Admissibility of Extra-record Evidence in CEQA Actions

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Published in Contra Costa Lawyer, Volume 8, Chapter 7, July 1995. This article looks at the standard of review and the admissibility of extra recorded evidence in mandamus actions brought under CEQA after Western States Petroleum Associates v Superior Court (1995) 9 Cal.4th 559.

In February of this year, the California Supreme Court decided Western States Petroleum Assoc. v. Sup. Ct. (1995) 9 Cal. 4th 559 (WSPA). In WSPA, the court significantly restricted the admissibility of extra-record evidence in CEQA mandamus proceedings. Although the Supreme Court expressly stated that there are circumstances in which extra-record evidence will be admissible, it is likely that trial courts will be extremely reluctant to admit extra-record evidence in these cases after WSPA.As a result, the WSPA case will affect the manner in which attorneys who represent parties in CEQA matters represent their client’s interests in administrative proceedings, as well as mandamus actions. This article discusses when such evidence may be admissible and makes suggestions as to how CEQA practitioners can better protect and perfect their record.

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