Path-Making Litigation in the Public Interest


Strumwasser & Woocher represents a wide range of state and local government entities in cases ranging from groundbreaking litigation of important public policy issues to complex commercial litigation, ranging from the California Legislature to numerous municipalities.

California Legislature

As counsel to the President pro tempore of the California Senate and Speaker of the California Assembly, Strumwasser & Woocher successfully challenged the state Controller's claimed authority to determine whether the budget enacted by the Legislature was a balanced budget. Steinberg v. Chiang, 223 Cal. App. 4th 338 (2014).

The firm also represented the Legislature in litigation brought by opponents of Governor Brown's ballot measure to balance the state budget, challenging a statute passed by the Legislature prescribing the ballot order of competing measures.

California Earthquake Authority

The firm is regulatory counsel to the California Earthquake Authority, the state instrumentality created to write residential earthquake insurance after the private industry withdrew from the market following the Northridge Earthquake. Among other matters, Strumwasser & Woocher counsels the CEA on constitutional and governmental issues and advises it on financial issues presented by its multi-billion-dollar portfolio held to pay future earthquake claims.

The firm also successfully represented the CEA in litigation challenging the Governor's authority to furlough its employees in response to shortfalls in the state's general fund. The litigation resulted in the CEA being just one of five state entities exempted from the furloughs and able to pay in full their employees. Serv. Employees Int'l Union, Local 1000 v. Brown, 197 Cal. App. 4th 252 (2011).

Local Government

Strumwasser & Woocher served as special counsel to the San Gabriel City Council in an election contest challenging the residency of one of the Council's members‑elect. The firm advised and assisted the Council in presiding over a three‑day hearing on that contest. In connection with this representation, the firm also successfully defended the Council in a superior court action challenging its authority to conduct the election contest.

The firm represents a group of concerned citizens from Moreno Valley in a challenge to an unlawful appointment to fill a vacancy on the City Council, on the grounds that the officeholder does not live in the district he has been appointed to represent and that the appointment was tainted by multiple violations of the state's open meeting laws.

Redevelopment and School Funding

Strumwasser & Woocher prevailed in path‑making litigation to ensure that school districts across the state will receive the billions of dollars of revenues to which they are entitled under the Community Redevelopment Law. Los Angeles Unified School District v. County of Los Angeles, et al., 181 Cal. App. 4th 414 (2010); Los Angeles Unified School District v. County of Los Angeles, et al., 217 Cal. App. 4th 597 (2013). During this litigation, the firm also led the legislative advocacy efforts of LAUSD to ensure that the financial interests of schools throughout California are preserved as redevelopment agencies are dissolved over the coming decades. The firm also defended the financial interests of schools in the litigation upholding the laws governing dissolution of redevelopment, representing LAUSD and the California School Boards Association as amici curiae before the California Supreme Court. California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, 53 Cal. 4th 231 (2011). Relatedly, the firm recently negotiated numerous discrete settlements on behalf of schools securing millions of dollars of pass‑through funding from former redevelopment agencies under the terms of longstanding pass‑through agreements.

South Coast Air Quality Management District

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.

Public Contracting

The firm has advised and represented local non-governmental organizations, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Found Animals, Inc., in administrative and judicial actions to enforce the rules governing public contracting in Los Angeles County.