July 2, 2017 Westsiders Opposed to Overdevelopment v. City of Los Angeles, et al., No. BS165955 (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
Ed Casey and Andrea Warren represented developer Philena Properties in defending against a writ petition challenging the City of Los Angeles’ approval of a mixed use development project comprised of 516 residential units and approximately 250,000 square feet of commercial and retail uses. The project site is 5 acres, located one block from a station for the new light rail line through West Los Angeles. The Petitioner challenged the City’s approval for alleged violations of the City’s Charter. Trial took place on July 2, 2017, and the Judge ruled from the bench (after 3 hours of oral argument) on all non-CEQA claims in our favor. The court had previously dismissed Petitioner’s CEQA claims pursuant to our motion.
October 12, 2016 Munyan, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., No. BS157876 (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
Challengers to the City of Los Angeles’s approval of a new film studio project in the Sun Valley area of the city were defeated by a Los Angeles County Superior Court decision denying their petition. The decision is an important victory for the city and the project developer. First, the city’s environmental review under CEQA was upheld after the city prepared a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND). An MND can be prepared for projects that will not lead to significant environmental impacts, and an MND does not require as rigorous a review as required for a full environmental impact report (EIR). However, an MND is harder to defend if challenged in court, with less deference given to the lead agency preparing the environmental review. The recent film studio victory illustrates that projects that will not lead to significant environmental impacts can still be approved and successfully defended in a legal challenge with an MND. The recent court decision is also important because Judge Richard Fruin of the Los Angeles County Superior Court upheld the project. Judge Fruin carefully reviews all challenges before him. Two years ago, Judge Fruin vacated the city’s approval of a Target proposed at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue.
April 20, 2016 Association of Irritated Residents, et al. v. Kern County Board of Supervisors, et al. No. S-1500-CV-283166 (Kern County Superior Court)
Jocelyn Thompson, Roger Cerda and Maya Grasse successfully represented Alon USA and its Bakersfield refinery in connection with the environmental review and permitting of the first crude-by-rail terminal in California to be approved following a full environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act. Following the project’s approval, Alston & Bird attorneys defended a CEQA lawsuit that included challenges to the environmental baseline, the validity of the greenhouse gas and emissions analyses, and the adequacy of the risk assessments associated with trains carrying crude oil. The trial court opinion addressed the CEQA issues as well as issues related to federal preemption of rail activities and ruled in favor of the county and Alon, upholding the project approvals.
October 27, 2015 Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, et al., No. BS153472 (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
Roger Cerda, Jocelyn Thompson and Andrea Warren defended a CEQA challenge by Communities for a Better Environment to the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) approval of a crude oil storage tank project at Phillips 66’s refinery in Carson. The SCAQMD adopted a Negative Declaration to approve the project. The challenge focused on the project’s environmental review, alleging the SCAQMD did not analyze an adequate project description, piecemealed its environmental review or otherwise did not adequately analyze all environmental impacts. The Los Angeles County Superior Court rejected CBE’s CEQA challenge in full.
July 13, 2015 Beverlywood Homes Association v. City of Los Angeles, et al., No. BS144600
Westwood South of Santa Monica Boulevard Homeowners Association v. City of Los Angeles, et al., No. BS144490 (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
Ed Casey, as lead counsel, defended two lawsuits challenging a mixed-use development in West Los Angeles near the intersection of Sepulveda and Pico Boulevards at the Sepulveda “Expo” Metro station. The project includes commercial space, residential units, recreational space and parking. The lawsuits included specific challenges to the city’s approval of a General Plan amendment, CEQA compliance, compliance with the city’s open space requirements and allegations that the city violated the petitioners’ due process.
September 10, 2015 North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad, et al., Appellate Case No. D066488 (Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District)
Ed Casey, as lead counsel, successfully defended Westfield and its multi-million dollar project to redevelop its shopping center in the City of Carlsbad in the Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District). After obtaining a positive result at the trial court level, Ed Casey defended Westfield’s project in the plaintiff’s appeal challenging the project on CEQA grounds, including whether the City of Carlsbad evaluated the project using the proper environmental “baseline.” The appellate court ruled in favor of Westfield, affirming the trial court’s judgment on all of the claims challenging the project’s environmental review.
July 2, 2014 North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad, et al., Case No. 37-2013-00061990-CU-WM-NC (San Diego County Superior Court)
Ed Casey, as lead counsel, successfully defended Westfield and its multi-million dollar project to redevelop its shopping center in the City of Carlsbad. The plaintiff challenged the project on CEQA grounds, including the evolving issue concerning the proper environmental “baseline.” The trial court ruled in favor of Westfield on all claims, and entered a judgment in favor of Westfield.