Our public entity clients often become involved in various administrative hearings and civil litigation disputes, as both plaintiffs and defendants. This litigation encompasses the full range of a government’s responsibilities -- compliance with the Brown Act, Public Records Act and conflict of interest laws, civil rights litigation, tort litigation, land use disputes, CEQA litigation, code enforcement, construction contract disputes, employee discharge and discrimination issues, inverse condemnation and eminent domain matters, among others.
The Firm’s attorneys have both the experience and expertise in all aspects of federal and state civil, administrative, and code enforcement litigation practices and procedures to effectively, and successfully, represent public entities. We have represented public entity clients in administrative hearings, mediations, arbitrations, civil litigation and appeals involving all of the substantive areas of the law necessary to protect the interests of, and zealously defend, the communities we represent.
Because our public entity clients operate in a milieu where litigation is a “fact of life,” we are in a unique position to bring our litigation expertise to bear in prosecuting or defending the communities which we serve. A representative listing of litigation our attorneys have handled follows:
- Guggenheim v. City of Goleta, (2010) Ninth Circuit Case No, 06-56306. Our attorneys participated in a “landmark” litigation defending the authority of local municipalities to adopt and enforce rent stabilization laws. Acting as amicus counsel for the state-wide League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties, our attorneys defended the City of Goleta’s rent control ordinance and its largely-senior citizen mobilehome park residents. An 11 judge en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a vote of 8 to 3, agreed with the arguments made in our brief that park owners of existing rent controlled parks could not bring an after-acquired challenge to rent control laws as a “taking of property without just compensation.”
- City of Carson v. City of La Mirada, (2012) Second District Court of Appeal Case No. B235315. The appellate court affirmed an earlier ruling obtained by our attorneys on behalf of the City of Carson enforcing a judgment against the City of La Mirada and La Mirada Redevelopment Agency. The judgment resulted from still earlier litigation arising out of La Mirada Redevelopment Agency’s 2000 agreement with Corporate Express providing financial assistance to Corporate Express as an incentive for Corporate Express to abandon its facilities in the City of Carson and relocate to the City of La Mirada.
- Goldstone v. County of Santa Cruz, (2012) Sixth Appellate District Case No. H036273 . In another important appeal, our attorneys acted as amicus counsel in support of the County of Santa Cruz in persuading the Court to adopt an interpretation of state law advocated on behalf of the communities of Carson and Chino. The Santa Cruz court applauded our brief, commenting “[w]e have received and considered [a brief filed] by the cities of Carson and Chino. We appreciate the cogent analyses presented and have addressed the principal arguments raised in those briefs within the discussion that follows.”
- Colony Cove Properties, LLP v. City of Carson, (9th Cir. 2011) ___ F.3d. ___, Case No. 09-57039, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 6240. The court unanimously rejected a $34 million suit based on a variety of “takings” and constitutional claims. Our attorneys successfully persuaded both the District Court and a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals that there was no wrong-doing on the part of our city client.
- Correa v. City of Inglewood, et al., (2008) Second Appellate District Case No. B204205. Acting as litigation counsel for the City of Inglewood, our attorneys successfully defended the City against a fired employee terminated for “conduct unbecoming a police officer.” The plaintiff had claimed that, in the interrogation leading up to his termination, his rights under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act were violated. His claims were rejected at both the trial and appellate levels.
- Carson Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla, (2006) 140 Cal. App. 4th 1323. We litigated this matter to void a tainted contract under Government Code § 1090, the State conflict-of-interest statute, and obtained an award of $850,000 plus costs from a developer who paid $75,000 to obtain a contract. This litigation resulted in a seminal published opinion interpreting Government Code § 1090.
- Carson Coalition For Healthy Families v. City of Carson, et al., (L.A. Superior Court Case No. BS102076) and (Second Appellate District Case No. B194923). Our CEQA litigators successfully defeated a 2009 challenge, before the trial court and appellate court, alleging the City’s project EIR failed to sufficiently analyze: (1) hazards and hazardous materials, (2) traffic, circulation and parking impacts, (3) air quality impacts, (4) noise impacts, and (5) alternatives to the Project.
