Charles V. Berwanger


  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    Charles V. Berwanger is a partner and co-chair of the firm's Real Estate Practice Group. Mr. Berwanger specializes in real estate, land use, environmental and business dispute resolution and litigation. Mr. Berwanger’s real estate expertise includes resolving real estate disputes through mediation, litigation and appeals.

    A sample of the types of matters Mr. Berwanger handles includes:

    • Easement-related disputes including reciprocal parking easments; access easements; easement surcharge; and prescriptive easements.
    • Environmental-related disputes involving the California Environmental Quality Act; the Clean Water Act and related statutes and regulations; and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and related statutes.
    • Purchase and sale agreements and disputes arising out of them.
    • Commercial leases and disputes arising out of them.
    • Land use issues at the administrative and litigation phases.
    • Coastal Act issues at the administrative and litigation phases.
    • Negotiation of settlement agreements regarding development entitlements.
    • Eminent domain matters on behalf of condemners and condemnees.
    • Homeowner association disputes.
    • Partnership disputes relating to real estate transactions.
    • Earth movement and flood litigation.

    Mr. Berwanger’s experience includes representing public agencies and property owners giving him a broad perspective and understanding of the dynamics of agencies and owners.

    Mr. Berwanger has represented  public agencies including the Cities of Signal Hill, Norwalk, San Dimas, Cerritos, Beverly Hills, and San Diego. The representations have included administrative and traditional mandamus proceedings relating to land use and related regulations; eminent domain; inverse condemnation; abatement of pornography; and permitting.

    With substantial trial and appeal experience, Mr. Berwanger helps clients resolve their disputes with litigation as but one element to the dispute resolution process, the goal being cost effective dispute resolution.

    In addition, Mr. Berwanger is a Deputy Special Prosecutor for the State Bar of California, and has served as a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.


    • California Supreme Court
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal, Fifth and Ninth Circuits
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern California Districts


    • State Bar of California - Chairperson, Litigation Section; Real Property Section, Co-Chair
    • Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego, Chairperson
    • City Ballet of San Diego, Board Member
    • American Youth Hostels, Board Member
    • San Diego County Bar Association, Legal Ethics Committee
    • Deputy Special Prosecutor for the State Bar of California Enforcement Unit
    • San Diego River Park Foundation Board Member
    • Wallace Inn of Court, Master and Treasurer
    • Enright Inn of Court, Master
    • Ethics Committee, San Diego Bar Association, Member
    • Mount Soledad Memorial Association, Counsel
    • NCCA Small College Tennis Championship Team Member
  • Practice Areas
  • Representative Experience

    Representative Experience

    • Paulson v. City of San Diego, 294 F. 3d 1124 (9th Cir. 2012) (Mr. Berwanger represented the Mount Soledad Memorial Association in its effort to continue to operate a veteran’s memorial atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, Ca.)
    • United States v. 1.377 Acres of Land, 352 F. 3d 1259 (9th Circuit, 2003) (Mr. Berwanger persuaded the court to award condemned hotel tenant goodwill compensation as provided by lease.)
    • City of Chula Vista v. County of San Diego (1994) 23 Cal. App. 4th 1713 (Mr. Berwanger represented City in an action to abate a hazardous waste transfer and treatment facility.)
    • City of Signal Hill v. Owens (1994) 154 Cal. App. 3d 119. (Mr. Berwanger represented the City to enforce its massage parlor land use regulation.)
    • Great Lakes Properties v. City of El Segundo (1977) 19 Cal. 3d 152 (Mr. Berwanger represented property owners on this appeal relating to interpretation of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972.)
    • City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. City Council at Rolling Hills Estates, 547 F.2d 1092 (9th Cir. 1976) (Mr. Berwanger represented Palos Verdes Properties in this action challenging its proposed development based on the California Environmental Quality Act.)
    • Rancho Palos Verdes Corp. v. City of Laguna Beach, 390 F. Supp. 1004 (C.D. Cal. 1975) (Mr. Berwanger represented Corp. in an action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 seeking damages for the taking by City of Corp.’s land within City through open space zoning.)
  • Publications & Presentations

    Representative Publications

    • “Land Use Litigation: A Story and a Lawsuit,” American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Condemnation, Zoning and Land Use, 2013
    • “Disengaged,” San Diego Lawyer, July/August 2011
    • “Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter: The United States Supreme Court Limits Appellate Review of Orders Requiring Disclosure of Attorney-Client Privileged Material,” ABTL Report, Volume XVII, No. 1, Spring 2010
    • “Electronic, Discovery,” 17 California Litigation 3 (2004)
    • ”Summary Judgments: Supreme Court Clarification and Potential Legislative Evisceration,” 14 California Litigation 3 (2001)
    • ”Dolan v. City of Tigard: The United States Supreme Court’s Sequel to Nollan v. California Coastal Commission,” 17 Ca. Real Prop. L. Rep. 245 (1994)
  • Education


    J.D., University of Southern California Law School, 1969

    B.A., Political Science, California State University, Los Angeles, 1966


    Top Rated Lawyer-AV® Preeminent™,

    Top Rated Lawyer in Real Estate

    Super Lawyers® distinction in the fields of Business Litigation, Appellate and Real Estate (2007-2016)

    Top Lawyer in San Diego, Real Estate (San Diego Magazine, 2017)

    The Best Lawyers in America© distinction in Commercial Litigation (2020)