Kurt G. Whitman

Associate

Overview

Kurt is a creative, results-driven, and pragmatic attorney who has substantial experience in real estate, land use, and environmental issues in California and throughout the U.S., including extensive experience in civil and administrative litigation from pre-trial to trial to appeal. His practice encompasses advocacy, transactional, and compliance-oriented matters.

As a litigator, Kurt handles diverse types of disputes, including overseeing and assisting with litigation, settlement, and appeal preparation and strategy; drafting pleadings, briefs, and motions; conducting and facilitating full litigation discovery, including e-discovery; and appearing at court hearings and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. Besides substantial experience in the areas of real estate and land use litigation (including CEQA), Kurt’s diverse litigation experience includes business/commercial, environmental, regulatory/utilities, products liability and product safety, construction, and public law litigation.

As a transactional attorney, Kurt assists diverse clients in navigating complex development processes in diverse jurisdictions, including overseeing and assisting with the processing and securing of permits, approvals, and entitlements, and related environmental review, for residential, commercial, and industrial projects in the City and County of Los Angeles, and throughout California. Kurt also drafts, negotiates, and advises on real estate transactional documents, including purchase and sale, development, easement, access, and indemnity agreements.

Kurt also serves his clients in a compliance-oriented role and has experience in regulatory areas such as environmental, product safety, energy development, telecommunications, and education law, among others. Kurt has likewise served as outside counsel to municipalities, public education institutions, and other government entities. Kurt proudly serves diverse clients in the areas of real estate, manufacturing, construction, energy, agriculture, and education with respect to regulatory matters. In doing so, he has practiced in front of the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, Federal Aviation Administration, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, various California Regional Water Quality Control Boards, as well as numerous other federal, state, and local agencies across the U.S.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Kurt enjoyed a nine-year career as a professional educator in Wisconsin and Arizona. While at the University of San Diego School of Law, Kurt worked as a legal intern for the San Diego Unified School District; as a research/teaching assistant for the Lawyering Skills (legal writing and oral advocacy) program; and as a judicial extern to the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Outside the office, Kurt enjoys spending time with his family and competitive running.

Representative
Matters

Land Use/Environmental

Assist developers in securing permits, approvals, and entitlements for development projects, including advising on local and state laws, regulations, and procedures in the context of project applications, submittals, and appeals.

Represent clients in the context of CEQA review and CEQA litigation, including managing environmental consultants and advising on the preparation and review of EIRs and other environmental review documents and advising on associated litigation risk and strategy.

Assist clients in securing approvals for the development of coastal projects subject to the California Coastal Act and local coastal programs.

Assist clients in entitling residential and mixed-used projects pursuant to state and local affordable housing and density bonus laws, as well as the Subdivision Map Act.

Conduct land use, environmental, and regulatory due diligence for real estate and commercial transactions.

Draft, negotiate, and advise on real estate transactional documents, including land use and environmental provisions in purchase and sale agreements and leases.

Review and advise on Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments in the context of real estate and commercial transactions.

Draft, negotiate, and advise on development agreements for residential and commercial development projects.

Advise and advocate on behalf of diverse clients on federal and state environmental and regulatory compliance issues, including hazardous waste/materials, environmental permits, solid waste and recycling, e-waste, wastewater, and groundwater (including in the context of NEPA, CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, CAA, and state/local equivalents).

Advise on product safety issues under OSHA and state law equivalents.

Represent property owners in the context of real estate litigation matters involving easement and boundary disputes, nuisance claims, violations of community association laws and governing documents, and violations of the Takings Clause of the United States and California Constitutions.

Advise municipalities and property owners on Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and related zoning issues in the context of permit applications and threatened/actual litigation.

Litigation

Research and draft briefs and motions, and engage in oral argument and negotiations, in the context of civil and administrative litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings in the areas of land use (including NEPA and CEQA), real estate, environmental, and general business/commercial litigation.

Manage and coordinate full litigation discovery, including e-discovery.

Conduct legal research, advise on strategy and risk, and otherwise assist with litigation, trial, and appeal preparation and strategy.

Attend alternative dispute resolution proceedings to advocate on behalf of clients and effectively and favorably resolve matters prior to trial.

Represent diverse clients in the areas of land use litigation (including CEQA) real estate litigation, construction litigation, general business/commercial litigation, and products liability litigation.

Public Law

Served as contracted city attorney for municipalities with respect to public law issues, such as land use and zoning, open meetings, political law, data practices/privacy, records retention, civil rights, records requests, public contracts, and general legal matters.

Drafted city ordinances, resolutions, public contracts, and other government documents for municipalities.

Other Regulatory

Advised clients on regulatory requirements related to communications transactions and the transfer of FCC licenses in the context of real estate and commercial transactions.

Worked with consultants and provided oversight for NEPA reviews for antenna tower construction.

Advise public and private educational institutions on education law issues, including civil liability and litigation, federal and state regulatory compliance, educational privacy, accreditation, and constitutional/civil rights matters.

Represent energy companies and utilities in front of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the context of administrative litigation and to secure permits and approvals for development and rate modifications.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Publications

“Most Likely Descendants” Regulations Enter Approval Process, 2/1/2017

Emergency Groundwater Management Regulations Now in Effect, Certain to Make an Impact, 7/15/16

The California Environmental Quality Act in 2015 – Summary of New Court Decisions, Statutory Changes and Proposed CEQA Guidelines Amendments, 2/4/2016 

“Dealing with Special Zoning Issues,” (Author) for National Business Institute seminar (Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law), Bloomington, MN, 4/8/14

“Challenging or Appealing an Administrative Zoning Decision,” (Co-Author) for National Business Institute seminar (Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law), Bloomington, MN, 4/8/2014

“No Password for You: California Enacts Social Media Privacy Laws Affecting Employers and Postsecondary Educational Institutions” (co-author), 2012

“CFTC and SEC Propose New Identity Theft Red Flags Rules” (co-author), 2012

Contributing author to Chapter 120, “Energy and the Environment,” in David J. Muchow & William A. Mogel, ENERGY LAW & TRANSACTIONS (5th ed. 2012).

Investing in Arts Education to Advance California’s Creative Industry, CAL. ALLIANCE FOR ARTS EDUC. (2011), available at http://www.artsed411.org/files/KurtWhitman_InvestinginArtsEducation%20copy.pdf.

Speaking Engagements

“Dealing with Special Zoning Issues,” (Presenter) for National Business Institute seminar (Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law), Bloomington, MN, 4/8/14

“Challenging or Appealing an Administrative Zoning Decision,” (Co- Presenter) for National Business Institute seminar (Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law), Bloomington, MN, 4/8/14

Awards &
Affiliations

Awards

  • Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2016-2018
  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association (for significant pro bono contributions), 2012-2014
  • Order of the Coif, University of San Diego School of Law , 2011
  • Honored Educator, Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, 2001

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of California (Section Member: Real Property Law, Environmental Law)
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association (Section Member: Real Property)
  • Member, Urban Land Institute
  • Member, Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA)

Community Affiliations

  • Premier Member, United States Running Streak Association
  • Youth Baseball Coach, Toluca Baseball

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Education

  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire