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Land Use Litigation


Sheppard Mullin has defended and prosecuted a broad range of land use actions. Unlike many other law firms, we have represented all of the "players" in land use litigation, including developers and property owners, local governments and environmental and nonprofit organizations. We make every effort to resolve disputes during the administrative proceedings, but where litigation is unavoidable, we have the experience, creativity and resources that our clients require to prevail in these unique proceedings, both in state and federal courts.

Many of our attorneys specialize in litigating CEQA claims, the most common cause of action in a land use lawsuit. We also frequently handle legal challenges relating to general plan and zoning consistency, spot zoning, vested rights, compliance with historic preservation laws and the legality of fees and exactions imposed on projects. Our attorneys also have significant expertise litigating the constitutional claims (both federal and California) that often accompany statutory causes of action.

The cases we litigate often involve one or more of these local, state and federal statutes:

  • Brown Act
  • California Coastal Act
  • California Endangered Species Act
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • California Planning and Zoning Law
  • California Community Redevelopment Law
  • California Subdivision Map Act
  • Clean Air Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Federal Department of Transportation Act
  • Federal Endangered Species Act
  • Mello-Roos Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • National Historic Preservation Act
  • Permit Streamlining Act
  • Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)
  • Section 1983 of the Federal Civil Rights Act