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  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

William P. Curley III

Partner | Los Angeles, Mission Viejo

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Tel: 213.929.1066
Fax: 213.929.1077
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William P. Curley III is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Los Angeles and Mission Viejo offices. He is the Southern California co-chair of the Local Government practice group and the Water Rights and Regulation specialty practice group chair. With 30 years representing public agencies with a focus on cities, city entities (redevelopment agencies, housing authorities, finance authorities, library districts, etc.) and special districts, he has built a body of experience that greatly benefits his clients. His experience allows for prompt, efficient and cost sensitive service to the Firm's clients. Mr. Curley's expertise is focused in several interrelated practice areas: public agency, governance and ethics (elected officials and senior staff), land-use, elections (CVRA), housing, vector control, water law and new economic development/Redevelopment 2.0 opportunities.

Mr. Curley has assisted a client in becoming the only city in Califiornia to adopt cumulative voting, rather than districts, to respond to the California Voting Rights Act. He serves as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel to dozen entities on a statewide basis. His practice includes general counsel and advisory administrative advice, general municipal representation, ethics and official conduct, land use advice, code enforcement, the negotiation and drafting of development agreements for large scale residential, commercial and industrial developments, the review and/or preparation of all types of California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act documents, involvement in all aspects of economic development activity, rates and the implementation of the dynamically changing body of water laws.

Mr. Curley has served as both in-house and private firm municipal legal counsel. He regularly advises public clients as permanent legal counsel and special counsel. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Curley served as a municipal, in-house city planner. His in-house, public agency background allows him to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues confronting public officials and agencies, including a practical understanding of the objectives of elected officials, staff and their communities and the legal issues involved in public agency decision-making.

He is a regular speaker at public agency associations’ annual events. He serves on numerous League of California Cities committees and as President and other leadership positions in the State Bar and county league associations.

Mr. Curley received a Bachelor of Science (cum laude) from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he majored in geography and anthropology. He earned his Juris Doctor (cum laude) degree from Western State University, Fullerton, distinguishing himself by winning several awards and honors.

FCC Threatens Public Agencies’ Local Control Over Next-Gen Cellular Deployment

By: William Curley IIILee Burdick-

November 2018 Number 76 In anticipation of the wave of next-generation cellular technology, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order significantly preempting state and local control over the use of public rights of way for the deployment of "small wireless facilities" (i.e., micro cellular antennas and equipment). The preemption order was published in the Federal Register on October 15, 2018, and will become effective on January 1...

New Laws Increase State Control of Addiction Treatment Facilities, Require Student Athlete Opioid Warning

By: William Curley III-

October 2018 Number 58 On September 26, Governor Jerry Brown signed a package of bills designed to enhance state regulation of licensed alcohol and drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities (RTFs). Governor Brown also signed Senate Bill (SB) 1109, which aims to better inform the public of the risks associated with the use of opioids. These bills take effect January 1, 2019 unless otherwise noted. Senate Bill (SB) 992: Disclosure of Business Relationships; Developing Plans to Address ...

Court Restricts Ability to Seek Mandate Reimbursements

By: Nicholas ClairWilliam Curley III-

October 2018 Number 59 A California appellate court has ruled that a public agency is not entitled to seek reimbursement from the state for the cost of implementing mandated programs if the agency has existing statutory authority to impose or raise fees, even if the attempt to impose or raise fees is prevented by a successful Proposition 218 majority protest. In Paradise Irrigation District v. Commission on State Mandates, decided on October 1, the Court of Appeals held that the Propos...

Court Rejects Developer-Sponsored Initiatives

By: William Curley IIIJose Montoya-

October 2018 Number 61 A California appellate court has ruled that development agreements may not be approved through voter initiatives. Development agreements are contracts between a local agency and a property owner or developer. In Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice v. City of Moreno Valley et al., the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District held that it was the Legislature's intent to exclusively delegate approval of development agreements to...

