The Firm's Appellate Practice

The Firm regularly and successfully practices before all California appellate courts and the California Supreme Court, as well as the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and its partners have handled appellate matters in numerous other jurisdictions, including the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, the Federal Circuit, and the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.  We excel in conducting the highly detailed analysis of the facts and law forming the basis of an underlying trial court’s decision which is necessary for proper representation before an appellate tribunal.  The Firm’s emphasis on superior writing skills serves our clients well in our appellate practice where such skills are utilized to the fullest extent.  The Firm not only handles appellate issues arising out of its trial practice, but is also often called upon by other counsel to step in and handle difficult appeals.

 

Recently, the Firm represented one of the largest property developers in the United States in complicated, multi-party land use litigation which went to the California Supreme Court and forced a legislative amendment favorable to our client.  We also recently were engaged on appeal to represent the beneficiaries of a large estate who by virtue of an unfortunate trial result could have lost three-quarters of the estate to a “putative spouse” who claimed entitlement to the estate through a Mexican marriage.  The Firm successfully employed the doctrine of judicial estoppel to achieve a complete and final reversal of the trial court’s ruling, restoring the full benefit of the estate to the testator’s named beneficiaries.

 

In the past, partners of the Firm have handled a multitude of appeals, both as appellant’s counsel and as respondent’s counsel, with an enviable rate of success. In the matter of Jarrow Formulas, Inc. v. Nutrition Now, Inc., 304 F.2d 829 (9thCir. 2002), two of the Firm’s partners successfully defended a nutritional supplements manufacturer against a competitor’s claims of unfair competition which were pursued through a petition to the United States Supreme Court.  One of the Firm’s partners successfully represented entertainer Frank Sinatra in obtaining compensation for the misappropriation of his name and likeness by a combination of a Swiss health clinic, Clinique La Prairie, and the National Enquirer magazine, Sinatra v. National Enquirer, 854 F.2d 1191 (9th Cir. 1988).  In the case of In Re Willie Gault, 578 N.Y.S.2d 683 (Appellate Division, Supreme Court of New York), one of the Firm’s partners singlehandedly overturned an injunctive order barring implementation of an arbitrator’s award allowing athletes Willie Gault, Edwin Moses, and Greg Harrell to compete in qualifying rounds for the 1992 Winter Olympic bobsled competition, moving from an unfavorable ruling on an Order to Show Cause to a successful emergency appeal reversing that order in less than three days.

The Firm's Business Litigation Practice

The Firm has substantial experience in all phases of litigation, and regularly represents clients in jury and non-jury trials before both state and federal courts.  Our trial experience allows us to effectively streamline and focus the litigation and discovery process from its inception as we can anticipate and prepare the disputed issues for trial. We utilize a team approach to litigation, drawing upon the abilities, insight, and experience of many of the Firm’s attorneys. We recognize the importance of communication with our clients and regularly report on the status of pending cases, and meaningfully involve our clients in the decision making process.

The Firm’s litigation expertise encompasses a wide range of business-related disputes, including those involving conflicting interpretations or breaches of contract, employment relationships, partnership and corporate dissolutions, commercial and residential real property, intellectual property, insurance coverage, and business torts such as fraud, unfair competition, interference with business, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion, for example.  The Firm represents clients in a variety of industries from entrepreneurs to large publicly held corporations. We have the capacity and expertise to take a leading role in multi-party complex litigation, and the flexibility to handle smaller cases in a cost effective manner.

The Firm recognizes that sometimes our clients are better served by staying out of court, and pursuing mediation or arbitration to resolve a dispute. We regularly counsel our clients on ways to avoid litigation or to position themselves for success should litigation become necessary. The Firm\’s lawyers work with their clients to determine the most effective path to reaching the client’s goals, which path may be pre-litigation negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or full scale litigation and trial.

