Path-Making Litigation in the Public Interest


Strumwasser & Woocher regularly represents a wide range of environmental organizations, homeowner groups, and public agencies in environmental and land‑use litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act, the Clean Air Act, California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65), the Subdivision Map Act, historic‑preservation laws, and various local planning laws.

Environmental Protection and Public Health

Strumwasser & Woocher represents several nonprofit community organizations in a legal challenge to state agencies' handling of the remediation of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a polluted former nuclear research facility located near Simi Valley. The firm prevailed in obtaining a preliminary injunction to halt the remediation, which was proceeding without compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The firm represented the County of Santa Barbara when it was sued by Exxon, challenging, on Commerce Clause grounds, a county ordinance seeking to prevent oil spill damage to county beaches by requiring the use of pipelines, rather than oil tankers, to transport oil to a Santa Barbara refinery.

The firm represented the Senate Rules Committee in a challenge to the Senate's power to require a gubernatorial appointee seeking confirmation to hold hearings before licensing a nuclear‑waste dump. California Radioactive Materials Management Forum v. Department of Health Services, 15 Cal. App. 4th 841 (1993).

The firm successfully prosecuted a plumbing fixtures manufacturer, under California's Proposition 65, for failing to warn its employees of lead‑poisoning, securing compliance with the Act's notice requirements and a substantial settlement for injured employees.

The firm served as counsel to the Hearing Board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the air‑pollution control agency for the 16 million people living in the Southern California air basin. Strumwasser & Woocher advised the Hearing Board on administrative, constitutional, and environmental law, and represented the board in state and federal litigation.

Land Use

On behalf of nonprofit Fix the City, the firm successfully challenged the City of Los Angeles' approval of the Hollywood Community Plan Update for failure to comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and for inconsistency with the General Plan.

Strumwasser & Woocher represents Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City in connection with the City of Santa Monica's approval of the Bergamot Transit Village, a mixed use office and residential project on a seven-acre site in eastern Santa Monica.

The firm represents several Los Angeles area homeowner associations in actions against private developers and local governmental bodies alleging non‑compliance with land use and environmental laws. On behalf of these organizations, Strumwasser & Woocher has successfully challenged a number of proposed developments in the Century City area and the Westside of Los Angeles, and recently prevailed in a CEQA and general plan challenge to the City of Los Angeles' hastily drafted plan to convert two local streets into one‑way thoroughfares without any mitigation for the affected neighborhoods.

The firm successfully represented a group of Native Americans to block construction of a parking lot and strip‑mall on a sacred site located on a state‑college campus. Native American Heritage Com. v. Board of Trustees, 51 Cal. App. 4th 675 (1996).

In a series of cases spanning almost half a decade, Strumwasser & Woocher represented a number of parties supporting the development of the abandoned El Toro Marine Air Station as a commercial airport in lieu of further expansion of existing airports in urban centers. The representation included a successful legal challenge to a ballot measure that would have prohibited the redevelopment of the El Toro property as an airport and litigation over proposed amendments to the Orange County General Plan, compliance with federal environmental statutes, and the annexation of the property into the City of Irvine. Citizens for Jobs and the Economy v. County of Orange, 94 Cal. App. 4th 1311 (2002); Songstad v. Superior Court, 93 Cal. App. 4th 1202 (2001).

Strumwasser & Woocher represented the proponents of a local ballot initiative to preserve open space at the former Fort Ord in Monterey County, defeating two separate lawsuits attempting to remove the measure from the ballot prior to the November 2013 election.

Solar Energy

The firm successfully challenged a county's refusal to connect a photovoltaic generating facility to the utility grid and obtained monetary compensation for the owner, enforcing state laws enacted to encourage solar development. Arterberry v. Cnty. of San Diego, 182 Cal. App. 4th 1528 (2010).