Significant Appellate Representations

Michael G. Colantuono

(as of January 2024)

Ninth Circuit

Borges v. County of Mendocino (Mem. Disp. Mar. 6, 2023) 2023 WL 2363692, Case No. 22-15673, cert. denied (successful defense of appeal from summary judgment for County in § 1983 challenge to denial of cannabis cultivation permit)

County of Sacramento v. Everest National Insurance Company (Mem. Disp. Feb. 13, 2023) 2023 WL 1960675, Case No. 22-15250 (EPLI coverage for public agency employer’s vicarious liability for management’s retaliation in violation of FEHA)

Flatten v. County of Mendocino (Mem. Disp. July 12, 2023) 2023 WL 4490353, Case No. 22-15741, cert. denied (successful defense of judgment of dismissal of § 1983 claim alleging conspiracy of County law enforcement officials to enforce cannabis cultivation regulations)

Hardesty v. Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (9th Cir. 2020) 824 Fed.Appx. 474 (successful appeal from judgment imposing $105m in consequential and punitive damages against County officials for alleged civil rights violations in enforcement of mining ordinances)

Thomas v. County of Humboldt (to be argued Apr. 9, 2024) Case no. 23-915847 (defense of judgment of dismissal of § 1983 claim alleging disparate enforcement of cannabis cultivation regulations)

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)

City of Alhambra v. County of Los Angeles (2012) 5 Cal.4th 707 (calculation of property tax administration fees counties charge other local governments)

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)

In re A.R. (2021) 11 Cal.5th 234 (constructive filing protects appeal from termination of parental rights for trial counsel’s failure to timely appeal) (counsel for amicus California Academy of Appellate Lawyers)

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)

Castañares v. City of Chula Vista (2024) 98 Cal.App.5th 295 (petition for review pending in defense of petition for writ review of trial court victory in Public Records Act dispute re video footage from police drones)

Citizens for Fair REU Rates 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 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)

Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (2023) 14 Cal.5th 671 (counsel for local government amici in reverse validation challenge to lease-leaseback financing of school construction found not subject to validation because proceeds did not fund debt)

George v. Superior Court (Edelson) (review denied) Case No. S267240 (constitutional privacy claim in discovery dispute)

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 & High, LLC v. City of Palos Alto (review denied) Case No. S279718 (application of AB 1600 / Mitigation Fee act to parking in lieu fees; remedies for failure to make 5-year findings)

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)

Hill RHF Partners v. City of Los Angeles (2021) 12 Cal.5th 458 (no duty to raise issues in assessment protest hearing under Prop. 218 before suit)

Honchariw v. County of Stanislaus Case No. S264101 (unsuccessful 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)

Legislature of the State of California v. Weber (Hiltachk) (pending) Case No. S281977 (amicus counsel for 11 local government associations in original jurisdiction, pre-election review of Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act)

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)

Malott v. Summerland Sanitary District (2020) 55 Cal.App.5th 1102, Supreme Court Case No. S265367 (unsuccessful request to depublish decision allowing post hoc expert evidence in Prop. 218 challenge to sewer rates) (counsel for local government amici)

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

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)

Roberts v. Coachella Valley Water District (review denied) Case Nos. S264391, 268243 (standing to challenge a water rate of which plaintiff bears only economic burden; whether expenditure of rate proceeds may be challenged under Props. 218 and 26; validity of State Water Project taxes)

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)

Sierra Watch v. Placer County (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 1, Case No. S271999 (unsuccessful request for League of California Cities for depublication of Brown Act case)

Stone v. Alameda Health System (pending) Case No. S279137 (application of wage orders to public entity employers) (counsel for amici)

Stronghold Engineering, Inc. v. City of Monterey (pending) Case No. S283051 (petition for review of decision exempting declaratory relief on claim for construction delay penalties from duty to claim under Government Claims Act)

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

Alameda County Taxpayers’ Association, Inc. v. County of Alameda (2024) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, 2024 WL 323213 (successful defense of challenge to initiative special tax for children’s services)

Alameda County Taxpayers’ Association, Inc. v. County of Alameda (pending) Case No. A168775 (appeal from successful validation of general transactions and use tax)

Barajas v. City of Petaluma (pending) Case No. A165258 (appeal from challenge to failure to make adequate findings under AB 1600 as to development impact fees (counsel for amicus curiae League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties)

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 Case No. A156261 (appellate defense of judgment on demurrer to challenge to pension benefits based on statute of limitations) (plaintiff abandoned appeal after respondents’ brief filed)

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

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)

Costeaux French Bakery, Inc. v. County of Sonoma (pending) Case No. A166727 (defense of appeal from denial of catalyst attorney fees in moot challenge to restaurant permitting fees collected during COVID shutdowns)

Essick v. County of Sonoma (2022) 80 Cal.App.5th 562 (successful defense of victory in reverse Public Records Act case involving report of investigation of misconduct by elected Sheriff)

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)

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)

Mission Peak Conservancy v. State Water Resources Control Board (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 873 (SWRCB registration of small domestic water use is ministerial act exempt from CEQA)