The Firm's Business Transactions Practice

The Firm’s business transactions practice handles virtually all aspects of a business’ operations, including entity selection and formation, corporate compliance and governance, international mergers and acquisitions, finance, initial public offerings, leveraged buyouts,  real estate, risk management, restructuring, workouts, bankruptcy and adversarial proceedings, and intellectual property registration and protection.  Included among our outstanding team of business lawyers are attorneys who have served as in-house counsel, including general counsel, of a number of publicly traded companies, family-run businesses and closely-held corporations.  With an inside counsel  perspective we are able to understand a business’ concerns, goals, and operating condition, allowing us to provide practical advice on complex business transactions, as well as advice on daily operational matters.  The Firm provides large firm quality service efficiently and affordable.

 

The industry experience of our business lawyers includes insurance, banking, securities, entertainment, media, emerging growth companies, energy, transportation, technology, apparel, manufacturing, real estate, construction, aerospace, defense, security services, healthcare, retail and international trade.

The Firm's Construction Law Practice

–         Litigation Experience

The Firm regularly represents developers, general contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in construction-related litigation.  The Firm’s representation includes the defense of claims alleging negligence and negligent supervision in work performance, breach of contract, defective design work, cost overruns and delay, disputes over payment and indemnity, surety and lien defense, and challenges arising out of the supervision and oversight of projects. The Firm also has extensive experience in connection with enforcing and responding to mechanic’s liens, stop-work orders, and other construction remedies on behalf of developers, contractors, and sub-contractors, as well as handling labor and employment issues, including collective bargaining issues, that arise in the construction context. Lawyers at the firm regularly represent clients in response to legal challenges to development projects.

We understand the needs of the construction industry and have an extensive network of key contacts with industry experts and specialists ready to assist us. We know how to both efficiently and aggressively investigate, litigate, mediate and arbitrate such construction claims, and are intimately familiar with the design, construction and financial issues that can arise from a project, allowing us to better protect our clients’ interests and present an effective defense. 

The Firm’s knowledge of contractual indemnity issues and insurance law is especially beneficial to our clients.  This specialized knowledge promotes a higher success rate in tendering claims to other parties and their insurers, thereby extricating our clients’ involvement or significantly reducing the potential costs incurred.  Often at the heart of many construction disputes is the enforcement of indemnity/hold harmless provisions.  We have developed a well regarded expertise in analyzing these particular issues, having conducted numerous trials over this particular subject.  

The Firm also has extensive experience in representing defendants faced with claims arising from construction accidents and construction defects. Consequently, we have the technical background and experience to understand and evaluate everything from specific practices of various trades, their safety policies and procedures, and coordination among same, to handling construction defect litigation involving single-family detached homes, common area developments and apartments, and commercial structures.  Many of these matters tend to be more complex in nature, which requires us to work closely with our clients to elicit their input and experience in defending these matters and to coordinate defense strategies with the client’s insurers and other defendants in order to develop the most effective and efficient defense for the client.

–         Regulatory Experience

The Firm is well recognized for its regulatory experience, particularly in real estate development, construction, and environmental matters.  This is due in part to several of the Firm’s attorneys having served the public in various capacities at the local, city, and state-wide government level. The Firm’s regulatory experience has enabled it to provide a more complete and comprehensive representation to its clients, as many of the regulatory issues apply to a number of different industries and are national in scope.

For example, one of the most significant developments in recent years has to do with the impacts of recent stormwater regulation on construction projects and/or residential and commercial development.  Specifically, and along with a Washington D.C. law firm, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), two of the country’s leading construction industry trade associations, selected our Firm for its construction and regulatory expertise to represent them in connection with a dispute between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  The case concerns the EPA’s decision to refrain from issuing specific numeric effluent limitations for construction projects, despite a finding that the construction industry was, and continues to be, a pollution point source.  The EPA had come to the conclusion that such limits were not appropriate or feasible to enforce.  The NRDC disagreed, and sued the EPA claiming that they have failed to abide by a non-discretionary duty to issue such limits.

