Client Alerts

The California state legislature and courts as well as local governments are continuously changing the legal landscape.  Staying abreast of new laws, regulations and other legal developments, and analyzing their impact on local governments is what makes our attorneys some of the best in the state. In addition, we write timely alerts to keep our clients informed of developing legal news and analysis.

Client e-Alerts are emailed to our clients, and they can also be viewed on our website.  If you are interested in receiving our Client Alerts via email, please complete the subscription information in the left column.
Some of our most recent alerts are presented below grouped by their practice area. Older alerts are available in the Archives, which can be accessed via the links in the left column.

California Public Records Act

Court Holding: Even Accidental Disclosure Under CPRA Waives Privileges

December 15, 2014, Meyers Nave, Nicholaus W. Norvell, Ruthann G. Ziegler

A California appellate court has recently held that disclosure of a document under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA,” Government Code §§ 6254 et seq.) waives any privileges attached to the document, even if the disclosure was accidental or by a “low-level” employee not authorized to waive privileges.  (Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (Dec. 10, 2014, B252476).) 

Environmental Law

New State Water Resources Control Board Petition Regulations

January 6, 2015, Sarah N. Quiter

The indefinite wait to challenge a California Regional Water Quality Control Board’s action or failure to act has come to an end.  New regulations became effective on January 1 that, for the first time, place time limits on the State Water Resources Control Board to grant review of or dismiss administrative petitions filed pursuant to Water Code section 13320.  Previously, the State Board had unlimited time to determine whether a petition warranted further review of the Regional Board’s action or inaction or whether the petition should be dismissed.&nbsp

First Amendment

Second District Confirms That Anti-SLAPP Statute Protects Private Support for Major Public Projects And Institutions

January 16, 2015, Julia Bond, Amrit S. Kulkarni, Shiraz Tangri

The Second District published today its December 22, 2014 decision in Save Westwood Village v. Meyer Luskin, applying the anti-SLAPP statute to protect significant charitable donations to public institutions and projects from baseless claims.  The Court of Appeal confirmed that written and financial support from private donors for a new University of California facility is expression protected by the constitutional right of free speech.  In addition, the Court rejected arguments that the claim against the private donors was exempt from the anti-SLAPP statute as a public interest lawsuit.

Appellate Court Affirms Right Of Privately Owned Shopping Center To Prohibit Solicitation In The Areas Adjacent To Store Entrances

January 14, 2015, Deborah J. Fox, Margaret Rosequist

The recent appellate court decision on January 6, 2015, in Donahue Schriber Realty Group, Inc. v. Nu Creation Outreach, et. al. highlights that in California a free speech analysis does not end with an analysis under the First Amendment.  Rather, the wider protections afforded under the California Constitution must also be considered. 

Labor and Employment

US Supreme Court Rejects Presumption that Memoranda of Understanding Create Vested Rights to Retiree Health Benefits

January 28, 2015, Linda Ross

In California, public employee unions and retirees have brought numerous lawsuits that claim Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between public employers and unions create vested rights to lifetime health care benefits for retired employees.

In a case with great significance for California employers, on January 26, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that clarified the rules to be used in determining whether MOUs give rise to vested rights.

Land Use

Court of Appeal Allows Sacramento Kings Arena To Move Forward

November 25, 2014, Shaye Diveley, Amrit S. Kulkarni

In a published decision (Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento), the Third District of the California Court of Appeal rejected both constitutional challenges to the special statute passed to streamline the City of Sacramento's CEQA review of the new Kings arena and the project opponents appeal of the trial court's denial of a preliminary injunction to halt the project.  This is the first appellate decision concerning the constitutionality of project-specific CEQA streamlining statutes, setting a valuable precedent for other projects.

Municipal and Special District Law

Proposition 26 Update: Court of Appeal Rules that Unsupported Electric Utility Transfers to General Funds Require Voter Approval

January 29, 2015, John D. Bakker

California's Constitution makes all local taxes subject to voter approval. Proposition 26 amended the provisions to declare that all levies imposed by a local government are taxes subject to voter approval unless the levies meet one of seven exceptions. In one of the first important appellate decisions under Proposition 26, the Third Appellate District Court of Appeal ruled that the City of Redding's practice of transferring a payment in-lieu of property tax (called a "PILOT") from its electric utility to the general fund is a tax.

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