Joe represents private parties and public agencies in state and federal courts throughout California. His cases have involved diverse areas of law, including business and contract law, consumer protection, class actions, elections and political law, civil rights defense, government organization and responsibility, labor and employment, and public revenue and taxation.
Joe has a particular expertise in complex litigation, writs and appeals. He has represented parties in more than 100 appellate proceedings and has appeared in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court and every district of the California Court of Appeal. Joe is an appellate specialist certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization. He also teaches appellate advocacy.
In addition to his litigation practice, Joe advises public agencies on issues of governance, risk management and revenue and taxation.
Prior to joining Hanson Bridgett, Joe was a federal public defender, a principal trial attorney for the City and County of San Francisco and a trial and appellate litigator at various Bay Area firms. He clerked in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He graduated from UCLA with honors and the University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law. Joe is active in civic and professional groups. For the past several years, he has been a director of Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center, a legal services provider founded by his grandmother. He is the proud recipient of several professional honors, including the Crusader Award from the California Alliance for Pride and Equality, now Equality California.
Huppert v. City of Pittsburg, 574 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. 2009) – Police officer’s testimony and reports of corruption cannot form basis of First Amendment retaliation claim.
Bias v. Moynihan, 508 F.3d 1212 (9th Cir. 2007) – Police officer immune from federal civil rights liability for decision to detain and actual detention of individual for psychiatric evaluation.
Air Transport Assoc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 266 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 2001) and S.D. Myers, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 253 F.3d 461 (9th Cir. 2001) – Local Equal Benefits Ordinance, or domestic partners law; not preempted by state or federal law.
Fahlen v. Sutter Central Valley Hospitals, Cal. Supreme Court Case No. S205568 - Successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to decide whether by Health and Safety Code section 1278.5 the Legislature abrogated the longstanding rules governing physician challenges to quasi-judicial medical peer review; merits pending.
Coral Construction, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 50 Cal.4th 315 (2010) - California Constitution Article 1, section 31, also known as Proposition 209, is consistent with political-structure doctrine under the federal equal protection clause but enforcement may have to yield to equal protection principles where remedial action necessary to remedy past intentional discrimination.
O’Connell v. City of Stockton, 41 Cal.4th 1061 (2007) – State vehicle and drug laws preempt local law allowing forfeiture of vehicles used for prostitution or drug sales.
Michaelis, Montanari & Johnson v. City of Los Angeles, Dept. of Airports, 38 Cal. 4th 1065 (2006) – California Public Records Act does not obligate agency to disclose competitors’ proposals during negotiations.
City of Dinuba v. County of Tulare, 41 Cal.4th 859 (2007) – Local agency’s equitable claims to recover withheld tax increment survive County’s immunity defense.
Geneva Towers, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 29 Cal.4th 769 (2003) – Explaining taxpayers’ duties in refund proceedings under Revenue and Taxation Code section 5141.
Andreini & Co. v. MacCorkle Insurance Services, – Cal.App.4th – (2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 6404) – Existing rules and statutes did not provide for recovery of deposit interest expense as recoverable cost on appeal; new rule not retroactive.
California Bank and Trust v. Piedmont Operation Partnership, 218 Cal.App.4th 1322 (2013) – In dispute over draw upon letter of credit, bank established basis for declaratory relief and relief under California Uniform Commercial Code.
Requa v. Regents of the University of California, 213 Cal.App.4th 213 (2013) – Retirees alleged sufficient facts to support implied contract for health benefits, claims for express contract failed as a matter of law.
Peninsula Guardians, Inc. v. Peninsula Health Care Dist., 200 Cal.App.4th 1108 (2011) – Communications were informational, not campaign materials, and, therefore, state constitution's Free Elections clause did not prohibit agency from expending public funds to publish communications.
Arntz v. Superior Court (Alioto-Pier), 187 Cal.App.4th 1082 (2010) – Represented friend of the court in case clarifying local term limits.
Gressett v. Superior Court (People), 185 Cal.App.4th 114 (2010), review denied August 18, 2010, No. S183975 – Indigent defendant not entitled to preferred counsel even if that counsel previously represented defendant in same case, distinguishing Harris v. Superior Court (1977) 19 Cal.3d 786.
In re Electric Refund Cases, 184 Cal.App.4th 1490 (2010), rev. denied Sept. 15, 2010, No. S184234 – Addressing complex issues of federal and state law to hold that utilities’ contract claims not necessarily barred by doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.
