Agricultural Resources
Arbitration and Mediation
Construction Practice
Employment Practice
Environmental Law
Land Use
Litigation Practice
Local Government
Personal Injury
Real Estate Practice
Tax and Business Practice
Trusts and Estates Practice
Water Resources

Agricultural Resources

Mason, Robbins, Browning & Godwin has considerable experience working with landowners, farmers, ranchers, local government, agricultural businesses, and special districts on agricultural resource issues. We are a full-service firm equipped to assist agricultural clients with regulatory compliance, transactions, and litigation support as necessary to solve resources issues affecting agriculture including:

  • Irrigated Lands Program, dairy, and other water quality compliance
  • Conservation easements and mitigation banking
  • Williamson Act issues
  • Negotiating agricultural leases on public and private lands

Arbitration and Mediation

Mason, Robbins, Browning & Godwin’s arbitration and mediation attorneys take a preventive approach to disputes, assisting our clients with pre-litigation counseling in order to mitigate or avoid the consequences of a dispute. We also are experienced in non-binding mediation and binding arbitration and offer mediation and arbitration of cases involving:

  • Commercial and personal injury litigation
  • Real estate disputes
  • Employment disputes
  • Environmental issues
  • Construction law claims and disputes

Construction Practice

Contractors, subcontractors, project managers, engineers and owners rely on Mason, Robbins, Browning & Godwin for advice on construction-related transactions. Our construction litigators, who have a track record of significant accomplishments within the industry, have handled hundreds of construction cases involving issues such as land acquisition, warranty, mechanics' liens, and construction defects.

In addition to representing private businesses, our construction clients include large public entities. Our services include:

  • Preparation, review, counseling and negotiation of contract documents, including bid forms and contract procedures
  • Bid protest and award disputes involving issues of responsiveness, responsibility, disadvantaged business enterprise compliance and subcontractor listing requirements
  • Insurance requirements and disputes
  • Surety bond claims, performance bond disputes and surety take over agreements
  • Employment law issues, including prevailing wage matters, employee handbooks and wrongful termination
  • Payment disputes, including specialized remedies such as mechanic’s lien, payment bond and stop notice rights
  • Construction claim preparation and defense, including claims for delay, disruption, acceleration, differing site conditions and wrongful termination
  • Dispute resolution of performance issues through mediation, arbitration, litigation, administrative proceedings and negotiation
  • Contractor’s license law matters
  • Prosecution and defense of errors and omissions claims against design professionals

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Employment Practice

Our employment law practice helps employers who are facing the constant challenge of increasing regulation and potential for litigation.

Our lawyers focus on helping companies and organizations adopt sound employment practices in order to avoid claims and litigation. When the threat of litigation does arise, our experienced, resourceful litigators aggressively represent public and private employers in employment trials in state and federal courts. Our employment attorneys also appear before state and federal regulatory agencies on a large variety of claims.

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Environmental Law

Our clients strive to be good stewards of the environment and to be sensitive to environmental needs. Our attorneys have decades of experience working with clients and technical consultants to develop and implement strategies that enable clients to meet environmental laws, as well as successfully complete a project.

We regularly work together with consultants and experts of all disciplines to arrive at a solution that meets our clients’ needs and complies with environmental laws. We deal extensively with staffs from regulatory agencies and often are able to resolve issues at the staff level without the need for a costly administrative hearing or litigation.

Our attorneys have considerable experience representing public agency clients, as well as private clients involved in projects requiring agency approvals, to ensure that environmental review documents meet the requirements of CEQA or NEPA. Other areas of importance to our clients include the regulation of the use of their lands, including wetlands regulations, and remedial actions to clean up soil and groundwater contamination as a result of past practices. We regularly represent clients in such matters before environmental regulatory agencies, with a focus on helping clients comply with these requirements while achieving their objectives.

  • Environmental review under CEQA and NEPA
  • Incidental take permits under the state and federal endangered species laws
  • Streambed alteration and wetlands permitting
  • Mining permitting
  • Environmental assessments for real property acquisitions
  • Contaminated property cleanups
  • Water quality regulation
  • Litigation challenging CEQA or NEPA environmental reviews
  • Litigation involving agency actions under or alleged violations of state and federal endangered species laws

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Land Use

We represent private development and public agency clients in a broad range of land use permitting issues for projects such as the following:

  • commercial buildings
  • mines
  • landfills
  • wastewater projects
  • agriculture
  • utility rights-of-way

We complete the entire permitting process necessary to transform raw land into a completed development. We also provide consulting services in scoping and preparing documents to comply with CEQA and NEPA compliance.

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Litigation Practice

Many of our clients trust their most significant litigation to Mason, Robbins, Browning & Godwin—with good reason. We have some of the most experienced and resourceful trial and appellate lawyers in the region. We protect our clients’ rights and fight for their interests every day in state, federal and administrative courts throughout California.

Recognizing that litigation can be a costly and unwelcome distraction we work closely with our clients to pursue creative, efficient and practical solutions to a wide array of contentious disputes. However, if pre-trial resolution is impossible—or where a more aggressive posture is warranted—we never hesitate to call upon our substantial experience and skill to aggressively pursue and/or defend our clients' interests through trial and appeal.

