Renne Public Law Group RPLG logoRenne Public Law Group (“RPLG”) recently prevailed in the California Supreme Court on behalf of the Los Angeles County Assessor in Prang v. Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board. The case was handled by RPLG attorneys Tom Kelch, Mike Slattery, and Ryan McGinley-Stempel. Tom Kelch argued the case in the Supreme Court.

This property tax dispute case involved statutory interpretation of the California Revenue and Taxation Code. The underlying facts and legal issues are complicated, but involved the definition and application of the meaning of “stock” and “ownership interests.”

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the Court of Appeal majority, determining that “stock” means all forms of stock, including voting and nonvoting shares.

RPLG’s victory in Prang represents an important step in interpretation of the Revenue and Taxation Code, resulting in an opinion that thoroughly analyzes the plain meaning of a number of important sections, including sections 62 and 64, takes into account other administrative guidance, and gives assessors across the state critical direction moving forward.


The Prang case is one of many high-profile appeals handled by RPLG on behalf of public agencies. We highlight some of our practitioners and their excellent work.

Ryan McGinley-Stempel heads the RPLG appellate law practice group. He previously clerked for the California Supreme Court and is certified by the California Bar as an Appellate Specialist. Ryan represents the Alameda Health System in a case pending in the California Supreme Court, and recently argued on June 4, 2024. He and Partner Steve Cikes also represent the County of Los Angeles in an important dispute in the Court of Appeal about how the County Charter affects employment classifications. Ryan has secured appellate victories for public agencies in cases involving vested rights and retirement benefits (Harris v. County of Orange (9th Cir. 2021) 17 F.4th 849; Allum v. San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association (Cal. App. 2021) 2021 WL 2525141); higher education (Doe v. White (9th Cir. 2021) 859 F. App’x 76); the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (City and County of San Francisco v. Public Employment Relations Board (Cal. App. 2019) 2019 WL 3296947); land use (INJ, LLC v. City of Belvedere (Cal. App. 2023) 2023 WL 8103416); and juvenile dependency (e.g., In re M.G. (Cal. App. 2021) 2021 WL 4436964).

Partner Amy Ackerman has authored numerous appellate briefs on a variety of government law matters, including public meetings, public records, charter powers, and dependency law. She received a California County Counsels’ Litigation Award for preparing an amicus brief on behalf of the California State Association of Counties in Elisa B. v. Superior Court (2005) 37 Cal.4th 108. Representative cases include Gillespie v. San Francisco Public Library Commission (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1165, holding that the Library could properly hold a closed session to nominate candidates for City Librarian and serving as amicus on behalf of fifty cities in City of San Jose v. Superior Court (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 1008, holding that the City of San Jose could protect the identity of citizens making complaints regarding municipal airport noise; In re Mary C. (2020) 48 Cal.App.5th 793, establishing the adoptability of special needs children; and David B. v. Superior Court (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1010, holding that the juvenile court in dependency proceedings has no power to modify the final order terminating parental rights on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction. Most recently, she has prepared an amicus brief on behalf of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties in Gajanan v. the City and County of San Francisco, challenging an award of attorneys’ fees against San Francisco.

Partner Steve Cikes also has extensive appellate experience, helping to secure victories in cases involving vested rights (Rose v. County of San Benito (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 688); the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (International Assn. of Firefighters, Local 188, AFL-CIO v. Public Employment Relations Bd. (2011) 51 Cal.4th 259); home rule (County of Sonoma v. Superior Court (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 322); the First Amendment (U.S. Western Falun Dafa Assn. v. Chinese Chamber of Commerce (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 590); and Title VII (Johnson v. City of Oakland, Cal. (9th Cir. 2013) 510 F. App’x 565).

Of Counsel Mike Slattery and Tom Kelch have represented the County of Los Angeles in many property tax disputes in the Court of Appeals and have two cases pending in the California Supreme Court. This work has resulted in published opinions in Jet Suite, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles (2017) 16 Cal.App.5th 10, Next Century Associates v. County of Los Angeles (2018) 29 Cal.App.5th 713, Prang v. Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board No. 2. (2020) 54 Cal.App.5th 1, Prang v. Amen (2020) 58 Cal. App.5th 246, review granted, affirmed 5/30/11, Chinese Theatres LLC v. County of Los Angeles (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 484, LA Live Properties LLC v. County of Los Angeles (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 363, Olympic & Georgia Partners LLC v. County of Los Angeles (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 100, review granted, briefing completed, Paramount Pictures. Corp v. County of Los Angeles (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1246, and FlightSafety International Inc. v. Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Board (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 712.

Senior Counsel Spencer Wilson has authored or co-authored appellate briefs in matters before numerous courts throughout the country, including several successful briefs at the certiorari stage in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has argued appeals in California state court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Alaska Supreme Court. Spencer recently prevailed in the Ninth Circuit defending the City of Stockton in a high-profile employment law dispute (Hittle v. City of Stockton (9th Cir. 2024) — F.4th —-, 2023 WL 11691794) in which a former fire chief claimed that his termination violated Title VII’s prohibition on religious discrimination.

Please visit to learn more about RPLG and our appellate practice.

Contact Ryan McGinley-StempelTom Kelch, or Michael Slattery for more information.

About the Renne Public Law Group

RPLG practices throughout California, advising and advocating for public agencies, nonprofit entities, individuals and private entities in need of effective, responsive and creative legal solutions. RPLG’s lawyers provide the tools to strengthen and preserve public services, empower policy makers to further their objectives and collaborate with in-house staff to identify workable solutions to complex problems, develop strategy and implement solutions.