Howard Gest: (213) 629-8787
David Burhenn: (213) 629-8788

Howard Gest

BAR ADMISSION

  • State Bar of California, 1977

COURT ADMISSIONS

  • U. S. Supreme Court, 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1977
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1977
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1978
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 1978
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 1978

EDUCATION

  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1977
  • A.B., University of California, Berkeley

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS

  • Director, Western Center on Law and Poverty, 1996-2005
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Southwestern University School of Law, 1996 – 1997

RECOGNITION

  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Associate Editor, Hastings Law Review, 1976-1977
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Order of the Coif
  • Member, Thurston Society
  • Super Lawyers, Southern California

PUBLISHED DECISIONS

  • Los Angeles Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 133 S.Ct. 710 (2013)
  • Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates, 1 Cal. 5th 749 (2016)
  • Unilab Corporation dba Quest Diagnostics v. Angeles-IPA, 244 Cal. App. 4th 622 (2016)
  • County of Los Angeles v. Commission on State Mandates, 150 Cal. App. 4th 898 (2007)

Howard Gest represents public entities, businesses and individuals in a wide range of commercial and environmental disputes.

Following graduation from law school, Howard worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California where he developed his litigation expertise representing the United States and its agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of the Interior, and the Forest Service.

Mr. Gest’s current practice involves representing public and private entities in a wide variety of litigation matters in both state and federal court and before regulatory agencies. He has particular expertise in water quality, mobile air quality, and contaminated property matters, as well as years of civil litigation experience. He was lead counsel in the federal and appellate courts and on the briefs in the United State Supreme Court on behalf of the County of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Flood Control District in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., –U.S.– 133 S. Ct. 710 (2013), a unanimous ruling in favor of his client. He was the lead attorney for the real parties-in-interest municipalities before the California Supreme Court in Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates, 1 Cal. 5th 749 (2016), in which the Supreme Court held that California municipalities were entitled to reimbursement for state mandates imposed under municipal stormwater permits as well as representing the municipalities before the Commission on State Mandates and the trial and appellate courts in this matter. He was also the lead attorney for plaintiffs in County of Los Angeles v. Commission on State Mandates 150 Cal.App.4th 898 (2007), which found unconstitutional a state statute that had prevented local governments from seeking reimbursement for unfunded state mandates.

He has particular expertise in CERCLA and cost recovery actions, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He represents private corporations and individuals in various commercial disputes and heath care providers in health care contractual litigation matters.

Prior to forming his firm Burhenn & Gest, Mr. Gest was a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Sidley & Austin. In addition to his practice, Mr. Gest has served as an adjunct professor of law at Southwestern University School of Law and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Western Center on Law & Poverty.

Representative matters Mr. Gest has handled include:

1. Clean Water Act Litigation. Representation of county and municipal flood control district in federal district court, court of appeal, and on brief in United States Supreme Court in citizen’s suit brought pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act. Unanimous United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of client. Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. __U.S.__, 133 S.Ct. 710 (2013).

2. Unfunded State Mandate Litigation. Representation of municipalities in the California Supreme Court in Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates, 1 Cal. 5th 749 (2016), in which the Supreme Court held that California municipalities are entitled to reimbursement for state mandates imposed under municipal stormwater permits as well as representing the municipalities before the Commission on State Mandate and the trial and appellate courts.

3. Clean Water Act Litigation. Representation of County and municipal flood control district in state court litigation in support of and to set aside stormwater permit requirements. Representation of municipalities in state court litigation to set aside unlawfully adopted Clean Water Act “total maximum daily loads.”

4. Clean Water Act Permit Development. Representation of counties and municipal flood control districts in development, advocacy and adoption of municipal stormwater permits.

5. Clean Water Act Regulatory Advice. Provision of advice on issues arising under the Clean Water Act and California Porter Cologne Water Quality Act, including compliance with municipal stormwater permits, total maximum daily loads, and waste discharge requirements.

6. Clean Air Act Mobile Source Litigation. Representation of diesel engine manufacturers in state court litigation involving challenge to California engine certifications.

7. Clean Air Act Regulatory Compliance. Representation of diesel control pollution device manufacturer in regulatory compliance action.

8. CERCLA Litigation. Representation of an aviation service company in multi-million dollar CERCLA action arising from solvent contamination in the San Fernando Valley groundwater basin.

9. CERCLA Litigation. Representation of a national oil company in CERCLA contribution action arising from cleanup of an old refinery.

10. CERCLA Litigation. Representation of real estate holding company in multi-million dollar CERCLA action arising from chromium and solvent contamination.

11. Unfunded State Mandates Litigation. Representation of municipalities before California Commission on State Mandates and superior and appellate courts on test claims for reimbursement of unfunded state mandates arising from stormwater permit obligations.

12. Health Care Litigation. Representation of independent practice association in contract dispute with laboratory. Unilab Corporation dba Quest Diagnostics v. Angeles-IPA, 244 Cal. App. 4th 622 (2016).

13. Commercial Litigation. Representation of limited liability company member in action alleging breach of fiduciary duties.

14. Commercial Litigation. Representation of plastics manufacturer in warranty dispute with customer and subcontractor.

15. Commercial Litigation. Representation of seller in breach of contract action against purchaser of retail clothes stores.

16. California Proposition 65 Litigation. Representation of two pharmaceutical companies in actions brought by state attorney general’s office and private plaintiff alleging violation of Proposition 65 through failure to provide warning regarding constituents in consumer coal tar shampoos.

17. California Proposition 65/Clean Water Act Litigation. Representation of two metal recyclers in federal and state court litigation brought by citizens group alleging exposure to chemicals known to the state to cause cancer without adequate warnings, and violation of the Clean Water Act and industrial storm water permit due to alleged inadequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, Best Management Practices and monitoring.