Our attorneys have considerable experience in prosecuting and defending claims and lawsuits such as:

  • Civil rights
  • Commercial and residential construction
  • Contractor claims (including mechanics' liens, and stop notice claims, Miller Act claims and surety bonds)
  • Business and real estate transactions
  • Condemnation
  • Insurance contracts and coverage
  • Title insurance
  • General business disputes (partnership dissolutions, corporate disputes, sales and purchases of assets)
  • Wrongful termination, discrimination and other employment-related matters
  • Personal injury
  • Probate and trust administration, conservatorships, elder abuse and will contests
  • Landlord–tenant issues
  • Bankruptcy
  • Collections

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Local Government

Mason, Robbins, Browning & Godwin serves a number of local governments and special districts in various capacities including:

  • General Counsel to Cities
  • General Counsel to Special Districts
  • Special Counsel to cities and local governmental agencies on specific projects
  • Formation of Special Districts
  • Open meeting and public record issues
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Eminent domain

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Personal Injury

At Mason, Robbins, Browning & Godwin our experienced and professional trial attorneys will also provide you with the individual attention to understand and respond to the unique nature of your case. We handle a full range of personal injury cases, from car accidents, slip & fall injuries, dog bite injuries to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death cases. Our dedicated team of attorneys stands ready to help you recover for your losses. If you have been injured because of the negligence, carelessness or the intentional acts of another, we will fight to help you get compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs and pain and suffering.

Our firm brings over 50 years of combined experience in investigating and evaluating personal injury cases, negotiating with insurance companies and when necessary aggressively taking cases to trial, in such areas as:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Premises Liability
  • Elder Abuse
  • General Negligence
  • Employment Disability Claims
  • Products Liability / Defective Products
  • Intentionally Inflicted Injuries

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Real Estate Practice

We represent landowners, developers and investors in the many aspects of real estate transactions, from drafting documents to zoning entitlement and permitting.

We work with various types of financing vehicles, including:

  • conventional bank loans
  • private investment financings
  • real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  • syndications
  • joint venture financing

Our practice has deep experience on all sides of a transaction, having represented both buyers and sellers in the purchase and sale of real estate. Our involvement has included:

  • retail
  • office
  • industrial
  • mixed-use
  • resort
  • agricultural properties
  • residential subdivisions

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Tax and Business Practice

Whether our client is a corporation, Limited Liability Company, partnership, trust, or an individual, we help guide them toward making business decisions with a sound business, liability, and tax strategy.

We analyze the tax and business ramifications, as well as the practical operation of complex business processes and craft the plans and documents necessary to successfully implement business strategies. Examples of such plans include the following:

  • business formation and operation
  • spin-offs
  • mergers
  • acquisitions and strategic restructuring
  • joint ventures
  • employee benefits
  • executive compensation
  • real estate transactions
  • property tax
  • sales tax

Our tax group also works with tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations, and advises clients on income, gift, estate, and property taxes.

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Trusts and Estates Practice

Our estate planners take a highly personalized approach, focusing on the situation and goals of each client. We help clients select estate planning options based on both personal and financial objectives. We try not to make the planning process more complicated than it needs to be, but we look for creative solutions and employ advanced planning tools when appropriate.

We assist when family members pass away or become incapacitated. We help clients administer probate estates, when necessary, and trust estates, when possible, by advising and assisting them on the discharge their fiduciary and practical duties as executors, administrators or trustees.

Will and trust contests, along with other trust and estate controversies, are on the rise for a variety of reasons, including more complex laws and a trend towards trust administration that is not supervised by the courts. Our team includes practitioners who are experienced in all forms of trust and estate disputes, from family mediation to litigated contests as a last resort.

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Water Resources

Water is a primary economic driver in the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. Water is the key ingredient for farms and dairies, for industry, for drinking, and for clean, renewable power. Water is also an important environmental resource for fish, recreation, and for esthetic enjoyment.

Our attorneys are uniquely qualified to advise clients on the multitude of laws and regulations that govern water use in California. Our attorneys understand and have dealt successfully with the regulatory agencies and courts at all levels concerning every aspect of water from applications to appropriate water to drafting and negotiating contracts for water transfers, to environmental protection and state and federal water quality laws.

The firm’s water resources practice includes:

  • Water rights – acquiring and defending water rights and entitlements (both groundwater and surface water rights), contractual entitlements and petitions for change
  • Water transfers – negotiating and drafting contracts for water transfer and water management
  • Water reclamation – negotiating and drafting agreements for the use of reclaimed wastewater for industrial purposes and securing the necessary permit approvals
  • Water use and management – advise regarding the sufficiency of water supply assessments to comply with SB 221 and SB 610
  • Representation before state and federal regulatory agencies, including State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards
  • Litigation – representation in litigation concerning water usage
  • Due diligence – analyzing water entitlements and restrictions in complex real property transactions, including recognizing when the entitlement is only “paper water”
  • Endangered Species Act – compliance with state and federal environmental laws and development of incidental take permits
  • Flood litigation – representing both agencies in litigation resulting from flood damage
  • CEQA and NEPA – advising agencies on preparation of adequate environmental documents for proposed water projects
  • Hydropower relicensing – advising owners in power relicensing applications before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Clean Water Act – advice on compliance and defense of enforcement actions
  • Finding competent expert consultants – our experience with a broad range of technical experts assists our clients to find and retain the most effective expertise to meet their needs

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