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CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) (Litigation)


The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) plays a role in nearly all land use projects that public agencies in California consider, whether the proposal is for private development or the agency’s own project.  As a result, lawsuits focused on CEQA compliance are one of the most common ways for project approvals to be challenged. 

RWG’s attorneys have decades of successful experience in CEQA litigation.  We have successfully represented our clients in hundreds of CEQA lawsuits, several of which have resulted in published appellate decisions that set precedent throughout the State.  Most recently, our successful work resulted in Court of Appeal 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., 6 Cal.App.5th 995 (2016)) 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., 238 Cal.App.4th 513 (2015)).  We are also regularly asked to speak on recent CEQA decisions and cases, and our attorneys are contributing authors to leading treatises relating to CEQA litigation, such as CEB’s California Administrative Mandamus (3d ed.). 

Our approach to CEQA litigation is collaborative and often begins even before litigation is filed.  We frequently work with public agencies at the administrative stage when controversial projects are being considered, with an eye towards creating the most defensible decision possible.  When litigation follows, our familiarity with the project means that we are prepared to handle the case in a cost-effective manner, seamlessly transitioning from the administrative level to the courts.  We work closely with our clients at all stages of the litigation, including preparation of an administrative record, briefing on the merits, writ hearings, and appeals.   Similarly, when our clients have concerns about the impacts of another agency’s project, our substantive knowledge of CEQA combined with our significant litigation experience allows us to formulate successful legal strategies. 

Whether anticipating a CEQA challenge, preparing to defend a CEQA lawsuit, or contemplating bringing a CEQA challenge, RWG’s expertise translates into helping our clients achieve their objectives. 


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Richards, Watson & Gershon delivers practical advice and solutions tailored to the unique needs of public entities. Working seamlessly across offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Temecula, the Central Coast, and Sacramento, and our dedicated team of experts provides the full scope of public law services.

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