Significant Appellate Representations
Michael G. Colantuono

as of September 2020

Ninth Circuit

Hardesty v. Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, , (9th Cir. 2020) ___ Fed.Appx. ___, 2020 WL 4816361 (successful appeal from judgment imposing $105m in consequential and punitive damages against County officials for alleged civil rights violations in enforcement of mining ordinances)

California Supreme Court

Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Association v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (2020) 9 Cal.5th 1032 (PEPRA reduction in retirement benefits did not violate contracts clause) (counsel for amicus)

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California v. Superior Court (City of Los Angeles) (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1032 (automated license plate reader data exempt from disclosure under Public Records Act unless anonymized) (counsel for amicus)

Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (2016) 62 Cal.4th 1176 (inadvertent release of attorney-client privileged documents on public records request did not waive privilege)

Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (2011) 52 Cal.4th 241 (class action challenge to local taxes, assessments and fees permitted by California Government Claims Act but may be barred by claiming ordinance)

Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency v. Verjil (2006) 39 Cal.4th 205 (Prop. 218 applies to metered water rates; initiative to reduce water rates prohibited to extent it would require voter approval of subsequent rate increases) (counsel for amici)

Bonander v. Town of Tiburon (2009) 46 Cal.4th 646 (general validation procedure for public agency action does not apply to actions to contest assessments under Municipal Improvement Act of 1915) (counsel for amici)

California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland (2017) 3 Cal.5th 924 (Prop. 218 requirement that general taxes appear on ballots with Council or Board seats does not apply to initiative tax proposal) (counsel for amici)

Citizens for Fair REU Rates, Feefighter, LLC v. City of Redding (2018) 6 Cal.5th 1. (PILOT transfer from electric utility to City’s general fund did not violate Prop. 26 because wholesale revenues were sufficient to fund the PILOT)

City and County of San Francisco v. UC Regents (2019) 7 Cal.5th 536 (cities and counties may compel state agencies to collect taxes on third parties) (counsel for local government amici)

City of Alhambra, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al. (2012) 55 Cal.4th 707 (counties misapplied property tax administration fees to taxes received in lieu of Vehicle License Fees and sales taxes under the VLF Swap and Triple Flip)

City of Hayward v. Board of Trustees of the California State University, Case No. S203939 (2015) (reviewed granted, held for lead case, and vacated and remanded) (duty of CSU to seek funding to make feasible mitigation of impacts of expansion of CSU East Bay on fire services of City) (author of amicus support for review)

City of Oroville v. Superior Court (California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority), (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1091 (no inverse condemnation liability for sewer flooding caused by plaintiff’s failure to install back water valve required by Uniform Plumbing Code)

City of Pasadena v. Superior Court (Mercury Casualty Co.) (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1228 (unsuccessful petition for review) (inverse condemnation liability for fallen tree)

City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1191 (groundwater augmentation charge subject to Proposition 26, not 218)

Coachella Valley Water District v. Superior Court (Roberts) (pending) Case No. S264391 (review of denial of demurrer on standing defense to challenge to water rates the plaintiff does not pay directly)

Greene v. Marin County Flood Control & Water Conservation District (2010) 49 Cal.4th 277 (property owner ballots on property related fees under Prop. 218 not subject to ballot secrecy)

Haas v. County of San Bernardino (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1017 (County counsel’s unilateral selection of temporary administrative hearing officers on an ad hoc basis violates due process) (counsel for amici)

Hamilton v. Yates (review denied) Case No. S252914 (requisites of collateral order doctrine as to appealability) (principal author for amicus California Academy of Appellate Lawyers’ support for review)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass’n v. City of La Habra (2001) 25 Cal.4th 809 (continued imposition and collection of a utility user’s tax without voter approval was an ongoing or continuous violation of Proposition 62, with statute of limitations beginning anew with each collection) (counsel for amici)

