We work closely with all types of government entities, including municipalities, counties, cities and state departments. Sensitive to the financial constraints under which public sector clients operate, we use our depth of experience to expedite matters.
Our attorneys have deep agency-side expertise in all aspects of inverse condemnation and eminent domain matters, and our skilled Construction attorneys provide legal guidance at all stages of developing and building public works, from entitlement and design inception through final completion. We also defend against claims of defective design and construction in catastrophic injury cases. Additionally, our attorneys handle real estate contracts in which public entities are a party. Our Labor and Employment attorneys have provided training to thousands of employees and managers at many state agencies, local governments and special districts throughout California, on sexual harassment, workplace violence and employee privacy issues. We regularly provide advice and counsel on federal and state environmental laws and guidelines including, but not limited to, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); Clean Water Act (CWA) and Clean Air Act (CAA).
When disputes arise, we represent clients in both state and federal courts, and private and public arbitrations. M&R has successfully handled matters involving multimillion dollar breach of contract claims for municipal entities and bankruptcy adversary proceedings. Further, our attorneys have prevailed on behalf of state departments and municipalities in catastrophic injury and other high-risk and exposure cases.
Areas Of Expertise
- Defective Design Claims
We have handled extensive claims allegedly contributing to the injury of a plaintiff. In such cases, we typically employ a design immunity defense. We have successfully utilized California Government Code § 830.6 for our clients, which provides a public entity immunity against claims arising out of design defects.
- Eminent Domain
We have vast expertise working on behalf of our municipality clients in eminent domain matters. Our Government and Municipalities attorneys have been successful in representing public entity clients in acquisitions of properties at favorable terms, and in securing optimum settlements in numerous eminent domain actions.
- Inverse Condemnation
We have successfully represented municipalities and public entities in multi-million dollar inverse condemnation actions.
- Labor & Employment Counseling
We provide counseling and training to state agencies, local governments and special districts throughout California, on topics such as sexual harassment, workplace violence and employee privacy issues. We regularly provide advice and counsel on all federal and state environmental laws and guidelines.
The following is a select sampling of our representative matters:
- Bankruptcy Adversary Proceeding: Ensured $40 million in water fees collected by Los Angeles County in bankruptcy adversary proceeding involving complex contractual and water issues relating to a 7,200 home development project planned for the Antelope Valley.
- Breach of Contract: Represented a large, local, public port in the defense of a $300 million claim brought by a national terminal operator alleging numerous violations, including several against California’s Tidelands Trust Act.
- DWP Defense: Achieved a favorable settlement a month before trial on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) in a contract dispute with a surety and completion contractor over whether or not it was liable for completion of a multimillion dollar construction project. The contractor filed claims in federal court against DWP alleging breach of contract, and DWP cross-claimed against the surety and completion contractor alleging breach of contract and violations of the False Claims Act.
- Eminent Domain: An M&R attorney represented a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) where a condemnee was seeking over $30 million in loss of business good will. Mr Hayat settled the case for pennies on the dollar. The attorney has successfully prosecuted and negotiated favorable settlements in numerous additional eminent domain actions, including claims for damages for loss pre-condemnation damages, improvements, relocation assistance, and fixtures and equipment.
- Murphree v. Williams: Represented the City of Oakland in claim brought by a residential property owner who alleged trespass, nuisance and wrongdoings by city employees. We substituted into the matter after approximately three years of litigation. Within a few months of becoming involved in the case, obtained a defense verdict for the city on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, and also obtained an award of costs against plaintiff.
- Negligence and Inverse Condemnation Defense: McKillop Road in Oakland had a 75-year history of landslides. In 2006, the last portion of the hillside gave way, substantially damaging numerous homes and businesses. These property owners banded together and pursued lawsuits against various public agencies, in which they alleged that improper maintenance of the roadways, sub-surface infrastructure, and a creek at the base of the hillside led to the catastrophe. The City of Oakland retained us to perform extensive testing and discovery, which resulted in the city making a compelling case that the cause of the landslide had nothing to do with the city’s maintenance practices. The city resolved the entire litigation for nominal settlements, while the property owners proceeded to trial against other defendants.
- Orduno v. City of Oakland: Represented the City of Oakland in a case brought by the victim of a catastrophic personal injury arising out of a two vehicle collision in a city intersection. Case was settled at mediation.
- Pegram v. City of Oakland: Defended the City of Oakland against personal injury claims arising out of a trip and fall in a city-owned parking structure in downtown Oakland. Plaintiff alleged both a dangerous condition of public property and violations of federal ADA laws. Obtained an early settlement for a nominal sum utilizing no public funds.
- Pereira v. City of Oakland: Represented City of Oakland in a case brought by the victim of personal injuries arising from alleged dangerous conditions of public crosswalks and the location of public transit stops. Case settled at mediation with minimal City contribution.
- Public Port Defense: Defended a large public port against a major terminal operator’s multimillion dollar series of claims that included discrimination under California’s Tidelands Trust Act.
- Public Utility Defense: Defended a public utility against a previous employee’s allegations of workplace injuries derived from exposure to radioactive elements.
- Serrano v. City of Oakland: Defended the City of Oakland in liability claim brought by an East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) plumber who was injured when he fell into an open storm drain during an emergency flood repair. An M&R attorney accepted representation of the city for this case just 14 days before commencement of trial and prepared a complete defense within that short time period. After a brief continuance (requested by the other side due to expert witness availability issues), case was settled in mediation.
- Wrongful Death Defense: Negotiated a settlement from $2.25 million down to less than $40,000 in a wrongful death case on behalf of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
- National Institute for Storage Tank Management (NISTM) Annual ConferenceClarion Hotel, Anaheim, CA, June 27, 2013