March 2018 — MEO removed a roadblock to the development of badly-needed new housing on the Peninsula when it defeated a meritless challenge brought in the guise of an environmental lawsuit. After a disgruntled developer attempted to use the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to derail the building of 170 new residences, attorneys Scott Emblidge and Jodie Smith successfully convinced the Court of the environmentally-sensitive design of the new housing development, the adequacy of environmental review prior to approval, and that the petitioner lacked evidence of any potential environmental harm. Recognizing the misuse of CEQA in this case, which was based on mere speculation as a delay tactic, the Court is now allowing the project to proceed.
November 2017 — In a major victory for the rights of landowners to due process of law, the Land Use team at MEO successfully persuaded the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to rescind a 2015 tax sale of the street, sidewalks, and green space in the Presidio Terrace neighborhood — likely the first time in San Francisco history that the Board has done so. The San Francisco Tax Collector had allowed the private street to be sold at auction after claiming that the homeowners had failed to pay property taxes assessed on the street, when in fact, the notices sent by the Tax Collector to the homeowners had been repeatedly returned as undeliverable. Attorney Scott Emblidge persuaded a majority of the Supervisors that the Tax Collector violated the due process rights of the homeowners and their association by selling the property at auction without first making a proper attempt to notify them of the sale.
- “SF votes to return street to wealthy Presidio Terrace homeowners,” San Francisco Examiner, Nov. 28, 2017
- “San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote to give Presidio Terrace street back to homeowners,” San Francisco Business Times, Nov. 29, 2017
- “SF supes reverse sale, return private Presidio Terrace street to homeowners,” SFGate.com, Nov. 29, 2017
Working with a neighboring landowner, and supported by an outpouring of eloquent community members, the Land Use team at MEO successfully helped to convince the Napa County Planning Commission and Napa County Airport Land Use Commission to disapprove a proposed “personal use helipad” on rural, agricultural land. Attorney Scott Emblidge and Planning Consultant Deborah Holley presented arguments about, among other things, the project’s inconsistency with the County’s planning priorities of reserving agricultural land for agricultural purposes.
(April 28, 2017) Representing the seller, MEO has helped to close the sale of a multi-use commercial building located in San Francisco’s South of Market area. The property’s prior use involved production and office. The permitted uses include office, retail, production, distribution, and residential. The property was sold to a local developer who intends to redevelop the building. Elizabeth Murphy handled all phases of the sale beginning with initial negotiations through final negotiations and the closing of the transaction.
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(Photo credit: Mark Hogan, via Flickr.)
(November 10, 2016.) The Firm won a Petition for Writ of Administrative Mandate in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of a construction subcontractor and against a city who unlawfully removed the subcontractor from a large public works project over the objection of the prime contractor. Attorneys Kris Cox and Erin Reding successfully demonstrated that the city’s actions violated the Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act. The Firm also showed that, although the city included language in its contract allowing the subcontractor to be removed, the city’s action were still illegal. In a rare move, the Court granted the Petition and commanded the public entity to withdraw its order removing the subcontractor. (Synergy Project Management, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CPF-16-514783.)
In 2009, a MEO client was sued for misappropriation of trade secrets relating to computer software used to dispatch and impound tow trucks. After three years of litigation by MEO attorneys Scott Emblidge and Matthew Yan, the trial court dismissed the entire case as frivolous and awarded the client half a million dollars in attorneys’ fees. The Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the decision in March 2016, and affirmed the attorneys’ fee award. See Dispatch & Tracking Solutions, LLC v. City of San Diego, 2016 WL 1407739 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016).