TRUMAN & ELLIOTT LLP

Representative Experience

Real Estate/Land Use Entitlements

The firm currently represents Walt Disney World Co. in its efforts to create Disney l ABC Studios at The Ranch, a state-of-the-art motion picture and television studio, just east of State Route 14 in Placerita Canyon.  The requested entitlements include, a vesting tentative tract map, an area plan amendment, a zone change, a conditional use permit, and an oak tree permit.                  See  http://www.studiosattheranch.com.

Since 1995, Ms. Truman has represented the Playa Vista project, the largest and one of the most controversial development projects in the City of Los Angeles, during the federal, state and local entitlement processes and in over 20 lawsuits brought by project opponents. In September 2004, the approval of the Village at Playa Vista included the certification of an environmental impact report with an administrative record filling 140 volumes, approval of an extensive Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, amendments to the City’s General Plan and the Area D Specific Plan, zone changes, and a Development Agreement.

•In 2012, on behalf of Pacific Development Partners, Truman & Elliott obtained entitlements for an entire City Block in West Hollywood for a sophisticated, modern mixed-use project which will include a Walgreeens, market rate and affordable housing and landscape design that reinvents the word "park."  The project will transform a blighted urban sight with soil and groundwater contamination into an architectural gem.

•The firm currently represents the Malibu Institute, which proposes an educational retreat in the unincorporated area of Malibu in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The project will provide green and sustainable educational and meeting facilities, visitor-serving accommodations, and improvement to the existing 18-hole golf course.  

•The firm recently obtain entitlements for Strategic Hotels & Resorts entitlements to build a mixed-use commercial and housing project on Ocean Front Walk in Santa Monica, California.  With guidance from Truman & Elliott LLP, this LEED™ Platinum Project  received unanimous approval from the City's Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board and the California Coastal Commission.

• The firm represents an joint venture partnership that will develop property in Hollywood California.  The partnership's asset partner is an American multinational investment management corporation and the world's largest asset manager with more than $3.67 trillion in assets under management..

• Ms. Truman successfully represented the City of Glendale in its effort to obtain approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for an at-grade railroad crossing. She worked closely with executives from Metrolink, Union Pacific Railroad Company, the Walt Disney World Co. and the California Department of Transportation to develop an agreement to enhance safety along the entire railroad corridor in the City and ultimately persuade Commission staff to support the City’s application.

• Mr. Elliott and Ms. Truman successfully defended the rights of a small development firm to construct a modern condominium complex adjacent to the world famous Sunset Strip.  Through a series of battles, including, appeals of local development approvals and after two hearings conducted over a 4 month period before the California Office of Historic Preservation, Truman & Elliott succeeded in obtaining a 7-1 vote by the California Historic Preservation Commission, denying the purported historic status of the property, clearing the way for final project entitlements and construction.

 •On behalf of Pebblebrook Hotel Group, Mr. Elliott secured the rights to install and maintain a 5,000 square foot outdoor advertising display (Tall Wall) at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.

•Mr. Elliott represents ClearChannel Outdoor Advertising for its applications for new signage on the iconic Sunset Strip, including the review of environmental impact reports and negotiation of Development Agreements.

• Representing the leaseholder of the property built by the First National Bank of Sherman, Mr. Elliott succeeded in obtaining the right to adaptively reuse the structure located at 8811 Santa Monica Boulevard  for use as a nightclub. The entitlement process included obtaining a permit for Rehabilitation (adaptive reuse), a Development Permit, a Conditional Use Permit, a Parking Use Permit and an Alcoholic Beverage License. Sherman was the town (now mostly West Hollywood) that served as the transportation center for Los Angeles in the 1920s. The property historically housed the repair facilities for the Red Car line which ran from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean.

On behalf of a New York based nightclub operations group, Mr. Elliott obtained entitlements for the organization to construct and operate a nightclub facility in West Hollywood at 696 North Robertson Boulevard. The matter involved lease negotiations, entitlement processing, alcoholic beverage permit processing and defense of the operators in litigation.

Litigationg2008

• Ms. Truman, along with other lawyers, defended challenges to the Village at Playa Vista under CEQA in City of Santa Monica et al. v. City of Los Angeles et al., Los Angeles Sup. Ct. Case No. BS093502 and Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations, et. al. v. the City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Sup. Ct. Case No. BS093507.

• In 2008, Ms. Truman and Mr. Elliott, in Vista Hidalgo Neighborhood Association v. City of Malibu, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BS 115861, obtained a preliminary injunction preventing the City of Malibu from constructing a road through an active land slide adjacent to the Santa Monica Mountains.  As a result of their efforts, the local government and project proponents were forced to prepare an EIR and to properly undertake coastal development approvals.

• In 2007 Ms. Truman and Mr. Elliott represented Housing California and the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing as Amicus Counsel before the California Supreme Court (Case No. S151402) arguing for the necessity of Conditional Development Agreements.  The court in its ruling upheld the ability of non-profit housing providers to utilize conditional development agreements when necessary environmental review proceeds project approvals.

