Ryan’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation and appeals on a wide range of topics for a diverse set of clients. Before joining Spertus, Landes & Umhofer, Ryan represented cities, water districts, business improvement districts, and other public entities in public revenue class actions, election disputes, land use cases, Public Records Act matters, CEQA and other environmental matters, commercial litigation, and related appeals. Ryan has successfully argued several appeals in California appellate courts, leading to multiple published opinions, and has helped draft dozens of appellate briefs, petitions for appellate writ relief and Supreme Court review, and amicus briefs. He also served as general counsel for a Santa Barbara County municipal water district serving tens of thousands of customers, where he advised a board of five elected officials on their duties and responsibilities under California law, and he has been named a Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine several times.
After law school, Ryan worked as a research attorney for two Los Angeles Superior Court judges with civil case assignments, drafting bench memoranda for dozens of motions for summary judgment, demurrers, discovery disputes, and other motions in a broad spectrum of civil cases, including employment matters, real estate disputes, and government tort claims. Ryan also litigated environmental and product liability matters in Minneapolis at the firm now known as Faegre Drinker.
Ryan received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law and a master’s degree in urban planning from the UCLA School of Public Affairs the same year. He assisted two law professors in their research efforts while at UCLA and was named a Distinguished Advocate by the UCLA Moot Court Honors Program. He graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked for an affordable housing developer in the Minneapolis area after college. When not in the office, you might find him at a dog park with his rescue pit bull Rizzo, rooting for the Chicago Cubs or Wisconsin Badgers, or exploring Los Angeles by foot or bike.
- Successful defense of a county’s enforcement of a land use ordinance against an inverse condemnation challenge after a five-day court trial.
- Successful representation of a Fortune 500 company in a federal Superfund case.
- As general counsel for a Santa Barbara County municipal water district, facilitated a favorable eight-figure settlement for the district in a long-running water rights dispute with a prominent landowner.
- Represented a Central Coast county in two challenges to its annexation fees at two court trials, leading to a successful motion for new trial and judgments for the county affirmed on appeal in two published decisions (Award Homes, Inc. v. County of San Benito (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 290; BMC Promise Way, LLC v. County of San Benito (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 279).
- Defended multiple business improvement districts and other assessment districts in constitutional challenges to the validity of their assessments, leading to published appellate opinions.
- Obtained appellate reversal of an award of over $1 million in attorney fees and costs against a San Diego business improvement district in an assessment dispute.
- Represented several California cities and municipal utilities in putative class action challenges seeking refunds of utility rates and franchise fees.
- Defended a large California city’s City Council in challenges by the mayor and private citizens to the Council’s interpretation of its charter in refusing to honor a mayoral veto.