Honchariw v. County of Stanislaus (pending) Case No. S264101 (request to depublish Court of Appeal decision undermining short statute of limitations for Subdivision Map Act disputes)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass’n v. City of La Habra (2001) 25 Cal.4th 809 (continued imposition and collection of a utility user’s tax without voter approval was an ongoing or continuous violation of Proposition 62, with statute of limitations beginning anew with each collection) (counsel for amici)

In re Transient Occupancy Cases (2016) 2 Cal.5th 151 (bed taxes do not apply to full priced charged by on-line resellers of hotel rooms) (counsel for local government amici)

Jacks v. City of Santa Barbara (2017) 3 Cal.5th 248 (supplemental franchise not a tax even though passed through to utility customers if reasonably related to value of right of way made available)

Jameson v. Desta (2018) 5 Cal.5th 594 (right of indigent civil litigants to subsidized reporter’s transcript) (amicus)

Kurwa v. Kislinger (2017) 4 Cal.5th 109 (application of final judgment rule to appeal from case in which some claims were voluntarily dismissed and subject to tolling agreement) (counsel for amicus California Academy of Appellate Lawyers)

Leider v. Lewis (2017) 2 Cal.5th 1121 (no taxpayer standing to enforce criminal laws in challenge to confinement of elephants in LA Zoo) (counsel for local government amici)

Marina Coast Water District v. California Public Utilities Commission (review pending) Case Nos. S251935, S253585 (unusual original writs of review of PUC decision certifying EIR for desalination project) (review denied)

McClain v. Sav-On Drugs (2019) 6 Cal.5th 951 (no consumer remedy for erroneous collection of sales tax) (counsel for amicus)

McWilliams v. City of Long Beach (2013) 56 Cal.4th 613 (Government Claims Act preempts local tax and fee claiming ordinances and allows class claims)

People ex rel. Lockyer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (2005) 37 Cal.4th 707 (tobacco company’s distribution of free cigarettes violated statute regulating non-sale distribution of cigarettes) (counsel for amici)

Plantier v. Ramona Municipal Water District (2019) 7 Cal.5th 372 (exhaustion of administrative remedies not required in Prop. 218 challenge to sewer rate classification) (counsel for amici)

Richmond v. Shasta Community Services Dist. (2004) 32 Cal.4th 409 (increased capacity charge and fee for fire suppression imposed on applicants for new service connections was not an “assessment” subject to Proposition 218)

San Diego Unified Port District v. California Coastal Commission (review denied) Case No. S252474 (2019) (scope of Coastal Commission review of master port plan under statute, separations of powers and charter city home rule power)

Weiss v. Department of Transportation (2020) 9 Cal.5th 840 (CCP 1260.040 motion limited to eminent domain, not available in inverse condemnation)

Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir (2020) 9 Cal.5th 1105 (water rates not subject to referendum) (argued for amici)

Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District

Brooktrails Township CSD v. Board of Supervisors (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 195 (successfully requested publication on behalf of League of California Cities)

Brown v. City of San Rafael (pending) Case No. A156261 (appellate defense of judgment on demurrer to challenge to pension benefits based on statute of limitations) (plaintiff/appellant abandoned appeal after respondents’ briefs filed)

Building Industry Association v. City of San Ramon (2016) 4 Cal.5th 62 (citywide Mello-Roos District to fund supplemental municipal services to new development complied with statute) (counsel for amicus League of California Cities)

City of San Rafael v. Valley Baptist Church (pending) Case No. A156171 (application of religious exemption from property taxes to special parcel tax)

City of Scotts Valley v. County of Santa Cruz (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 97 (calculation of no- and low-property tax city subvention) (counsel for amici)

City of Vallejo v. NCORP4, Inc. (2017) 15 Cal.App.5th 1078 (City properly limited marijuana dispensary licenses to those who complied with its earlier tax)