Ninth Circuit Affirms Legislative Prayer Exception Does Not Apply to School Board Meetings

By: William Curley IIILeila Alamri-Kassim-

August 2018 Number 34 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a federal district court ruling that school-sponsored prayer, Bible readings and proselytizing at school board meetings are unconstitutional. In Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education, the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against a school board's policy and practice of allowing school-sponsored religious exercise during board meetings. This decision distinguishes p...

State Adopts Comprehensive Housing Legislation

By: Harold FreimanWilliam Curley IIIJames SanchezLauren Kawano-

December 2017 Number 81 Facing one of the tightest housing markets in California history, state lawmakers have approved an extensive package of bills intended to maintain existing housing stocks and boost new housing construction. These bills become effective on January 1, 2018. This legislative package will provide funding to stimulate housing production and will eliminate procedural hurdles to getting housing built. Alternatively, though, the bills also require more detailed justific...

Law Enforcement's Role in the New Sanctuary State

By: William Curley III-

November 2017 Number 75 On October 5, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 54, known as the California Values Act, which sharply limits how state and local law enforcement authorities cooperate and coordinate with federal immigration officials. SB 54 seeks to protect the estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants in California in the face of the Trump Administration's calls for deportation. Limits on Local Enforcement Effective January 1, 2018, this new "...

Court Eliminates Registration Requirement for Model Aircraft

By: William Curley IIICarrie Rasmussen-

September 2017 Number 55 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may no longer require the registration of model aircraft, following the D.C. Circuit's decision in Huerta v. Taylor. Model aircraft, commonly known as drones, are unmanned aircraft that weigh 55 pounds or less and are used exclusively for recreational purposes. Small unmanned aircraft used for any commercial purposes, or unmanned aircraft heavier than 55 pounds, are not impacted. The Huerta case challenged a rule pro...

Appellate Courts Reject Recreational Trail Immunity for Adjacent Hazards

By: William Curley IIIArne Sandberg-

August 2017 Number 47 Two decisions in the last three months have increased the potential for a public entity to be held liable for an injury suffered on one of its recreational trails. Appellate courts deciding Garcia v. American Golf Corporation (May 3, 2017, No. B267613) ___ Cal.App.5th ___ and Toeppe v. City of San Diego (July 27, 2017, No. D069662) ___ Cal.App.5th ___ held that a public entity cannot assert recreational trail immunity when an adjacent hazardous condition of the publi...

Attorney General Sessions Defines Federal Funding Subject to Withholding Due to Sanctuary Policies

By: William Curley IIIJoshua Whiteside-

June 2017 Number 27 U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions provided clarity on which federal funding would be subject to a withholding for implementing "sanctuary" policies that direct employees to refuse to communicate with, or frustrate communication of immigration status information to, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as required by federal law. On May 22, 2017, the Attorney General issued a memorandum regarding one of President Donald J. Trump's executive orders that would w...

Digital Data Security and Confidentiality: Public Agency Vulnerabilities in the Age of Ransomware

By: William Curley IIILee Burdick-

This article was featured in the Spring 2017 Issue of Lozano Smith's TIPJar In the action movie thriller Taken, Liam Neeson plays a former CIA operative and distraught father on a mission to rescue his daughter from kidnappers. Imagine if Neeson came upon the kidnapping of his most valuable, confidential data and it was being held for ransom. One of his most famous movie lines might read something like this: "If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I d...

Change in Law May Require Shift to Even-Year Elections

By: William Curley III-

February 2017 Number 8 In September 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 415. SB 415, which becomes operative on January 1, 2018, prohibits political subdivisions from holding odd-year regular elections if a prior odd-year election resulted in a "significant decrease in voter turnout," as defined by statute. The new law reflects a policy of encouraging election consolidations to defray election costs and encourage voter participation. It applies only to regular elec...

