Achievements in Transactional Work:
• Lead in negotiating and putting together a complex $1.8 billion sporting stadium development transaction involving issuance of $50M in bonds
• $1 billion transaction for development of prior land fill to tax producing uses involving negotiations of a $100M+ Remedial Action Plan with Department of Toxics & Substance Control
• Creation of Carson Reclamation Authority for $100 million cleanup and negotiating a development and financing agreement for an $800 million dollar entertainment and mixed use project with Lennar on a 157-acre site on a former landfill (including a $100 million dollar site remediation program)
• Bell case study: Recipients of California Lawyer “Attorneys of the Year” award in Municipal Law in 2015 for helping Bell return to responsible government and solvency after the malfeasance of eight city officials; within three years our team returned Bell to a sound fiscal basis eliminating $78M in claims and recovery $7M in damages
• Negotiations of a $45M settlement against the largest oil refinery on the West Coast
• Working with Regional Water Quality Control Board dealing with storm water management issues, resulting in City receiving $13M Caltrans grant for construction of Carriage Crest Park project, a state of the art storm water management facility
• Creation of the Signal Hill Auto Center now approaching 50 acres with some 15 brands, and generating over $5 Million in annual sales taxes to the City
• Overcoming numerous issues in transforming the historic 1 billion barrel Signal Hill oil field, in continuous production for 75 years, with complex contamination issues, into a beautiful community with a vibrant local economy
• Advising the Banning Public Utility and dealing with all its water issues, with a community with extraction rights from five groundwater storage basins, negotiating an acquisition of water rights from a mutual water district owning a 100-year old flume, and overseeing the development of water lines, reservoirs and recycling facilities, and processing a transfer of facilities from Southern California Edison through FERC
• Overseeing a long term program for Irwindale to require reclamation of multiple 100+ acre mining pits with depths of over 300 feet, and achieving development agreements providing for reclamation, payment of the highest mining taxes in the state, and infrastructure development
• Negotiating major development agreements for 1000+ acre projects for hotel, golf course, and residential development including with Pardee for development of a 5400 unit, 1600 acre project with a golf course and water features, parks, community center, satellite treatment plant and commercial center; and dealing with related sensitive environmental and endangered species issues
• Negotiating many innovative, award-winning affordable housing projects including in Signal Hill alone: A $9 Million, 40-unit, affordable moderate income single family detached project; a $20 Million, 72-unit extremely-, very low-, low-income housing project, and a $20 Million, 92-unit, low- and very low-income family project, including a park, child care center and police substation. (This last project, Las Brisas, won the League of California Cities' prestigious Helen Putman award in 2006)
Development of the Signal Hill Town Center including big box users such as Costco and Home Depot, but also encompassing the community's only market, Food-4-Less.
• Developing a Palm Springs power center with Lowes, Home Depot, and WalMart, located partially on a former municipal landfill site, and successfully defending the project from environmental challenges
• Developing an Indian Gaming Casino in Palm Springs including negotiating a DDA with a tribal government and successfully defending a lawsuit by the California Attorney General
• Reclamation of a 126-acre Irwindale mining pit and developing a 2.5 million square foot mixed use project through a development agreement with Trammel Crow (winner of a Gold Nugget Award)
• Developing major public projects including expanding the Palm Springs Convention Center twice, a championship 36-hole golf course, sewer wastewater plant expansions, parking structures, several city halls and police stations, and numerous water reservoir and other water improvements
• Master planning the Palm Springs Airport and undertaking numerous runway and terminal expansions including developing innovative passenger facility charge financing, obtaining FAA grants and approvals, and overcoming a GSA audit of airport properties demanding tens of millions from the City General Fund
• Negotiating lease agreements to privatize Palm Springs' wastewater treatment plant with US Filter, a Fortune 500 company
• Developed an economic development ordinances to maximize cities' authority to pursue economic development projects in California's post-redevelopment world
• Developing an innovative franchise program for the Town of Mammoth Lakes to facilitate underground delivery of gas to customers and requiring the franchisee to provide pipeline capacity to other suppliers
• Passage of several legislative Bills (e.g., SB510 and AB 2789)
Achievements in Litigation Work:
• Downtown Fresno Coalition v. City of Fresno (2014) Fresno Superior Court Case No. 14 CECG 00890; 5DCA F070845.
We successfully defended the City of Fresno in litigation challenging its approval of the Fulton Mall Reconstruction Project which proposes to reopen the Fulton Mall to vehicular traffic. The lawsuit challenged approvals based upon violations of CEQA. The City prevailed in both the Superior Court and in the 5th District Court of Appeal.
• 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.
• 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.
• Illingworth v. City of Cypress, Court of Appeal Case No. G031280 (2003).
The Court of Appeal 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.
• 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. BS087688, Court of Appeal Case No. B183893.
An unpublished California 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.
• City of Perris v. Stamper (2016) 1 Cal.5th 576.
Successfully arguing before the California Supreme Court preserving the significant Porterville doctrine in regulatory takings law
• Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson, et al. (9th Cir. 2018) 888 F.3d 445 [certiorari denied]
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's $8 million judgment against City of Carson and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Carson in an action brought by the owner of a mobile home park alleging that the City engaged in an unconstitutional taking when it approved a lower rent increase than he had requested even where the mobile park owner was not making profits. The panel held that no reasonable finder of fact could conclude that the denials of plaintiff's requested rent increases were the functional equivalent of appropriation of the property under the Penn Central Factors.
Several favorable appellate decisions for the City of Carson in numerous challenges to the administrative ruling of its Mobilehome Park Rent Control Board:
• 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.