CPM Environmental Law Group Achieves Victory for Public in Fight for Access to Martin's Beach
After a six day bench trial and the submission of closing arguments and briefs, Judge Barbara Mallach of the San Mateo Superior Court issued a Statement of Decision and Judgment in Surfrider Foundation’s litigation against Vinod Khosla, the owner of Martin’s Beach. Judge Mallach agreed with CPM attorneys Joe Cotchett, Eric Buescher and Pete McCloskey and ruled that the property owner had engaged in illegal development by stopping the public’s ability to access and use Martin’s Beach. Judge Mallach also ordered that the defendant cease preventing the public from accessing Martin’s Beach and required that the beach be reopened immediately. The victory for Surfrider and CPM represented an important legal defense of the California Coastal Act, including the principal of maximizing public access to California’s coast. The victory also means the Constitutional right of access guaranteed to all Californians is not a hollow promise to be undone by those with power, wealth or influence. CPM took on this case for a public interest group - Surfrider - after numerous public agencies failed to act. Now the State Coastal Commission has taken the case.