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Sunshine Ordinance Preempted by City Charter Provision Creating Attorney-Client Privilege

The First District Court of Appeal determined that City of San Francisco (“City”) resident Allen Grossman (“Grossman”) was not entitled to documents related to the development of certain San Francisco Ethics Commission...more

8/13/2014 - Attorney-Client Privilege Compliance Disclosure Requirements Ethics Public Records Public Records Act

Tenant Opposition May Justify Rejection of Mobilehome Park Conversion Bid

If a mobilehome park owner proposes to convert the park from a tenant community into a resident-owned community, then pursuant to state law, a certain proportion of the residents in the park must give consent via tenant...more

6/4/2014 - Appeals Consent Consent Solicitations Conversion Homeowners' Association Mobile Homes

The Names Of Officers Involved In An On-Duty Shooting Must Be Disclosed Under The Public Records Act, Unless The Party Resisting...

The California Public Records Act ("Act") requires the disclosure of public records, unless such records are exempt from disclosure. In Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach, --- P.3d ----, 2014 WL...more

6/3/2014 - Police Police Brutality Public Records Public Records Act

City Not Liable For Mayor's Alleged Improper Conduct

Gong v. City of Rosemead (May 20, 2014, B247601) -- Cal.App.4th --, a Court of Appeal declined to hold the City of Rosemead ("City") liable for the alleged tortious conduct of former mayor and City Council member John Tran...more

5/29/2014 - Appeals Building Permits City Councils Construction Permits Liability Personal Liability Real Estate Development Willful Misconduct

Tow Truck Companies and Employees Are Subject to Regulation in the One City or County Where Their "Principal Place of Business or...

State law permits local regulation of tow truck companies and drivers. In Cal. Tow Truck Ass'n v. City of S.F. (2014) --- Cal.App.4th ---, the Court of Appeal held that the City and County of San Francisco ("City") is only...more

4/30/2014 - Fees Principal Place of Business Trucking Industry

Court of Appeal Finds Unusual Circumstances Exception Inapplicable

Citizens for Environmental Responsibility, Stop the Rodeo and Eric Zmost ("Appellants"), challenged the 14th District Agricultural Association’s (“Association”) approval of a Class 23 CEQA Exemption for a rodeo (“Project”)...more

4/29/2014 - CEQA Citizens for Environmental Responsibility Exemptions Mitigation Storm Water

Court of Appeal Finds Caltrans Omitted Material Necessary to Informed Decision Making by Failing to Include a Threshold of...

In Lotus v. Department of Transportation (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 645, a California Court of Appeal found that Caltrans omitted material necessary to informed decision-making and informed public-participation when it failed to...more

3/4/2014 - Caltrans CEQA Environmental Assessments Environmental Liability Omissions

County's Pawn Shop Reporting Ordinance Conflicts with State Law

Collateral Loan and Secondhand Dealers Association ("CLSDA"), a trade association for licensed pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers, brought a lawsuit against the County of Sacramento to challenge an ordinance creating a...more

2/26/2014 - Pawn Brokers Reporting Requirements

CalPERS May Calculate Retirement Benefits for a City Council Member Separately From His Benefits as a City Employee

A city administrator-turned-elected city council member believed his retirement benefits would be based on his highest salary multiplied by all his years of service, including his years on the city council; however CalPERS...more

2/24/2014 - CalPERS ERISA Municipalities Public Employees Public Employers Retirement Plan

Cities Entitled to Pre and Post Judgment Interest for Tax Administration Fees Improperly Calculated and Withheld by County

Seven cities brought a lawsuit against a county over the calculation of a fee that the county charges for the collection and distribution of property taxes to each city. A trial court entered judgment in favor of the cities...more

2/6/2014 - Fees Property Tax

Requirement That Landowners Give Aircraft Overflight Easement Before Obtaining Building Permit Did Not Constitute a Taking of...

Landowners assert a requirement that they provide an aircraft overflight easement before obtaining a building permit constitutes a taking of their property without just compensation. The court of appeal held that the...more

2/3/2014 - Building Permits Easements Land Owners Takings

Police Officers’ Rights Were Not Violated During Investigation Into Discharge of Weapon

Three police officers alleged their rights were violated during an investigation into the off-duty discharge of a weapon. The court of appeal held that the police officers’ rights were not violated because the investigation...more

1/20/2014 - Investigations Police

Ordinance Authorizing Warrantless Inspections of Hotel Records is Unconstitutional

Motel owners challenged a Los Angeles Municipal Code provision requiring hotel guest records to be made available to any Los Angeles Police Department officer for inspection. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth...more