Mission Peak Conservancy v. County of Alameda (unpublished) (Case No. A165954 (successful defense of judgment defeating CEQA challenge to ministerial permits for improvement of ranch residence in Livermore Hills)

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)

Raddavero v. The Carvery, Inc. (settled on appeal) Case No. A166688 (appeals from multi-million-dollar treble damages award for trademark infringement and from denial of new trial motion)

Ruegg & Ellsworth v. City of Berkeley (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 277 (SB 35 applies to mixed-use developments; standard of review of decisions excluding projects from the benefit of that pro-housing statute) (counsel for amici)

Schram v. County of Sonoma (pending) Case No. A167081 (defense of dismissal on demurrer of untimely challenge to erroneous sewer fees collected on property tax roll)

Senior and Disability Action v. Weber (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 357 (amicus brief for California Academy of Appellate Lawyers re appealability before final judgment of order granting or denying writ)

Silva v. Humboldt County (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 928 (successful defense of trial court victory on scope of business license tax on cannabis cultivation)

Valley Baptist Church v. City of San Rafael (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 401 (religious exemption from property taxes inapplicable to special parcel tax)

Walker v. Marin Municipal Water District (unpublished), Case No. A152048, S255268 (review denied) (exhaustion of remedies not required in Prop. 218 challenge to water rates; counsel for amici, counsel for District on remand)

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 (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 1068 (invalidating assessment for beach restoration project under Prop. 218; upholding denial of CCP § 1021.5 fees)

California Apartment Association v. City of Pasadena (pending) Case No. B329883 (consulting counsel on defense of rent control initiative against charter revision and preemption attack)

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

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)

City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 110 (successful defense of victory in remand trial of Prop. 26 challenge to groundwater augmentation charges)

City of Torrance v. PBF Energy Western Region, LLC (settled on appeal) Case. No. B323159 (defense of trial victory enforcing UUT against refinery which underpaid tax due to SCE’s failure to collect as litigated in Torrance v. Southern California Edison).

City of Torrance v. Southern California Edison (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 1071 (UUT applies to greenhouse gas credits)

Colyear v. Rolling Hills Community Association (argued 12/8/23) Case No. B308382 (representation of amicus in dispute regarding application of CC&Rs to regulate landscaping affecting views)

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 (unpublished) Case No. B295181 (successful defense of Prop. 218 challenge to PBID assessment on remand from Supreme Court)

Jacks v. City of Santa Barbara (unpublished) Case No. B299297 (successful appellate defense of victory in remand trial in Prop. 218 challenge to electric franchise fee)

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)

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)

Saavedra v. City of Glendale (unpublished) (Case No. B310212) (successful defense of victory on remand of challenge to general fund transfer from power utility)

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)

Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company v. City of Carson (pending) Case No. B_____ (support for counsel of record in appellate defense of challenge to excise tax on petroleum operations)

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)

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, 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)

City of Gridley v. Superior Court (McMillan) Case No. C100191 (pending petition for writ review of denial of summary judgment in takings challenge to electric rates), Case No. C096594 (unsuccessful petition for writ review of order allowing discovery in same case)

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

City of Paramount v. Cohen, et al. (settled) Case No. C0788968 (2017) (appeal of post-RDA dispute with Department of Finance over recognized obligations)

City of Sacramento v. Wyatt (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 373 (voter approval of general fund transfer from water, sewer, and trash enterprise funds as special tax satisfies Prop. 218)

Community Environmental Advocates v. City of Grass Valley (unpublished) Case No. C094613 (successful defense of trial court victory in CEQA challenge to mixed use development, remand of one issue)

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)

Cultiva La Salud v. State of California (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 868 (amicus support for appellate victory upholding successful public health challenge to statute preempting local soda taxes)

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)

Erickson v. County of Nevada (unpublished) Case No. C082927, review and cert. denied (successful appellate defense of trial victory in inverse condemnation challenge to setback requirement under ridgeline protection ordinance)

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 (unpublished) Case No. C090473 (successful defense of local sales tax challenged as a special tax due to ballot label)

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

Lauckhart v. County of Yolo (unpublished) Case No. C092354 (successful defense of CSA fee for water services under Prop. 218)

Main Street Taxpayers Association v. Town of Mammoth Lakes (pending) Case No. C100379 (defense of trial court victory in challenge to bed tax and tourism business improvement district assessment)

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

McClure v. City of Lincoln (settled) Case No. C096238 (appellate defense of victory on demurrer applying statute of limitations to challenge to oak tree mitigation fee under Mitigation Fee Act)

Miner’s Camp, LLC v. Foresthill Public Utility District (unpublished) Case No. C088828 (exhaustion of administrative remedies, statutes of limitation, propriety of attorney fees in Prop. 218 challenge to water rates) (counsel for amici)

Ryan v. City of Roseville (unpublished) Case No. C090903 (successful appellate defense of dismissal on demurrer in landowners’ challenge to City real estate transactions)

