of Los Angeles’ decision to reject the annexation and approval of a large development project without completing CEQA review.

Source: 
PoliceOne.Com
Source Date: 
September 2, 2009

A drunken woman is arrested during a sidewalk melee. Sobered up, she claims the cops broke her ribs, committed assault and battery on her, and violated her civil rights by using excessive force. She sues for $1,000,000.

Source: 
Contra Costa Times, MercuryNews.com
Source Date: 
August 26, 2009

San Ramon — Facing anger from taxpayers upset over pension benefits, trustees of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District have agreed to create a committee to review its pension policies.

Source: 
Energy Committees Newsletter, American Bar Association
Source Date: 
August 20, 2009

This article explores the impacts that regulations and goals encompassed in AB 32 and the California Air Resources Board's Scoping Plan could have on the continued exploration and production of domestic oil.

Source Date: 
August 11, 2009

The Ninth Circuit’s June 2009 en banc decision in Berger v. City of Seattle, 569 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2009) found some of the City of Seattle’s regulations pertaining to street performers and others engaged in expressive conduct to be unconstitutional, including some that it had previously concluded, in 2008, to have passed constitutional muster.

Source Date: 
August 10, 2009

As anticipated, the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) is proceeding with the establishment of a pooled financing program (the "Proposition 1A Securitization Program") for the securitization of State reimbursement obligations to local agencies (cities, counties and special districts) from whom property tax revenues are being "borrowed" by the State as part of it's 2009-2010 budget package.

Source Date: 
July 21, 2009

Oakland, CA – Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court properly dismissed two former police officers’ claims that the City of Pittsburg and supervising police officials violated their First Amendment rights after the former officers reported and participated in investigations of various instances of alleged corruption within City departments.

Source Date: 
July 16, 2009

In response to the economic downturn, the Legislature adopted Assembly Bill (AB) 333, which extends the lives of approved tentative subdivision maps by two years.

Source Date: 
July 15, 2009

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that seven of the firm’s attorneys have been named to the 2009 list of California’s Super Lawyers, a designation that the Super Lawyers organization uses to denote a “high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.”

Source: 
Urban Lawyer
Source Date: 
July 15, 2009

Driven by local government regulations, green building for civic, residential and commercial projects has been sweeping the country, and especially California. This article discusses the potential impacts of economic factors and federal laws on the green building industry.

Source Date: 
July 14, 2009

Orange County, CA – Meyers Nave law firm announced recently that partner Art Hartinger, chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Group, successfully defended Orange County (the “County”) against a federal lawsuit brought by the Retired Employees Association of Orange County (“REAOC”) stemming from changes to how rates are set for retiree health care benefits.

Source Date: 
June 30, 2009

Oakland, CA – The City of Union City has named Meyers Nave principal Benjamin Reyes as Assistant City Attorney.

Source Date: 
June 29, 2009

Many public agencies are considering the adoption of greenhouse gas reduction measures and plans. These plans help agencies comply with developing legal requirements. They also benefit agencies by retaining local control, reducing legal risk, and saving energy and other costs. There are several resources that provide guidance, technical assistance and funding for the development of these plans.

Source Date: 
June 26, 2009

The United States Supreme Court ruled yesterday in Safford Unified School District #1, et al. v. Redding that a school official's search of a thirteen-year-old student's bra and underpants violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.

Source Date: 
June 22, 2009

Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson LLP announced recently that partner Kim Colwell and associate Kevin Gilbert secured a complete defense verdict in their representation of two City of Modesto police officers against charges of assault and battery and use of excessive force while arresting plaintiff Margaret Shepherd during a bar-room brawl at the Copper Rhino Saloon in Modesto, California.

Source Date: 
June 4, 2009

Vargas v. City of Salinas, --- Cal.Rptr.3d ---, 2009 WL 1035257 (Cal. April 20, 2009) The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Vargas v. City of Salinas reaffirms the Court’s holding in Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, and maintains existing limitations on the expenditure of public funds for materials and activities related to ballot measures.

Source Date: 
June 1, 2009

The Ninth Circuit convened in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday, June 1, 2009 to hear two appeals involving “donning and doffing” cases brought by public safety personnel. Meyers Nave wrote the briefs for the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties, and attended oral argument.

Source Date: 
May 15, 2009

In this latest installment of our Maximizing Your Stimulus e-Alert series, we summarize HUD’s recently issued NOFA for additional Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding appropriated through the ARRA. The NSP was established to assist communities suffering from foreclosures and property abandonment.

