Todd A. Williams

Jul 29, 2019

Todd, chair of the firm’s Land Use and Environmental Practice Group, represents clients in the broad spectrum of land use, real estate and environmental issues in both litigation and administrative proceedings.

He works with private clients and public entities, including landowners and developers of residential, infill, commercial and industrial property, as well as local agencies, providing property entitlement processing and local government land use approvals; CEQA compliance and litigation; planning and zoning law advice; and real property litigation. He also has experience with infill project streamlining, density bonus and housing laws, affordable housing and historic preservation regulations, as well as advising clients on public-private partnerships, the Subdivision Map Act, the Williamson Act, and cannabis land use regulations, along with easement and boundary dispute matters.

A contributing editor on the 2010 – 2011 edition of State and Local Government Land Use Liability, and a reviewer of the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Municipal Law Handbook, Todd also has spoken throughout the state on land use law, with particular emphasis on CEQA.

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Amara L. Morrison

Jul 29, 2019

Amara understands municipal law, land use, and real estate from just about every angle. With more than 25 years of experience as an assistant city attorney, she’s worked closely with public officials and agencies, businesses and developers, and individuals and community groups on everything from approvals to zoning. Valued by clients for her responsive, determined, pragmatic style, she was named “Woman of Influence” by Globe Street Real Estate in 2019.

Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law

Amara has obtained land use entitlements for mixed use, residential, commercial, industrial and hotel development projects. She has extensive experience in all aspects of land use law, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Permit Streamlining Act, planning and zoning law, the Subdivision Map Act and affordable housing laws, including density bonus and SB 35. Her work involves negotiation with state and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Delta Protection Commission.

Public Agencies

Amara assists Contra Costa County and Alameda County public sector clients, including special districts, with land use, zoning, development and redevelopment, environmental law, and resource protection and conservation, transportation, and aviation expertise. She is general counsel to various transportation agencies and various Geologic Hazard Abatement Districts (GHADs). She has been lead counsel on the development, implementation, and defense of general plans, specific plans, and neighborhood plans and related development project approvals.

Municipal Experience

Prior to private practice, Morrison served as assistant city attorney for Livermore and Walnut Creek, where she advised officials and staff on matters including the California Public Records Act, the Ralph M. Brown Act, public finance and contracts, solid waste, risk management and conflicts of interest, First Amendment, and redevelopment. She drafted the state’s first comprehensive no-smoking ordinance, which banned smoking in the workplace (including bars and restaurants), cigarette vending machines, and smoking in multi-family housing units, an action followed by jurisdictions around the country.

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Christine K. Noma

Jul 29, 2019

Chris is a partner with the firm’s Environmental and Employment practice groups. With extensive experience in environmental litigation and compliance and employment law, Chris is an empathetic and pragmatic counselor who represents clients with zealous advocacy.

Environmental Law

Chris provides environmental compliance counseling and represents clients in cost recovery litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in  CERCLA, RCRA, nuisance and trespass litigation and defense of Clean Water Act lawsuits (a.k.a. citizen’s suit stormwater complaints), as well as disputes involving, real estate purchases/sales, industrial and drycleaner contamination claims, and claims related to service stations and underground storage tanks. She advises and represents clients before various government regulatory agencies, including the U.S. EPA, California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). Chris prosecutes and defends cost recovery claims for owners and operators of contaminated property. For clients selling, acquiring or developing contaminated real property, Chris provides counsel and legal services on a range of matters, including due diligence audits, site investigations, remedial action plans, remediation standards, and indemnity provisions. She also represents parties in obtaining defense and insurance coverage for environmental claims.

Employment Law

Chris represents employers defending wrongful termination, wage and hour disputes, and employment discrimination cases in all areas, including claims of sex, age, race, disability discrimination, sexual harassment. She has represented employers in administration hearings before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Department of Industrial Relations, and Cal OSHA. Chris has presented employment law seminars for employer groups including the City of Oakland, Northern California Human Resources Council, Oakland Board of Realtors, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and private employers. She has also advised businesses regarding personnel practices and the preparation of employment manuals.

Mediation Experience

Chris is experienced in alternative dispute resolutions and serves as a mediator for the United States District Court, Northern District of California. She has completed the United States District Court, Northern District of California Alternative Dispute Resolution and Early Neutral Evaluation training programs. Additionally, she received the Bar Association of San Francisco Certificates of Completion for training in mediation and arbitration.

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Wendy L. Manley

Jul 29, 2019

As an attorney with degrees in biology and marine biology, Wendy brings unique insight to her environmental law practice. She guides public and private clients in a range of complex permitting, compliance, and enforcement issues, with the benefit of a deep understanding of the interface between science and policy. Wendy frequently speaks on environmental law, water regulations, and related matters.

Her clients include manufacturers, retailers, property owners, title companies, developers, private individuals, and public entities. She is experienced with state and federal agencies, including the State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, California Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Insurance, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. EPA, National Marine Fisheries Service, and various local entities.

Water and Stormwater Issues

Wendy provides legal guidance to industrial, municipal, and construction clients on compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and state and federal stormwater requirements. She assists with resolution of citizen and agency enforcement actions and counsels clients whose activities require or have violated permits authorizing activities in wetlands, or otherwise involve discharges to Waters of the United States (WOTUS) or Waters of the State (WOTS).

Threatened and Endangered Species

Applying her science background and knowledge of public policy and law, Wendy assists clients whose property or projects could impact endangered species. She advises on matters affecting their property and activities and represents clients through the administrative process of listing threatened and endangered species.

