Perkins Coie LLP

Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients’ success. With more than 1,100 lawyers in offices across the United States and in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, we provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

A city’s ban on short-term vacation rentals in the coastal zone constitutes “development” under the California Coastal Act. Therefore, the Coastal Commission must first approve a coastal development permit, an amendment to the city’s certified local coastal program, or an amendment waiver before such a ban can be imposed. Kracke v. City of Santa Barbara, 63 Cal. App. 5th 1089 (2021). Until 2015, the City of Santa Barbara allowed short-term vacation rentals as long as the owner registered the unit with the city, obtained a business license, and paid transient occupancy taxes. In 2015, the City Council directed its staff…
A court of appeal invalidated a water district’s adopted rate increases, concluding that the district failed to meet its burden under Proposition 218 of establishing that the increases did not exceed the cost of providing the water service. KCSFV I, LLC v. Florin County Water District, No. C088824 (3rd Dist., May 28, 2021). Following a hearing, the Board of Directors of the Florin County Water District voted to increase its water rates by 50 percent. Data presented by staff at the hearing showed that revenues would exceed expenditures in each of the four years following the rate increase, culminating in…
In March 2020, as part of a series of emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-29-20, allowing local and state agencies to hold virtual meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically notwithstanding the open meeting laws in the Bagley-Keene Act and the Brown Act. These provisions were due to expire on June 15, 2020. On June 2, 2021, in response to a written request by a coalition of local government agencies, the Governor announced that N-29-20 will not terminate on June 15, and that state and local agencies can continue to…
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation, Senate Bill No. 7, that reenacts a streamlined litigation process for certain “environmental leadership development projects” and extends eligibility to additional housing projects. Previous legislation offering similar benefits to a narrower range of developments expired on January 1. To qualify for judicial streamlining under SB 7, a project must meet the following criteria: The project is for residential, retail, commercial, sports, cultural, entertainment, or recreational uses. The project is located on an infill site. For residential projects, at least 15 percent of units are set aside for lower-income households. For non-residential projects, the…
Plaintiff’s Brown Act claims were barred because unreasonable delay in prosecuting the lawsuit substantially prejudiced parties and the general public. Julian Volunteer Fire Company Association v. Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District, No. D076639 (4th Dist., March 30, 2021). The Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District requested the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission to dissolve the District and have the County of San Diego assume fire prevention services in the area. Two weeks later, the Julian Volunteer Fire Company Association sued, alleging the District had violated the open meeting laws of the Brown Act in its approval of the resolution requesting dissolution. While…
An initiative measure that required new development to mitigate not only its individual traffic impacts but also cumulative impacts of other projects on traffic levels of service violated the rough-proportionality standard of Nollan and Dolan and was therefore unconstitutional. Alliance for Responsible Planning v. Taylor (County of El Dorado, No. C085712 (3rd Dist., May 4, 2021). El Dorado County voters adopted Measure E, whose stated purpose was to end the practice of “paper roads” under which developers paid fees to mitigate traffic impacts but construction of the improvements was often delayed, resulting in unacceptable levels of service. Measure E…
Senate Bill 35 (Government Code section 65913.4) was enacted in 2017 as part of an effort by the State Legislature to increase housing production. The law compels local agencies, including charter cities, to issue streamlined approvals for qualifying multifamily residential projects, even, at times, where a project conflicts with a local ordinance. In Ruegg & Ellsworth v. City of Berkeley, the court rejected Berkeley’s claim that SB 35 impermissibly interfered with the constitutional “home rule” authority over historic preservation granted to charter cities. No. A159218 (1st Dist. Apr. 20, 2021). The decision represents the first published opinion to uphold…
Multiple applications for a development project are not required where the first permit denial makes clear that no development of the property would be allowed under any circumstance. Felkay v. City of Santa Barbara, No. B304964 (2nd Dist., March 18, 2021). Felkay purchased an ocean-front lot with the intention of building a residence. The planning commission rejected the application for the residence finding that it violated City Policy 8.2 which prohibits any development on the bluff face regardless of size. On appeal to the City Council, the City found that Felkay’s takings claim was not ripe because Felkay had…
Three months ago, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a Coastal Commission fine of $1 million on homeowners who performed major reconstruction on their Malibu home without obtaining coastal permits and refused to halt construction after notification of the violation by Commission staff. (See our report: Coastal Commission Order to Homeowners to Remove Seawall and Pay $1 Million Fine Upheld). Now, the Second District Court of Appeal has upheld a Commission penalty of $4,185,000 on Malibu homeowners who refused to remove structures that blocked a public access easement granted to the Coastal Commission by a prior owner of…
A City municipal transit agency did not violate equal protection, substantive due process or state anti-age discrimination laws when it disfavored some taxi cab medallion holders from accessing lucrative airport pickups because, among other things, the law was rationally related to legitimate government interests. San Francisco Taxi Coal. v. City & Cty. of San Francisco, 979 F.3d 1220 (9th Cir. 2020). Taxi cabs that operate in San Francisco and pick up riders from the San Francisco International Airport are regulated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Among other things, the SFMTA issues taxi cab medallions that allow the…