Tracy Rural Fire District v. San Joaquin LAFCO (2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 91 (invalidating LAFCO policy requiring detachments from fire district upon annexation to City of Tracy)

Wolstoncroft v. County of Yolo (2021) 68 Cal.App.5th 327 (fee to fund new water supply for CSA valid property-related fee, not an assessment, and protests ballots mailed, but not timely received, property excluded)

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

Alliance San Diego v. Yes! For a Better San Diego (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 419 (initiative special tax may be approved by simple majority)

Beck v. City of Canyon Lake (pending) Case No. D083322 (appeal from writ invalidating general utility users tax on water and sewer under Prop. 218)

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)

Castañares v. City of Chula Vista (2024) 98 Cal.App.5th 295 (defense of petition for writ review of trial court victory in Public Records Act dispute re video footage from police drones)

Garvin v. San Diego Unified Port District (dismissed) Case No. D078578 (objector’s appeal from settlement of class action challenge to airport parking fee dismissed for failure to intervene in trial court)

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)

Patz v. City of San Diego (pending) Case. No. D080308 (amicus support in City’s appeal from loss in class challenge to tiered water rates)

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 unsuccessful 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, discovery issues including 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)

Stronghold Engineering, Inc. v. City of Monterey (pending) Case No. D082763 (defense of denial of 1094.5 writ to overturn penalties on contractor for violating statutes governing listing of subcontractors on bids)

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 (2021) 68 Cal.App.5th 692 (successful defense of trial court victory in challenge to property taxes on possessory interests on tribal land)

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

Chino Basin Municipal Water District v. City of Ontario (to be argued Mar. 15, 2024) Case No. E079052 (appeal from post-judgment order in water rights adjudication allowing pools formed under judgment to bind their members to contracts)

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

Coachella Valley Water District v. Superior Court (Roberts) (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 755 (obtained appellate writ petition overturning denial of 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)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Powell (pending) Case No. E079078, E079712 (appeal from order awarding attorney fees for allegedly frivolous SLAPP motion and related appeal from denial of SLAPP motion)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Coachella Valley Water District (pending) Case No. E081996 (Prop. 26 challenge to replenishment assessment charges)

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Coachella Valley Water District (unpublished) Case No. E078411 (successful appellate defense of victory in Prop. 218 dispute regarding interfund loan), related appeal from cost award settled in Case No. E079795

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)

Jones v. City of Loma Linda (unpublished) (Case No. E076772) (successful defense of termination of fire captain in separation-of-functions due process challenge)

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)

Pacific Western Bank v. City of Monterey (pending) Case No. E082907 (defense of victory on demurrer in action interpleading security bond for construction project)

Roberts v. Coachella Valley Water District (pending) Case No. E080870 (appeal from trial court ruling invalidating rates for canal water service)

San Bernardino Public Employees Association v. City of Barstow (settled), Case No. E032858 (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 (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)

City of Redlands v. Rogers (pending) Case No. G063580 (appeal from writ invalidating solid waste fees for recover of impacts on city streets)

Doe v. Silverman (pending) Case No. G063220 (appeal from grant of SLAPP motion in tort case arising from wrongful use of confidential juvenile dependency report in employment litigation)

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

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)

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)

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, F068569, F069963 (multiple writs re initiative to lower water rates)

Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District

Award Homes v. County of San Benito (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 290 (development impact fee payable on annexation protected from developer’s challenge by validation statute of limitations)

Bay View Community DE, LLC v. Marina Coast Water District (settled on appeal; request for stipulated reversal pending) Case No. H050456 (defense of trial court victory regarding tiered water rates, title to mobilehome park water distribution system, and penalties and interest ordinances)

BMC Promise Way, LLC v. County of San Benito (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 279 (development impact fee payable on annexation protected from developer’s challenge by validation statute of limitations)

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)

City of Half Moon Bay v. Granada Community Services District (unpublished) Case No. H049896 (successful appeal from summary judgment granting declaratory relief as to regional sewer joint powers agreement)

City of Palo Alto v. Green (unpublished) Case No. H049436 (successful motion for stipulated reversal to settle appeal and cross-appeal from partial victory in Prop. 26 challenge to general fund transfers from gas and electric utilities)

County of San Benito v. Scagliotti (unpublished) Case No. H045887 (recoupment of costs to defend former Supervisor in conflict-of-interest case finding him 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 (2022) 85 Cal.App.5th 311 (successful 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 (appeal from successful defense of District’s refusal to place referendum on ballot to repeal water supply charge)

Monterey Peninsula Taxpayers Assn v. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (pending), Case No. H051128 (appeal from order invalidating water supply charge under ordinance’s sunset provision)

Rose v. County of San Benito (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 688 (successful appeal reversing writ enforcing implied contract for life-time retiree medical benefits)

Stronghold Engineering, Inc. v. City of Monterey (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 1203, petn. review pending (application of Government Claims Act to declaratory relief on claim for construction delay penalties)

Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC and its lawyers have deep experience in the full range of appellate issues confronting California’s cities and counties in every appellate court in our state.