Proposition 65

Wendy provides compliance counseling, claim defense and litigation representation on Proposition 65 matters for clients in the wide range of manufacturing, food and beverage, industrial, and retail businesses. She provides guidance on risk assessments, warning requirements and statutory exemptions. She also counsels clients on their defenses and best strategies through litigation or a negotiated settlement when Prop 65 claims are filed.

Title Industry Regulatory Matters

Wendy orchestrates the application process for regulatory approvals for underwritten title companies (UTCs) seeking to form, license, or expand their business.

 

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Stephen McKae

Jul 29, 2019

A veteran litigator, Stephen has more than 40 years of experience in environmental and employment law at both state and federal levels. He has represented employers and individuals in class action and other complex litigation, guided business executives on policy and operational questions, and argued cases at all levels of the federal judicial system, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Stephen is experienced at successfully employing alternative and creative approaches to conflict resolution.

Environmental Litigation

Stephen’s current practice focuses primarily on environmental matters, including contaminated site remediation, brownfield development, cost recovery litigation, and related toxic tort and stigma damage claims. He has guided clients in public agency review of environmental permitting, claims related to chemical handling, response to abandoned tank sites, quarry restoration, landfills, and solid waste management issues.

Creative Conflict Resolution

Stephen pursues creative solutions to address business needs and community concerns, including mediation. He has planned for integration of institutional controls with permitting to reduce requirements for engineered remedies. He is experienced in fashioning agreements for funding of neighborhood relocation to obtain community support for an in-place remedy, the use of historical resources including federal archives to increase contribution from other parties, and marshaling scientific evidence for cost apportionment and allocation.

Employment and Employee Benefits Experience

Stephen’s employment, civil rights and employee benefits law experience includes work with employers, public entities and labor unions in a variety of administrative and litigation matters. He has handled matters under ERISA, Title VII, ADEA, Americans With Disabilities Act, Executive Order 11246, OSHA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and corresponding state legislation, as well as proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the California Labor Commissioner, and in contract arbitrations and negotiations. He has extensive collective bargaining experience. He has represented numerous construction industry pension, health and apprenticeship trust funds with assets exceeding  $500 million in matters arising under ERISA, including plan structure, benefit improvements, withdrawal liability, COBRA and HIPAA implementation, and fiduciary liability.

Leadership

Active in civic and professional organizations, Stephen served as president of the Danville-Sycamore Valley Rotary Club, and serves as an early neutral evaluator and mediator for the United States District Court. Stephen served in the United States Naval Reserve as an active duty engineering officer from 1969 through 1972.

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Greggory C. Brandt

Jul 29, 2019

With more than 20 years of experience in the environment, health and safety industry, Gregg leads the firm’s Environmental Practice group. He also helps clients purchase, sell and lease commercial, retail and residential real estate. Informed by his background in chemical engineering, experience at a multinational company, and time as a corporate legal client, Gregg’s approach to client-service is highly responsive, practical and solution-oriented.

Environmental Guidance

Gregg advises clients on federal, state and local environmental requirements and helps clients resolve problems related to environmental contamination of real property. He assists clients in negotiations with private parties, government agencies, in administrative hearings and appeals, and with obtaining environmental insurance coverage. He has significant experience with environmental issues that arise during real estate transactions; identifying and addressing concerns during the due diligence period; efficiently resolving issues surrounding contaminated properties; and drafting and enforcing contractual provisions that assign responsibility for investigation, cleanup, defense and indemnity.

Contamination and Remediation

Gregg has helped resolve contamination claims at former industrial properties, dry cleaners and gas stations. He is experienced in environmental cleanup and cost recovery litigation, administrative proceedings and appeals, underground storage tank issues, environmental insurance, remediation of contaminated property, environmental permitting and compliance. Gregg has also handled a variety of administrative proceedings, including variances and appeals under a wide variety of environmental, health and safety provisions, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and rules and regulations adopted by Air Quality Management Districts.

Real Estate

In addition to his environmental work, Gregg also helps his clients purchase and sell retail, commercial and industrial properties. He has negotiated retail and office leases for both landlords and tenants and helps resolve lease disputes. For the last several years, Gregg has acted as an editor for various chapters of the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Retail Leasing and Office Leasing treatises and has spoken at the National Retail Tenants Association annual conference on environmental due diligence and strategies for resolving lease disputes.

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Thiele Robin Dunaway

Jul 29, 2019

A member of Wendel Rosen’s litigation and land use practice groups, Robin handles a range of state and federal civil litigation matters, including matters related to business disputes, land use, natural resources, climate change, and appellate advocacy. Pragmatic, diligent, and tenacious, Robin provides trusted counsel to clients, is skilled at investigation and assessment, and is highly experienced at achieving successful outcomes.

Litigation

With a focus on appellate work in state and federal courts, Robin is experienced litigating a broad range of issues, including complex business matters involving real property, contracts, business tort claims, and bankruptcy issues.

She has significant experience litigating disputes involving commercial loan documents, deeds of trust, title to real property, various business contracts, as well as trust and probate instruments. She has also handled matters related to public agency contracts and the Brown Act “open meetings” law.

Land Use Compliance and Litigation

Robin is experienced in disputes concerning land use permitting. Her land use litigation and compliance work includes cases involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Subdivision Map Act, Section 404 permitting under the Clean Water Act, the public trust doctrine, the Endangered Species Act (including Section 7 consultations), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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