Description: Challenge to new hospital and medical office building.
North Sonoma County Healthcare District v. County of Sonoma
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/14/2013 Opinion Download Attorney fees order affirmed. In an unpublished decision, an appellate court in California upheld an award of attorney fees in a case in which the trial court had ruled that the environmental impact report (EIR) prepared by Sonoma County did not support the County’s imposition of reduced mitigation measures for greenhouse gas emissions associated with a hospital and medical office building. The County had imposed the reduced measures based on post-EIR calculations. The appellate court rejected the County’s contention that attorney fees were not warranted, concluding that the trial court had not abused its discretion in finding that petitioners were successful parties who had achieved a significant public benefit for purposes of the attorney fee statute. The appellate court stated that “the additional public process with more accurate information on the mitigation of the Project’s greenhouse gas emissions, standing alone, conferred a substantial public benefit” and that “this litigation conferred an additional substantial benefit to the general public because the County may be less inclined, in the consideration and preparation of EIR’s for future projects, to ‘acknowledge a significant impact and approve the project after imposing a mitigation measure not shown to be adequate by substantial evidence.’”