Alvarez v. Superior Court (People), 183 Cal.App.4th 969 (2010), rev. denied July 14, 2010, No. S182758 – Presiding judge has plenary authority over department creation and case assignments, exercise of authority not functional equivalent of local rule.
Koehler v. Superior Court (People), 181 Cal.App.4th 1153 (2010) – Settling procedural and substantive rules for indirect contempt proceedings in trial courts.
City of Oakland v. Superior Court (Hornung), Cal. Supreme Court Case No. S152669. As lead counsel for the City of Oakland, successfully prosecuted petition for review to overturn Court of Appeal’s summary denial of petition regarding selection of an arbitrator to preside over a high profile employment-related arbitration.
Peninsula Guardians, Inc. v. Peninsula Health Care Dist., 168 Cal.App.4th 75 (2008) – Health care district’s lease to private corporation not subject to durational limit of Health & Safety Code section 32126.
Bay Area Cellular Tel. Co. v. City of Union City, 162 Cal.App.4th 686 (2008) – Local charge upon telephone subscribers to pay for local emergency communication (911) system is a "special tax."
Kumar v. Superior Court, 149 Cal.App.4th 543 (2007) – State law does not preempt local hotel tax and officials' collection efforts did not violate hotel operator’s constitutional rights.
North Bay Constr., Inc. v. City of Petaluma, 143 Cal.App.4th 552 (2006) – Mechanic’s lien unenforceable against public property, even where work not performed as part of public work project; quasi-contract relief not available.
Andal v. City of Stockton, 137 Cal.App.4th 86 (2006) – Timely facial challenge to new local charge not barred by "pay first, litigate later" rule.
Placer Cty. Local Agency Form. Comm. v. Placer Cty. Local Agency Form. Comm., 135 Cal.App.4th 793 (2006) – Principal county maintains unitary jurisdiction over planning for multi-county special districts.
Flying Dutchman Park, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 93 Cal.App.4th 1129 (2001) – “Pay first and litigate later” rule bars taxpayer’s challenge to local business tax.
International Fed’n of Prof’l and Tech’l Eng’rs, et al. v. San Francisco Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 76 Cal.App.4th 213 (1999). At trial and on appeal, successfully defended department’s contracting-out initiative integral to unprecedented capital improvement program.
Local 21 v. City and County of San Francisco, 76 Cal.App.4th 213 (1999) – Rejecting class claims for enhanced retirement benefits.
Holmes v. District Attorney, 68 Cal.App.4th 1523 (1998) – Upholding district attorney’s decision to termination investigator for dishonesty.
City of Ontario v. Quon, __ U.S. __, 2010 WL 2400087 (2010) – On behalf of League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties, co-authored amicus brief asking Court to review Ninth Circuit’s holding that public employee has protected privacy interest in text messages sent or received on government-issued electronic equipment; also co-authored amicus brief on merits.
McCarran International Airport v. Sisolak, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 06-658 – Co-authored amicus brief on behalf of coalition of trade associations asking the Court to review Nevada Supreme Court’s takings ruling.
Selvitella v. City of South Francisco, 9th Cir. Case No. 10-15151 – Defended city’s for-cause termination of battalion chief, a 25-year veteran of the fire department.
Padgett v. Loventhal, 9th Cir. Case No. 07-74739 – Obtained extraordinary writ undoing discovery sanctions.
City of Oakland v. Superior Court (Hornung), Cal. Supreme Court Case No. S152669 – Secured grant-and-transfer order directing Court of Appeal to resolve dispute over selection of arbitrator in high profile employment case.
San Joaquin Motel and Hotel Property Owners Ass'n v. City of Stockton, E.D. Cal. No. 02-0898-DFL – Defended city and officials in challenge to code enforcement and land use policies and practices.
Arroyo Vista Tenants’ Assoc. v. City of Dublin, N.D. Cal. No. 3:07-CV-05794-MHP – Defended city against constitutional and statutory challenges to innovative housing plan.
Harper v. City of Los Angeles, C.D. Cal. No. CV 03-00959 CJC (PJWx); Los Angeles Co. Super. Ct. No. 06-55519 (and related cases) – Defended city and officials against challenges to Ramparts-related police officer terminations.