Green Valley Landowners Association v. City of Vallejo (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 425 (effort to enjoin sale of part of City water utility subject to successful demurrer without leave to amend as seeking to enforce an implied contract and to compel subsidized water rates in violation of Prop. 218)

HUMMAP v. County of Humboldt (pending), Case Nos. A160161, A160264 (appeal from judgment invalidating ordinances as amending, rather than implementing, cannabis business tax)

Kahan v. City of Richmond (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 721 (collection of delinquent trash fees on tax roll does not violate Prop. 218)

Luke v. County of Sonoma (2019) 43 Cal.App.5th 301 (successful appellate defense of judgment on demurrer dismissing challenge to pension benefits awarded in 2002 claiming failure to satisfy statutory notice requirements)

Paland v. Brooktrails Township CSD Bd. of Directors (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 1358 (monthly minimum water service fee for account inactivated for non-payment not subject to assessment provisions of Prop. 218) (counsel for amici)

Senior & Disability Action v. Padilla (pending), Case No. A159540 (amicus brief for California Academy of Appellate Lawyers re appealability before final judgment from order granting or denying writ)

Walker v. Marin Municipal Water District (unpublished), Case No. A152048, S255268 (review denied) (amicus brief for local government associations; exhaustion of administrative remedies not required in Prop. 218 challenge to water rates; counsel for District in remand trial)

Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District

AB Cellular LA, LLC v. City of Los Angeles (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 747 (City’s decision to implement federal law to expand cell tax to cover all airtime was a tax “increase” requiring voter approval under Proposition 218 but earlier instructions to carriers enforceable to require payment of tax)

Arcadia Redevelopment Agency v. Ikemoto (1991) 16 Cal.App.4th 444 (agency challenge to application of property tax administration fees to tax increment) (counsel for amici)

Birke v. Oakwood Worldwide (2009) 169 Cal.App.4th 1540 (pervasive outdoor secondhand smoke may form the basis for private nuisance claim) (counsel for amicus California Chapter of the American Lung Association) (filed amicus brief and argued)

Broad Beach GHAD v. All Persons Interested (pending) Case No. B304699 (appeal from judge invalidating assessment funding beach restoration project)

Broad Beach GHAD v. All Persons Interested (unpublished) Case Nos. B293494, B296304 (writ review of summary judgment and motion to strike document from administrative record in action to validate GHAD assessment)

City of Glendale v. Superior Court (Glendale Coalition for Better Government) Case Nos. B270135, B283819 (2016) (alternate writ issued to reverse order allowing discovery in water rates case limited to administrative record)

Glendale Coalition for Better Government v. City of Glendale (unpublished) Case Nos. B281994, B281991 (largely upholding Prop. 26 challenge to transfer from electric utility to general fund)

Glendale Coalition for Better Government v. City of Glendale (unpublished) Case No. B282410 (largely upholding tiered water rates against Prop. 218 challenge)

Goleta Ag Preservation v. Goleta Water District (unpublished), Case No. B277227 (successful defense of Proposition 218 challenge to tiered water rates and notice to customers not property taxpayers)

Hill RHF Partners v. City of Los Angeles, Mesa RHF Partners, LP v. City of Los Angeles (2020) 51 Cal.App.5th 621 (successful defense of Prop. 218 challenge to BID assessments based on plaintiffs’ failure to exhaust administrative remedies)

Jacks v. City of Santa Barbara (pending) Case No. B299297 (appellate defense of victory in trial on remand from Supreme Court in challenge to charter city’s electric franchise fee as a tax under Prop. 218)

Newhall County Water District v. Castaic Lake Water Agency (2016) 243 Cal.App.4th 1430 (successful challenge to wholesale water rates based on use of groundwater not managed by wholesaler)

City of Pasadena v. Medical Cannabis Caregivers (2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 1086 (affirmance of preliminary injunctions against unpermitted marijuana dispensaries and related judgment upholding zoning ordinance)