• Since 1998, Ms. Truman has represented a former owner of an industrial site converted to a middle school in South Central Los Angeles.  She defended a CERCLA cost recovery action brought by a prior owner of a neighboring site and now represents the client’s interests as part of a group of potentially responsible parties organized to investigate and remediate solvents and hexavalent chromium at the school site.

• In Inland Empire Waterkeeper v. Corman Leigh Communities, CV 06-1002 DDP (Feb. 17, 2006), Ms. Truman defended four Clean Water Act lawsuits, alleging violations of construction storm water regulations, developed novel approaches to storm water controls along with the client and storm water consultants, and negotiated a comprehensive settlement agreement covering four construction sites.

• In Buckland v. Threshold Enterprises, Ltd., Los Angeles, Sup. Ct. Case No. 344046, a Prop 65 lawsuit against dozens of manufacturers and distributors of progesterone creams, Ms. Truman kept legal fees and costs to a minimum as she negotiated a beneficial settlement for the client.

• In Wetlands Action Network v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 222 F.3d 1105 (9th Cir. 2000), Ms. Truman was instrumental in obtaining the reversal in the Ninth Circuit of a district court's summary judgment invalidating Playa Vista’s Clean Water Act Section 404 permit on the grounds of segmentation and insufficient analysis of impacts as well as an injunction preventing construction in 16 acres of federally delineated wetlands.

• In California Brown Pelican, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., CV 98-621 RSWL (C.D. Ca.), Playa Vista project opponents filed an action under the Endangered Species Act, alleging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to issuing a Section 404 permit.  Ms. Truman assisted with the successful defense of a motion for a preliminary injunction and the case ultimately was dismissed as moot.

• Ms. Truman has represented Playa Vista in three cases demanding that the City of Los Angeles prepare a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report for the First Phase Project after elevated levels of methane were encountered at the project site.  See e.g., Environmentalism Through Inspiration and Non-Violent Action (“ETINA”), et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Sup. Ct. Case No. BS073182.

In Sierra Club, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Sup. Ct. Case No. BC273358, project opponents alleged the California Coastal Commission violated the Coastal Act by allowing development within coastal wetlands.  Ms. Truman successfully argued against a motion for preliminary injunction, which led to a quick settlement in this case.

• In 2003, Ms. Truman represented Playa Vista in a CEQA challenge to the issuance of grading and stockpile permits for the development of a temporary erosion control detention basin and a 500,000 cubic yard stockpile within the area of the Village at Playa Vista to support First Phase Project activities.  The court denied the petition.  See Ballona Wetlands Land Trust v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Sup. Ct. Case No. BS085234.

• In 2007 and 2008 Mr. Elliott, on behalf of a private residential developer, sought review of citations issued to the developer subjecting him to a taking of private property.  Mr. Elliott successfully defended the developer at trial.  When the local Government appealed the matter to the Appellate Division, Mr. Elliott again prevailed defending his client’s position and winning a 3-0 victory, including recovery of costs.

• In 2007 and 2008 Mr. Elliott succeeded in prevailing in obtaining a judgment terminating a lawsuit in its entirety in Brown v. Orozco, (Case No. 07U13871).  By filing a motion to dismiss under California’s Anti-SLAPP law (preventing Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), Mr. Elliott not only achieved victory, but also won Attorneys fees for his client.

• Mr. Elliott has defended complex litigation involving 21 defendants (all liquor licensed establishments) accused of gender discrimination by holding “Ladies Nights” events. The lead case, Angellucci v. Century Supper Club, (Case No. S136154 was settled in May 31, 2007 by the California Supreme Court.  Mr. Elliott succeeded in settling the causes of action against his client in the pre-trial stages of litigation.

Business Transactions

• On behalf of a major national REIT, Mr. Elliott successfully obtained the right for a hotel to serve alcoholic beverages. This case involved the applicant’s third attempt to obtain licensing over the objection of area neighbors. After an adjudicatory hearing before an administrative law judge, the applicant was ultimately granted a license.  (Case No. 47-412793)

• Mr. Elliott recently completed negotiations on behalf of a property owner client for a long term ground lease by a major American petroleum company.  The negotiations included complex formulas for option extensions, right to purchase and protection of the client’s interests in relation to local, state and national environmental protection laws.

• On behalf of Red P.J., LLC, Mr. Elliott successfully defended the corporations' application for a liquor license before the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  Case No. 41-443591.  The Company’s first restaurant—Tinto, an authentic Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant, was subsequently awarded the Creative Restaurant of the year award from the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 2008.

• Mr. Elliott’s work also includes representing  restaurants and hoteliers in the Palm Springs Area. He has represented these clients in both acquisition and disposition of their real estate interests, and has counseled them in land use due diligence issues

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