Source Date: 
May 15, 2009

In this latest installment of our Maximizing Your Stimulus e-Alert series, we summarize HUD’s recently issued NOFA for additional Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding appropriated through the ARRA. The NSP was established to assist communities suffering from foreclosures and property abandonment.

Source Date: 
May 13, 2009

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.

Source Date: 
May 13, 2009

The United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, administered under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides grants to fund projects that reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and that improve energy efficiency. The deadline for units of local governments and tribal applicants to apply for these grants is June 25, 2009.

Source Date: 
May 12, 2009

The California Court of Appeal recently held that on projects wholly financed by local funds, charter cities need not comply with California's Prevailing Wage Law.

There are unique requirements associated with ARRA funding, which require some planning and coordination in the early stages of many initiatives and projects.

Source Date: 
May 3, 2009

On April 24, 2009, the First Appellate District ruled in Sonoma County v. Superior Court (Sonoma County Law Enforcement Association) that SB440, a labor negotiations interest arbitration statute applicable to public safety unions, violated both Article XI, Section 1(b) and Article XI, Section 11(a) of the California Constitution.

Source Date: 
April 30, 2009

Senate Bill 97 directed the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to develop regulations for the analysis and mitigation of greenhouse gases under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). OPR has issued a final draft of these regulations as amendments to the CEQA Guidelines.

Source Date: 
April 29, 2009

California may receive as much as $80 billion in federal stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The act sets a goal of allocating 50 percent of funds to projects that can be initiated by approximately mid-June 2009.

On January 22, 2009, David Cunningham, a partner in our Los Angeles office, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. David will be sworn in on April 15, 2009.

Source Date: 
March 25, 2009

Recent statements made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggest a shift in the federal government's position on the prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries and their operators.

Source Date: 
March 20, 2009

On March 18, 2009, the California Court of Appeal held that the City of Richmond's decision to lay off its firefighters was not subject to collective bargaining, but that the effects of that layoff decision, such as the workload and safety of remaining employees, were subject to the meet and confer requirements of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA).

Source Date: 
March 6, 2009

Oakland, CA– Meyers Nave is pleased to welcome three new attorneys to the firm: Samuel Sperry, Camille Hamilton Pating, and Robert Orozco.

Source Date: 
March 5, 2009

Building Industry Association of Central California v. City of Patterson holds that affordable housing in lieu fees must be “reasonably related” to the “deleterious impact” caused by new housing.

Source Date: 
February 26, 2009

On February 13, 2009, a federal jury in the Southern District of California unanimously decided that the time that eight San Diego police officers spent performing tasks prior to their shifts was not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Source Date: 
February 12, 2009

The Fourth District Court of Appeal ("Court") recently set aside a water supply agreement between a water district and a developer because the agreement improperly committed the water district to a definite course of action without adequate review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the case Riverwatch et. at. v. Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

Source: 
BART Press Release
Source Date: 
February 11, 2009

Oakland, CA – BART announced today that it has turned over its internal affairs investigation to the Oakland-based law firm of Meyers Nave.

Source Date: 
February 11, 2009

The Third Appellate District Court of California held in the case California Native Plant Society v. County of El Dorado, that the payment of a rare plant impact in lieu fee, which was not reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), does not presumptively establish that the environmental impacts to rare plants for all projects are fully mitigated such that a developer is entitled to a mitigated negative declaration.

Source Date: 
February 11, 2009

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that an agency attorney prosecuting a matter before the agency's decision making body may also serve as advice counsel to the decision making body in unrelated matters. The ruling represents a victory for all public agencies that maintain adjudicative processes to resolve disputes.

Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Source Date: 
February 5, 2009

Oakland - An arbitrator has upheld the firing of two Oakland police officers who were part of the "Riders" scandal, city officials said today.

Source Date: 
February 4, 2009

Oakland, CA – City Attorney John Russo today announced the settlement of an 8-year legal battle with two former City of Oakland police officers who were fired for insubordination and multiple acts of police misconduct.

Source Date: 
February 2, 2009

Opinion and Award Regarding Insubordination in the Matter of Arbitration between Oakland Police Officers Association and City of Oakland - Grievants: C. Mabanag and J. Siapno.

Source Date: 
January 29, 2009

San Francisco, CA – Late Wednesday, the San Francisco-based First District Court of Appeal ruled that state law allows trial courts to consider the overall equities when deciding attorney's fees awards in civil rights suits.

Source Date: 
January 28, 2009

The U.S. Supreme Court's January 21 decision in Pearson v. Callahan will affect public officials' use of the "qualified immunity" defense in claims of civil rights violations (Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. ____ (2009) (Slip Op. 07-751, January 21, 2009).

Source Date: 
January 26, 2009

Los Angeles, CA – Meyers Nave is pleased to congratulate principal David S. Cunningham III on his appointment by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Source Date: 
January 14, 2009

Santa Fe Springs, CA – On January 9, 2009, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles issued an opinion affirming in full a Los Angeles Superior Court judgment requiring a local strip club to stop violating the City of Santa Fe Spring’s adult entertainment business regulations and zoning restrictions.

Source Date: 
January 6, 2009

San Leandro, CA – On December 22, the federal district court in San Francisco issued a long-awaited decision in litigation filed by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel against the City of San Leandro.

Source Date: 
December 15, 2008

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave has successfully defended a lawsuit against the City of Cotati brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation ("PLF") on behalf of a private landowner, Michael Mead.

Source Date: 
December 12, 2008

Effective January 1, 2009, cities and counties must collect, on behalf of the California Building Standards Commission ("Commission"), a fee from building permit applicants based on building valuation to fund development of statewide building standards.

Source Date: 
December 9, 2008

Oakland, CA– Meyers Nave is pleased to name its three newest principals: Tim Cremin, Tricia Hynes, and Ruben Duran.

Source Date: 
November 21, 2008

Amicus Brief by Arthur Hartinger, attorney for Amici Curiae League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association in support of City of Mesa in re: Bamonte et al v. City of Mesa.

Source Date: 
November 10, 2008

In a decision relevant to redevelopment agencies and other public entities involved in the disposition of land for development, last week the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that addresses when public agencies are permitted to approve development and financing agreements that are contingent upon subsequent CEQA review.

Source Date: 
October 23, 2008

On October 15, 2008, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its Proposed Scoping Document outlining CARB's strategies for meeting the 2020 statewide greenhouse reductions goals mandated by AB 32.

Source Date: 
October 14, 2008

Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 731 (Oropeza) which provides for voluntary statewide certification of massage therapists and massage practitioners by the Massage Therapy Organization ("MTO"), a new nonprofit organization comprised of representatives selected from various agencies.

Source Date: 
October 17, 2008

On September 26, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 642. AB 642 expands existing design-build authority of public agencies by adding Public Contract Code Section 20175.2, authorizing all cities to use the design-build method for the construction of buildings for projects exceeding $1 million, and Public Contract Code Sections 20193-20195, authorizing all cities, counties, cities and counties, and special districts to use design-build contracting to construct local wastewater treatment, solid waste, or water recycling facilities exceeding $2.5 million.

Source Date: 
October 2, 2008

Assembly Bill 32 requires reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California to 1990 levels no later than 2020. Since the transportation sector contributes over 40% of California's GHG emissions, SB 375 seeks to reduce GHGs from vehicle trips by changing growth patterns in a way that reduces overall driving.

Source Date: 
October 2, 2008

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed SB 375, a sweeping change in land use, housing and environmental law.  The law aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by discouraging sprawl development and dependence on car travel.

Source Date: 
September 22, 2008

Oakland, CA On September 18th in Marin County Superior Court, an $8.3 million jury verdict was awarded in favor of the City of Larkspur, CA and against national engineering firm Jacobs Engineering Group with respect to fraudulently concealing defective design work on a bridge retrofit program.

Source Date: 
September 17, 2008

Sprint Telephony PCS, L.P. v. County of San Diego, --- F.3d ---, 2008 WL 4166657 (9th Cir. Sept. 11, 2008) The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (U.S.C. Titles 15, 18 and 47) ("the Act") was enacted by Congress with the intent of lowering prices and improving the quality of service for the public by promoting competition and reducing regulation within the industry.

Source Date: 
August 4, 2008

San Francisco, CA– Moira O’Neill has joined Meyers Nave as an associate in their Writs and Appeals Practice Group.

Source Date: 
August 4, 2008

On July 30, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (the "Act"). This comprehensive bill includes the most far-reaching housing finance reform legislation of the past several decades.

Source Date: 
July 29, 2008

Due to recent legislation, legal owners of vacant residential property purchased at a foreclosure sale, or acquired through foreclosure under a mortgage or deed of trust, must maintain the residential property or face civil fines of up to $1,000 a day.

