Significant Appellate Representations

Holly O. Whatley

(as of May 2021)

California Supreme Court

Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (2016) 62 Cal.4th 1176 (inadvertent disclosure of privileged documents in response to Public Records Act request does not waive attorney client privilege or attorney work product privilege)

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)

Hill RHF Housing Partners, L.P. v. City of Los Angeles (2020) 51 Cal. App. 5th 621, review granted Sept. 16, 2020, S263734 (whether property owner challenging assessment imposed pursuant to article XIII D, section 4 and BID law must exhaust administrative remedies by articulating at public hearing on the proposed assessment the reason or reasons it alleges the assessment is invalid)

Court of Appeal for First Appellate District

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

Kahan v. City of Richmond (pending) DCA Case No. A150866 (defense of trial court victory in dismissing putative class action claim seeking refunds of delinquent solid waste fees secured by liens on the property tax roll)

Macy’s Dept. Stores v. City and County of San Francisco (2006) 143 Cal. App. 4th 1444 (where business tax found to violate Commerce Clause, refund limited to an amount sufficient to cure discriminatory effect of tax) (counsel for Amici)

Court of Appeal for Second Appellate District

City of Oxnard v. Sempra Energy et al. DCA Case No. B260192 (obtained reversal in city’s favor to recover $1.5 million from utility company for costs to relocate underground pipes placed pursuant to franchise agreement (unpublished January 26, 2016))

City of Oxnard v. Starr, DCA Case No. B297294 (obtained reversal in city’s favor to declare invalid voter initiative that set wastewater fees too low to comply with state law [unpublished October 13, 2020])

Hobbs v. Verizon California, DCA Case No. B228482 (represented real-party-in-interest City of Los Angeles to successfully uphold trial court’s sustaining of demurrer to qui tam claim involving alleged under-collection of telephone users tax (unpublished July 19, 2011))

j2 Global Communications v. City of Los Angeles (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 328 (plaintiff’s telephone service was not exempt from local taxes under the Federal Internet Tax Freedom Act) (additionally, successfully opposed plaintiff’s request to depublish case)

Jurupa Avenue Limited Partnership v. City of Vernon, DCA Case No. B263083 (successfully defended city’s apportionment of special parcel tax between taxable and non-taxable uses is an invalid abused of discretion) (unpublished May 23, 2016)

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

Starr v. City of Oxnard, pending DCA Case No. B307585 (defending trial court ruling in favor of City of Oxnard denying challenge to voter approval of term limits)

Stonehouse Homes v. City of Sierra Madre (2008) 167 Cal. App. 4th 531 (successfully defended trial court’s sustaining of demurrer sustained as to challenge to legislation proposed pursuant to zoning moratorium but not yet enacted)

Court of Appeal for Third Appellate District

City of Bellflower, et al. v. Cohen, et al. (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 438 (self-help provisions of A.B. 1484, post-redevelopment legislation, violate Prop. 22’s protection for local government revenues)

City of Chula Vista, et al. v. Sandoval (pending), Case No. C080711 (defense of trial court victory in challenge to County’s calculation of post-RDA RPPTF revenues)

North Sonoma Coast Fire Protection District v. Dunk et al., pending DCA Case No. C090758 (defending trial court’s denial of challenge to County’s calculation of the ERAF shift due a newly established independent fire protection district)

Court of Appeal for Fourth Appellate District, Division Three (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, DCA Case No. G041793 (Upheld challenge to denial of island annexation (unpublished August 11, 2010))

City of El Cajon v. San Diego County LAFCO, DCA Case No. G045021 (Upheld denial of attorneys’ fees to city that successfully challenged denial of island annexation (unpublished March 28, 2012))

Julian Volunteer Fire Company Association et al. v. Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection Dist, pending DCA Case No. D076639 (defending trial court ruling in favor of intervenor LAFCO denying Brown Act claim against dissolved special district)

Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection Dist. v. San Diego County LAFCO, pending DCA Case No. D077048 (defending trial court ruling in favor of LAFCO that approval of dissolution of special district was lawful)

Southcott v. Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection Dist. et al. (2019) 32 Cal.App.5th 1020 (successfully defended trial court ruling that special district resolution of application to LAFCO to dissolve is an administrative act not subject to referendum)

Tesoro Logistics Operations, LLC v. City of Rialto (2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 798 (scope of business license tax on operators and owners of wholesale liquid fuel storage) (counsel for Amicus)

Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District

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-writers of amicus brief)

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.