Andrew Sabey is a litigator who specializes in land use and real property disputes. 

Andrew helps project applicants, landowners and public agencies resolve disputes arising out of the land use entitlement and permitting process under state and federal laws. He has successfully resolved numerous cases involving California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Planning and Zoning Law, Subdivision Map Act, Development Agreement Law, and related proceedings as well as claims involving property rights, due process, initiative and referenda and water law issues.  

Andrew represents clients across a broad spectrum of commercial litigation matters related to real property, property rights, easements, leases, contracts and construction management issues. Regularly appearing in appellate courts throughout California, Andrew has also successfully handled cases before the California Supreme Court, as well as the federal District Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  


On behalf of applicant, defeated a CEQA and Water Supply Assessment Law action challenging a 600 acre mixed-use development project.

Represented a master developer in Contra Costa County in enforcing a development agreement against city and redevelopment agency. Case settled favorably after trial court victory.

Following multi-day bench trial, defeated claim of implied dedication of public trails on client’s raw land in Marin County.

Published Opinions

California Supreme Court

Friends of Eel River v. No. Coast Rail Auth’y (NWPCo) (2017) 3 Cal. 5th 677, Representing private rail operator in case addressing how federal law preempts application of CEQA to rail operation projects.

California Building Industry Association v. BAAQMD (2015) 62 Cal.4th 369. On behalf of CBIA clarifying that CEQA evaluates impacts of a project on the environment, not the environment’s impacts on a project.

Tomlinson v. Alameda County (2012) 54 Cal.4th 218. Briefed and argued for amicus, and established a duty to exhaust administrative remedies when challenging CEQA categorical exemptions.

California Court of Appeal

California Building Industry Association v. BAAQMD (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 485. On remand from Supreme Court (see cite above) confirming that BAAQMD’s CEQA guidelines exceed statutory authority and must be revised.

Citizens for Sustainable Treasure Island v. San Francisco (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 1036. On  behalf of affordable housing developer helped defeat challenge to EIR for master plan and new community on Treasure Island.

Picayune Rancheria et al. v. Brown (2014), 229 Cal App 4th 1416, Defeated CEQA suit challenging Governor's decision to allow land to be taken into trust for Indian gaming.

Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. City of Berkeley (2013) 222 Cal.App.4th 768. On behalf of applicant defeated CEQA challenge to mitigated negative declaration for urban infill project.

Wollmer v. City of Berkeley (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 1329. On behalf of applicant defended project approvals against Density Bonus Law and CEQA claims.

Tracy First v. City of Tracy (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 912. Defeated a CEQA challenge to regional grocery project approval. Trial court victory affirmed on appeal.

Friends of Lagoon Valley v. City of Vacaville (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 807. On behalf of an applicant, defeated a challenge to project approvals alleging violation of State Density Bonus laws.

ECOS v. City of Sacramento (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1018. Defended City in CEQA and California Endangered Species Act challenge to EIR for 17,000 acre habitat conservation plan (HCP). Trial court victory affirmed on appeal.

People v. UPRR (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 1228. Defended a manufacturer in an action seeking fines for alleged lime spill. Preemption of state fines affirmed on appeal.

Greystone Homes v. Cake (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 1. Successfully challenged a DIR determination regarding status of project as a public work subject to prevailing wage law.

Federal Cases

Feldman v. Bomar 518 F.3d 637 (9th Cir. 2008). Represented The Nature Conservancy in defense of a program to eradicate non-native feral pigs from Santa Cruz Island. Successful summary judgment on NEPA claims affirmed on mootness grounds in the Ninth Circuit.

Natl Wildlife Fed’n v. US Fish & Wildlife Svc. (ND Cal. 2006) On behalf of City defeated federal ESA challenge to Natomas Basin HCP.

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Evans 279 F.Supp.2d 1129 (N.D. Cal. 2003). Represented a coalition of environmental organizations challenging the adequacy of an EIS and related Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act permits evaluating the impacts of widespread deployment of low frequency active sonar by the United States Navy.



Speaking Engagements


Awards & Affiliations

Honors & Recognitions

Best Lawyers, Land Use & Zoning Law, 2018-2024

Northern California Super Lawyers, Environmental Litigation, 2006, 2008-2023

BIA Bay Area "Associate of the Year" 2016

Professional Affiliations

East Bay Leadership Council - Executive Committee, Chair of the Board, 2015-2016

Co-Chair, Housing Task Force, 2018-2020

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California


J.D., University of California, Davis School of Law, 1992

B.A., St. Lawrence University, 1987

at Cox Castle

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