Source Date: 
July 1, 2008

Effective July 1, 2008, the Ralph M. Brown Act ("Brown Act"), imposes additional requirements on local agencies concerning regular meeting agendas and documents prepared by the agency for regular meetings. (See Government Code Section 54957.5.)

Source Date: 
June 20, 2008

State law requires the Office of Planning and Research ("OPR") to develop new CEQA Guidelines for the analysis and mitigation of Greenhouse Gas ("GHG") emissions in CEQA documents on or before January 1, 2010. On June 19, OPR, in consultation with the Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board ("ARB"), released interim guidance in the form of a Technical Advisory on GHG analysis in CEQA documents.

Source Date: 
June 13, 2008

Oakland, CA–The Snows of Kilimanjaro that Ernest Hemmingway wrote about may disappear in the next ten years thanks to the impact of global warming, according to Steven R. Meyers, founder of Meyers Nave and avid outdoorsman.

Source Date: 
June 9, 2008

Oakland, CA –  Meyers Nave Public Power and Telecom group principals Benjamin T. Reyes II and Michael F. Dean recently negotiated a $500 million “green” power purchase agreement between Western GeoPower and the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA).

Source Date: 
May 22, 2008

Oakland, CA – The cities of Cotati, El Cerrito, and Galt have named Meyers Nave attorneys as their city attorneys.

Source Date: 
April 16, 2008

Los Angeles, CA– Meyers Nave attorneys Deborah Fox and Phil Seymour in the case of Andrew J. Eliopulos v. The City of Palmdale recovered, and successfully defended on appeal, the payment to the City of over $100,000 in attorneys fees by a developer who had sued Palmdale under a development agreement.

Source Date: 
April 16, 2008

Santa Rosa, CA –The City of Cotati has named Meyers Nave principal Richard Rudnansky as City Attorney and Meyers Nave attorney Elizabeth Pianca as Assistant City Attorney.

Source: 
Sonoma County Superior Court
Source Date: 
April 2, 2008

Honorable Elaine Rushing of the Sonoma County Superior Court issues a final decision upholding the Tentative Decision of February 26, 2008 in re: Concerned Citizens of Santa Rosa Against Redevelopment Law Abuse, Inc., a California Non-Profit Corporation v. City of Santa Rosa and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Rosa.

Source Date: 
February 26, 2008

On February 19, 2008, Attorney General Brown sent letters to all 58 counties and over 200 cities announcing five workshops statewide in which the AG will discuss the interplay between CEQA and Global Warming impacts.

Source Date: 
February 25, 2008

This Memorandum describes recent changes in Community Redevelopment Law and summarizes redevelopment agency reporting requirements.

Source Date: 
February 19, 2008

Oakland, CA – Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that Claudia J. Gorham, an attorney in the firm’s Oakland office and member of the firm’s Eminent Domain Practice Group, has been named a principal.

Source Date: 
February 19, 2008

Los Angeles, CA - Meyers Nave is pleased to announce that James ("Jamie") Casso an attorney in the firm's Los Angeles office and member of the firm's Public Law Practice Group has been named a principal.

Source Date: 
January 29, 2008

On February 6, 2008, the Second District Court of Appeal in Douda v. California Coastal Commission 2008 SOS 936 ruled that an "issuing agency," whether it be the California Coastal Commission or a local government, can unilaterally designate "environmentally sensitive habitat areas" (“ESHA”) prior to the certification of a local coastal program (“LCP”).

Source: 
Redevelopment Magazine
Source Date: 
January 1, 2008

In this article, Meyers Nave redevelopment, real estate, and affordable housing attorney, Sue Bloch, discusses affordable housing as it pertains to motel conversion.

Source Date: 
December 6, 2007

Los Angeles, CA – The Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles today ruled in favor of the City of Santa Fe Springs in a matter involving an adult live entertainment club operating in the wrong zone.

Source Date: 
November 1, 2007

Prentice v. Board of Administration, PERS, Case No. D049252, 4th Dist., Dec. 7, 2007. Glenn Prentice was the General Manager of the City of Corona's newly created Department of Water and Power. He was paid 10.49% higher than the range listed in the City's salary plan for his position because he was responsible for developing the city's new electric utility. After he retired, the City stopped paying the General Manager of the Department of Water and Power the additional 10.49% pay.

