Articles Posted in News

Published on:

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is proud to announce 18 of its attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the list of Best Lawyers in America®  for 2018.

Among those, three are members of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Group: Benjamin Reznik, Jon Welner and David Cincotta.

Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Group
Ben’s practice emphasizes real estate development entitlements, zoning and environment issues, including frequent appearances before city planning commissions, city councils and other governmental boards and agencies on behalf of real estate development firms and various industries. Ben leads a group of distinguished attorneys that specialize in  CEQA and NEPA, air emissions, energy, licensing, government contracts, and has been described by Curbed LA as “the most powerful lobbyist in LA”.  Since joining JMBM in 1997, Ben has obtained project approvals for several million square feet of commercial space and several thousand  residential units valued in excess of $50 billion.

Jon Welner, Partner, Environmental Law and Chair, Prevailing Wage Group
Jon represents clients in all areas of environmental, natural resource, and land use law. His practice includes the regulation of air, water, hazardous substances, hazardous waste, radiological materials, contaminated properties (“Brownfields”), power plants, oil and gas facilities, coastal development, endangered species and other natural resources, as well as matters involving CEQA and NEPA, the Williamson Act (farmland preservation), OSHA/Cal-OSHA (workplace safety), and Prop 65 (chemicals in products).Jon is also recognized as one of the foremost practitioners of prevailing wage law in California and is frequently involved in complex and groundbreaking cases on behalf of developers, contractors, and manufacturers.

David Cincotta, Of Counsel, Land Use Law

David Cincotta specializes in obtaining land use entitlements for large commercial, mixed-use and residential developments in San Francisco and throughout Northern California. His practice focuses on land use, zoning and environmental law, and includes real estate transactions, real estate financing and historic preservation law. He is experienced in negotiating and documenting purchases, sales, commercial leases and financing of land and buildings for both commercial and residential projects. His clients include publicly owned corporations, real estate investment trusts, individuals, small firms and foundations with a concentration on real estate developers and property owners.

We congratulate all our lawyers who were honored by Best Lawyers® and recognize their dedication to providing our clients with outstanding results and exemplary service.

Published on:

By Jon Welner

welner.jpg

PREVAILING WAGE LAW is California’s “other” minimum wage. It requires workers to be paid union wages on publicly funded construction projects. But in recent years, the law in California has EXPANDED well beyond its initial purpose. It has become a tool for workers to demand union wages on virtually any construction project in California. These claims can increase the cost of a major construction project by millions of dollars–and can be brought years after construction is complete.

U.S. Court of Appeals Reinstates Law That Makes Deliveries of Concrete Subject to California Prevailing Wage (AB 219)

In 2015 the California Legislature adopted AB 219, a ground-breaking law that extended prevailing wage requirements to material suppliers for the first time. Specifically, the law made deliveries of ready-mix concrete to public works subject to prevailing wage. (See prior post on AB 219 for more info.)

On June 30, 2016–the day before AB 219 took effect–eight ready-mix companies filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Constitutionality of the new statute on Equal Protection grounds. In essence, they argued it was unfair to single out ready-mix concrete companies for special treatment, leaving all other material suppliers unaffected.

In a dramatic move, on October 18, 2016, the federal court issued a preliminary injunction suspending enforcement of AB 219 by the Department of Industrial Relations, the primary state agency responsible for enforcing prevailing wage rules. (See prior post on the PI for more info.)

Now–in an even more dramatic twist–the U.S. Court of Appeals has weighed in, striking down the lower court’s preliminary injunction! (Technically, the Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay the preliminary injunction, suspending it until the Court of Appeals has a chance to rule on whether to uphold or overturn it. See Order.)

This means that AB 219 is once again in full effect and DIR is free to enforce compliance by ready-mix companies.

Whew! Can’t wait to see what happens next!

_____
Jon Welner is a leading practitioner of prevailing wage law in California. He is a Partner at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) and Chair of JMBM’s Prevailing Wage Group. Contact him at JWelner@jmbm.com.

JMBM’s Prevailing Wage Group advises and defends developers, contractors, and manufacturers on the most challenging and complex prevailing wage matters in California.

Published on:

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce that environmental lawyer Matthew J. Sanders has joined the firm as of counsel in its San Francisco office.

