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Donnelly v. City of San Marino

Holding local California governments accountable for banning “granny flats”

Accessory dwelling units, better known as “in-law apartments” or “granny flats,” have long been recognized as a valuable and essential component of California’s response to the state’s worsening housing shortage. So essential in fact, state law establishes a right to build ADUs, severely limiting local government ...

First Amendment lawsuit filed in federal court Ogilvie v. Gordon

California’s DMV strays from its own lane to act as speech police

To Chris Ogilvie’s military friends, he’s known as OG—a nickname stemming from boot camp. To his friends back home, Chris is known as Woolf. So, upon his honorable discharge following four tours overseas including Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army veteran bought a car and applied for a personalized license plate spelled “OGWOOLF.&# ...

Lawsuits filed to preserve swordfish industry and livelihoods Abad, et al. v. Bonham, et al. and Williams, et al. v. Ross, et al.

Governments’ misguided battle threatens California fishermen and their way of life.

Swordfish is a very popular seafood and one of the most abundant types of fish on the West Coast. It is also a primary source of income and way of life for many California families. But recent legal changes at the state and federal levels threaten to wipe out longtime family-owned businesses as well as the entire domestic swordfish supply. The new ...

Federal lawsuit filed to protect private ranch property Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association v. Xavier Becerra

Ranch owners fight legislation that gives the government unfettered access to private, sensitive coastal land and potentially punishes owners for defending their way of life

Hollister Ranch, California, is widely known for its 150 years as a working cattle ranch and for its biologically significant coastal habitat spread across miles of shoreline downcoast of California’s Point Conception. Over the years, the ranch has carefully restricted development and activity on its 14,400 acres in order to protect the exist ...

Anthony Barilla v. City of Houston

Accordionist fights government squeeze on free expression and livelihood

Anthony (Tony) Barilla is a highly accomplished accordionist who wants to busk—that is, perform in public for tips—on the streets of Houston, Texas. A city law, however, prohibits busking activities everywhere except Houston’s very small Theater District. There, artists may accept tips for their performances, but only after completing an ...

United States v. LaPant

Bureaucrats can’t rewrite the law just because they don’t like it

Jack LaPant thought that he had properly navigated all the necessary regulations under the federal Clean Water Act when he plowed his northern California farmland in 2011 to grow wheat. Multiple agencies said he did not need a permit; but in 2016, government bureaucrats sued Jack for not obtaining a permit, even though the Clean Water Act doesnR ...

State of California v. Bernhardt

Motion to intervene filed to defend protections for property owners

In 2019, the Department of Interior changed the way that it applies the Endangered Species Act by rescinding an illegal rule. The changes offered additional protections for property owners—like Ken Klemm, who runs a 4,000-acre ranch in Kansas. The changes also incentivized property owners to assist in the recovery of species by loosening restrict ...

American Society of Journalists and Authors v. Becerra

California’s freelancer law destroys journalists’ freedom, autonomy

In an effort to regulate the employment status of independent contractors, California passed a law forcing companies in the state to reclassify most freelancers as employees. Under AB 5, freelance journalists and photographers must cap their submissions at 35 per year, per publisher. Anything greater, and they become employees, losing their profess ...

Debbie Pulley v. Janice Izlar, President of the Georgia Board of Nursing

Georgia midwife sues to continue speaking truthfully about her profession

Debbie Pulley has been a Certified Professional Midwife in Georgia for 24 years, both working as a midwife and advocating for midwives. The state’s rules changed in 2015, allowing only licensed nurses to practice midwifery in Georgia. So Debbie turned her efforts to reforming Georgia’s laws and advocating for access to midwifery care. B ...

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