Great Oaks Water Co. v. Santa Clara Valley Water Dist., Santa Clara Cty. Super. Ct. Nos. 105CV053142, 107CV087884, 108CV123064, 108CV119465, 109CV146018, 110CV709658; Cal. Court of App. Nos. H034626, H035260 & H035885 – Representing water district in cases presenting complex and novel statutory and constitutional challenges to groundwater charges.
State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health v. Superior Court, Cal. Court of App. No. B235419 – On behalf of Cal/OSHA, obtained a writ of mandate vacating discovery order and narrowing trial-court record.
Colmar Properties, LLC v. City of Stockton, San Joaquin Cty. Super. Ct. No. CV020189, Cal. Court of App. No. C060431 (and related cases) – At trial and on appeal, defended city and officials against takings and other constitutional claims arising from revitalization and building safety actions.
Angotti & Reilly, Inc. v. Alexander Group, LLC, Cal. Court of App. Nos. A127917 & A128743 – Defended $1 million construction/breach of contract judgment; on remand, secured $300,000 attorney's fees award.
City of Larkspur v. Jacobs Engineering Group, Cal. Court of App. No. A123486, Cal Supreme Court Case No. S184141 – Defended $10 million design/construction fraud judgment.
Kudsk Construction v. Moraga-Orinda Fire District, Cal. Court of App. No. A122241 – Defended judgment in favor od defendant fire district in construction/breach of contract case.
Williams v. Arntz, S.F. Super. Ct. No. CPF-12-512411 – On behalf of campaign committee, intervened in action challenging ballot materials; defeated opposing campaign's effort to re-write ballot question.
Citizens for Yes on the Recall Meredith and Haines v. City of Galt, Sacramento Co. Super. Ct. No. 34-2008-00025424; E.D. Cal. Case No. 08-1330/08-CV-02714-WBS-JFM – Defended city in challenge to campaign finance ordinance and related enforcement actions.
Sabatino v. City of Modesto, Stanislaus Co. Super. Ct. No. 620253; Cal. Court of App. No. F058024 – Defended city in election challenge filed by former mayor and secured order requiring plaintiff to pay city’s attorney’s fees.
Wallace v. Clark, Alameda Co. Super. Ct. No. RG04-172707 – Prosecuted claims in court trial that resulted in substantial changes to voter information pamphlet.
Daniels v. City of Stockton, E.D. Cal. No. 02-21310-WBS (and related cases) – Defended city and officials in challenges to code enforcement and land use policies and practices in West End district.
Great Oaks Water Co. v. Santa Clara Valley Water Dist., Santa Clara Co. Super. Ct. Nos. 1-05-CV053142, 1-07-CV087884, 1-08-CV1194765, 1-08-CV123064; Cal. Ct. App. Nos. H034626, H035260 – At court trial and on appeal, defending water district against constitutional and statutory challenges to groundwater charges.
Vega v. Robinson, Contra Costa Co. Super. Ct. No. MSC06-0045 – Defended city against inverse condemnation and other constitutional and statutory claims.
Sandalwood Estates, Inc. v. City of Petaluma, Sonoma Co. Super. Ct. Nos. SCV240548, SCV244098, SCV244110 & SCV245122 – Defended city against constitutional claims, including takings claims, challenging mobile home rent control ordinance and actions; represented other cities in similar cases.
Gallardo v. City of Desert Hot Springs, Riverside Co. Super. Ct. No. INC058313; Cal. Ct. App. No. E043571 – Defended police chief’s decision to terminate police officer for dishonesty, falsifying report.
Cypress Cove Residents Assn. v. City of Half Moon Bay, San Mateo Super. Court Case No. 447330 – Defended city against Public Records Act claims (court trial).
American Civil Rights Assoc. v. Port of Oakland, Alameda Co. Super. Ct. No. RG07334277 (and similar cases) – Defended local DBE/MBE/WBE ordinance against state and federal constitutional challenges.
City of Rancho Cordova v. County of Sacramento, Solano Co. Super. Ct. No. FCS028865 (and related cases) – Prosecuted city’s challenges to terms of incorporation and county’s refusal to allow annexations.
City of Modesto v. National Med, Inc., Stanislaus Co. Super. Ct. No. 292944 – Member of team retained by City after trial court rendered local business license tax “null and void”, responsibilities included representing City in court and drafting new tax provisions and remedial ordinance.