Re-Open Rambla, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors (City of Malibu) (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 1499 (county’s title to closed road vested in city upon incorporation despite city’s effort to avoid accepting the street)

Ruskey v. Goleta Water District (unpublished), Case No. B275856 (successful appellate defense of successful demurrer for lack of standing in Prop. 218 challenge to water rates)

City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District (unpublished) Case No. B251810 (remanding to respondent district for further record-making in Prop. 26 challenge to 3:1 ratio of agricultural to municipal & industrial fees for groundwater replenishment services) (on remand from California Supreme Court)

Schmeer v. County of Los Angeles (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 1310 (plastic bag ban ordinance provision for $0.10 fee on paper bags was not a tax under Prop. 26 because proceeds did not fund government) (counsel for local government amici)

Sipple v. City of Hayward (2014) 225 Cal.App.4th 349 (standing and claiming defenses to quasi-class refund claim for allegedly overpaid telephone taxes) (petition for review denied)

City of Torrance v. Southern California Edison (pending) Case No. B300296 (suit to compel SCE to fully collect electric utility tax in light of greenhouse gas credits to customers)

Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District

Auburn Police Officers Association v. City of Auburn (unpublished), Case No. C067972 (2013) (stipulated reversal regarding availability under Meyers-Milias-Brown Act of writ review of City Council’s denial of grievance from exercise of escape clause from salary increases pursuant to MOU)

City of Auburn v. Sierra Patient & Caregiver Exchange, Inc. (unpublished), Case No. C069622 (2013) (upholding preliminary injunction against medical marijuana dispensary opened in violation of zoning and business license ordinances)

City of Bellflower, et al. v. Cohen, et al. (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 438 (self-help provisions of post-redevelopment legislation violate Prop. 22’s protection for local government revenues)

City of Chula Vista, et al. v. Drager [Sandoval] (2020) 49 Cal.App.5th 539 (challenge to County’s calculation of post-RDA RPTTF revenues) (petn. for review filed)

Davies v. Martinez, (unpublished), Case No. C078986 (2018) (appeal dismissed as to our defense of summary judgment for attorney in breach of fiduciary duty claim by incarcerated former client suing in pro per)

City of Fountain Valley v. Cohen, et al. (unpublished) Case No. C081661 (representation of taxing agency in Successor Agency’s unsuccessful appeal of post-RDA dispute with Department of Finance over recognized obligations)

City of Grass Valley v. Cohen, et al. (2017) 17 Cal.App.5th 567 (contract with County Transportation Commission to fund freeway interchange likely a recognized obligation of former RDA)

City of Grass Valley v. Superior Court (pending) Case No. C091945 (unsuccessful petition for writ review of denial of summary judgment and CCP 1260.040 motion in inverse case arising from sinkhole associated with city storm drain)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass’n v. City of Roseville (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 637 (in-lieu franchise fee charged to water and sewer utilities for benefit of general fund violated Prop. 218) (counsel for amici on request for rehearing)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. County of Yuba (pending) Case No. C090473 (defense of local sales tax challenged as a special tax due to ballot label)

Inyo County LAFCO v. Southern Mono Healthcare District (pending) Case No. C085138 (defense of trial court victory in dispute involving LAFCO power to regulate out-of-boundary service by healthcare district)

City of Lakewood v. Cohen, et al., (unpublished) Case No. C078788 (2018) (appeal of post-RDA dispute with Department of Finance over recognized obligations)

Lockyer et al. v. County of Nevada et al. (unpublished), Case No. C075249 (2014) (successful appellate defense of land use permits for cell tower)

Main Street Taxpayers Association v. Town of Mammoth Lakes (pending) Case No. C091546 (defense of trial court victory in challenge to tourism business improvement district assessment)

County of Nevada v. Superior Court (unpublished), Case Nos. C076851, C082927 (interlocutory writ review of trial court writ of mandamus overturning use permit conditions for ridge-top residence; appeal from judgment pending)

