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Public Entity Law

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

  • City of Orange v. County of Orange – Secured a favorable resolution for the County of Orange in an environmental contamination case involving property that was converted from a solid waste municipal disposal station to a public park.
  • 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 – Secured a defense verdict in favor of the City of Richmond and the defendant officers in a 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 which the plaintiff alleged racial and sexual (same sex) harassment and discrimination.
  • Frieda Wineman v. San Francisco Housing Authority – Secured a defense verdict in favor of the Housing Authority in a premises liability-dangerous condition of public property claim.
  • Gale v. City of Newport Beach – Represented the City of Newport Beach in an action involving allegations of excessive force by two police officers during the course of a traffic stop for suspected driving under the influence. While there was an arbitration award for the plaintiffs, 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. Appeal by Demps affirmed by the appeals court.
  • City of Stockton, CA – Drafted the negative declaration for the City of Stockton, California’s waterfront restoration.
  • City of Chula Vista, CA – Defended the City of Chula Vista, California against alleged CEQA violations in the development of new auto mall.
  • County of San Diego – Counseled the County of San Diego on CEQA implications as they pertain to development permitting and MS-4 requirements.
  • City of Berkeley – Advised the City of Berkeley, California on CEQA implications of their redevelopment plan.
  • Lawrence v. City of Richmond, et al. – Motion of summary judgment granted by state court on plaintiff’s racial discrimination and wrongful termination claims in favor of all defendants. Motion of summary judgment granted by federal court as to her section 1983 claim as it was barred by the statute of limitations. Plaintiff alleged racial discrimination, violation of her civil rights (section 1983 claim), and wrongful termination. Both the Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial courts’ granting of summary judgment in favor of defendants.
  • Wroblewski v. City of Orange – Represented City in a claim brought by a fire department captain alleging discrimination and disparate treatment based on marital status (single vs. married). Through multiple depositions of plaintiff’s co-workers, developed evidence to support defense that plaintiff was not discriminated against in being passed over for promotion and that the decision was entirely based on merit. Resolved claim for nominal monetary amount and agreement to remove certain disciplinary reports from plaintiff’s personnel file.