• Pacific Shores Property Owners Association v. Dep’t of Fish and Wildlife, 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 40

    Posted January 31, 2016 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Pacific Shores Property Owners Association v. Dep’t of Fish and Wildlife, 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 40

    California Court of Appeal Finds That the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Is Liable in Inverse Condemnation for Intentional Flooding and Reducing the Level of Flood Protection Historically Provided to Property Owners.

    A California Court of Appeal unanimously ruled in Pacific Shores Property Owners Association v. Dep’t of Fish and Wildlife, 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 40 that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“DFW”) was liable, under both a strict liability standard and a reasonableness standard, for a physical taking of plaintiffs’ properties that were historically protected through flood control of a coastal lagoon.

    In Pacific Shores, a residential subdivision was adjacent to a coastal lagoon in Del Notre County (“County”). The residents relied upon a flood control process historically provided by the County to keep water levels low. DFW eventually assumed control over the flood control process. When DFW assumed control, it provided less flood control than what was historically provided by the County in order to protect the environmental resources of the lagoon. DFW’s decision to offer less flood control caused occasional flooding in the nearby residential subdivision. The property owners brought an action for inverse condemnation, alleging a physical taking.

    DFW argued that it was not liable in inverse condemnation because it had no duty to provide flood protection where the plaintiffs were historically subject to flooding anyway. The appellate court disagreed. In affirming the trial court, the appellate court ruled that DFW was liable in inverse condemnation for a physical taking of the plaintiffs’ properties. The court ruled that DFW was liable, under a strict liability standard, for the damages it caused because it intentionally reduced the flood protection plaintiffs had historically enjoyed, and its primary purpose for doing so was not to provide flood protection, but to protect environmental resources. The court went one step further, holding that even if the reasonableness standard applied, DFW was still liable because plaintiffs contributed more than their fair share to DFW’s efforts to protect environmental resources.

    The Pacific Shores court splits the thinnest of hairs. In one breath, the court emphasizes that the government has no duty to provide flood control. However, in the next breath, the court holds DFW responsible for intentionally breaching the historical status quo of a flood control program. While Pacific Shores pertains to the issue of flood control, creative property owners may jump at the opportunity to analogize to their own set of facts. Accordingly, public entities must tread carefully when effectuating environmental policy, especially when disturbing the status quo, even when, as in Pacific Shores, an entirely different public entity had set the status quo.

    Should you like more information on how your entity can most effectively respond to the implications of Pacific Shores in your environmental planning or litigation, please contact Brian J. Bergman at (310)-470-6110 or bbergman@bdgfirm.com.

  • Bergman Dacey Goldsmith ~ Mackrell International

    Posted January 20, 2016 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is the proud Southern California representative of Mackrell International. Outstanding legal advice, always with a commercial edge and delivered when and wherever you need it in the world, is why Mackrell works. Choosing an established and leading global network of independent law firms for your business and litigation needs gives you the flexibility to create a legal team to suit your needs and receive the best value for your money.

    With over 170 offices of more than 90 firms in 60+ countries, the Mackrell network is a natural extension of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith. This relationship enhances our ability to collaborate globally and allows our clients access to international legal advice in a way previously unavailable to them. Mackrell International has more resources than any one large international law firm, but with cross-border personal relationships and teamwork to best serve your legal needs.

    Below is a link to a brief video introduction to the advantages of Mackrell International. For further information about how Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and Mackrell International can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.


  • Bergman Dacey Goldsmith Announces 2016 Super Lawyers

    Posted By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is proud to announce that shareholders Gregory M. Bergman, John P. Dacey, and Michele M. Goldsmith have been selected as 2016 Southern California Super Lawyers. Shareholder Brian J. Bergman has also been recognized as a 2015 Southern California Rising Star. Greg Bergman was recognized in the category of Business Litigation. John Dacey was recognized in the Construction Litigation field. Michele Goldsmith was recognized in the Employment Litigation practice area.

    Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyer Magazine recognizes only 5% of lawyers in California. They were selected after considerable polling and peer evaluation with a detailed research process that evaluates each candidate based on 12 indicators of professional achievement.

    For over 32 years, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has provided our clients with sophisticated and personalized legal service. We have earned our reputation for litigation excellence and offer our clients seasoned lawyers and knowledgeable advice in the most cost-effective manner. We encourage you to visit our website at www.bdgfirm.com to learn more about our award-winning attorneys and how we can apply our proven strategies for your benefit.

  • Shareholder Brian J. Bergman Named 2015 RISING STAR by Super Lawyers Magazine

    Posted June 12, 2015 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is pleased to announce that shareholder Brian J. Bergman has been selected as a 2015 Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine. Rising Stars are considered the best attorneys who are under 40 years old. These attorneys are selected through a nomination and research process where they are ranked on a point scale. No more than 2.5 % of the lawyers in the state are named to the list.

    Mr. Bergman’s practice focuses on eminent domain, environmental, commercial, and construction law and litigation. He has a broad range of experience in environmental and land use litigation, including matters under Prop 65, CEQA, CERCLA, CWA, and OPA. He is a co-author of California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing Environmental Mitigation Handbook.

    To learn more about how Brian Bergman and Bergman Dacey Goldsmith can apply our proven strategies for litigation excellence on your behalf, visit our website at www.bdgfirm.com.

    Brian Bergman Rising Star 2015

  • Defending Damages Claims in Complex Litigation

    Posted June 5, 2015 By in Recent News With | No Comments


  • Environmental and Natural Resources Litigation – What Works

    Posted May 22, 2015 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    For Immediate Release

    Senior Shareholder Gregory M. Bergman, of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith in Los Angeles, California, participated on a panel titled “Environmental and Natural Resources Litigation – What Works” at the Litigation Counsel of America’s (“LCA”) 2015 Spring Conference & Celebration of Fellows. The conference took place on April 15 – 17, 2015, at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, California. This conference was designed for Fellows of the LCA to enhance their already superior trial skills, to address practical issues and topics challenging litigators in today’s changing legal environment, and to afford each individual the opportunity to network and interact with some of North America’s finest trial and appellate lawyers. Mr. Bergman is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

    Mr. Bergman is the Immediate Past Chair and one of the founders of the LCA’s International Institute of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law. He also is a member of the LCA’s Complex Commercial Litigation Institute. At the LCA’s 2015 Spring Conference, Mr. Bergman was selected to serve as the Chair of the CCLI’s Programs Committee.

    The LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon evaluations of excellence, effectiveness, and accomplishment in litigation, and superior ethical reputation. The LCA seeks a high level of diversity in its composition and includes Women’s and Diversity Initiatives. Established as a trial and appellate lawyer honorary society reflecting the American bar in the twenty-first century, the LCA represents the best in law among its membership.

    For more information regarding the LCA or the 2015 Spring Conference & Celebration of Fellows, please contact Jessica Sullivan at 212.724.4128 or Jessica.Sullivan@litcounsel.org.

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