Ryan v. City of Roseville (pending) Case No. C090903 (appellate defense of success in dismissing on demurrer in landowners’ challenge to real estate transactions of City and a non-profit economic development entity controlled by the City)

City of Sacramento v. Wyatt (pending), Case No. C089702 (appeal from trial court ruling that voter approval insufficient to protect general fund transfer from water, sewer, and trash enterprise funds under Prop. 218)

Tracy Rural Fire District v. San Joaquin LAFCO (pending) Case No. C091534 (appeal from denial or preliminary relief in challenge to LAFCO policy requiring detachments from fire district upon annexation to City of Tracy)

Wolstoncroft v. County of Yolo (pending) Case No. C091399 (defend of trial court victory in challenge to CSA water fee)

Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division 1 (San Diego)

California Taxpayers Action Network v. City of San Diego (unpublished) Case No. D072987 (2018) (successful defense of dismissal on demurrer of challenge to business improvement district assessment)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass’n v. City of San Diego (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 230 (BID assessment on businesses collected as surcharge on business license tax neither levy on real property nor special tax within meaning of Proposition 218) (counsel for amici)

Jentz v. City of Chula Vista (unpublished) Case No. D055401 (2010) (consistency of specific plan with slow-growth initiative)

Plantier v. Ramona Municipal Water District (2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 856 (rev. granted) (exhaustion of administrative remedies defense to Prop. 218 challenge to sewer rates) (counsel for local government amici)

Reid v. City of San Diego (San Diego Tourism Marketing District) (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 343 (tourism marketing assessment subject to 30-day statute of limitations, equal protection does not require registered voter election on assessment)

San Diegans for Open Government v. City of San Diego (San Diego Tourism Marketing District) (unpublished) Case No. D072181 (successful appeal from award of catalyst attorney fees in unsuccess challenge to tourism assessment)

San Diegans for Open Government v. City of San Diego (San Diego Tourism Marketing District) (unpublished) Case Nos. D064817 (2013), D065171 (2014), D068022 (2015), D069965 (2016) (writ review of denial of demurrer to Prop. 26 challenge to renewal of tourism marketing district, re discovery of plaintiff association’s members, discovery of computer of late founder of plaintiff association, and discovery of extra-record evidence for use on the merits)

San Diegans for Open Government v. City of San Diego (57 Municipal Assessment Districts) (unpublished), Case No. D065929 (2015) (successful defense of trial court dismissal of challenge to MADs for lack of standing; petition for review pending; successful defense of petition for review)

Webb v. City of Riverside (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 244 (challenge to general fund transfer from electric utility barred by 120-day statute of limitations; change of use of rate proceeds was not an “increase” triggering Prop. 26)

Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division 2 (Riverside)

Albrecht v. Coachella Valley Water District (pending) Case No.E073926 (defense of trial court victory in challenge to property taxes on possessory interests on tribal land)

City of Barstow v. Fortunye (settled on appeal), Case No. E035595 (2005) (implementation of decree adjudicating Mojave River)

Beutz v. County of Riverside (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 1516 (Landscaping and Lighting assessment engineer’s report insufficient to satisfy Prop. 218)

Coachella Valley Water District v. Superior Court (Roberts) (pending) (Case No. E074010 (obtained order to show cause on appellate writ petition for review of order denying demurrer in challenge to State Water Project tax)

Crystaplex Plastics, Ltd. v. Redevelopment Agency (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 990 (supplier may recover against agency for amount of check where subcontractor received and negotiated check without knowledge, consent, or endorsement of supplier even though Agency made check to both subcontractor and supplier)

Inland Oversight Committee v. City of Ontario (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 1140 (sustaining dismissal of Prop. 26 challenge to Tourism Marketing District Assessment for lack of standing and due to untimely appeal) (counsel for amici)

Mission Springs Water District v. Verjil (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 892 (suit to bar initiative repeal of water rates from ballot subject to SLAPP, but SLAPP motion properly denied because evidence showed initiative would violate District’s statutory duty to fund adequate water supply) (counsel for amici)

