2009 Third Quarter CEQA Case Law Update

Author(s): Scott B. Birkey

Source: CCN Quarterly CEQA Case Law Update

October 2009

It has been a fairly busy quarter, with the publication of six new CEQA cases. As well, in an important development, the Supreme Court has denied the Petition for Review in California Oak Foundation v. County of Tehama (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1217. In California Oak, the Court of Appeal applied general “joint defense” case law in the CEQA context and found that CEQA does not override a claim of attorney-client privilege and that joint defense communications between counsel for a lead agency and real parties are protected by that privilege. The decision cites prior case law applying the “common interest doctrine” of non-waiver, pursuant to which an attorney’s communications with third parties do not waive the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrines if those communications are reasonably necessary to the attorneys’ legal work. The California Oak case is an important decision protecting the consultations between counsel during the EIR process as counsel for applicants and agencies work together to prepare a defensible EIR.


  • City of Long Beach v. Los Angeles Unified School District
  • California Native Plant Society v. City of Santa Cruz
  • Riverwatch v. County of San Diego Dep’t of Envtl. Health
  • The Habitat Trust For Wildlife, Inc. v. City of Rancho Cucamonga, et al.
  • Tracy First v. City of Tracy
  • Las Lomas Land Co. v City of Los Angeles

Download Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP's 2009 Third Quarter CEQA Case Update Newsletter.

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