While we are actively litigating the matter, it is important to understand that mandating numeric effluent limits would have a significant financial impact on the construction industry.  Specifically, if the EPA were now forced to establish the effluent limits, every builder would be forced to comply with these limits or they run the risk of being found in violation of the Clean Water Act and facing significant penalties as a result.  In order to make sure builders comply with these possible effluent limits, therefore, builders would be forced to prepare Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for every project, detailing the measures that will be taken to comply with those limits.  This would almost certainly require every builder to collect their runoff, have it tested, and submit monitoring reports to the EPA or governing regulatory agency detailing their success, or lack thereof, in complying with those limits.

–         Transactional Experience

The Firm also works with several large developers as transaction counsel on complex redevelopment projects that entail contract negotiation expertise in the areas of construction, finance, regulatory and real estate development law.  There is little doubt that our construction transactional practice benefits from the talents of our construction litigation practice.  A working knowledge of almost every type of construction litigation dispute, and how liability insurance operates in those settings, certainly strengthens our ability to effectively understand and negotiate construction related contracts.

We also have a comprehensive understanding of the implementation and coordination of claims under owner controlled insurance programs (OCIPs) and contractor controlled insurance programs (CCIPs).

The Firm's Energy Practice

The Firm provides an array of legal services in the energy arena, having successfully negotiated, drafted, and executed power purchase agreements with utilities for renewable energy projects; assisted in the acquisition of local, state, and federal public funding for renewable energy projects; challenged and successfully represented its clients in regulatory and enforcement actions by Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), state public utility agencies, and federal, state, and local environmental agencies; formed and administered new energy companies; negotiated, drafted, and executed leases for energy projects; negotiated permits for energy companies; negotiated, drafted, and executed legal documents associated with investment in and financing of energy projects; negotiated, drafted, executed, and, when necessary, litigated a host of energy transactions including electricity and natural gas sales; and successfully negotiated with state legislative bodies and executive offices to pass helpful energy-oriented policy and legislation.

 

Partners of the Firm have served on the Governing Board of the California Independent System Operator (“CalISO”) and as the Governor’s Director of Policy and Director of Planning and Research during the challenging days of California’s energy crisis, as a member of the California Public Utilities Commission and as Director of the California Office of Administrative Law.  Partners have also worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in conjunction with the energy Market Redesign at the CalISO.  The Firm’s partners have served at the highest levels of public, energy, and legal policy, providing an experienced and steady opinion that has been seasoned in crisis management.

 

The Firm’s relationships in the energy industry, the FERC, the CalISO, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Legislature and Administration, California local governments, the environmental community, and state and local labor unions further bolster the advocacy skills it brings to bear for its energy clients.

The Firm's Entertainment Law Practice

The Firm’s diverse entertainment law practice is well established through our representation of high-profile clients in negotiations, complex business transactions, and high stakes litigation.  The Firm is sensitive to the unique needs of the entertainment industry community while providing aggressive and effective advocacy in court when necessary.  Our transactional and litigation departments work very closely together to provide the integrated services our entertainment industry clients require to achieve the best possible result.

 

The Firm’s partners have represented well known recording industry personalities, including Frank Sinatra in a number of litigation matters; Warner/Elektra/Asylum Records in massive antitrust litigation against independent record promoters, including Joseph Isgro; a recent multi-million dollar dispute between shareholders and principal directors that involved major recording industry labels, including Virgin Records; numerous film production companies, including Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Lorimar Productions, Sony/Tristar Productions, New World Entertainment, Reeves Entertainment, Marvel Productions, and Fries Entertainment, in copyright, trademark, unfair competition, and other types of intellectual property litigation; professional and internationally acclaimed athletes, in litigation related to misappropriation of name and likeness, and as well in connection with legal issues arising in connection with competitive activities; a major production company in litigation with Michael Jackson and the Jackson family; and numerous best selling writers and television personalities.

