Court Admissions

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

Jenell  Van Bindsbergen

Partner | Fresno

More from Jenell  Van Bindsbergen


More from Jenell  Van Bindsbergen


More from Jenell  Van Bindsbergen

Tel: 559.431.5600
Fax: 559.261.9366
Vcard   | Bio


Jenell Van Bindsbergen is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Fresno office and co-chair of the firm's Local Government Practice Group. In addition to local government and labor and employment issues, she is also experienced with matters relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Pitchess motions, OSHA matters, code enforcement, harassment, and discrimination issues, layoffs, administrative and court trials for certificated, civil service and classified dismissals, public safety and grievance issues.

Ms. Van Bindsbergen has practiced law on behalf of public agencies for more than 20 years. She is an experienced litigator on behalf of public agencies and has 20 years of experience representing Fresno County area cities. She provides a full range of legal advice and services in all aspects of municipal, finance and public agency law. She represents both municipal agencies and school districts in personnel and safety compliance litigation.

In addition to attending city council meetings and advising city councils with regard to legal matters affecting their cities, Ms. Van Bindsbergen has worked with police departments on Pitchess motions, POBR/FOBR issues, records, personnel matters, policy updates, search warrants and other code enforcement issues. Ms. Van Bindsbergen has represented police and fire departments on personnel matters including litigation, implementation of personnel policies, bids for departmental purchases, and implementation of the Police Officer Bill of Rights and Fire Fighter Procedural Bill of Rights.

Additional Experience

She has organized and litigated many cases including preparation of complaints, answers, correspondence, mediation/arbitration, summary judgments, motions and all phases of discovery, interaction with clients and co-counsel, statute calendaring, trial preparation and trial. Ms. Van Bindsbergen has also represented various cities and school districts in matters of ADA, FMLA/EFRA and other personnel matters.


Ms. Van Bindsbergen received her J.D. from the San Joaquin College of Law in 1996. She earned a B.A. in History from California State University, Fresno, in 1992. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1997.


She is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern and Central Districts. Ms. Van Bindsbergen is a member of the League of California Cities and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

New Laws Restrict Law Enforcement Agencies’ Right to Withhold Recordings Relating to “Critical Incidents”

By: Mark MurrayJenell Van Bindsbergen-

October 2018 Number 60 After years of failed attempts, the Legislature has passed, and Governor Brown has signed into law, two bills that remove the longstanding layers of protection and confidentiality for certain law enforcement records. Senate Bill (SB) 1421, which becomes effective January 1, 2019, increases public access to certain records relating to allegations of misconduct by law enforcement. Assembly Bill (AB) 748, effective July 1, 2019, subjects body camera footage to public r...

Court Limits Enforcement of Public Sleeping Ordinances

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenWesley Carlson-

September 2018 Number 50 A federal appeals court has held that a city could not enforce local ordinances that prohibit homeless persons from sleeping outside when shelter is not available. Municipalities with similar ordinances may be affected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Martin v. City of Boise. Background At a time when homelessness is an issue that cities and counties are increasingly called to address, a common trend is to prohibit sleeping and camping on t...

Mayor-Sponsored Pension Reform Ballot Measure Triggered Meet and Confer Requirement, Court Rules

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenMeera Bhatt-

August 2018 Number 43 When a public official with responsibility for labor relations sponsors a ballot measure affecting workers' terms and conditions of employment, the duty to meet and confer arises, the California Supreme Court recently ruled. (Boling v. Public Employment Relations Board) Background In 2010, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders developed a citizen's initiative to eliminate traditional pensions for new hires. Sanders told the press that his purpose for pursuing pension r...

Public Entities May Rely on Claimant’s False Representations of Timeliness on Claim Forms

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenMark Murray-

August 2018 Number 41 In Estill v. County of Shasta, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a public entity has no duty under the Government Claims Act to advise a claimant that they may seek leave to file a late claim within 45 days, where the claim appears to be timely on its face. Background Renee Estill, a former employee of the Shasta County Sherriff's Office, submitted a government claim form to Shasta County on February 23, 2012. In the claim form, she alleged that her coworkers ...

New Law Requires Legal Consult Prior to Custodial Interrogation of Minor under Age 16

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenLeila Alamri-Kassim-

November 2017 Number 78 Beginning January 1, 2018, minors under the age of 16 must consult with legal counsel prior to a custodial interrogation and before waiving their Miranda rights. Existing law requires a peace officer to advise minors of their rights by providing a Miranda warning. But if the minor or parent waives those rights, officers can interrogate the minor. Senate Bill (SB) 395, which adds section 625.6 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, will prohibit a law enforcement ...

California Supreme Court Holds Disclosure Is the Rule, Not the Exception, in Public Record Requests

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenAlyse Pacheco-

October 2017 Number 59 Automated license plate reader (ALPR) scan data is not subject to the "records of investigation" exemption under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the California Supreme Court has ruled. The Court, however, did not foreclose the ability to withhold such information if it would invade an individual's privacy. In American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Aug. 31, 2017, No S227106) ___ Cal.5th ____, the Co...

Despite Marijuana Industry Efforts, Local Control Survives

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenLee Burdick-

August 2017 Number 48 Eight months after California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized adult use of recreational marijuana in California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill that will facilitate the issuance of marijuana business licenses beginning in January 2018. Despite marijuana industry efforts to minimize local government regulation, the new bill guarantees continued local agencies' control over marijuana operations in their jurisdictions. The primary thrust of Se...

Proposition 64: Legal and Practical Considerations

By: Lee BurdickDulcinea GranthamJenell Van Bindsbergen-

December 2016 Number 87 On November 8, 2016, California voters passed the "Control, Regulation and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act" ("Prop. 64"), legalizing recreational marijuana use for those 21 years old and older. The new law, effective immediately, among many other provisions does the following related to marijuana: Establishes a regulatory scheme for cultivation, distribution, sale, testing and use; Allows for personal cultivation of up to six plants inside a private home; P...

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...

Court Rules That Data From Automated License Plate Reader Searches Are Not Discoverable Under The Public Records Act

By: Jenell Van Bindsbergen-

July 2015 Number 35 An appellate court recently held that data generated from automated license plate recognition systems are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. The Public Records Act exempts certain types of records from disclosure, including records of law enforcement investigations under Government Code section 6254, subdivision (f). In American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California et al. v. Superior Court (2015) 2015 Cal.App. Lexis 378, the court e...

Court of Appeal Upholds Employer's Use of a Fitness for Duty Examination to Evaluate Employee

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenNiki Nabavi Nouri-

September 2014 Number 60 A recent court of appeal decision held that employers may require a fitness for duty exam (FFDE) under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to evaluate a workplace threat when an employee exhibits erratic and confrontational behavior in a manner that causes reasonable fear and confusion to other members of the work environment. (Kao v. University of San Francisco (September 3, 2014) __ Cal.App.4th__ 2014 WL 4375929.) An FFDE under FEHA is an em...

Reminder: Minimum Wage in California Increased in 2014

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenAmanda Ruiz-

August 2014 Number 52 Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum wage increased from $8.00 an hour to $9.00 an hour. The minimum wage will increase a second time on January 1, 2016 to $10.00 an hour. (Labor Code § 1182.12.) Due to this change in the law, local educational agencies should review their pay practices and ensure they are in compliance with all wage and hour laws. Most California employees must be paid at least the state minimum wage. Accordingly, employers should examine the...

Annual Notice Requirements Modified for 2014-2015

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenAmanda Ruiz-

August 2014 Number 51 California Education Code section 48980 requires school districts to annually notify parents of their rights and responsibilities with respect to a number of topics, such as prohibited discrimination, sexual harassment policies, uniform complaint procedures, and disciplinary rules. Additionally, Education Code section 48982 requires that parents or guardians sign and submit to the district an acknowledgement of receipt of the notice. For the 2014-2015 school year...

FEHC Delivers New Pregnancy Disability Leave Regulations

By: Jenell Van Bindsbergen-

April 2013 Number 20 The Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) has adopted new pregnancy disability leave regulations (PDL Regulations) which could affect you as an employer. The revised PDL Regulations include significant additions, deletions, and modifications. The following provides a brief overview of the most substantive changes. Four Months Defined. The revised PDL Regulations provide clarification regarding the four months of leave an employee is entitled to receive due ...

Refusal To Sign Acknowledgement Of Disciplinary Notice Disqualifies Employee From Unemployment Insurance Benefits

By: Jenell Van Bindsbergen-

October 2012 Number 67 Employees who are terminated for misconduct are generally disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. A recent court of appeal decision held that misconduct for these purposes can include refusing to sign a disciplinary notice after an employer's directive to do so. In Paratransit, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1319, the court of appeal found an employee was not entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefit...

Governor Signs New Law Increasing Employee Social Media Privacy Rights

By: Jenell Van Bindsbergen-

October 2012 Number 66 Recently, California law did not expressly prohibit employers from asking employees for their usernames and passwords in order to access and view employee's personal social media accounts. An employer could demand to view an employee's Facebook or Twitter account, or any other social networking account, and the employee would have little recourse. Effective January 1, 2013, Assembly Bill (AB) 1844 changes the law in this area. The bill adds section 980 to the Lab...

Contracted Maintenance Work Is Subject To Prevailing Wage Law

By: Jenell Van BindsbergenDavid Wolfe-

December 2011 Number 78 A recently published opinion from the First Appellate District of California entitled Reliable Tree Experts v. Baker (Caltrans) (October 7, 2011) ___ Cal.App.4th ___ [2000 WL 35918591] affirmed the trial court ruling that a one-time contract for pruning and removal of diseased trees along state highways was performed as "maintenance work" and was therefore subject to prevailing wage laws. Caltrans advertised for bids to prune and remove diseased trees at various...

New Department Of Fair Employment And Housing Regulations Change Rules For Filing Claims Of Discrimination

By: Jenell Van Bindsbergen-

October 2011 Number 60 In 2010, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) proposed procedural regulations for complaints received by the DFEH. After a series of public hearings and comments by the public, the final regulations were approved on September 7, 2011. The new regulations formalize the existing procedural steps for intake, filing, investigation, settlement and prosecution of complaints for discrimination, harassment and retaliation based upon a protected cl...

Significant Cases

  • In Govan v. City of Clovis, Lozano Smith successfully obtained dismissal of several constitutional and other statutory claims asserted by a plaintiff business operator against the City of Clovis individual City police officers, where the plaintiff challenged the City of Clovis' sign ordinance and its enforcement.

  • In City of Clovis Police Department v. The Superior Court of Fresno County Appellate Division, California Court of Appeal Case No. F07085, Lozano Smith successfully defended the City after a defendant appealed a ruling from the trial court denying an in camera review for failure to meet the standards required under California Evidence Code section 1043 and Pitchess. Following approval of the Defendants appeal by the Superior Court Appellate Division, Lozano Smith filed a writ of mandate with the 5th District Appellate Court, on behalf of the City, alleging various procedural errors and misapplication of the law. The 5th District Court found good cause to vacate the Superior Court Appellate Division Order.