Kenneth B. Bley

Partner

Overview

Ken is a vital resource for his real estate developer clients, counseling them throughout the land use entitlement process and, when necessary, defending them in court. He has advised for over 40 years clients on all aspects of planning, zoning, and environmental review and representing them before planning commissions, city councils, boards of supervisors, and in trial and appellate courts. He also works with landowners and condemnors in eminent domain matters.

Sought-After Trial And Appellate Court Experience

Having tried dozens of cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts, Ken has argued four times before the California Supreme Court and more than a dozen of his 75-plus appeals have resulted in published opinions. This is in addition to handling more than 50 trial court cases, primarily for California developers. He has submitted amicus curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders and has sat on moot courts to prepare lawyers arguing on behalf of landowners before that Court.

Ken was a member, and then Chair, of the State Bar Appellate Committee and a member of the committee which wrote the Los Angeles County Superior Court rules on CEQA litigation.

Teacher And Lecturer On Land Use And Land Use Litigation

Ken taught remedies and land use at the University of Southern California Law School for 25 years and courses on land use and land use litigation for trial judges in California and other states around the nation. He has also spoken on land use matters at the National Association of Home Builder's annual International Builders Show more than a dozen times.

As a sought after professional in land use law, Ken's published paper on the use of the Civil Rights Act in land use litigation has been cited by courts several times. He has served as an editor on treatises dealing with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California Subdivision Map Act published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar and is a co-author of the chapter on exactions in California Land Use Practice published by the CEB.

Representative
Matters

The People ex rel. Department of Transportation v. Southern California Edison Company, 22 Cal. 4th 791 (2000). Represented the Department of Transportation in this matter before the California Supreme Court opposing the claim of Southern California Edison for $367 million in interest alleged to be owed for an eminent domain action. Ultimately, Southern California Edison received approximately $6 million, well less than the amount offered in settlement.

Represented a water district before the California Supreme Court in a matter involving the role of judge and jury in eminent domain cases.

Acted as an expert witness in several cases involving various land use matters.

Represented the developer of 2.4 million square feet of logistics facilities both in obtaining the required land use approvals and then defending two lawsuits attacking the project.

Represented the developer of a 7,000 unit master planned community and then settled a lawsuit attacking the project before the lawsuit was filed.

Represented the developer of a 5,000 unit master planned community in obtaining a development agreement.

Represented the developer of a 22,000 unit master planned community in negotiating school impact mitigation agreements.

Represented an investor in all aspects of land use after the developers defaulted and turned a number of projects over to the investor.

Represented the developer of an automobile shredder in both obtaining the required land use approvals and then defending a lawsuit attacking the project.

Represented the developer of a large residential project in both obtaining the required land use approvals and then defending a lawsuit attacking the project. Represented the project's lender in dealing with land use problems after the developer defaulted and the lender took possession of the project.

More »

Represented the developer of a large residential project in obtaining the required land use approvals and then represented the buyer of the project in modifying the approvals.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

Recent Speaking Engagements

Using Eminent Domain To Acquire Underwater Real Estate Loans, CBIA's 45th Select Conference On Industry Litigation, 11/16/2013

12th Annual Building Industry Law And Policy Conference, 10/2/2013

National Association Of Home Builders Annual LANDS Roundtable And Conference, 4/5/2013

11th Annual Building Industry Law And Policy Conference, 10/3/2012

California Association Of Realtors' Annual Government Affairs Directors Institute, 8/21/2012

Property Rights And Land Development, NAHB International Builders' Show, 1/12/2011

The Use Of Code Of Civil Procedure Sec. 128.7 As A Method For Developers To Recover Attorneys’ Fees From Opponents In Land Use Litigation, CBIA 39th Select Conference On Industry Litigation, 11/20/2010

The Roles Of The Judge And The Jury In Eminent Domain Actions, Southern California Chapter Of The Appraisal Institute, 11/17/2010

New Issues In Federal Court Land Use Litigation, National Association Of Home Builders Annual LANDS Conference And Roundtable, 4/24/2010

Legal Issues Involving Property Rights And Land Development, 2010 NAHB-International Builders' Show, 1/19/2010

Due Process – What Does it Take to Shock the Conscience Anyway, 2009 LANDS Roundtable & Workshop, 5/2/2009

Due Process, Substantive And Procedural, And Equal Protection Claims In Land Use Litigation, National Association Of Home Builders, 1/21/2009

Property Rights and Land Development, International Builders Show, 1/20/2009

Takings and Due Process After Lingle, 11/6/2008

Impact Fees: A Practical Approach To Smart Development, CA State Bar's 27th Annual Real Property Retreat, 5/4/2008

Critical Issue In Construction Defects Litigation, Fourth Annual Judicial Symposium, 3/3/2008

Awards &
Affiliations

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Lawyers, both in Land Use & Zoning and Litigation – Land Use & Zoning, 1995-2018
  • Southern California Super Lawyers, 2004-2017
  • Land Use and Zoning Lawyer of the Year in Los Angeles, 2012
  • California's Top Land Use Lawyers, Chambers USA

Professional Affiliations

  • National Association of Home Builders and the California Building Industry Association, Legal Action Committee
  • National Association of Home Builders Legal Action Network for Development Strategies, Director
  • California Building Industry Association
  • Building Industry Legal Defense Foundation of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, Director

Spotlight

Twenty-Three Cox, Castle & Nicholson Attorneys Have Been Selected for the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson is proud to announce that 23 of the firm’s lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 2018... More»

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • United States Supreme Court

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1974, magna cum laude
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1969
  • M.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1963
  • B.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1961