 

Partners of the Firm also spent years representing Las Vegas Casinos, including the Aladdin Hotel, the Stardust Hotel, the Royal Americana Hotel, the Fremont Hotel and the Sundance Hotel and Casino, both with respect to tax licensing matters as well as all aspects of labor and employment law.

 

Most recently, the Firm serves as counsel to a new feature film and television production studio, a related television network and distribution company, as well as several independent television and video production and distribution groups. Partners of the Firm also served as liaison to the California Film Commission, the major Hollywood studios and talent agencies, and to the cable and digital media industries on behalf of the Governor of the State of California.

 

The Firm is well versed in the newest legal developments in the entertainment industry, including the formation and management of film funds; bridge, gap, and super gap financing; the protection of intellectual property from online and other piracy; economic and labor policy as it relates to the flight of production; and land-use, regulatory, and environmental restraints to the development of new production facilities.

The Firm's Environmental Law Practice

The Firm is particularly well known for maintaining a strong statewide environmental practice that rivals the environmental practice of any other law firm in California.  At any one time anywhere from three to five of the Firm’s partners, and most of the Firm’s associates, are engaged in high profile environmental litigation or environmental regulatory matters.  The Firm has extensive expertise and experience in handling environmental matters for both private companies and public entities throughout California, ranging from multi-million dollar hazardous waste removal and remediation actions to personal injury and property damage claims involving mold.  We have good working relationships with numerous state and federal environmental regulators, as well as many prominent elected officials. The Firm also has experience negotiating and litigating against all of the prominent environmental non-profit plaintiff groups in California.  In addition, the Firm’s partners are highly sought after and speak regularly to business and legal groups on trends in environmental law in California.

––         Regulatory Compliance/Governmental Advocacy

The Firm regularly advises clients with regard to regional, state, and federal environmental compliance matters, including assistance with hazardous waste treatment permits, air emission limits, toxic chemical inventory reporting, hazard communication reporting, waste water and storm water discharge permits, and other permits, notices, and licenses under federal and state law.  The Firm is widely recognized for effective advocacy in administrative proceedings before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Integrated Waste Management Board, the California State Water Resources Control Board, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and other state and local agencies.

We have also been involved in the development, interpretation, and application of environmental statutes and regulations through appearances before the California Senate and Assembly, the United States Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, the California State Water Quality Control Board, and various other state and regional environmental agencies.  The Firm’s attorneys have appeared before the California State Assembly to present its clients’ views regarding the landmark Wright-Polanco-Lempert hazardous waste tiered permitting bill, also known as “AB 1772,” on AB 2019, the Storm Water Enforcement Act of 1998, and on the proposed revisions to the General Industrial Storm Water Permit.  One of the Firm’s partners received numerous appointments specifically regarding his environmental expertise, including appointments from the California Insurance Commissioner, the Los Angeles District Attorney, and the Los Angeles City Attorney.  Another Firm partner served as General Counsel to the California State Controller, General Counsel to the Lieutenant Governor, the Director of Policy for the Governor, and the Director of the California Office of Administrative Law.

–         Stormwater

The Firm has a broad reaching, well-respected, and expanding stormwater practice.  The Firm is one of only a handful of California law firms specializing in this area of law.  The Firm has long been a leader in the field, representing private entities facing enforcement actions brought by Federal, State, and local regulatory agencies. The Firm has also been active in addressing the ever-changing and ever-controversial regulatory framework on which California’s stormwater rules are based.

We have substantial experience in representing clients in a variety of stormwater contexts, although the foremost aspect of the practice is representing private parties who have been accused of violating stormwater regulations.  We have represented a broad variety of clients, ranging from Northern California wineries to Chula Vista auto recyclers, and have represented clients in enforcement actions brought by local agencies to the US Environmental Protection Agency, with most of California’s Regional Water Quality Control Boards in between.  Recently, we represented one of the Firm’s clients in the first US EPA stormwater enforcement action ever brought in California, addressing nine different sites.  After an exhaustive investigation by the EPA, we were able to negotiate an amicable resolution whereby the client paid only a relatively small fine and agreed to implement a Supplemental Environmental Project (“SEP”).  After the SEP was completed, the EPA and the Firm’s client held a joint press conference outside one of the client’s facilities to announce the success of the client’s SEP, to praise the client’s efforts, and to inform the public of the substantial environmental benefits that were expected to flow from the client’s actions.  We also represented two construction industry trade associations in a pending dispute with the NRDC and the Waterkeeper Alliance over the scope of the EPA’s obligations under the Clean Water Act, and whether the EPA had authority to refuse to impose numeric effluent limits on stormwater discharges from construction sites.

