Civil Remedies Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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For Convenience Store Chains in Georgia, Leasing Business Operations to Separate Entity Can Maximize Recovery in Condemnations

In Georgia, when a convenience store chain both owns and operates a location, it should lease business operations to a separate legal entity to maximize recovery in the event of a partial condemnation. In limited...more

Public Agency May Recover the Cost of Supplementing Administrative Record

In CEQA litigation, the party challenging the project can either request that the agency prepare the record of proceedings (“Record”), or prepare the Record itself, subject to certification by the lead agency. In either case,...more

Attorney Labor For Preparing CEQA Administrative Record Is Recoverable Cost Where Specialized Knowledge Required, Holds Fourth...

In a partially-published opinion filed September 29, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed an order and judgment permitting the County of San Diego to recover actual labor costs incurred for an attorney and...more

Easements Made Easier: Building Pipelines with the Power of Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act

Any person or entity seeking to construct a natural gas pipeline and successful in obtaining a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may exercise the power of eminent domain to...more

The Expanding Availability of Apportionment To Limit Liability in Superfund Cases

In Burlington Northern in 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that Superfund liability could be apportioned whenever there was a reasonable basis for showing that the harm was divisible, such as by considering the length of time...more

Norwalk Settles Mosque Lawsuit for $2 Million

A long-running dispute between the city of Norwalk and an Islamic group appears to be settled, with the city agreeing to pay $2 million to the group and help it find an alternate location for a mosque and a meeting...more

CEQA Reform in the Courts – Public Agency Can Recover Costs Despite Petitioner's Election

After Governor Brown took office for the second time, CEQA reform through the Legislature seemed like a distinct possibility. While that possibility has all but evaporated, recent rulings suggest that courts are taking a...more

CEQA Administrative Record Preparation Costs – Who Pays and When? First District Provides Guidance In Coalition For Adequate...

In a published decision filed September 15, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded a trial court’s post-judgment order granting an unsuccessful CEQA petitioner’s motion to tax the entire $64,144 cost...more

City, Islamic Group Near Settlement in Mosque Suit; Proposed deal would curtail legal fees, end religious land use case

Lawyers representing an Islamic group that wants to build a mosque in Norwalk had run up an estimated $5.5 million legal tab. That number was making attorneys representing the city a bit nervous. And so the two sides...more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

CEQA: Are time extensions for nonconforming uses exempt from review?

Is an extension of time for an existing nonconforming use exempt from CEQA review? A new writ action just filed proposes to resolve that issue....more

Full Steam Ahead for Eminent Domain Actions after High Speed Rail Authority Negotiations End in Impasse

The State Public Works Board (the “Board”) adopted four Resolutions of Necessity approving the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) use of eminent domain for public necessity to acquire four parcels in Fresno and...more

Did Koontz Stop Illegal Development Exactions?

Much was written by law school professors and property rights groups following the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Koontz v. St. John's River Water Management District (2013), which found that land-use permit...more

Fifth Circuit Reins In Trend of Expanding ESA Liability for Remote Harm

The Fifth Circuit's recent decision in The Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317 (5th Cir. June 30, 2014), clarified two points relating to the element of causation in claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Speaks On Zoning Issues: Consistency Statements, Legislative Records and Attorney Fees

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has spoken twice in recent weeks on zoning issues. Let's review. Zoning Ordinance Amendments and Consistency Statements - First, in Atkinson v. City of Charlotte, COA 13-226...more

Environmental Alert: "Clearly Allocate Risk of Change Interpretations in Transactions"

When buyers request that sellers warrant compliance with environmental law, sellers need to appreciate that agency interpretation or agency enforcement discretion may have played a role in the seller’s apparent ongoing...more

Lake County, Illinois “Hat Trick”* Defeats Religious Meditation House in Federal Suit

In MAUM Meditation House of Truth v. Lake County, Illinois, No. 13-cv-3794 (N.D. Ill. 2014), the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that Lake County, Illinois did not violate MAUM...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

Oxnard Union High School District to Acquire Nearby Church Property

The Oxnard Union High School District began Eminent Domain procedures to acquire property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The property is required for construction of a right-turn lane for the new...more

Proximate Cause and Foreseeability Are Required Elements of Endangered Species Act Liability: Fifth Circuit Reverses Injunction...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an injunction that would have prohibited the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) from issuing new water withdrawal permits affecting an estuary where...more

The Construction Advantage – Issue 6

In our sixth issue of The Construction Advantage, we provide you with an all New England edition, focusing on the increased employment in the construction sector in Maine, a large court award related to the Big Dig, and the...more

New Tools in the Zoning Game

As of July 1, 2014, Virginia landowners will have a new tool to use in the zoning game. On April 6, 2014, Governor McAuliffe signed SB 578 into law. The bill provides a damages remedy for applicants seeking zoning or...more

B.C. Supreme Court Sets Aside B.C. Surface Rights Board Rent Review

In reasons released on May 30, 2014, the B.C. Supreme Court set aside the B.C. Surface Rights Board’s compensation award to a landowner in northern B.C. and remitted the case back to the Board for reconsideration: Progress...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: California is ahead of EPA on climate rules - Los Angeles Times - Jun 5: In 2006, when California adopted AB 32, its landmark global warming law, it acted virtually alone. Now, the state...more

Second Circuit Denies Request to Stay NYISO’s New Capacity Zone

On June 4, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (2nd Circuit) denied emergency stays of two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders implementing a new capacity zone (NCZ) in New York (“NCZ...more

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