City and County of San Francisco v. Civil Service Comm’n (Haygood), Cal. Ct. of App. No. A099980 (2003) – Member of team representing the City in politically-sensitive employment case presenting complex statutory interpretation questions and issues of first impression; also represented City in related administrative proceeding and federal litigation.
Chapman v. California Dep’t of Educ., N.D. Cal. No. C-01-1780-CRB – Defended third party’s interests in complex litigation regarding the California High School Exit Exam.
Good Gov’t Alliance v. City and County of San Francisco (Sunset Scavenger Co.), San Francisco Super. Ct. No. 322995 – Member of team that defended the City’s ratemaking process and franchisee’s innovative recycling program.
Local 21 of the International Federation of Prof’l and Tech’l Eng’rs v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Super. Ct. No. 952491, Cal. Court of App. No.. A084918, Cal. Supreme Court No. S084714 – During court trial and on appeal, defended City in challenge to retirement health benefits.
General Motors, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Super. Ct. No. 301510 – At critical juncture, became lead counsel and manager of complex Commerce Clause challenge to the City’s business tax system, at stake $870 million.
International Fed’n of Prof’l and Tech’l Eng’rs, et al. v. San Francisco Pub. Utils. Comm’n, Cal. Court of App. No. A083672 – Defended department’s contracting-out initiative integral to unprecedented capital improvement program.
International Bhd. of Elec. Wrkrs, Local 6 v. City and County of San Francisco, Cal. Court of App. No. A082109 – Defended City against “equal pay” claims.
United States v. Leon, S.D. Cal. Case No. 94-0794 – Represented defendant in felony jury trial in which government dropped charges after jury deadlock.
United States v. Valdez, 9th Cir. Case No. 94-50590, 1995 WL 49813 – Developed and prosecuted Confrontation Clause argument and obtained client’s immediate release.
"Appeals Court Clarifies Proposition 218 Requirements for Property Fees," Public Agency Law Alert (February 2014)
"The Court of Appeal Holds Groundwater Augmentation Charges Fees for Water Services Under Proposition 218 and Provides Much-Needed Guidance on Several Related Issues," co-author, Hanson Bridgett Public Agency Law Alert (October 2013)
“California Supreme Court Clears Way for Class Challenges to Local Taxes and Fees: McWilliams v. City of Long Beach,” Hanson Bridgett Public Agency Law Alert (April 2013)
"State High Court Approves Class Claims for Local Tax Refunds: Ardon v. City of Los Angeles," (co-author) Hanson Bridgett Public Agency Advisory (September 2011)
"Non-Capital Expenses May Not Qualify as a "Special Benefit" Under Prop 218," co-author, Public Agency Advisory (July 2011)
"U.S. Supreme Court Holds City's Review of Employee Messages on City Pager Was Reasonable in Circumstances, But Avoids Clarifying General Standards," Legal Alert (June 2010)
"California Supreme Court Upholds Existing Standards for Public Expenditures on Ballot Measures," Legal Alert (June 2009)
"Absolute Priviledge Bars Discovery of Closed Session Communications," Legal Alert (February 2009)
See All Publications
"Public Law Appeals: Strategy and Substance," California State Bar Annual Meeting (September 2010)
"Adjunct professor teaching legal research and writing; Role of Law in American society," St. Mary's College of California (2004-2007)
"Disadvantaged Business Programs and Related Constitutional Issues," Airport Counsel International, North America (October 2006)
"911 Fees, Benefits and Risks," League of California Cities (February 2006)
"Municipal Revenues, Fees and Taxes," Municipal Managers Association of Northern California (October 2005)
"Business License Taxes: Avoiding the Pitfalls in an Ever-Changing Landscape," Bay Area City Attorneys Association (April 2005)
"So You Say You Want a 9-1-1 Fee", Marin-Sonoma Police Chiefs Association (October 2004)
"The 411 on 911 (Fees)," Public Law Seminar Series (2004)
"Municipal Business Taxes: Will Yours Pass Muster?," League of California Cities Annual Conference (2003)
"Common Trial Court Errors in Capital Prosecutions," Judicial Council Seminar for State Trial Court Staff Attorneys
See All Presentations
Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
Northern California Super Lawyers (2010-2015)
East Bay Business Times, Top East Bay Attorneys, Government Practice
California Alliance for Pride and Equality, (CAPE) Crusader Award
The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco, Commendation for defending the City's Equal Benefits Ordinance