Santa Clara’s recently-decided case against 49ers stadium opponents Santa Clara Plays Fair has already been enshrined in California case law. That’s apparently why Sacramento law firm Soluri and Meserve, which specializes in environmental and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) law, last month requested copies of case documents.
This request revved up some inquiring local minds to wonder if a new round of legal activity loomed on the municipal horizon. However, as is often the case, the facts are likely a good deal more prosaic – and in this case downright soporific.
The request has nothing to do with the Santa Clara stadium, according to attorney Patrick Soluri.
Although Soluri declined to specify the reason for his research, one possibility is a decidedly abstruse lawsuit, No Wetlands Landfill Expansion v. Marin County. The case concerns certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) connected to a California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery permit to expand a Marin County landfill.
The case wasn’t even about the EIR. It was about whether or not the county court could order the county board of supervisors to hear an appeal of the EIR certification.
The appeals court said the Board of Supervisors couldn’t hear an EIR challenge because that body had no authority to approve or disapprove the project, and returned the case to the county court to hear the EIR challenge.
The connection? Both the Santa Clara and Marin cases concern administrative authority – in Marin County whether the Board of Supervisors has authority to hear a CEQA challenge to a project it doesn’t have decision-making power over; and in Santa Clara whether the City Council has power to put an initiative on the ballot concerning administrative actions taken by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.
Another connection is that Soluri and Meserve represented Redwood Landfill – the company licensed to conduct the work in the landfill expansion project – in the appeals hearing, while Santa Clara Plays Fair attorneys Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger represented Marin County.