1/15/2014 - Fourth Amendment Hospitality Industry Hotels Inspections Police Warrantless Searches

Expert Testimony Recommending Vapor Intrusion Study is Insufficient Evidence of Health Effects, Does Not Trigger Need for EIR

After the Berkeley City Council (“City”) approved a mixed-use commercial and residential project on the site of a former car dealership and service garage, a community group sued, claiming that pre-existing contamination on...more

1/14/2014 - Contaminated Properties Environmental Impact Report Expert Testimony Expert Witness Vapor Intrusion

County Application for Jail Expansion State Funding Not a “Project” Requiring CEQA Review

In 2011, after the state legislature approved realignment legislation and funds to shift low-level offenders from state prisons to county jails, Orange County (“County”) applied for state funding to expand its jail facility...more

12/18/2013 - CEQA Environmental Policies Public Projects

Widow Granted Leave to File Late Claim Against Public Entity Because Delay Was Reasonable and Excusable

A widow filed a notice of claim and application for leave to file a late claim with a public entity one year after a traffic accident that killed her husband. The court of appeals held that the widow’s failure to discover a...more

11/21/2013 - Car Accident Governmental Liability Highways Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorists

Magistrate’s Issuance of Warrant Demonstrates that Officers’ Actions are “Objectively Reasonable” and Thus Entitled to Qualified...

A man brought a lawsuit against police officers alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. The officers conducted searches of his car, home, and workplace in connection with allegations that he disseminated indecent...more

11/11/2013 - Child Pornography Fourth Amendment Police Search Warrant Warrants

Winery Zoning Ordinance Allowing Establishment of Boutique Wineries Without Discretionary Permits Survives CEQA Challenge

A county prepared an environmental impact report (“EIR”) and adopted a zoning ordinance allowing the development of small wineries “by right,” without a discretionary permit. A citizens group opposed to the ordinance sued,...more

11/4/2013 - CEQA Permits Wine & Alcohol

Mitigation Fee Act Applies to Developer’s Challenge of City’s Affordable Housing Set Aside Requirements

As required under its “inclusionary housing” ordinance, Palo Alto required a developer to set aside 10 condominium units as below market rate housing and make a cash payment to the City as a condition of obtaining a tentative...more

10/22/2013 - Affordable Housing Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Mitigation

City Not Required to Provide a Defense to Former Administrative Officer Accused of Looting City’s Coffers

The City of Bell (“City”) sued Robert Rizzo (“Rizzo”), its former chief administrative officer, for restitution after he allegedly looted the City’s coffers. Rizzo, who also faced criminal charges, asserted that the City was...more

10/21/2013 - Criminal Prosecution Embezzlement Municipalities

Taxpayer Settlement Agreement Waives Future Claims and Judicially Estops Contradictory Claims

After challenging a 1991 Utility User Tax, taxpayers negotiated a monetary settlement agreement with Los Angeles County. The settlement agreement also provided for an election to validate the tax. After the election, a...more

10/16/2013 - Consumer Utility Costs Judicial Estoppel Settlement Waivers

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects Securities Fraud Lawsuit Brought by Purchasers of Municipal Bonds

A district court granted summary judgment in favor of a city in an action by purchasers of municipal bonds who alleged federal and state securities claims against the city. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth...more

10/15/2013 - Damages Governmental Liability Municipal Bonds Securities Fraud State Securities Claims Statutory Immunity Summary Judgment

County not Liable for Injury Caused by Natural Condition on Unimproved Property

In Meddock v. County of Yolo (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, Cal.App. 3 Dist., September 10, 2013), a California court of appeal determined that a county cannot be held liable for an injury caused by a naturally occurring tree on...more

10/14/2013 - Bodily Injury Liability Public Property

Court of Appeal Upholds Ordinance Regulating Medical Marijuana

A trial court enjoined enforcement of a City of Los Angeles ordinance that regulates the number and geographic distribution of medical marijuana collectives. The court of appeal reversed the trial court’s order finding that...more

10/11/2013 - Disclosure Requirements Dispensaries Due Process Equal Protection Local Ordinance Medical Marijuana Registration Right to Privacy

Group Homes Can Move Forward With Their Lawsuit Challenging an Ordinance that has the Practical Effect of Prohibiting Group Homes...

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred in dismissing a lawsuit challenging a city ordinance that effectively banned group homes for alcoholics and drug users with an...more

10/1/2013 - ADA Disability Discrimination Discrimination Drug & Alcohol Abuse Drug Treatment Equal Protection FEHA FHA Housing Discrimination Local Ordinance Municipalities

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