Horvitz & Levy obtained reversal of a $105 million judgment following a jury verdict against Sacramento County in a lawsuit involving constitutional challenges to the County’s enforcement of mining regulations.
The owners of a ranch in rural Sacramento County and the operators of a gravel mine on the ranch sued Sacramento County after the County ordered them to stop mining until they obtained a permit and posted financial assurances with the County as required by state law. Plaintiffs contended that they had a vested right under state law to mine without a permit, and they claimed that the County’s enforcement efforts were improperly motivated by political pressure from a larger mining company. Both sets of plaintiffs pursued substantive due process claims against the County. The landowners claimed that the County wrongfully interfered with their right to devote their property to a legitimate use, and the miners claimed that the County arbitrarily deprived them of their right to pursue a chosen profession.
A federal jury in Sacramento sided with the plaintiffs and awarded $30 million to the landowners and $75 million to the miners.
Horvitz & Levy LLP represented Sacramento County on appeal. In an unpublished memorandum disposition, the Court agreed with Horvitz & Levy that the jury applied the wrong measure of damages and that the $105 million award against the County was excessive. The Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.