California Supreme Court Rules That Retirement is a Form of Quitting Under the Labor Code

By: William Curley III-

October 2016 Number 71 The California Supreme Court has ruled that retirement is a form of quitting under the prompt payment protections in California's Labor Code. (McLean v. State of California (2016) 1 Cal.5th 615.) However, this ruling only applies to State of California and private employees, as Labor Code section 220 continues to exempt employees directly employed by any county, incorporated city, town or other municipal corporation. In McLean, a retired California Department ...

California Agencies May Now Have Their Code Enforcement Officers Certified

By: David WolfeJenell Van BindsbergenWilliam Curley IIINicholas Felahi-

September 2016 Number 64 The Governor recently signed Assembly Bill 2228, establishing a program for California code enforcement officers to become certified. The purpose of the program, which is voluntary, is to provide a mechanism for code enforcement officers to become trained in the substantive law and legal processes affecting their duties while also reducing the risk of liability for the agency. The program will ensure uniform and consistent training throughout the state, increasing...

Gotta Catch 'Em All: Spotting the Issues Augmented Reality Games Raise for Public Agencies

By: Harold FreimanWilliam Curley IIINicholas Felahi-

September 2016 Number 59 Released in July 2016, Pokémon Go is a technological and gaming sensation that swept across the country, where players use their mobile devices to locate Pokémon (virtual creatures) in the real world. Pokémon can appear in any physical location, and as avid fans know, players "gotta catch 'em all." This may result in players entering or approaching public property to capture Pokémon, which means public agencies may have to address issues regard...

Two Cases Demonstrate the Reach of Government Code Section 1090: Criminal and Civil Penalties Await the Unwary Government Official

By: William Curley IIIRyan Tung-

March 2016 Number 15 Two recent cases involving high profile public officials highlight the reach of Government Code section 1090. Government Code section 1090 prohibits conflicts of interest, self-dealing and corruption among public entity officials. Sweetwater Union School District v. Gilbane Building Company (February 24, 2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 19, sprang from one of the largest political corruption scandals in San Diego County history, in which construction vendors provided gifts to...

New Law Limits Government Searches of Cell Phones and Other Devices

By: William Curley III-

New Law Limits Government Searches of Cell Phones and Other Devices December 2015 Number 82 AUTHOR'S NOTE: Due to the significant legal changes caused by Senate Bill (SB) 178, we recommend that all government agencies, including school districts, contact legal counsel for guidance before searching any electronic devices in the possession of staff or students. Government agencies should further update any relevant policies and procedures, and provide training to all staff whose job func...

County Committees May Now Decrease the Governing Board of Small School Districts from Five to Three Members

By: William Curley IIITrevin SimsRyan TungDesiree Serrano-

December 2015 Number 77 Small school districts sometimes have difficulty finding people to fill all seats on a five member board. To address this issue, the California legislature recently passed Assembly Bill (AB) 331, providing county committees on school district organization (County Committees) the authority to decrease school district governing boards from five members to three members in districts with an average daily attendance (ADA) of less than 300 during the preceding year. Spe...

Under the Public Records Act, Local Agencies Are Now Required to Create and Maintain a Catalog of Enterprise Systems

By: William Curley III-

December 2015 Number 78 On October 11, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 272, which requires local agencies to create a catalog of "enterprise systems," as defined, as part of implementing the California Public Records Act (PRA). This bill does not currently apply to local educational agencies. SB 272 becomes effective January 1, 2016. It adds section 6270.5 to the Government Code, which requires local agencies to create a catalog of "enterprise systems." "Ent...

Appellate Court Rules that a Report Prepared By a Third-Party, Non-Governmental Entity Is a Public Record

By: William Curley III-

October 2015 Number 63 In Pasadena Police Officers Association v. Superior Court (PPOA), (2015) 240 Cal. App. 4th 268, the California Court of Appeal held that an investigative report commissioned by the City of Pasadena but drafted by third party is a public record subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). Additionally, the appellate court closely scrutinized redactions to the report, which were based on a recognized exemption to the CPRA, and held that the tr...