Source Date: 
October 27, 2007

Scottish Rite Cathedral Assn. of Los Angeles v. City of Los Angeles (2007) 2007 WL 2973362. A recent appellate decision held that Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) did not protect commercial activities conducted by the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association of Los Angeles (SRCALA) and its lessee, Los Angeles Scottish Rite Center, LLC (LASRC).

Source Date: 
October 25, 2007

Oakland, CA – Former Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Peter Spinetta prevailed in having a restraining order upheld against Concord lawyer James Disney.

Source Date: 
September 24, 2007

Los Angeles, CA -The Water Replenishment District (WRD) of Southern California has selected Meyers Nave to serve as legal counsel.

Source Date: 
July 10, 2007

In National Association of Homebuilders v. Defenders of Wildlife, ___ U.S. ___, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed an apparent conflict between mandatory provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Source Date: 
June 11, 2007

Hernandez v. City of Hanford (2007) Cal.Rptr.3d., 2007 WL 1629830. In Hernandez v. City of Hanford , the California Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's decision, and held that the City of Hanford's zoning ordinance prohibiting furniture sales in the City's Planned Commercial (PC) district, with a limited exception for large department stores, did not violate the State or Federal Equal Protection Clause.

Source Date: 
May 18, 2007

On Wednesday, May 16th, the California Supreme Court granted a petition for review of an appellate decision that could have important implications for California public entities that rely on contingent agreements with developers as a vehicle to pave the way for future development and redevelopment activities.

Source Date: 
May 15, 2007

Court of Appeal (6th District) Case No. H029345, Supreme Court Case No. S150402. On May 9, 2007, the California Supreme Court granted review of Spielbauer v. County of Santa Clara, a decision that declined to follow previous cases holding that a public employer can require its employees to waive their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in administrative investigations in exchange for immunizing those statements from use in a criminal proceeding.

Source Date: 
May 10, 2007

Oakland, CA - 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.

Source Date: 
April 3, 2007

In a 5-4 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to promulgate regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide from vehicles.

Source Date: 
April 2, 2007

Oakland, CA - Meyers Nave announces the opening of its new San Francisco office located at 575 Market Street, Suite 2600.

Source Date: 
March 22, 2007

Oakland, CA- The City of Desert Hot Springs has shut down an illegally-operating medical marijuana dispensary.

Source Date: 
March 19, 2007

Oakland, CA - Meyers Nave principal Deborah Fox successfully defends County of Los Angeles land use regulation in a recent unanimous decision by the California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District.

Source: 
Westlaw; United States District Court, N.D. Cal.
Source Date: 
March 8, 2007

Order granting defendants' motion for judgement as a matter of law: Unreasonable limitation and First Amendment claims.  Attorneys Peter Hayes, Steven Mattas, David Skinner, et al represented the County of Alameda in this complex case involving the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA").

Source Date: 
March 6, 2007

Flippin v. Los Angeles City Board of Civil Service Commissioners. This case provides insight into who can serve as the hearing officer at a pre-disciplinary Skelly hearing.

Source Date: 
February 26, 2007

Oakland, CA - Meyers Nave has announced that it will no longer represent the City of Oakley as contract City Attorney once the City Council has retained its first in-house city attorney.

Source Date: 
February 5, 2007

Vineyard Area Citizens v. City of Rancho Cordova, California Supreme Court Case No. S132972 (February 1, 2007). The California Supreme Court held an EIR failed to adequately analyze the impacts of a long-term water supply for a long-range plan to develop 6,000 acres with approximately 22,000 residential units.

Source Date: 
January 3, 2007

In a decision upholding the discretion of the newly incorporated City of Goleta to deny a "final" subdivision map that complied with a "tentative" map which was previously approved by the County out of which the City was formed, the California Supreme Court has emphasized the difficulty of holding local agencies to be "estopped," on grounds of alleged unfairness, from acting in compliance with their laws.

Source: 
Daily Journal
Source Date: 
November 2, 2006

San Francisco - Minority female attorneys nationwide said they face exclusion from informal networks, inadequate institutional support and challenges to their credibility and authority, according to a new national study released by the American Bar Association.

Source Date: 
October 3, 2006

Superior Court Judge Melinda Reed Refuses to Order the County to Arbitration to Resolve a Bargaining Impasse between the County and its Deputy Sheriffs Association.

Source Date: 
September 20, 2006

Oakland, CA (PRWEB) - Meyers Nave, the largest public agency law firm in California, announces the launch of The Public Blawg; a new blog focused on California public agency law public law news.

