Civil Procedure Environmental Residential Real Estate

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Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles: JMBM Prevails in Published Court of Appeal Opinion Holding that a City's Erroneous...

JMBM has prevailed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of its client in a well-publicized and hotly-contested development project in the City of Los Angeles. The court's published opinion will come as welcome relief to property...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Case Law Update: Week Ending January 31, 2014

I. FLORIDA STATE CASES - ILAN NIEUCHOWICZ - - Sinkhole Insurance Claim: trial court was required by Fla. Stat. § 627.7074 to stay insured’s lawsuit against insurer immediately after insurer filed request for neutral...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Class Action Alleging Groundwater Contamination From Refinery Because Homeowners’ Claims Lack Commonality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed the certification of a class of property owners who alleged an Illinois refinery leaked potentially carcinogenic chemicals into their property and water...more

“Spot Zoning” Found Permissible Where Small Parcel Given Greater Rights than Surrounding Properties and New Zoning Served the...

The Orange County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) approved a proposed senior citizen living community (“Project”) on a seven-acre parcel, creating a new zoning definition for senior residential housing and rezoning the parcel...more

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR

As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) ___Cal.App.1st___, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to...more

CEQA-In-Reverse Case Opening Brief Filed In California Supreme Court

The California Building Industry Association (CBIA) laid out its case that CEQA contains no general directive requiring analysis of the existing environment’s impacts on a future project in a 50-page opening brief filed in...more

First District “Doubts” CEQA Operates In Reverse, Upholds Mitigated Negative Declaration For Urban Infill Project Despite Soil and...

In an opinion recently ordered published, the First District Court of Appeal extensively reviewed the relevant case law and expressed skepticism that CEQA would operate in reverse to require analysis of potential impacts on a...more

Substantial Evidence Test Applies to Decision Not to Require Additional EIR

In Latinos Unidos de Napa v. City of Napa (1st Dist., Div. 1, 10/10/13, A134959), ___ Cal.App.4th ___, 2013, the court of appeal found no abuse of discretion in the City of Napa’s approval of revisions to the housing element...more

Wetland Projects: The Legality of Certain MDDEFP Requirements is Confirmed

On October 18, 2013, the Court of Appeal of Quebec reversed the Superior Court of Quebec’s decision in the Atocas de l’érable inc. case, quashing directive no. 06-01, used by the ministre du Développement durable, de...more

CEQA "Modernization"—Urgent End-of-Session Alert

We recently reported in our August 20, 2013, newsalert that Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s August 6 amendments to SB 731, The CEQA Modernization Act of 2013, continued to stray further from meaningful CEQA...more

Six-Year Statute Of Limitations Applies To Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a stunning decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division held on August 23 that the State’s general six-year statute of limitations for property damage applies to private claims for contribution under the New Jersey Spill...more

Adopting Thresholds of Significance Under CEQA Not Subject to CEQA Review

In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (CBIA) (Case No. A135335 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st, August 13, 2013)), the First District Court of Appeal overturned the trial court and held...more

When Can You Sue the State Without Naming the State?

I'll give you a hint, this is a bit of a trick question. Give up? Okay. Whenever you name a State agency, of course. In Lavine v. State of California (pdf), a property owner filed a lawsuit after the Regional Water...more

High Court Tackles CEQA Future Baselines In Neighbors For Smart Rail Decision

In a much-anticipated decision filed August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court held that CEQA requires a lead agency to assess a project’s environmental impacts against an “existing conditions” baseline – and consequently...more

Unusual Circumstances: California Supreme Court Upholds Limited Use of Future Conditions Baseline Under CEQA

On August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued a split decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, et al. The court held that a lead agency may choose to avoid using an...more

CEQA Baseline Analysis: Future Conditions Baseline Should Be The Exception Not The Rule When Agency Reviews Environmental Impacts,...

In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (filed August 5, 2013) (“Neighbors”), a majority of the California Supreme Court justices announced a new rule regarding the baseline agencies may...more

Supreme Court Allows Future Conditions to Be Used as the Baseline Under Limited Circumstances

Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (August 5, 2013, S202828) __ Cal.4th __(“Neighbors”). What is the baseline against which environmental impacts are measured? There has been...more

San Francisco Takes Steps to Rationalize the CEQA Process

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ADOPTS NEW CEQA APPEAL PROCEDURES - After nearly a year of effort (and after three previous unsuccessful tries by others), San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener crafted a California Environmental...more

California Supreme Court Redefines “Baseline” Under California Environmental Quality Act

The California Supreme Court has both resolved a split in the appellate courts and forged new law on the baselines agencies may use to assess projects’ environmental effects under CEQA. ...more

Like Athena From the Head of Zeus: Neighbors for Smart Rail Authorizes Future Baselines in CEQA Review

A new California Supreme Court decision, Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, authorizes reliance on anticipated future conditions as the “baseline” for evaluating impacts of long-term...more

Break Out the Crystal Ball—But Only If You Have the Evidence to Support It: California Supreme Court Affirms Agency Discretion to...

In a highly anticipated decision published today, the California Supreme Court affirmed that the use of a future baseline for analyzing certain environmental impacts is appropriate when supported by substantial evidence. The...more

The Seventh Circuit Still Wrong: Bernstein v. Bankert

Late last year I blogged on the dubious decision by the Seventh Circuit in Bernstein v. Blankert which held that a settling CERCLA party did not resolve its liability to the government until it had performed all of its...more

Georgia Court Of Appeals Upholds Class Certification In Air Pollution Case

The Georgia Court of Appeals, on July 16, issued its opinion affirming the Effingham County Superior Court’s decision to certify a class consisting of the owners of properties neighboring Georgia-Pacific’s Savannah River...more

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