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Ginetta Giovinco

Shareholder | Los Angeles

Overview

Ginetta specializes in land use matters, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California Coastal Act.  Ginetta’s practice encompasses both advisory work and litigation, allowing her to handle matters seamlessly from the administrative level through trial and the appellate courts.  Ginetta is frequently asked to assist on controversial projects that appear headed towards litigation, including providing advice on CEQA compliance, local coastal programs, and land use entitlements.  Ginetta’s combination of substantive knowledge, strategic thinking, and advocacy skills make her one of the state’s leading writ litigators, resulting in five published Court of Appeal decisions in eight years.  These cases include important decisions clarifying the level of administrative appeal review required for subsequent CEQA review (San Diegans for Open Government, et al. v. City of San Diego, et al. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 995) and establishing limitations on when attorneys’ fees may be awarded in CEQA litigation (Coalition for a Sustainable Future in Yucaipa v. City of Yucaipa, et al. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 513).

Complementing her land use practice, Ginetta has developed an expertise in legal issues affecting special districts.  Ginetta currently serves as General Counsel to the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.  Ginetta also has represented water agencies and community services districts in litigation, and often handles matters involving matters before local agency formation commissions (LAFCOs).

Work for Clients

Ginetta currently serves as General Counsel to the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

Ginetta frequently represents clients in litigation involving writs of mandate, land use (including CEQA and the California Coastal Act), and validation actions involving complex finance matters.   Most recently, Ginetta has successfully defended challenges to land use decisions of the cities of Beverly Hills, Covina, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, and Yucaipa. 

Professional Experience

Ginetta currently serves as Chair of the Firm’s Coastal Department and previously served as Assistant Chair of the Firm’s Litigation Department. 

Ginetta is also a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. 

Honors & Awards

Ginetta has been been selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers List in 2014-2017, and previously was selected to the Southern California Rising Stars List in 2010-2013.

Ginetta is AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Professional and Community Affiliations

Member, Association of Environmental Professionals

Member, International Municipal Lawyers Association

Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association

Member, Environmental Section, State Bar of California

Experience

PUBLISHED OPINIONS

  • San Diegans for Open Government, et al. v. City of San Diego, et al. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 995. Clarifying the level of administrative appeal review required for subsequent CEQA review; represented real party in interest).
  • Coalition for a Sustainable Future in Yucaipa v. City of Yucaipa, et al. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 513. Establishing limitations on when attorneys’ fees may be awarded in CEQA litigation under Private Attorneys General Act “catalyst” theory; represented city).
  • Eiskamp v. Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 97. Upholding dismissal of a challenge to an ordinance that increased groundwater augmentation charges for well operators; represented water agency).
  • South Orange County Wastewater Authority v. City of Dana Point (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1604. Holding that a mitigated negative declaration prepared for a rezoning project was not required to study the impacts of an existing sewage treatment plan on the project; represented real party in interest).
  • Habitat Trust for Wildlife, Inc. v. City of Rancho Cucamonga (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 1306. Upholding city’s right to select a qualified conservation entity to receive mitigation lands dedicated by a developer; represented city).

RECENT LITIGATION VICTORIES

  • The Inland Oversight Committee v. City of Covina. Successful defense of city’s use of mitigated negative declaration under CEQA; no appeal filed).
  • Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo v. City of Pasadena. Successful defense in trial court and on appeal of CEQA challenge to environmental impact report (EIR) for the use of the Rose Bowl as a temporary NFL location).
  • Dunex, Inc..v. City of Oceanside. Second chaired bench trial leading to judgment in city’s favor on $30 million dollar inverse condemnation claim stemming from city’s denial of mobile home park conversion).
  • Successful prosecution of multiple validation actions, including for multi-tiered bond transaction, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, and refunding of pension obligation bonds.   

Presentations

Ginetta is a frequent speaker on issues relating to land use litigation and CEQA.  Her recent presentations include: 

  • “Into the Vortex: The Ever-Expanding Reach of the CEQA Administrative Record (Including Your Files?)”  Planning Directors Association of Orange County, 07.27.2017
  • “Ask the Legal Experts” California Special Districts Association, General Manager Leadership Summit, 06.25.2017
  • “Administrative Records: The Foundation of Land Use and CEQA Challenges (And Successful Defenses)” California League of Cities, City Attorneys’ Conference, 05.03.2017
  • “Prosecuting and Defending Writs Under the Public Records Act.” California State Bar, 2016 California Public Records & Open Meetings Conference, 06.02.2016

Publications

A recognized expert on administrative writs and other litigation relevant to land use, Ginetta is a contributing author to several leading treatises.

  • Co-Author, California Administrative Mandamus (3d ed.) – Ch. 13, Other Pleadings and Procedures Before Trial and Ch. 17, Procedures Unique to Special Writ Proceedings (Continuing Education of the Bar, 2016)
  • Co-Author, California Civil Writ Practice (4th ed.) – Ch. 3, Administrative Mandamus (Continuing Education of the Bar, 2016)
  • Co-Author, California Civil Discovery Practice (4th ed.) – Ch. 3, Evaluating Privileges, Work Product, and Other Protections (Continuing Education of the Bar, 2016)

Practice Areas

Education

J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law

B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, The American University

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