October 15, 2016

Weekly litigation report — October 14, 2016

By James S. Burling Vice President for Litigation

Victory in free speech case

The City of San Juan Capistrano agreed this week to stop enforcing it’s ban on putting “for sale” signs in car windows in Cefali v. San Juan Capistrano. Because any other sort of sign is allowed, we argued that this sort of content-based restriction on speech violates the First Amendment. Fortunately, the City agrees with us and by agreeing to correct itself, it has saved us the time and trouble of extended litigation that the City would surely lose. You can read more about the conclusion of this case on our blog here.

Brief in support of judicial review

In this brief filed in the North Carolina Supreme Court in Town of Beech Mountain v. Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary, we explain how this judicial restraint veers from our constitutional commitment to liberty over democracy. This case is about a town singling out a small business for unfair treatment because the town wanted the property for other uses. But the real issue in our mind is whether the court should simply have assumed that the town was acting in good faith and defer to its decision. For more, see our blog post here.

Supreme Court denies review in Green Sturgeon case

The Supreme Court of the United States denied our petition for writ of certiorari in Building Industry Association of the Bay Area v. United States Department of Commerce.  This was our challenge to critical habitat designations for the green sturgeon. When the government did not properly take into account the economic impacts of the designations, we sued. For more on this case, see our blog post here.

Loss on appeal in tax case

We received the disappointing news that the California court of appeal has upheld the City of San Ramon’s “special” tax on new development within its territory. Our lawsuit, Building Industry Association — Bay Area v. City of San Ramon, argued that this “special” tax violated the law because, among other things, the services to be provided to the new development was exactly the same as that provided to existing homes. For more, see our blog here.

 

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