On March 22, 2020, the Chief Executive Officer of Dallas County, Texas (County Judge Clay Jenkins) issued a “Stay Home Stay Safe” order for residents of Dallas County.  The Order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23 and continues until midnight on April 3rd.
Continue Reading Go Home, Dallas: County Enacts “Shelter in Place” Order in Wake of Pandemic

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 Upcoming Speaking Engagement

Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al. (8/7/14, S207173)

The Supreme Court of California has held that CEQA review was not required before the Sonora City Council adopted an initiative measure approving a specific plan for expansion of a Wal-Mart store.  The court held that: (1) the Elections Code, which requires at most an abbreviated review, provides the exclusive process regarding voter initiatives, (2) the legislative body does not have to obtain full CEQA review before it can directly adopt a voter initiative, and (3) a full CEQA review would be incompatible with the requirements of the Elections Code.  The court’s conclusion highlights the judiciary’s staunch protection of the initiative process.


Continue Reading No CEQA Review Required For Initiative Measures, Whether Adopted By City Council Or Voters

Beacon Residential Community Assoc. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP (Cal. Supreme Court., 07/03/2014, S208173)

On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court decided the much watched case Beacon Residential Community Assoc. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP.  The court held that the “principal architect” “owes a duty of care to future homeowners in the design of a residential building . . . even when they do not actually build the project or exercise control over construction.”  (Emph. added.)


Continue Reading Principal Architects on Residential Projects Liable for Construction Defects Outside Their Control; Developers and Owners May Pay the Price

San Francisco Beautiful v. City & County of San Francisco (1st. Dist., Div. 4, 5/30/2014)

The First District Court of Appeal held that AT&T’s proposed installation of new utility cabinets in the City of San Francisco fell within CEQA’s Class 3 categorical exemption for the “installation of small new equipment and facilities in small structures.”  The court rejected the applicability of any exceptions to the exemption and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the petition.  The court acknowledged the split of authority regarding the applicable standard of proof and standard of review but stated it would reach the same result under either standard.


Continue Reading CEQA Class 3 Categorical Exemptions Permitted for AT&T Installations

A recent Supreme Court case may have a far-reaching impact on many of the United States’ “rails-to-trails” biking and jogging paths.  In March, the Supreme Court held in an 8-1 decision that rights of way granted to railroad companies during the nineteenth century were mere easements without reversionary interests to the United States government, triggering constitutional Takings Clause issues.
Continue Reading Trails-to-Rails-to-?: The Brandt Case and its Potential Impact on the Nation’s Trails

Under District of Columbia law, organizations that own buildings in D.C. used for purposes of public charity principally in the District are entitled to property tax exemptions.  (D.C. Code § 47‑1002(8)).  However, in light of recent actions by the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR), non-profit organizations currently benefiting from the exemption should periodically evaluate how their buildings are being used to ensure that they continue to qualify for the exemption.
Continue Reading D.C.’s Less Charitable Approach to Property Tax Exemptions for Non-Profits

[Petition for review granted by the Supreme Court.  The court limited review to the following issue: Under what circumstances, if any, does the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) require an analysis of how existing environmental conditions will impact future residents or users (receptors) of a proposed project? ]

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 that the thresholds of significance adopted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) were not subject to CEQA review for two reasons. First, “the CEQA Guidelines establish the required procedure for enacting generally applicable thresholds of significance such as those at issue in this case, and a prior CEQA review of the thresholds is not a part of this procedure.” CBIA, at pg. 11. Second, “the environmental change posited by CBIA as the basis for requiring CEQA review is speculative and not reasonably foreseeable,” thus adopting the thresholds is not considered a “project” pursuant to CEQA. Id.


Continue Reading Adopting Thresholds of Significance Under CEQA Not Subject to CEQA Review

On July 11, 2013, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 116 (Bocanegra) automatically extending by 24 months the expiration date of any tentative map, vesting tentative map, or a parcel map which was approved on or after January 1, 2000, and that has not yet expired. It further specifies a process for the extension of tentative map, vesting tentative map, or a parcel map approved on or before December 31, 1999. Assembly Bill 116 (AB 116) amends Section 65961 of the Government Code.
Continue Reading Assembly Bill 116, Extending Life of Subdivision Maps, Signed by the Governor

Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, et al. (August 5, 2013, S202828) ____ Cal.4th ____

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 existing conditions baseline only where (1) the departure is justified by “unusual aspects of the project or surrounding conditions”; and (2) where “an analysis based on existing conditions would be uninformative or because it would be misleading to decision makers and the public.” Neighbors for Smart Rail, at pg. 11 (lead opinion of Werdergar, J.). Thus, an agency may use a future conditions baseline for analyzing a project’s impacts in lieu of the conditions existing at the time a CEQA analysis is prepared, but only if it makes the specific determinations above and supports them with substantial evidence in the record.


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

San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced, No. F064930 (5th Dist., May 31, 2013)

By Eric DiIulio

In San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth District held that the Merced County Planning Commission violated the Brown Act by adopting a CEQA mitigated negative declaration without specifically noticing it on the Commission’s agenda. The agenda had indicated consideration of a subdivision application, but the court found consideration of the MND accompanying the application to be a separate action requiring separate notice under the Brown Act. However, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ CEQA notice violation claims because plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.


Continue Reading Failure To Separately Notice Consideration Of CEQA Document Violates Brown Act