The Firm’s partners are also active participants in the crafting of stormwater policy and regulation in California.  We were instrumental and successful in the original effort to create a stormwater monitoring group program whereby industry members can band together to meet their collective stormwater monitoring and training requirements.  The Firm is currently counsel to two of California’s longest standing and most successful stormwater monitoring groups: the Metal Recyclers Monitoring Group (“MRMG”) and the California Wineries Monitoring Group (“CWMG”), regularly counseling its members as to their stormwater obligations, options, and strategies, as well as representing the individual group members in their dealings with the stormwater regulatory community.

At a recent California Bar Association Environmental Conference in Yosemite, California, Tal Finney served as the moderator for a panel discussion on the issue of numeric effluent limits on stormwater dischargers.  The panel featured Jason Booth of the Firm, who represented the interests of the regulated communities, as well as counsel for the NRDC, and a member of the State Water Resources Control Board.  We have also appeared before the State Water Resources Control Board and have given testimony on numerous occasions on behalf of industry members subject to California’s stormwater regulations, arguing in favor of a more practical, financially feasible approach to stormwater regulation, and against the imposition of unworkable and potentially devastating numeric effluent limitations.  The Firm regularly contributes to the ongoing debate of the numeric limit issue currently pending before the State Board, as it determines whether numeric limits should be included within the long-ago expired General Industrial Stormwater Permit.

-         Clean Water Act/Proposition 65 Litigation

 

The proliferation of lawsuits brought by private attorneys general, or citizen suits, has created an unmet need for medium and large businesses alike, as well as public entities.  With little recourse to financing the defense by insurance, companies and public entities are often left to face citizen suits at enormous costs.  The Firm is among the most experienced in the State of California at handling Clean Water Act and Proposition 65 suits.

 

Such claims regularly call for the Firm to approach government entities, such as the attorney general’s office, the district attorney, the city attorney, or the EPA, in an effort to pre-empt the suits and to build working relationships and trust among the prosecutors and authorities that can take such action.  With these tools, the client receives a multi-faceted defense approach that keeps in mind the need to prepare the matter for trial, while still exploring possible settlement options and putting the client in a position to negotiate from strength.

 

The Firm is thoroughly experienced in counseling clients under the Clean Water’s Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  The Firm is also preeminent in NPDES storm water permitting compliance and regulation, having represented industrial and transportation interests at every major national legislative and regulatory level.

 

–         The Firm’s Approach To Handling Complex Environmental Litigation and Regulatory Matters

 

  • Utilizing its Wealth of Experience

 

Contributing to the Firm’s success is not only knowing when to proceed in a cost effective manner, it its knowing when to utilize its attorneys’ wealth of experience.  To do this, the Firm’s attorneys who are assigned to various environmental matters meet on a weekly basis.  This includes both partners and associates, which is unusual for most firms.  At these meetings, we generally discuss the status of each case, pending filings and deadlines, as well as the overall case status.  After discussing these issues in this open forum, the attorneys then discuss the litigation strategy for each case and how best to implement that strategy.  We value this type of team approach to handling most matters and, in particular, complex cost recovery actions.  Not only does this foster creative alternatives to handling such matters, it promotes the sense of purpose and dedication from all our attorneys necessary to obtaining the ultimate goal … achieving the best result for our client.

