Governmental Entity Litigation

Governmental Entity Litigation

Who says "you can't fight City Hall?" We've been fighting local, state and national governmental agencies for decades, with outstanding results. Our success stems from the multifaceted approach we take in every case in which a governmental entity is involved.

Our thorough knowledge of the legal nuances that apply is essential. But because of the broad deference the courts give to the discretionary decisions made by agencies within the executive branch of government, cases seldom turn on purely legal issues. We succeed where many others fail because we understand the decision-making process of governmental agencies and those who run them. We know political factors and public opinion often drive agencies' decisions; and carefully evaluate how they can be favorably influenced in every case. We also know from years of experience and dozens of cases that the personal motivations and aspirations of an agency's elected or appointed decision-makers and their staff frequently have more to do with the outcome than what best serves the public's interests. Our sensitivity to these issues, coupled with our proactive and tenacious approach, makes Mazzarella & Mazzarella LLP uniquely qualified to successfully "fight City Hall."

Representative successes

  • Successfully sued the Port of San Diego and recovered $5 million in predevelopment expenses incurred in connection with the development of a hotel on the Campbell Shipyard site in the South Embarcadero.
  • Filed the CEQA challenge to the EIR for PetCo Park, which resulted in, among other things, the preservation of the historic "Candy Factory" building, which became the largest brick building ever relocated.
  • Successfully sued the city of Oceanside and recovered in excess of $2 million in predevelopment expenses incurred in connection with the planned development of a luxury hotel at the foot of the Oceanside pier.
  • Successfully sued the California Coastal Commission and obtained a judgment not only that the CCC's appeal of a building permit for a 9,500 square foot "remodel" on the coast in La Jolla was filed late, but also, that the chair of the Coastal Commission had perjured herself in declarations that misstated the date of the appeal.
  • Obtained the dismissal of 28 misdemeanor counts filed by the city of San Diego against the owner of a golf course who allegedly engaged in development activities on environmentally sensitive open space without authority. In the same matter, we filed a $20 million claim against the city of San Diego for damage to the developer's property, which resulted in the city's agreement to allow the development that gave rise to the 28 misdemeanor charges to remain in place in return for dismissal of the claim.
  • Successfully sued the city of Chula Vista for the wrongful termination of its City Attorney.
  • Successfully sued the Sweetwater Union High School District for the wrongful termination of its superintendent.
  • Recovered $1.5 million in damages through a settlement with the City of San Diego for the breach of an exclusive negotiating agreement for the development of the Brown Field as a commercial cargo airport. In a related action, we obtained a $7.8 million verdict against the international engineering firm of Parsons Brinckerhoff for negligence.
  • Successfully sued the City of San Diego to halt the water recycling program known as "Toilet to Tap."
  • Successfully sued the County of San Diego and recovered $300,000 in predevelopment expenses for breach of an exclusive negotiating agreement for the development of a high-rise condominium and parking garage adjacent to the county administration building.
  • Successfully prevented the relocation of the San Diego Mission into a residential neighborhood absent conditions that were acceptable to the community.
  • Represented the East Village Owners Association in connection with the relocation of a homeless shelter away from residential neighborhoods and businesses.
  • Represented San Diegans for Sensible Land Use ("SDSLU"), a group consisting of 200 real estate professionals, in litigation against the California Coastal Commission involving the Local Coastal Program for La Jolla.
  • Obtained dismissal of all charges against a Gaslamp bar owner brought by the city of San Diego alleging criminal violation of restrictions on live entertainment.
  • Represented Horizon Christian Fellowship Church in a dispute with the San Diego City School District and the charter schools over the lease of the property on which the Church's 800-student campus operated. Successfully negotiated an 11th hour resolution which prevented closure of the school.
  • Represented National City in connection with various land use issues.
  • Represented Sloan Capital Partners, the owner of the California Theatre in downtown San Diego, in connection with obtaining approvals for its demolition.