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Public Entity Representation

Since 1989, Walsworth public entity lawyers have represented federal, state, and local entities and agencies in advisory, administrative and civil matters. This experience provides us with an intimate understanding of the requirements and expectations of public entities. It also allows us to approach public entity representation as an extension of the entity, focusing on excellence, integrity and public trust. As partners in public service, we regularly collaborate with public entities to improve their risk assessment and management through refinement of policies and procedures and staff and executive training.

We represent public entities in a diverse range of matters, including:

  • Government Tort Liability
  • Environmental
  • Zoning and Land Use
  • Historic and Art Preservation
  • Employment
  • Civil Rights

We focus on the development of comprehensive, practical solutions with lasting impact and effect, while remaining cognizant of the budgetary challenges and political considerations impacting public entities. This understanding encourages and facilitates our relationship with clients by emphasizing a collaborative team approach.

Representative Successes

  • Cox v. City of San Diego – Successfully represented the City of San Diego in a case where the plaintiff fell down the stairs at the San Diego Museum of Art, a 100-year old building with no handrails and an optical illusion camouflaging the stairs. We settled for a fraction of the demand.
  • Valentine v. City of Westminster – Successfully secured a defense verdict for the City of Westminster and its employee in an action involving a seven-year-old child who darted out in front of a city-owned truck being driven by the city employee in a residential area.
  • Tripp v. Newport Beach – Successfully secured a defense verdict for the City of Newport Beach and two of its police officers in an action involving allegations of excessive force in an arrest for possession of marijuana.
  • Bey v. City of Richmond – Defense verdict in favor of the City of Richmond and defendant officers in civil rights/excessive force case following a three-week trial.
  • Burkhardt v. City of Berkeley – Secured a defense verdict on all claims being made against the City, except emotional distress, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged racial and sexual (same sex) harassment and discrimination.
  • Gale v. Newport Beach – In this action involving allegations of excessive force by two police officers during the course of a traffic stop for suspected driving under the influence, there was an arbitration award for the plaintiffs and then the plaintiffs requested a trial de novo. At trial, the jury found only negligence and no intentional harm and returned a verdict less than the arbitration award. As a result, the City was entitled to its costs of suit. Since those costs exceeded the verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, there was a net judgment in favor of the City.
  • Adekunjo, Demps, and Block v. Housing Authority – Summary judgment granted in favor of the Housing Authority in three separate employment discrimination claims involving a former employee. Demps appealed; however, the ruling was upheld on appeal.