High Profile Matters

Public Charge

On January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a stay of the last remaining nationwide injunction, leaving only an injunction that covers the State of Illinois in effect. This is not a final decision on the merits and the County will continue its lawsuit challenging the rule. The Rule does not apply to most immigrants and to many benefits, but the County urges residents to seek legal advice to determine what impact the rule might have on them. Read more.

2020 Census

The U.S. Constitution requires an accurate count of all U.S. residents every ten years. This requirement is met by the U.S. Census Bureau’s decennial census, which will next be conducted in April 2020. The data collected in the decennial census is used to determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures and to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds. It is also used by the County to identify County residents that may need assistance in the event of a disaster like an earthquake or wildfire. As a result, the accuracy of the census is not just a fundamental constitutional requirement, it is also critical to the health, safety, and political rights of all County residents. Read more​.


In May 2014, the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, along with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, filed the nation’s first government-initiated lawsuit to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in creating the opioid epidemic. Read more.


On September 6, 2019, County Counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of the People of the State of California against Intuit, Inc., the maker of the electronic tax preparation software TurboTax. Read more.

HHS Sunset Rule

On March 9, 2021, the County of Santa Clara filed a federal lawsuit with tribal, health care practitioner, and nonprofit partners challenging a midnight Trump Administration rule that added “expiration dates” to approximately 18,000 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations. Under the deregulatory rule, nearly every single HHS regulation will automatically expire, starting in five years, unless HHS diverts its resources from Biden Administration priorities, such as responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, to instead conduct time- and resource-intensive regulatory reviews. Read more.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality rules prohibit broadband internet service providers from discriminating against lawful internet traffic, generally by blocking it or slowing it down, for financial or other reasons. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued formal rules protecting net neutrality. These rules offered critical protections for County residents, start-ups, small and large business, and County government. Read more.

Lead Paint Litigation

On October 15, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied requests by former lead paint manufacturers—Sherwin-Williams Company, NL Industries, Inc., and ConAgra Grocery Products—to review a California Court of Appeal’s decision requiring those companies to pay several hundred million dollars to identify and clean up lead paint in millions of homes built before 1951 in Santa Clara County and nine other California cities and counties. The public nuisance lawsuit was filed in 2000 by then-Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel on behalf of the People of the State of California (People). The County of Santa Clara served as the lead public entity in the case as other cities and counties joined the litigation, including the City and County of San Francisco; the Cities of Oakland and San Diego; and the Counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Mateo, Solano, and Ventura. Read more.

Denial of Care Rule

On May 28, 2019, the County of Santa Clara filed a federal lawsuit, together with a coalition of other affected organizations and providers, challenging a new Trump Administration rule that would invite healthcare workers to deny care to patients based on religious and moral beliefs. The County already has policies in place that comply with state and federal law by protecting patients and staff alike from discrimination, while requiring all staff to assist patients during a medical emergency. By contrast, the new Trump Administration rule unlawfully and unnecessarily elevates personal beliefs over medical care and would pose insurmountable operational challenges. If the rule goes into effect, healthcare providers risk losing federal funding for failure to comply. The County is bringing this legal challenge in partnership with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Lambda Legal, and Mayor Brown and alongside several specialized health care clinics, physicians, and associations of medical professionals.​ Read more.

County of Santa Clara v. Donald J. Trump, et al.

On February 3, 2017, the County of Santa Clara filed a lawsuit in federal court against President Donald Trump and members of his administration challenging his January 25, 2017 Executive Order through which he sought to deny all federal funding to any state or local government that fails to participate in the President's aggressive immigration enforcement plans. The lawsuit challenges the President's authority to unilaterally impose conditions on federal funds--a power the Constitution places exclusively in the hands of Congress--as well as the blanket denial of all federal funds, the vast majority of which have no connection to immigration or law enforcement.​ Read more.

DACA Litigation

​On October 10, 2017, the County of Santa Clara and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521 filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Trump Administration to overturn its unlawful rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. The lawsuit is the first in the nation to be brought jointly by an employer and affected workers in response to the Trump Administration’s cancellation of the DACA program. The County lawfully employs DACA recipients in important roles, and many of these employees provide critical services to County residents. Read more.

Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team

The Social Justice and Impact Litigation team litigates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops new policies and programs to advance the County’s goal of achieving social and economic justice for all its residents. The Team also defends the County in select cases with the potential to significantly affect the County’s ability to provide critical safety net services to vulnerable residents. The Team is part of a growing movement to use the power and unique perspective of local government to better serve the community and to drive long-lasting change at the local, state, and national levels. Read more.


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