Margaret R. Prinzing

Partner

Margaret R. Prinzing is a partner who focuses on litigation involving government law, constitutional law, and public policy issues.  Representative matters include defending the California Legislature in litigation challenging the constitutionality of Regional Measure 3, a toll increase on Bay Area bridges (Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Francisco County Super. Ct., No. CGC-18-567860 (2019)) (pending on appeal); representing the California Department of Education and Board of Education in litigation addressing the State’s role in providing students an equal education (Cruz v. State of California, Alameda County Super. Ct., No. RG14727139 (2015)); and defending the constitutionality of the City of Mountain View’s voter-approved rent control measure (California Apartment Association v. City of Mountain View, Santa Clara Super. Ct., No.: 16-CV-304253 (2017)) (pending on appeal).

Ms. Prinzing also specializes in election law.  She helped draft Proposition 63 (2016), which strengthened California’s gun safety laws; Proposition 47 (2014), which requires misdemeanor rather than felony sentences for certain nonviolent offenses; the Richmond Kids First Initiative to fund programs for children and youth (Richmond, 2018); and Measure D, the first voter-approved measure to tax the distribution of sugary beverages (Berkeley, 2014).  She advises ballot measure committees and candidates on election procedures, engaging in political communications, and candidates’ ballot designations.  She also represents her clients in litigation as necessary, including representing supporters of Measure D in San Diego County in two lawsuits that ultimately ensured the measure appeared on the ballot in 2018 (Vargas v. Vu, San Diego County Superior Court, No. 37-2018-00035775; Greene v. Vu, San Diego County Superior Court, No. 37-2018-00037778 (2018)); and winning emergency relief in the California Supreme Court to ensure that Proposition 57 appeared on the 2016 ballot (Brown v. Superior Court, 63 Cal. 4th 335 (2016)).  

In addition, Ms. Prinzing has expertise in state fiscal issues, with a particular focus on mental health and education issues.  She is currently representing a joint powers authority in the first appeal in California of an audit under the Mental Health Services Act; has represented nineteen counties in a challenge to a State directive that sought to shift financial responsibility for certain mental health services to the counties (County of Colusa v. Douglas, 227 Cal. App. 4th 1123 (2014)); and filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the State’s efforts to restructure California’s redevelopment agencies (California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos, 53 Cal. 4th 231 (2011)). 

Finally, Ms. Prinzing advises interested persons, officeholders, and officials on government law matters including the separation of powers, statutory interpretation, administrative law, and conflicts of interest.  She also advises attorneys on professional responsibility matters such as conflicts of interest and fee agreements, and has moved to disqualify a law firm for violating the conflict of interest rules.

In recent years, Ms. Prinzing has provided ethics training to the AC Transit Board of Directors; spoken before the California League of Cities’ Spring 2018 Conference on “Navigating Pitfalls Under Government Code Section 1090,” and made a presentation for the California Lawyers Association on election litigation.

Ms. Prinzing has served on the Board of Directors for Foster Youth Rising and the Advisory Board for the California Habeas Project.  She also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Alameda County for over six years.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Prinzing was an associate with Bingham McCutchen where she specialized in civil and appellate litigation, with an emphasis on federal preemption and employment law matters.  From 1993 to 1997, she worked in Washington, D.C. as a legislative assistant to U.S. Congressmen Martin Olav Sabo and Frank McCloskey, focusing on health care, welfare, and education matters.

Representative Highlights

Results described below were dependent on the facts of that particular case. Prior results do not guarantee or predict similar outcomes.

  • Taylor v. Yee, 780 F.3d 928 (9th Cir. 2015).  Successfully defended district court’s dismissal of due process challenges to California’s Unclaimed Property Program.
  • City of Berkeley v. Dupuis, Alameda County Superior Court, No. RG14720117 (2014).  Successfully represented the City in effort to use Council-approved redistricting map until a referendum election took place.
  • County of Colusa v. Douglas, 227 Cal. App. 4th 1123 (2014).  Successfully represented 19 counties in challenge to the State of California’s efforts to shift financial responsibilities for certain mental health services from the State to the counties.
  • Suever v. Chiang, 484 Fed. Appx. 187 (9th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 1243 (2013).  Successfully defended district court’s dismissal of due process challenges to California’s Unclaimed Property Program.
  • CASE v. Brown, 195 Cal. App. 4th 119 (2011).  Represented the California State Controller in cases successfully challenging the Governor’s authority to impose furloughs unilaterally on the state workforce.

Education

  • Indiana University, B.A., with distinction, 1992
  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), J.D., 2000

Admissions

  • California