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Practice Areas

Government & Public Entity

Government and Public Entity Law

Expertise in Representing Public Entities in a Wide Variety of Legal Matters

Government and Public Entity Law is one of the fastest growing practice areas at Burnham Brown. We are particularly skilled in the defense of actions seeking redress under federal and state civil rights laws. This familiarity with the many unique procedural provisions of government tort laws provides us with a competitive advantage in litigation and alternative dispute resolution. We serve state agencies, city and county governments, law enforcement agencies, air and water quality districts, school districts, community colleges, public service districts, airport and transportation authorities, housing authorities, law enforcement officers, and public utilities. As laws governing public entities are complex and frequently modified, we remain active in nationally recognized associations, including the Defense Research Institute, the American Bar Association, and the Public Agency Risk Management Association.

Areas of Expertise

Government Tort Claims

  • California Tort Claim Act
  • Personal injuries
  • Premises liability
  • Warranty of Habitability
  • Nuisance
  • Mold exposure
  • Emergency response claims
  • Design claims
  • Property damage
  • Unlawful detainer

Administration Law

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Permits and licensing
  • Environmental investigation and remediation

Civil Rights Claims

  • Discrimination
  • 42 U.S.C. 1983
  • Title IX
  • ADA claims
  • Jail conditions
  • Investigations
  • Policies and procedures

Labor and Employment

  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Wage and hour regulations
  • Independent contractor/employee status
  • Whistleblower/retaliation

Representative Engagements in Government and Public Entity Law


  • Represented municipal housing authority in litigation regarding law enforcement officer conduct
  • Continues to represent municipal housing authorities in defense of tenants lawsuits involving negligence and other tort claims
  • Continues to represent municipal housing authorities in defense of warranty of habitability and mold exposure lawsuits 
  • Represented county agency in whistleblower/retaliation claims
  • Represented county in various litigation matters concerning jail conditions and accessibility
  • Represented school district in Title IX action involving off-campus teacher-student harassment
  • Represented state university system in civil rights action against regents and professors

Advice and Counsel

In addition to trying cases to jury verdict, our attorneys have also counseled numerous local government agencies regarding pre-litigation investigation of governmental tort claims. To ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation, our attorneys frequently integrate the expertise of related practice groups, including environmental, employment, insurance, and transportation law. This representation encompasses a wide range of business and transactional matters, including:

  • Coordination of pre-transactional strategic plan and negotiations for city government's purchase of transportation equipment
  • Counseling for school districts regarding risk management and student transportation issues
  • Counseling for city and county government agencies in labor relations and employment law issues
  • Counseling for public entities in avoiding ADA claims
  • Advising school districts, community colleges, and universities regarding environmental regulatory compliance, including hazardous waste disposal issues
  • Counseling for clients through training and continuing education seminars presented in formal or informal settings

To speak with a Burnham Brown attorney specializing in Government and Public Entity Law, please call 510-444-6800 and ask to speak with a member of the Government and Public Entity Law Practice Group.