Civil Procedure Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Ninth Circuit Upholds Santa Monica Ordinance Banning Unattended Displays; Baby, Fanged Jesus Display Would Require a Sitter

While the holiday season is still several months away, nativity scenes are back in the news. What nativity scene discussion would be complete without adorable baby, fanged Jesus? On New Year’s Eve 2014, we reported about...more

A Public Agency’s Contingent Final Offer Of Compensation Is Not Reasonable

In California eminent domain cases, a property or business owner is entitled to recover litigation expenses (attorneys’ fees and expert costs) when the public agency’s final offer of compensation is unreasonable and the...more

EPA and Army Corps Issue Final Rule on "Waters of the United States"

Yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers released a final rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act, or “waters of the United States.”...more

Clean Water Act Final Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States," Worse than Expected

On May 27, 2015 the prepublication version of the Final Rule, "Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘Waters of the Unites States,'" was released. The Final Rule has a 197 page preamble to explain the eight-page rule. The Final...more

EPA and USACE Issue Clean Water Rule

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("USACE") released the final Clean Water Rule, which is intended to clarify regulatory confusion over which streams and wetlands...more

USEPA and Army Corps of Engineers Release Final Clean Water Rule

On May 27, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) released their long-awaited final rule defining the scope of “waters of the United States”...more

EPA’s New Water Rule: Clarification or Power Grab?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Army Corp) just released the final rule providing guidance on which waters are considered “Navigable Waters of the United States” and thus...more

EPA Finalizes Rule Defining Waters of the United States

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a prepublication version of its rule defining the waters of the United States, also referred to as the Clean Water Rule (the Rule). The EPA issued this Rule to...more

EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Approve New Definition of "Waters of the United States"

The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that they have jointly approved a new definition of the key term "waters of the United States," a term that defines the limits of federal jurisdiction over...more

Clean Water Act: New Rule Significantly Expands Reach of Federal Jurisdiction

On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) finalized the long-anticipated Clean Water Rule. The Rule defines the term “waters of the United States” as used by...more

Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

Court Rules Planned Development of Banning Ranch May Proceed

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (filed 5/20/2015, No. G049691), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, held the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the City of Newport Beach for the partial...more

Easy Cases Make Better Law — Standing Edition

In an interesting, but not really difficult, decision on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the National Association of Home Builders did not have standing to challenge a consent decree pursuant to which...more

Fourth District Holds CEQA Does Not Require City To Predict ESHA Determinations In Approving Project Over Which Coastal Commission...

In a published opinion filed May 20, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment granting mandate relief based on a general plan violation, affirmed its denial of relief under CEQA, and...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Speaks On "Violations" of Residential Rental Agreement Act

The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision, rendered in the wake of a bench trial (i.e., tried without a jury), wherein the trial court held that a residential landlord violated the North Carolina...more

Kosher Meals for Prisoners: U.S. Department of Justice Wins Claim of Religious Discrimination against the Florida Department of...

A federal court has ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections’ (Department) refusal to provide kosher meals to inmates violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The court’s decision in...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in Civil Rights Case in Review of California SIP

On May 8, 2015, in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a Panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review filed by several groups that the court describes as “community...more

Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Stop BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Last Friday, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) opened their arguments on a preliminary injunction motion to halt the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final...more

No Aboriginal Title Required: BC Court of Appeal Allows First Nations’ Civil Claim Against Alcan to Proceed

On Wednesday April 15, 2015, the BC Court of Appeal released its decision in Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. In its decision, the court allowed the claims of the plaintiffs Saik’uz...more

Relaxed Variance Standards in Virginia Soon to Go Into Effect

Last year, we wrote about the difficult standards in Virginia for obtaining a zoning variance, particularly in light of the recent case Martin v. City of Alexandria, in which the Supreme Court held strictly that all statutory...more

Colorado Supreme Court Restricts Use of "Lone Pine" Discovery Orders

On April 20, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court released an important decision restricting the use of so-called "Lone Pine" orders. See Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley. Lone Pine orders require plaintiffs in toxic tort cases...more

Sixth District Applies CEQA’s “Fair Argument” Standard, Holds That Despite Project’s Compliance With Local Noise Ordinance, EIR...

On May 7, 2015, the Sixth District Court of Appeal filed a published opinion addressing numerous issues of interest under CEQA’s “fair argument” test for preparing an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). Keep Our Mountains...more

California Water Law Update

To address the worsening drought, on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 (“Executive Order”), mandating a 25% reduction in potable urban water consumption. In response, the State Water Resources...more

Court of Appeal Sinks Challenge to TMDL for Lake Bed Sediment

A Court of Appeal has upheld the Regional Board’s adoption of the total maximum daily load (TMDL) for concentration of pollutants in the sediment in McGrath Lake, rejecting the claim that TMDLs may not be stated in terms of...more

Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting for Major Energy and Infrastructure Projects Advances in the US Senate

On May 6, 2015, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 12-1 in favor of a bill designed to streamline the Federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects. The bill,...more

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