Tejon Ranch Litigation

In November 2022, after a nearly two-year court battle, the Tejon Ranch litigation was settled. Wilson Sonsini represented a consortium of prominent environmental groups comprising the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Audubon California, The Endangered Habitats League, and the Planning Conservation League in a dispute over the Tejon Ranch Company’s obligations under the parties’ landmark 2008 Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement. The agreement preserved 90 percent of the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch (the largest private landholding in California) and created the Tejon Ranch Conservancy—an independent nonprofit land trust—to manage conservation of (and public access to) the 240,000 acres of protected land.

The recent settlement ends a long-running clash over Tejon Ranch’s obligations to fund the Tejon Ranch Conservancy. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Tejon Ranch will release all of the money the environmental groups claimed it owed to the conservancy, and the parties agreed to work together to create a matching fundraising program to further benefit the conservancy.

Wilson Sonsini represented the environmental groups in hard-fought litigation, including significant discovery and motion practice before the matter settled right before trial. Joel Reynolds, senior attorney of NRDC and chairman of the 12-member conservancy board, notes of the firm’s efforts:
“In the face of a blatant breach of the landmark Tejon Ranch Conservation Agreement, NRDC and our co-plaintiffs had no choice but to draw a line in the sand to defend it. The generous, talented, committed lawyers at Wilson Sonsini gave us the legal resources and capacity to do just that, and the ultimate beneficiary will be not just the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, but the extraordinary wildlife that lives in such abundance on the unique landscape of Tejon Ranch – just an hour from one of the largest cities in the country.”