Stephen Onstot has been practicing municipal law for over 20 years, focusing his practice on public agency litigation involving technical, novel and complex issues. He has served as lead counsel in over 10 civil and criminal trials and over 15 writ proceedings in both state and federal court as well as authored numerous appellate briefs.
Applying his education and experience as a chemical engineer, Mr. Onstot has developed special expertise in environmental, telecommunications, cable television, and tort issues. In addition, as a registered patent, copyright, and trademark attorney, Mr. Onstot is also uniquely qualified to handle intellectual property matters.
Mr. Onstot’s major cases include: completion of the 710 Freeway; the ability of a public entity to charge telecommunications companies rent for use of the public right of way; the scope of a city’s ability to acquire property outside of its incorporated area; recovery of a redevelopment agency’s cost to clean up contaminated property; valuation of environmentally impaired property for eminent domain and bankruptcy purposes; intellectual property rights of public employees; defense of initiatives and referendums; cell tower siting; and civil rights liability for handling 911 calls made from mobile phones.
Mr. Onstot graduated from the University of California, Davis in 1984 with degrees in Chemical Engineering and Political Science. In 1988 he graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and subsequently served as an adjunct faculty member for Oxnard, Bakersfield, Moorpark, and Fullerton Colleges. In 1990, Mr. Onstot authored and taught the California Department of Real Estate’s first certified continuing education course in environmental law for realtors: “Environmental Concerns In Real Estate Transactions.”
Mr. Onstot is admitted to the California State and U.S. Patent and Trademark Bar Associations and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern Districts of California and the District of Arizona as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.