“As a former federal environmental lawyer, Matthew will be invaluable to our clients. I have no doubt they will greatly benefit from his past experience,” said Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department.

Sanders joins JMBM with thirteen years of broad experience, ranging from federal and state court litigation to complex counseling and compliance work. Most recently, Sanders was a clinical supervising attorney and lecturer at Stanford Law School. He has also served as an appellate attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, as an attorney in the Real Estate and Environmental Group at Paul Hastings LLP, and as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“Many of our mining, traditional energy, and alternative energy clients will benefit directly from Matthew’s experience with public land and natural resources issues acquired during his time at the Department of Justice,” said Kerry Shapiro who heads JMBM’s Natural Resources and Construction and Building Materials Groups in San Francisco.

Sanders’ federal and California environmental law experience includes successfully litigating myriad federal and state appeals, writs, and motions; providing strategic representation and counseling on major projects and enforcement actions; and developing key relationships throughout the environmental and energy legal community.

“JMBM’s environmental and natural resources lawyers are known throughout California for delivering excellent results to their clients,” said Sanders. “I am thrilled to join the JMBM team and believe my experience as a federal lawyer will benefit the firm’s many clients whose projects and businesses are regulated by federal agencies.”

Sanders received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was co-editor-in-chief of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, and his B.A, magna cum laude, from Carleton College. He is a frequent writer on environmental law issues and is active in the American Bar Association, the Stanford Law School Alumni Association, and a number of other organizations.

About JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Group
JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy (GLUEE) attorneys have vast experience in litigation, regulatory, and administrative matters. We handle permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate, or expand operations; we assist them in resolving environmental issues including air, water, hazardous materials, and soil-related work; and we represent their interests before every level of government, particularly throughout the state of California. The Group publishes the California Land Use Blog.

About JMBM
Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP is a full-service law firm committed to providing clients with outstanding results. From our offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County, we serve our clients’ needs worldwide. For more information, visit www.jmbm.com.

Published on:

By Neill Brower
The California Supreme court determined the California State University (“CSU”) could not rely solely on earmarked appropriations from the State Legislature for payment of “fair share” mitigation fees the CSU determined necessary for full mitigation of impacts, and the absence of specific legislative appropriations for mitigation fees did not render payment of mitigation fees infeasible. On August 3, 2015, the California Supreme Court filed its decision in City of San Diego v. Bd. of Trustees of the California State University, Case No. S199557, rejecting the notion that the contingent nature of State budgeting excused a failure to commit to enforceable mitigation for off-campus impacts resulting from on-campus development. Further, because the CSU relied on the purported infeasibility of paying mitigation fees as a basis for its Statement of Overriding Considerations, the Statement of Overriding Considerations was unsupported by substantial evidence as to that finding.

In this case, the CSU approved an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) to expand the San Diego State University (“SDSU”) campus to accommodate, among other significant components; a hotel, academic research, medical, social, administrative, and conference facilities; faculty and student housing; a 10,000-student enrollment increase; and associated increases in faculty and staff by 2030 school year. Among other impacts, the EIR determined the project would result in significant contributions to cumulative traffic impacts on off-campus roads in the City of San Diego and Caltrans jurisdictions. The EIR determined the specific improvements required to mitigate these impacts and calculated the “fair-share” fees necessary to construct those improvements.
Continue reading

Published on:

Los Angeles — The Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Group of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to welcome Daniel Freedman as an associate in its Los Angeles office.

Mr. Freedman’s experience includes representing and advising clients on matters relating to real estate development, zoning, project entitlements, CEQA, NEPA, federal and state environmental law, and governmental advocacy. He has advised clients working major commercial, residential, and industrial developments, renewable energy, high-speed rail, billboard siting, mining and government contracting. Daniel also has civil litigation experience in both state and federal courts.

“In addition to his impressive legal experience, Daniel’s consulting background in government and public affairs will bring an added dimension of effectiveness for our clients,” said Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Daniel advised government agencies, energy and infrastructure development companies, and environmental organizations on issues relating to environmental policy, government affairs, and political strategy. He also organized and managed regional and statewide advocacy and outreach campaigns on environmental policy and regulatory issues, and clients working on complex projects such as concentrated solar, off-shore liquefied natural gas terminals, waste-to-energy, long-haul transmission, wind energy, carbon capture and sequestration and water infrastructure. Daniel also takes pride in his role as co-founder and board chairman of the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative, an executive committee member of the Bet Tzedek New Leadership Council, and volunteer for United in Harmony. Daniel is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Conservation Resources Studies, and UCLA where he earned his Master’s degree in Urban Planning. He then received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

“I’m excited to join a law firm with such a strong reputation for effective advocacy in the land use and environment arena,” said Freedman. “I look forward to contributing to the success of our clients.”

About JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Group

JMBM’s land use attorneys represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals with interests before all levels of local, state and federal government, especially throughout California. Our particular strength is handling all permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate or expand operations. Projects we have helped move through the approval process include residential developments and apartment complexes, hotels, shopping centers, theaters, office buildings, and a wide range of industrial projects such as mines, energy plants and manufacturing facilities. Jeffer Mangels is recognized as a “2015 Best Law Firm” by U.S. News & World/Best Lawyers®, ranking in the first tier for Land Use and Zoning Law in Metropolitan Los Angeles.

Published on:

On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 52 (“AB 52”), which modifies the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) to add new protections for Native American cultural resources and enhances the role of Native American tribes in the environmental review process. AB 52 is a significant amendment to CEQA that poses both challenges and opportunities for project applicants. A brief summary of the new law, which takes effect July 1, 2015, is provided below.

AB 52 Creates a New Category of Potentially-Significant Environmental Impacts

Under current CEQA law, lead agencies typically evaluate whether a project would impact historic or archaeological resources. Although impacts to Native Americans may be evaluated, AB 52 specifically mandates evaluation of whether a project will impact “tribal cultural resources” which include sites, features, places, cultural landscapes, sacred places, and objects with cultural value to tribes. If the potential for impacts to such resources exists, as with other environmental impacts, increasing levels of CEQA analysis, mitigation measures, and the consideration of alternatives is required. Input from a tribe as to what is culturally significant to that tribe will drive the analysis for a given project. These changes take effect on July 1, 2015.
Continue reading

Published on:

JMBM Named as a 2015 Best Law Firm in Land Use and Zoning Law
JMBM’s Land Use Group Recognized for Third Year in a Row

Best Law Firms BadgeLOS ANGELES – Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce it is has been named a 2015 Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report / Best Lawyers® and is recognized with a Metropolitan First-Tier Ranking in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law. This is the third year in a row that JMBM’s Land Use practice has been included in the first tier for Metropolitan Los Angeles.

“Our clients are involved in development projects that range from urban mixed use developments and master planned communities, to coastal development and industrial siting. We are also involved in both traditional and renewable energy projects, representing the land use and environmental needs of solar energy companies as well as those in the oil and gas industry,” said Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department and publisher of the California Land Use Blog.
Continue reading

Published on:

by Kerry Shapiro, Esq.

The recent submittal of significant proposed revisions to California’s mining law, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (“SMARA”), signals potentially broad-reaching changes to the statute. On February 21, 2014, Senator Fran Pavely (D) introduced SB 1270, a bill proposing to overhaul various sections of SMARA. SB 1270 proposes fundamental changes to SMARA. Click here for a copy of SB 1270.

If these changes go through, mine owners and operators will be subject to a new regulatory system under which the State will assume a far greater and centralized role in various aspects of SMARA, including mine inspections, enforcement, and establishment of financial assurance mechanisms. The mining industry also faces the likely prospect of increased carrying costs, arising from such proposals as changes to the annual reporting fee structure (proposed at a minimum of $1,000/year on a per-acre basis, and with no maximum cap), to increased ability to appeal decisions relating to the State’s “3098” list.
Continue reading

Published on:

JMBM Best Law Firm 2014LOS ANGELES – Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce its land use practice has been selected for inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report / Best Lawyers® list of Best Law Firms. JMBM achieved a number of First-Tier Rankings, including a Metropolitan First-Tier Ranking (Los Angeles) in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law.

“Our clients count on us to successfully guide their development projects through the maze of politics, community concerns, and the law. It’s rewarding to deliver hard-won results, and a pleasure to be recognized for it,” said Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department. “My colleagues at JMBM and I are particularly pleased to be recognized as a Best Law Firm in this area, as it is an honor bestowed by our clients and peers.”
Continue reading