San Bernardino Public Employees Association v. City of Barstow (settled on appeal), Case No. E032858 (2003) (City refusal to implement bargained for pension enhancement due to bargaining conduct of self-interested City negotiator)

Trask v. Riverside City Clerk (unpublished), Case No. E065817 (2016) (defense of election challenge to proposed charter amendment; remanded for dismissal as moot)

Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division 3 (Santa Ana)

Citizens Ass’n of Sunset Beach v. City of Huntington Beach (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 1182 (Prop. 218 does not apply to extension of City taxes into annexation area)

City of El Cajon v. San Diego County LAFCO (unpublished), Case No. G041793 (2010) (DCA upheld challenge to denial of island annexation)

City of San Juan Capistrano v. Capistrano Taxpayers Association (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 1493 (inclining block conservation rates failed under Prop. 218, but recovery of recycled water program costs from all customers permissible)

Wetlands Restoration v. City of Seal Beach, et al. (unpublished), Case No. G010231 (1991) (defense of City’s housing element)

Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District

Davis v. Mariposa County Board of Supervisors (2019) 38 Cal.App.5th 1048 (successful defense of Prop. 218 challenge to fire suppression benefit assessment due to appellant’s failure to timely appeal)

City of Clovis et al. v. County of Fresno (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1469 (interest rate applicable to repayment of PTAF following Alhambra v. Los Angeles County) (argued for amicus League of California Cities)

Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, Case No. F059871 (appeal dismissed by City following recall of Council majority) (procedures for increase in water rates under Proposition 218) (co-author of amicus brief)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass’n v. City of Fresno (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 914 (transfer from utility enterprise to general fund pursuant to voter-approved charter provision as payment in lieu of property taxes violated Proposition 218’s restrictions on use of property related fees)

Neilson v. City of California City (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 1296 (flat-rate parcel tax not an unconstitutional general tax, but rather a special tax dedicated to specific purposes; equal protection does not entitle absentee landowners to vote) (counsel for amici)

Vagim v. City of Fresno Case Nos. F068541 (2014), F068569 (2014), F069963 (2014) (multiple writs re initiative to lower water rates)

Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District

Award Homes v. County of San Benito (pending) Case No. H044894 (pending) (defense of trial court victory and new trial motion in dispute as to development fees)

BMC Promise Way, LLC v. County of San Benito (pending) Case No. H046707 (pending) (defense of trial court victory and new trial motion in dispute as to development fees)

Citizens for Responsible Open Space v. San Mateo County LAFCO (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 717 (rejecting procedural challenges to annexation to open space district) (ghost‑writer of amicus brief for CALAFCO)

County of San Benito v. Scagliotti (submitted and awaiting decision) Case No. H045887 (recoupment of costs to defend former Supervisor in conflict of interest case in which he was found to have engaged in knowing misconduct)

Eiskamp v. Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (2012) 203 Cal.Ap.4th 97) (challenge to groundwater charge barred by res judicata effect of earlier settlement) (successfully opposed review and depublication)

Griffith v. Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 856 (successful defense of Proposition 218 challenge to groundwater augmentation charges)

Hobbs v. City of Pacific Grove (pending) Case No. H047705 (appellate defense of trial court victory in challenge to regulation of short-term rentals)

Holloway v. Showcase Realty Agents, Inc. (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 758 (taxpayer had standing to assert Government Code § 1090 claim against Water District and former director; overruled by subsequent case law)

Holloway v. Vierra, Case Nos. H044505, H044800 (unpublished) (defense of taxpayer’s Political Reform Act claims against former Water District director; appeal of attorney fee award)

Monterey Peninsula Taxpayers Assn v. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (unpublished), Case No. H042484 (2018) (appeal from successful defense of District’s refusal to place referendum on ballot to repeal water supply charge)