Is the Government Liable When Earthquake Warnings Go Wrong?

The recent earthquakes in California brought attention to the ShakeAlert system, which is intended to detect significant earthquakes quickly enough to send alerts to people before the shaking arrives. This system is in its infancy, but there’s hope it will eventually give the public precious seconds to take cover.  But will it also give rise to governmental liability? Continue reading

How to Prepare a Writ Petition for Superior Court

Regardless of whether you go with the noticed motion procedure or the alternative writ procedure, when initiating a writ proceeding in superior court you start with a writ petition. Here’s how you draft one. Continue reading

Timing for Presenting a Government Claim Is Critical

Before suing a public entity, a party generally must notify the government of its claim within a specified period of time. This is called “presenting” the claim. The rules around preparing and presenting a claim are strict and detailed. Here are some common questions with answers to help get your timing right. Continue reading

12 Actions Cities Can Take to Mitigate Tort Liability

Cities get sued. A lot. One of the most common kinds of lawsuits against a city arises from injuries caused by an allegedly dangerous condition of city property (like a sidewalk, road, or trail in a city park). Although it may not always be possible to avoid lawsuits based on the dangerous condition of city property, there are actions a city can take to at least make them easier to defend. This list may also be useful to plaintiff’s counsel going on the offensive.  Continue reading

Where to Start on Response to an Administrative Action

thinkstockphotos-529586985Your client is the subject of an agency investigation, accusation, or statement of issues on a license, benefit, or other matter. The timeline for filing your response is typically short, so you’ll have to move fast. Here are the first steps you should take. Continue reading

Are Public-Private Partnerships the Solution for CA’s Infrastructure Gap?

ThinkstockPhotos-155606531(1)Public-private partnerships (P3s) are hot in an era of budget cutbacks and the need for alternative, innovative ways to repair and replace our aging public infrastructure. P3s can help bridge the infrastructure gap by using private capital to finance large infrastructure projects and leveraging funding payments over the useful life of the new facilities. P3 isn’t the solution for all public infrastructure needs, but it’s a growing and important tool for public agencies to utilize for appropriate projects. Continue reading

Client with a License Issue? Take 3 Steps ASAP

166114538When you’re retained to represent a disciplined licensee or someone who’s been denied a license, the best defense is an early offense. Continue reading

California’s Redevelopment Agencies Are Dead, But They May Haunt Us

Apparently the saying used by frustrated parents applies to statutes: “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” The California Supreme Court has upheld recent legislation that dissolved California’s redevelopment agencies (RDAs) that were originally created by the legislature. The court also struck down the alternative legislative scheme that would have allowed RDAs to survive if they made certain payments to other state agencies. As a result, all of California’s nearly 400 RDAs are now effectively dissolved. But this may not be the end of the story. Continue reading

Be Ready for the Defense When Suing a City for a Pothole

In an earlier blog post, I discussed the elements of a claim against a public entity for dangerous condition of public property, such as a deep pothole or obscured signage at an intersection that causes a car accident. As a followup — and in response to a reader’s thoughtful comment — here are the defenses you may face when bringing such a claim. Even if all the elements of the claim are there, you always need to anticipate the public entity’s defenses. Continue reading

Before Taking on the Government for that Pothole

A client comes into your office claiming that a deep pothole or obscured signage at an intersection caused a car accident in which she was injured. Or maybe the family of a bicyclist comes to you claiming that dangerous road conditions contributed to her fatal crash. Would you know how to analyze the situation to determine whether there’s a basis for a suit against the city for the dangerous condition of public property? Continue reading