Los Angeles City Council Approves Major Earthquake Retrofitting Ordinance

On October 9th, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to approve an ordinance requiring mandatory earthquake retrofitting for thousands of buildings in Los Angeles. The ordinance comes nearly a year after the publication of “Resilience by Design,” a report prepared by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Dr. Lucy Jones aimed at improving Los Angeles’s resiliency in the event of a major earthquake. Continue Reading

Redevelopment Strikes Back

After several failed attempts in previous years, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed AB 2 (Alejo) on September 22, 2015. (Stats. 2015, ch. 319.) AB 2 authorizes a new structure for tax increment financing—the planning and financing tool that redevelopment agencies (RDAs) had used to support revitalization projects until 2012, when California dissolved the sixty-year-long operation of RDAs. Continue Reading

BREAKING: EPA Water Rule Blocked Nationwide By Sixth Circ.

The Sixth Circuit today stayed the effect of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Clean Water Rule” nationwide, while the Court of Appeals considers whether it has original jurisdiction to hear challenges to the regulation or whether those challenges should proceed first in the federal district courts. Among other reasons, the court said staying the Rule would remove uncertainty and confusion by restoring a uniform definition of “waters of the United States” nationwide. Before today, the prior regulatory definition of waters of the United States was in effect in 13 states where the federal district court for North Dakota had enjoyed the new Clean Water Rule; the new Rule’s definition applied in the rest of the country. Continue Reading

State Lands Commission Land Exchanges Not Exempt from CEQA Review Absent a Title or Boundary Dispute; Actual Notice Doesn’t Satisfy CEQA Notice Requirements Under Public Resources Code Section 21177(e)

In Defend Our Waterfront v. California State Lands Commission (Sept. 17, 2015) __Cal.App.4th __, Case Nos. A141696 & A141697, the California Court of Appeal for the First District upheld the trial court’s grant of a petition for writ of mandate challenging a land exchange with the State Lands Commission in connection with the 8 Washington Street development project in San Francisco. The court held that (i) the petitioners were not required to exhaust administrative remedies due to ineffective notice by the State Lands Commission, and (ii) the exchange agreement was not statutorily exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). Continue Reading

District Court Enjoins Federal Regulations Revising Scope of Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

North Dakota v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 3:15-cv-00059 (D.N.D. Aug. 27, 2015)

A federal judge, Ralph R. Erickson, in North Dakota yesterday granted several states’ request for a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new rulemaking redefining the scope of their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  District Judge Ralph Erickson found “it appears likely” that, in promulgating the rule, the EPA both exceeded the authority Congress delegated to it, and violated the Administrative Procedure Act.  The court’s ruling comes one day before the new rule, which redefines “waters of the United States,” was set to take effect.

Continue Reading

EPA and the Army Corps Seeking to Consolidate Challenges to Recently Issued “Waters of the United States” Rule

Since the EPA and the Army Corps published the final Clean Water Act rule defining “waters of the United States” on June 29, 2015, 72 plaintiffs have filed ten separate complaints in eight federal district courts challenging the final rule. Additional district court actions raising facial challenges to the rule are expected to be filed in the near future. Plaintiffs in some of these cases have already filed motions for preliminary injunctions seeking to bar application of the rule.

Continue Reading

Commercial Lease Guaranties From Foreign Entities: What You Need to Know to Safeguard Your Security

In connection with a commercial lease with an international company, a commercial landlord is often asked to accept U.S.-based subsidiary as the tenant entity.  The U.S. subsidiary often does not have independent financials or credit history, leading the landlord to request additional lease security.  In this context, the landlord may be offered a guaranty from a foreign-based parent company.  Although it may seem prudent to accept a guaranty from an international entity with substantial assets, these guaranties present certain challenges.  Even if the foreign guarantor has significant financial strength, a guaranty may prove worthless if the landlord cannot collect on a judgment against the guarantor.   Continue Reading

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

Fourth Annual California EB-5 Conference Featuring Keynote Speaker Congressman Bob Goodlatte.

Sheppard Mullin is proud to announce that both John Tishler and Michael Gibson will be participating as panelists at the event, which is designed for an array of attendees, including those interested in the EB-5 program for project finance or immigration purposes. The 2015 California EB-5 Conference will offer attendees access to both advanced and introductory level panels on pertinent EB-5 program topics, ranging from EB-5 financing for real estate development to complex immigration legal issues, all of which will be discussed in detail by expert EB-5 industry speakers. Continue Reading

Changing Protected Status of Land Requires CEQA Compliance

Paulek v. Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (Anheuser-Busch, LLC, Real Party in Interest) (6/19/2015, 4th Civil No. B253935) (opn. modified on denial of rehearing, http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/E059133M.PDF.)

In Paulek v. Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority, the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, held that removal of the protected status from a parcel of land still needs to comply with the environmental review requirement of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  In doing so, the court concluded that the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority’s (“Conservation Authority”) re-classification of land was a fundamental land use decision, akin to a change in zoning laws or a municipal general plan.   Continue Reading

High Standard for Invoking Equitable Estoppel Against the Government Reaffirmed

Schafer v. City of Los Angeles; Triangle Center, LLC, Real Party in Interest (6/17/2015, 3d Civil No. E059133)

The California Court of Appeal, Second District, recently re-affirmed the heightened standard for invoking equitable estoppel against the government.  In Schafer v. City of Los Angeles, the court rejected a claim that the City was estopped from requiring a property owner to abate a long‑standing parking lot use in violation of the City’s zoning code. Continue Reading