Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP


Dean E. Dennis

Of Counsel

Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP
One California Plaza
300 So. Grand Avenue, 37th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071-3147

  • (213) 620-0460 - General
  • (213) 624-4840 - Fax

DEAN E. DENNIS specializes in the areas of land use, zoning and eminent domain law. Additionally, he possesses extensive experience in appellate matters, having argued before the California Supreme Court, as well as federal and state courts of appeal.

DEAN E. DENNIS specializes in the areas of land use, zoning and eminent domain law. Additionally, he possesses extensive experience in appellate matters, having argued before the California Supreme Court, as well as federal and state courts of appeal.

California Real Property Journal recently published its statewide Top Ten Real Property Cases of 2003. Two of them were handled by Mr. Dennis: Cuna Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. L.A. County MTA (2003) 108 Cal.App. 4th 382, where he represented the historic El Capitan theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and Alameda Belt Line v. City of Alameda (2003) 113 Cal. App. 4th 15, where he represented the railroad against the City of Alameda. In 2003, Mr. Dennis also successfully handled the appeal of a CEQA challenge to construction of the Home Depot Center for Anschutz Southern California Sports Complex, LLC and helped obtain a $17 million judgment for Coachella Valley Water District in a dispute over proceeds from the All-American Canal and other power operations.

Mr. Dennis was named one of the Southern California Super Lawyers for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Los Angeles Magazine.

In past years, Mr. Dennis was special counsel for the County of Los Angeles in conjunction with the proposed development of the Ballona Wetlands and expansion of Marina del Rey. Other significant cases include representation of Downtown Los Angeles property owners in a challenge to MTA’s $200 million benefit assessment [Southern California Rapid Transit District v. Bolen (1992) 1 Cal. 4th 654,] and Surfside Colony Association’s landmark defeat of the Coastal Commission in Surfside Colony Ltd. v. California Coastal Commission (1991) 226 Cal.App.3d 1260. In 1996 alone, Mr. Dennis argued an appeal before the California Supreme Court for The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company on a railroad title issue of statewide importance entitled City of Manhattan Beach v. Superior Court (Farquhar) (1996) 13 Cal.4th 232. He also handled, on behalf of the Trump organization, the appeal of the LAUSD’s abandonment of the Ambassador Hotel condemnation in LAUSD v. Trump Wilshire Associates (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 1682. In addition, he handled a dispute over the Marin County estate of billionaire Paul Kalmanovitz in Kalmanovitz v. Bitting (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 311 and the briefing of an eminent domain case before the California Supreme Court, City of Vista v. W. O. Fielder, et al. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 612. In 1997, the Court of Appeal published, as its decision, Mr. Dennis’ Opening Brief in another eminent domain case, Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Hawthorne v. Force Electronics (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 622.

Mr. Dennis received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1980 and his law degree from the University of Southern California in 1983. He was admitted to the California bar in 1983 and has been admitted to various federal courts, the United States Tax Court and the United States Supreme Court.

During 2007, Mr. Dennis served on the State Bar’s Special Task Force on Civility in the Practice of Law.

In 2005, Mr. Dennis served as the Chairman of the Committee of Bar Examiners, State Bar of California after completing three years as a Committee Member.

In September 2004, Mr. Dennis was appointed by the Chief Justice to a three year term on the Judicial Council Court Facilities Transitional Task Force that is advising the Judicial Council on the transition of all courthouse facilities in California from county ownership to state ownership.

He served from 1998 to 2001 on the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE), State Bar of California.

In 2007, Mr. Dennis was a guest lecturer at USC Law School “Real Estate Finances: Appraisals”.

He was a member of the 2007 Planning Committee for the USC Gould School of Law 2008 Symposium on Real Estate Law and Business.

Mr. Dennis was a speaker in 2007 at the Southern California Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, 40th Annual Litigation Seminar.

He is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Condemnation and Land Valuation Committee.

Mr. Dennis has been active in community affairs, and is a Trustee of St. Matthews Parish School in Pacific Palisades.

Joint Venture Partners Damage Liability

In trifurcated trials on behalf of a water district against its joint venture partner in a 99 year power generation project, obtained successful decision in first trial preventing application of the statute of limitations, allowing client to seek contract damages for past 65 years of contract performance.  In the second phase trial, successfully established liability under the contract for various types of damages. In the damages and accounting phase of trial, obtained judgment in favor of client.  After successfully defending the appeal, client received $26 million.