William T. Chisum

Mr. Chisum is a shareholder in the firm whose practice emphasizes representation of public agencies in litigation pertaining to eminent domain, water and other resources, taxing authority and collection, and environmental issues to name a few. His litigation experience includes handling cases at the trial and appellate levels in both state and federal courts.

Legal Experience

In practice since 1989, Mr. Chisum has worked with a number of public agencies representing them in a variety of legal matters such as:

  • Property acquisition through eminent domain
  • Water rights and allocation
  • California environmental and natural resource law
  • Agency taxing and spending obligations

Mr. Chisum's work includes representation of cities such as the City of Elk Grove, the City of West Sacramento, the City of Folsom, the City of Anderson and the City of Citrus Heights in their efforts to acquire property for municipal purposes through condemnation actions, and representation of other public entities, including water and school districts, in similar land acquisition actions.

Additionally, he has considerable experience preparing trial and appellate briefs and has authored briefs regarding government obligations under environmental laws, the diversion of water from the Sacramento River and San Joaquin Delta, Mello-Roos Act taxation and collection provisions, civil rights requirements and constitutional provisions governing adult use businesses.

Practice Examples

Specific examples of legal matters Mr. Chisum has handled on behalf of clients include:

  • He successfully acquired property from numerous landowners for a major interchange improvement project located within the cities of Elk Grove and Sacramento, including the filing of nine eminent domain actions and obtaining orders of immediate possession to allow the project to proceed to completion. This has also included review of utility and project agreements, consulting regarding environmental issues and assisting with Caltrans administrative review and procedures.
  • He successfully obtained the necessary property rights held by individuals and entities allowing the City of West Sacramento, the City of Folsom, the City of Anderson and the City of Citrus Heights to complete major roadway and transportation improvements including orders allowing for pre-judgment possession of property and pre-litigation access for testing and inspection purposes.
  • He has worked with water districts, school districts and other special districts to acquire property necessary for schools and other public purposes throughout various parts of California.
  • He has represented landowners whose property has been subject to condemnation for a regional flood control project and has negotiated resolutions based upon payment of just compensation.
  • He successfully defended the Vallejo City School District in a challenge to its taxing authority under the Mello-Roos Act, and has instituted actions on behalf of public agencies to collect delinquent special taxes.
  • He negotiated a settlement of litigation brought against a school district to clean-up property based upon activities occurring in the 1950's and 1960's after first locating and obtaining agreements by insurers from that time period to provide coverage.
  • He has been extensively involved, both at the trial and appellate levels, with work performed on behalf of the Westlands Water District and the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority regarding water allocation, environmental laws and contract interpretation.
  • He had a significant role in this firm's representation of the City of Citrus Heights in actions challenging the city's obligations upon incorporation and challenging the city's adult-use ordinances, and has also taken a lead role in drafting the City of Elk Grove's adult use ordinance.
  • He has successfully represented public entities and private parties in various general litigation matters including issues involving the California Environmental Quality Act, the Surface Mining Reclamation Act, public contract actions and construction litigation.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Mr. Chisum’s professional activities and affiliations include:

  • Northern California Super Lawyer (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Article Editor, California Real Property Journal
  • Member, California State Bar Association
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Member, International Right of Way Association

Admitted to Practice

  • All California State Courts
  • United States District Court, Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Academic Background

J.D. University of California, Davis, 1989

  • Graduated with Great Distinction
  • Member, Order of the Coif
  • Received American Jurisprudence Award in Criminal Law

B.A. San Diego State University, 1986

  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa