Beveridge & Diamond

Beveridge & Diamond Secures Key Appellate Victory for City of Los Angeles Protecting Land Application of Biosolids

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., February 15, 2013

Litigators from the Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. Washington, DC and San Francisco offices convinced the California Court of Appeal to affirm a preliminary injunction that blocks implementation of a county voter initiative that sought to halt biosolids recycling at a 4,700 acre farm in Kern County, California, owned by the City of Los Angeles.  In a unanimous decision, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that Defendant Kern County’s ban on land application of biosolids likely exceeded the County’s police powers because of the impacts of the ban on public utilities outside of Kern County that must manage biosolids through recycling.  The three judge panel also ruled that the ban conflicted with and was preempted by the California Integrated Waste Management Act, which requires that localities encourage recycling practices like land application of biosolids.  The court wrote that Kern County could not prohibit “a major, widely accepted, comprehensively regulated form of recycling. . . . Kern County asks us to adopt a position that would authorize all local governments to say ‘not here.’”

National stakeholders have applauded the ruling. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) stated that “this ruling marks an important win for municipal plaintiffs in the case, as well as for the clean water community nationally."  The California Daily Journal, the state’s leading legal publication, featured the case in its February 15 edition and quoted Jimmy Slaughter, a Principal at Beveridge & Diamond and lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, that “this strong opinion will be a deterrent to any locality around the country that may be considering banning or overregulating the application of biosolids.”

Mr. Slaughter is also quoted in a front-page article regarding the decision in Westlaw Journal Environmental, California Appeals Court Affirms Injunction Against Biosolids Ban, and in a BNA Daily Environment Report article about the decision, California Appeals Court Upholds Stay on Kern County Ban on Sludge Application

The case opinion is published at City of Los Angeles v. Kern County, 214 Cal. App. 4th 394 (2013) and is available  here.  

For more information, contact Jimmy Slaughter at, Gary Smith at, or Jamie Auslander at




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