 

  • A Thorough Investigation and Understanding of the Facts and Circumstances Surrounding Such Claims

The Firm’s success is also due, in part, to its emphasis on performing a thorough, up-front factual investigation intended to assess realistic liability and damage exposures, to explore the potential for early settlements, and to locate other possible sources of contribution to contamination cleanup.  Where possible, the Firm takes advantage of the interrelated nature of environmental claims and actions by local, state, and federal governmental agencies, and works with and among the involved agencies to craft effective, and sometimes innovative, solutions to complex environmental issues.  The Firm draws upon its experience to establish a foundation for an effective relationship between the governmental entity or entities and our clients.

 

This approach leads to increased control over, and the ultimate reduction of, client costs.  For example, time-consuming discovery may be narrowed to the particular issues identified during the factual investigation and early consultation with agency representatives.  This provides the client with information that may lead to favorable, early settlement negotiations, and greater certainty regarding the potential liability exposure in a case or the allocation of risk.  The Firm appreciates that today’s competitive environment demands quick, accurate, practical work, and then provides it.

 

  • Efficient Management

The Firm’s success in this area is due, in part, to its ability to efficiently manage what are usually extremely complex matters.  To do this, the Firm typically assigns one partner and one mid-level associate to the matter.  Depending on the complexity of the case and the progress of the litigation, however, the evolution of such matters typically requires the assistance of junior level attorneys and/or paralegals.  For example, in pursuing historical PRPs responsible for contaminating a particular site, it is cost effective to utilize our junior associates and/or paralegals to coordinate with the numerous regulatory agencies that maintain the records we typically rely upon.  In so doing, we are able to effectively identify the documentary evidence necessary in deciding which, and how many, PRPs to pursue, in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

The Firm's Professional Liability Practice

The Firm maintains long-standing, valued relationships with insurance companies, and is often retained to represent insureds in cases defended under Errors and Omissions and Directors and Officers Liability policies. We understand the needs and concerns of the insurers as well as professional insureds, and we work to minimize the impact of the claim on the insureds’ business. Our breadth of experience ensures that we can provide a quality defense in any case falling under these policies.The Firm has substantial experience in successfully defending professionals including lawyers, insurance brokers, real estate agents, third-party administrators, accountants, residential care homes, acupuncturists, officers and directors of corporations, medical doctors, and fiduciaries.  We have handled legal malpractice matters arising out of negligent advice rendered in business buyout agreements, estate planning, breach of franchise agreements, marital dissolution proceedings, and in connection with the statute of limitations.  We have also defended many insurance brokers in claims arising from failure to procure various types of insurance coverage, ranging from assault/battery and uninsured motorists, to advertising liability and marine coverage.  The Firm has significant trial experience in defending accountants in actions arising from audit negligence, fraud, preparation of 706 estate returns, negligent tax preparation, and claims arising out of the preparation of compiled and/or reviewed corporate financial statements.

The Firm recognizes that sometimes our clients are better served by staying out of court, and pursuing either mediation or arbitration to resolve a dispute. We regularly counsel our clients on ways to avoid litigation or to position themselves for success should litigation become necessary. The Firm’s lawyers work with their clients to determine the most effective path to reaching the client’s goals, which path may be pre-litigation negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or full scale litigation and trial.

The Firm's Real Property Practice

The Firm’s real property practice draws on our expertise in many areas, including environmental law, administrative law, litigation, and business transactions.  We represent clients in transactions involving real property and in litigation concerning real property.  We have extensive experience in the purchase and sale of real property and in the preparation of lease agreements.  The Firm’s Real Property Practice clients range from individual real property investors to a nationwide developer and manager of market-dominant communities operating more than 500 shopping centers in over 40 states. We currently represent the trust department of a major national financial institution and handle the diverse real estate related legal needs of their trust clients.