Source Date: 
September 1, 2006

In Ailanto Properties, Inc. v. City of Half Moon Bay, the First Appellate District clarified two issues of longstanding ambiguity under the Subdivision Map Act, Government Code section 66410 et seq.

Source Date: 
September 1, 2006

California Supreme Court Decision in Claremont Police Officers Association v. City of Claremont (06 C.D.O.S. 7440, Slip op. Aug. 15, 2006). Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court filed its decision in the Claremont case, a case in which Meyers Nave filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the League of California Cities. The case concerned the scope of an agency's meet and confer obligations under the MMBA.

Source Date: 
August 23, 2006

The California Supreme Court has been faced with numerous controversies regarding the nature of relationships between employers and their current or former employees. As early as 1889, the Supreme Court was presented with a question regarding the meaning of an employment relationship that was defined by an employer and employee as being "permanent." Lord v. Goldberg, 81 Cal. 596 (1889). In response to that question, the court held that defining an employment relationship as permanent "was not intended to be for life, or for any fixed or certain period."

Source Date: 
July 5, 2006

Meyers Nave is pleased to announce a substantial victory in a case that affects all public entities that receive property tax revenues, particularly redevelopment agencies that depend on property tax increment revenue to fund their operations.

Source Date: 
June 27, 2006

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway v. White (June 22, 2006). This case provides insight into the types of "actions" which support a retaliation claim under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act.

Source Date: 
June 27, 2006

In Michaelis, Montanari & Johnson v. Superior Court (June 22, 2006) Supreme Court No. S133464, the California Supreme Court considered when competitive proposals submitted to a public agency in response to a Request for Proposals ("RFP") for a public contract or lease must be disclosed under the Public Records Act, Government Code section 6250 et seq. (the "Act").

Source Date: 
June 23, 2006

In Rapanos v. United States, and its companion case, Carabell v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, consolidated at 547 U.S. (2006), the Supreme Court once again examined the reach of the Army Corps of Engineer's jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to regulate "waters of the United States."

Source Date: 
January 19, 2006

Oakland, CA - Referring to the need to promote the redevelopment and cleanup efforts of Brownfields sites, California Environmental Protection Agency's Acting Director Leonard Robinson announced the signing of California's first agreement under the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 (CLRRA), negotiated by Meyers Nave attorney, Leah Goldberg.

Source Date: 
January 1, 2006

Oakland, CA - Meyers Nave, a leading California public law firm, is pleased to announce three new principals: John Bakker, Eric Danly and Amrit Kulkarni.

Source: 
California Supreme Court
Source Date: 
June 9, 2005

Peter Hayes, Amrit Kulkarni, et al for amicus curiae League of California Cities, wrote this Amicus Brief in re: City of Goleta v. Oly Chadmar Sandpiper General Partnership.

Source: 
American City and County
Source Date: 
April 1, 2005

This article published in American City and County provides important tips to help local governments purchase software and other technology with confidence and peace of mind.

Source: 
Westlaw; United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Source Date: 
January 26, 2005

Deborah Fox represented the City of Habra in this case which now serves as the touchstone by which operating standards of adult entertainment clubs are judged in the Ninth Circuit and throughout the country. 

Source: 
Westlaw; United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Source Date: 
August 23, 2000

Deborah Fox wrote the amicus brief on behalf of 108 cities in support of Long Beach's ordinance and addressing reasonable range of sites, amortization provision and equal protection issues.

Source: 
Westlaw
Source Date: 
November 30, 1998

Deborah Fox was an attorney for Tily B. v. City of Newport Beach, which decided the degree of regulation the City of Newport Beach had in the operation of adult establishments.

Source: 
Westlaw
Source Date: 
October 20, 1995

The owner of an adult caberet challenged the city's denial to an application for a conditional use permit. The District Court declared the denial unconstitutional.

Source: 
Westlaw; United States District Court
Source Date: 
October 6, 1994

A Pasadena bar owner sought to enjoin the city from enforcing its adult business zoning ordinances. Plaintiff's application was denied by the District Court.

Source: 
Westlaw; United States District Court
Source Date: 
September 7, 1994

The operator of an adult-themed store brought action against the City of Mesquite and its officials, with the claims that its zoning ordinances were unconstitutional and that the city officials accrued damage to the business establishment. The District Court approved the individual officials' motion for partial summary judgment.

Source: 
Westlaw
Source Date: 
September 4, 1993

Deborah Fox successfully defended the Public Records Act against a local newspaper columnist's challenge of requesting Councilmembers' cellular telephone bills.