Appellate Court Rules that a Report Prepared By a Third-Party, Non-Governmental Entity Is a Public Record

By: William Curley III-

October 2015 Number 63 In Pasadena Police Officers Association v. Superior Court (PPOA), (2015) 240 Cal. App. 4th 268, the California Court of Appeal held that an investigative report commissioned by the City of Pasadena but drafted by third party is a public record subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). Additionally, the appellate court closely scrutinized redactions to the report, which were based on a recognized exemption to the CPRA, and held that the tr...

Water Conservation Rates Face Judicially Refined Constitutional Mandates

By: William Curley IIIDavid Wolfe-

April 2015 Number 25 In Capistrano Taxpayers Association, Inc. v. City of San Juan Capistrano, (April 20, 2015) 2015 Cal.App.Lexis 330, the court of appeal ruled that the City's tiered water rates or "fees" were unconstitutional in violation of Proposition 218 because the rates did not correspond to the actual cost of providing service at a given level of usage. Proposition 218 forbids local agencies from charging more for a property-related service such as water than the service actually...

It's An E-World: Governing in the Electronic Age

By: Harold FreimanDevon LincolnWilliam Curley IIIManuel Martinez-

March 2015 Number 17 Technology often outpaces the law. Lozano Smith attorneys have emphasized this point at numerous presentations on technology legal issues over the past decade. Occasionally, the Legislature tries to catch up with changes in technology: in 2015, such legislative changes focused on school districts, which now must enact new policies on several fronts, as discussed below. However, the law on many other local government issues remains unsettled, and is not likely to be cl...

Potential Felony Conflict of Interest? Attorney General Addresses Conflict of Interest Scenarios Involving Public Officers

By: William Curley III-

December 2014 Number 93 The California Attorney General recently issued two opinions addressing the scope of California's conflict of interest statute relating to public officers. These opinions discussed Government Code section 1090, which prohibits public officers from participating in public contract decisions if they have a personal financial interest in any contract. This prohibition applies to public officers including members of school boards, community college district boards, cit...

California Enacts Historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

By: William Curley III-

October 2014 Number 79 For the first time in its history, California has passed comprehensive legislation providing for the sustainable management of the state's groundwater resources. The several bills, Senate Bill (SB) 1168, SB 1319, and Assembly Bill (AB) 1739, collectively enacted the "Sustainable Groundwater Management Act" (Act). The goal of the Act is to achieve "sustainability" for California's groundwater basins, which will now be regulated by local agencies. A total of 127 gr...

New Compensation Disclosure Requirements for School and Special Districts Under Assembly Bill 2040

By: William Curley III-

October 2014 Number 76 The Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2040, which amends Government Code sections 12463 and 53892 to mandate disclosure of the compensation of school and special district elected officials, officers and employees. Starting January 1, 2015, these agencies will have new reporting and internet posting requirements to provide the public with easy access to this compensation information. For transparency, the compensation of all state, county and city elected officia...

The FCC Moves to Modernize its E-Rate Program and Increase Funding for Wi-Fi in Schools and Public Libraries

By: William Curley III-

July 2014 Number 41 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved a plan to modernize its E-rate program. The E-rate program, also known as the School and Libraries Universal Service Support program, is designed to help schools and public libraries obtain affordable telecommunications services and internal network connections. Schools and public libraries in California will benefit from the FCC's recent action. The modernization plan, adopted on July 11, 2014, represe...

Supreme Court to Law Enforcement: No Warrant, No Cell Phone Search!

By: William Curley III-

July 2014 Number 36 The United States Supreme Court has concluded that a police officer may not search an arrested person's cell phone data without first obtaining a search warrant. While officers are permitted to conduct limited searches of lawfully arrested persons without first obtaining a warrant, such searches should not include the data content of the arrested person's cell phone. Riley v. California (June 25, 2014) 573 U.S. ___, involved two cases where the evidence and criminal...