–         Land Use and Development

Our clients regularly rely upon us for our real property development experience.  We obtain land use approvals for our clients, including zoning permits, conditional use permits, and variances. We assist our clients in the development process from start to finish, from the financing and creation of appropriate business structures and conducting pre-acquisition due diligence to obtaining final certificates of occupancy and preparing lease agreements.  We utilize our extensive regulatory and political experience in working with cities and counties to achieve our clients’ objectives through legislative, administrative, and political processes. When required, we represent clients in litigation to obtain their goals, or to defend against challenges to development, including those seeking to set aside approvals.

–         Litigation

Our real estate litigation experience includes the representation of clients in disputes concerning title to commercial or residential real property, financing for real property, and the acquisition of real property.  These disputes include issues arising from disclosure statements, estopppel certificates, delays in transfer, and failure to obtain conditional use permits.  We also have experience in commercial lease disputes, including unlawful detainer actions, disputes over the exercise of options to extend leases, improperly constructed improvements, and delays in the provision of improvements.  We regularly represent clients in litigation concerning permits, variances, obstruction of views, improper use of easements, and boundary disputes.

–         Brownfields Policy and Legislation

The Firm has also been intimately involved in the development of Brownfields policy and legislation over the past decade.  From the creation of the state’s Brownfields Clean Loan Fund to the progressive evolution of immunity law with respect to Brownfields ownership and development, the Firm’s attorneys have been integral to California’s treatment of these issues.  The Firm’s clients in this area include one of the largest environmental engineering, design, and development firms in the world (which, along with the Firm, recently won the bid to redevelop the waterfront for the City of Antioch along the Sacramento River which connects the State’s capitol with the San Francisco Bay), one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, a specialized Brownfields developer focused on rehabilitating one acre to five acre sites, and a public entity seeking to remediate and reuse a high profile abandoned landfill surrounded by a pristine environment.

Last fall, the Firm organized and hosted a major conference on the current state of Brownfields law and opportunities, along with Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown (nationally renowned for his innovative Brownfields development policy and accompanying successes), the Director and Chief Counsel of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Assistant Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (responsible for Brownfields development policy, regulation, and enforcement), the Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and most of the state’s leading developers and builders.  The Firm’s strong relationships with the state’s administrative agencies provide our clients with unique opportunities to develop immunity plans through working directly with their regulators in a cooperative environment.  In the end, we are uniquely adept in maximizing sources of public funding to assist our clients before, during, and after the development of their properties.

The Firm's Regulatory Advocacy Practice

The Firm is well recognized for its regulatory experience.  This is due in part to several of the Firm’s attorneys having served the public in various capacities at the local, city, and state-wide government level.  The Firm’s regulatory experience has enabled it to provide a more complete and comprehensive representation to its clients, as many of the regulatory issues apply to a number of different industries and are national in scope.

 

We utilize our extensive regulatory and political experience to achieve our clients’ objectives through legislative, administrative, and political processes.  The Firm has multi-decade relationships representing clients on regulatory and enforcement matters before, and, when necessary, litigating against, a host of federal, state, and local public entities, including the California Insurance Commissioner, the California Department of Insurance, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor, the California Department of Labor, the California Attorney General, the California Corporations Commissioner, the Franchise Tax Board, the Board of Equalization, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Business, Transportation & Housing Agency, the California State Lands Commission, the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Air Resources Board, the California Coastal Commission, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the California State Water Resources Control Board, the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, the California State Legislature, the California Governor’s Office, and multiple local government departments and agencies across the state, including regional water quality control boards, air quality management districts, planning and zoning departments, and city councils.

 

The Firm prides itself on its ability to negotiate fair resolutions of disputes with such entities and in enhancing its clients’ relationships with such entities through proactive relationship building and advisory activity.

 

The Firm has handled administrative law matters and hearings before many of the same federal, state, and local departments and agencies for a variety of corporate and public entity clients.  We have also helped to develop regulatory and administrative law policy at the state government level for over 15 years in the California Legislature, throughout the State Administration, including the Office of Administrative Law, and in many local governments.  Members of the Firm served as the heads of state departments, chief counsel to state constitutional officers, state and local board and commission members, and senior staff to the California State Controller, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.