- Wilshire Ventures Corp., et al. v. San Fernando Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC410145. Our litigators defeated a $1.1 million claim against the San Fernando Redevelopment Agency by establishing that a developer was not entitled to damages related to unsuccessful negotiation of a disposition and development agreement.
- Illingworth v. City of Cypress, (2003) Fourth Appellate District Case No. G031280 . The court reversed the trial court and held that the Anti-SLAPP statute was applicable to the free speech conduct of a Cypress employee. This decision resulted in Cypress being awarded nearly $60,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in its favor. Plaintiff’s $2 million lawsuit against the City and its employee was also defeated in this litigation.
- Ehrlich v. Culver City, (1996) 12 Cal. 4th 854. A seminal case in which the California Supreme Court upheld the authority of cities to impose public art programs and development conditions being challenged as unconstitutional.
- Vela v. Superior Court, (1989) 208 Cal. App. 3d 141. A California appellate case that established the attorney-client privilege for police department shooting incident reports.
- Nicolopulos v. City of Lawndale, (2001) 91 Cal. App. 4th 1221. The Court of Appeal upheld the City of Lawndale’s removal of its elected City Clerk against the petitioner’s procedural due process challenge.
- Avalon Center Investment Company v. City of Carson, (LASC Case No. BS 087688, Court of Appeal Case No. B183893). An appellate decision upholding City’s denial of a permit for continued use of an automotive fueling station against the claim that the City Council’s denial was based upon the improper motive of protecting existing competition and denial violated petitioner’s vested rights.
- Craig Teter v. City of Newport Beach, (2003) 30 Cal. 4th 446. The California Supreme Court clarified that a person arrested for public intoxication is a prisoner for the purpose of Government Code Immunities and that there is no liability for damages sustained by a prisoner as a consequence of conditions that are common to all inmates and represent reasonable application of policy determinations by jail or prison authorities.
- State of California v. City of Palm Springs. The Attorney General sued to invalidate an agreement between Palm Springs and the Agua Caliente Tribe to sell the Tribe land on which a hotel-casino would be developed, based on state law prohibiting redevelopment agency assistance for gaming. The City prevailed at trial court and the matter was eventually settled.
- United Rock v. City of Irwindale. Mining company sued City to invalidate mining tax increase, to establish its vested rights, and for a declaration that the City’s actions violated a prior settlement agreement. Litigation did not proceed past the demurrer stage and City was able to proceed with regulatory actions.
- El Dorado Palm Springs, Ltd. v. Rent Review Com., (1991) 230 Cal. App. 3d 335. Our attorneys successfully represented the City of Palm Springs in a nearly 15-year battle with a mobilehome park owner over application of a rent control ordinance and numerous challenges to the City’s administrative rulings. Some of these decisions resulted in appellate decisions in favor of the City.
- County of Sacramento v. Florin Resources Conservation District. Our attorneys represented the Water District, where the County of Sacramento was challenging the District’s authority to issue bonds and certificates of participation in the amount of $25,000,000. We obtained a favorable ruling for the District in the very early stages of the proceeding, dismissing with prejudice thirteen of the County’s fourteen causes of action against the District, thereby enabling the District to proceed with the issuance of the bonds.
Numerous favorable appellate decisions for the City of Carson in various challenges to the administrative rulings of its Mobilehome Park Rent Control Board:
- Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson (2010) 187 Cal. App. 4th 1487.
- Carson Harbor Village, Ltd. v. City of Carson, 2nd Appellate District Case No. B211777 (March 30, 2010).
- Carson Harbor Village, Ltd. v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Board, LASC Case No. BS077148, Court of Appeal Case No. B180317, Supreme Court of California;
- Carson Harbor Village, Ltd. v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Board, LASC Case No. BS077364, Court of Appeal Case No. B170146;
- Carson Harbor Village, Ltd. v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Board, LASC Case No. BS085137, Court of Appeal Case No. B181771;
- Carson Estates v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Board, LASC Case No. BS079860, Court of Appeal Case No. B171598; and
- Carson Gardens, LLC v. City of Carson Mobilehome Park Rental Review Board, LASC Case No. BS072845, Court of Appeal Case No. B180308.