Photo of Michael G. Colantuono

Certified appellate specialist, California State Bar. Representing California local governments of all types since 1989 at a large firm before opening my own, mid-sized firm in 2001. We have particular strength in appellate litigation and I have appeared in the California Supreme Court 14 times since 2004.

Our goal is to provide top-notch legal advice that is understandable, helpful, and fairly priced.

Specialties: Appellate advocacy, advice and litigation regarding local government revenues (Props. 13, 62, 218 and 26) , elections, LAFCO, land use, police liability, inverse condemnation and other public law issues.

Interesting story out of Santa Barbara this week. A respected Superior Court judge ordered the Sheriff to return $620,000 in cash and 1,800 pounds — pounds — of cannabis oil to a licensed cannabis operator, finding no evidence the operation was unlawful.  Under state law anyway. Seems those who police California’s growing cannabis commerce need

We have published a Bulletin on pending petitions seeking SCOTUS review of the qualified immunity doctrine. This rule protects government officials and employees (and their agencies) from liability for violating civil rights and other standards if the standard violated is not “clearly established” by existing law when the violation occurs. It is a crucial defense

The November 2020 statewide election will bring the usual host of ballot measures. Given the high turnout expected in a Presidential year, this year’s ballot has attracted significant measures. In addition to the fight between app-based businesses and labor over AB 5’s new definition of “employees” entitled to wage and benefit protections and the bail

AB 2570 (Stone, D-Sta. Cruz) would amend the False Claims Act (FCA) to allow private litigants to enforce fraudulent underpayment of State personal and corporate income taxes and, of interest to local government, sales and use taxes and transactions and use taxes (i.e., local-option sales taxes), too. The FCA allows a private litigant to identify

On May 22, 2020, the San Diego Court of Appeal resolved a long-running battle over dredging of San Diego Bay to support Army and Navy facilities there. The dredging efforts were federal projects, but subject to California Coastal Commission review. Although the original plan was to deposit the dredging spoils on adjacent land (protecting that

CH&W is launching this blog to allow us to engage California’s local government community in a more timely and interactive way. We will not stop publishing our quarterly newsletter (you can subscribe to that here: for either U.S. Mail or email deliveryWe will also continue to send periodic electronic “bulletin” editions