Press Releases Aug 14, 2014

Three BB&K Attorneys Among Daily Journal’s Top 50 California Development Attorneys for 2014

Partners Scott Campbell, Steven DeBaun and Michelle Ouellette Recognized for Projects that Transform the State

For Immediate Release: Aug. 14, 2014
Media Contact: Denise Nix • 213-787-2552 •

LOS ANGELES – Please join Best Best & Krieger LLP in congratulating Scott Campbell, Steven DeBaun and Michelle Ouellette for being among an elite group of attorneys working to transform California’s infrastructure. Whether it’s improving water supply or quality or transportation systems, these BB&K attorneys are standouts and have earned spots on the competitive Daily Journal Top 50 Development Lawyers list for 2014.

Campbell’s work improving the City of Avalon’s water infrastructure — a transformation that got the Catalina Island tourist enclave off Heal the Bay’s “Beach Bummer” list — was recognized by the Daily Journal editors. Campbell, who serves as Avalon’s city attorney, used ingenuity and creativity to secure the funds for the much-needed improvements following Gov. Jerry Brown’s dismantling of redevelopment agencies, the Daily Journal reported.

“People go in the water and there are no posting of warning signs by the County of Los Angeles,” Campbell told the Daily Journal. “This year’s Beach Bummer list didn’t have Avalon on it and, next year, we are hoping to get an ‘A’ on the Heal the Bay list.” Campbell practices in BB&K’s Los Angeles office and is a partner in the Municipal Law and Litigation practice groups.

DeBaun is overseeing a $1.2 billion toll lane project for the State Route 91 freeway, as well as a mixed-flow lane for the same freeway, and is also working on a $250 million commuter rail line project to expand Metrolink between Riverside and Perris. Both projects, noted the Daily Journal, have had significant hurdles. DeBaun drafted legislation so the Riverside County Transportation Commission, to which he has served as general counsel for 20 years, could construct and operate the toll facility. Then, there were many other property acquisition and agency coordination issues to work through.

“It’s been a real struggle moving through these agreements,” DeBaun told the Daily Journal. “I had wondered if we’d ever get to the end point, but it’s clearly going to happen.” DeBaun works in BB&K’s Riverside office and is a partner in the Special Districts, Municipal Law and Education Law practice groups.

Ouellette was recognized for her work leading the Santa Margarita Water District legal team to a significant victory in a case stemming from a project to supply approximately 50,000 acre-feet of water per year, over 50 years, to water users throughout Southern California. The project is a unique private/public partnership and it’s environmental review and designation of the Water District as lead agency were challenged in six different lawsuits. In a separate matter, the Daily Journal editors also noted that, on behalf of the City of Riverside, Ouellette and the BB&K legal team prevailed on a transmission grid project, which addressed potential power shortages.

Both of  these cases addressed the issue of who should be the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act, and, in the Cadiz case, for public/private partnerships. Ouellette told the Daily Journal. “I think that if we want to encourage such partnerships, the public agency who is entering into them should be the lead agency, which I believe is fully supported by the relevant [California Environmental Quality Act] statute and guidelines.” Ouellette also practices in BB&K’s Riverside office and is a partner in the Environmental Law & Natural Resources and Municipal Law practice groups.

Read more about the Daily Journal’s Top 50 Development Attorneys by visiting the publication’s website (subscription required).


Best Best & Krieger LLP is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With 200 attorneys, the law firm has nine offices nationwide, including Indian Wells, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit or follow @BBKlaw on Twitter.

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