Municipal litigation involves litigation in state and federal courts concerning lawsuits brought specifically against counties, cities, towns, school districts, police departments, and other governmental entities. These lawsuits often involve challenges to zoning and planning decisions, procedural and substantive claims under the Open Meetings Act or the Freedom of Information Act, and litigation over intergovernmental agreements and relationships.
Municipal litigation also may encompass eminent domain proceedings, code enforcement actions, disputes over the scope of home rule powers, citizen taxpayer suits, tax proceedings, election law challenges, questions relating to the appointment of emergency managers, and other disputes involving governmental entities, whether they be based in contract or tort. For example, municipal litigators may find themselves addressing disputes over construction projects involving private developers and construction companies, questions concerning rate setting by municipal utilities or negligence claims involving accidents that occurred on municipally controlled or municipally owned properties.
Although the disputes that municipalities may face are quite varied and broad, municipal litigators bring a special expertise to each of these disputes because of their familiarity with and knowledge of the specific universe of statutory law that applies to public bodies. Municipal litigation involves not only an understanding of the basic underlying dispute between the parties, but also an understanding of how the dispute is affected by the laws regulating and governing governmental entities in a specific jurisdiction.
Soni Mithani, Principal