Sunny Soltani is a partner and a founding member of the firm. She serves as the City Attorney to the City of Carson and is General Counsel to Carson Successor Agency and Housing Authority. Sunny specializes in land use, environmental law, rent control, property acquisition and regulatory takings. Her litigation victories include 7 significant published opinions, dismissal of two lawsuits saving a city client $110 Million, and a jury trial involving 21 consolidated cases on the cleanup of a former oil field, saving that client $18 Million. She serves several clients in an advisory role on all public law matters. Sunny also assists her clients in legislation solutions.
Sunny has been invited and has served as a speaker on several occasions for Lorman Education on “Litigation Skills for the Legal Profession”. She has also been a speaker at the annual California Bar Association Conference on “conflict of interest” issues. She is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. In 2011, Sunny was one of the lead litigators before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson, et al, where the City won an important decision for all public agencies on rent control issues. In 2012, she served as counsel for the amici curiae in the seminal case of Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates, LLC v. City of Los Angeles, wherein the Supreme Court restored an important aspect of public agencies’ land use power’s related to subdivisions back to them.
She has served as special counsel on land use issues, including subdivisions and regulatory takings cases, to Cities of Chino, Palm Desert and Palm Springs. Sunny assists her clients with general plans and codes, zoning, public parks, subdivisions and complex real property acquisitions and conveyances. She regularly assists her municipal clients with the Political Reform Act (conflicts of interest), Brown Act (public meeting laws), Public Records Act and elections laws. Sunny has successfully negotiated various Remedial Action Plans with DTSC and the Regional Water Board. She has also successfully represented her clients in various CEQA challenges to development plans and/or general plan amendments.
Sunny represented the Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency in a cleanup of a former oil field and redevelopment with an expansion of the Signal Hill Auto Center. This project also resulted in a trial involving 21 consolidated cases. The Agency condemned approximately 30 parcels of undeveloped oil field property for redevelopment of a car dealership. Four settled; the remaining 21 proceeded to trial as a group. Sunny also served as the lead litigator at the time of trial. Issues at the time of trial included: (a) right to take, (b) environmental contamination, (c) the cost of abandoning or re-abandoning oil wells, (d) the right to and the impact on value of the right of an oil production company to use the surface of the property for oil exploration and drilling purposes, (e) the impact on the value of some of the parcels due to their proximity to a known earthquake fault, and (f) reasonable probability of assemblage of multiple parcels under separate ownership for joint development. The jury returned verdicts on the properties only a small percentage above the Agency’s appraised values and about 80% less than the property owners’ appraised values. The verdicts saved the Agency over 18 million dollars.
In 2006 Sunny won, on a Motion for Summary Judgment, a Government Code § 1090 matter on behalf of City of Carson where a developer had paid a bribe to receive an $850,000 loan from the City for a 30 year low-income housing project. The developer disgorged the entire $850,000 benefit he received to the City and the City kept the benefits of the 30 year low-income housing. The Court of Appeals affirmed, in yet another published opinion, in its entirety, the lower court’s decision and the California Supreme Court denied the developer’s petition for review.
In the same year, Sunny successfully finished a 4 week long federal jury trial in the Los Angeles Central District Court where a developer had sued the Carson Redevelopment Agency for $21,000,000 for a failed exclusive right to negotiate.
Sunny represented a Water District in Sacramento, where the County of Sacramento was challenging the Water District’s authority to issue bonds and certificates of participating in the amount of $25,000,000. Sunny obtained a favorable ruling for the Water District in the very early stages of the proceedings. She obtained a ruling dismissing, with prejudice, thirteen of the County’s fourteen causes of action against the Water District, thereby enabling the District to proceed with the issuance of bonds.
In 2013, she took the lead in assisting Carson in restoring important regulatory powers back to cities by the passage of SB 510 signed in to law by governor Brown. SB 510 was enacted after a decade of court battles up and down the state involving more than 25 municipalities and a veritable host of mobilehome park owners. Many of the lawsuits filed against local governments have cost public agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and have exposed them to millions of dollars of regulatory taking damages lawsuits. This new law ends these unwarranted legal exposures.
Sunny graduated from Loyola Law School, magna cum laude, in 2000 where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif. Sunny received two B.A.’s with honors and great distinction from University of California Los Angeles in 1997. In 1999, Sunny clerked for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt in United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Her published opinions include the following:
- Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates, LLC v. City of Los Angeles (2012) 55 Cal. 4th 783
- Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson, et al. (9th Cir. 2011) 640 F.3d 948, Case No. 09-57039 [petition for review denied]
- City of Perris v. Stamper, et al (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 1104 [petition for review granted - pending]
- Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson (2013) 220 Cal. App. 4th 840 [petition for review denied]
- Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson (2010) 187 Cal. App. 4th 1487; [petition for review denied]
- Goldstone v. County of Santa Cruz (2012) 207 Cal. App. 4th 1038 [petition for review denied]
- Carson Redevelopment Agency v. Padilla (2006) 140 Cal. App. 4th 1323