Ruth Stoner Muzzin

Partner
rmuzzin@friedmanspring.com

350 Sansome Street Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94104
T: 415.834.3800
F: 415.834.1044

Website: friedmanspring.com

EDUCATION

  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2010
  • B.S., University of San Francisco, 2007

PRACTICE AREAS

  • Appellate Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Transactions
  • Regulatory Litigation

BIOGRAPHY

Ruth Stoner Muzzin is a litigator with a practice focused in the energy, water, transportation and telecommunications industries, and related business and environmental issues.  She has represented clients in state and federal courts and before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  Ruth was a member of the plaintiffs' team in multiple actions by major electric companies and state agencies to recover overpayments made to the United States, several cities, and many municipal utilities during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis, for the ultimate benefit of utility ratepayers.  She has represented government entities, industry groups, private parties and utilities before the CPUC and in the courts.  Ruth is experienced in litigating questions of jurisdiction and preemption in the trial and appellate courts, as well as compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Ruth’s practice is also focused on all areas of insolvency, commercial bankruptcy litigation and navigating creditors’ rights issues, including claims litigation, fraudulent transaction matters and other related subjects.  As part of this practice, she successfully defended alter-ego claims brought against numerous, affiliated legal entities in an administrative law proceeding.

Prior to joining the firm, Ruth served during law school as an extern to the Honorable Vaughn R. Walker, Chief Judge of the Northern District of California, and with the California Attorney General in the Department of Justice, Division of Natural Resources, where she worked on water, forestry and endangered species litigation.  During law school, she also served as a summer law clerk in the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel at the State Bar of California.  Before law school, Ruth followed a career in the performing arts, including study at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Ruth was named as a 2019 Rising Star in Northern California by Super Lawyers in the area of Energy and Natural Resources.

Ruth is member of the State Bar of California; she is admitted to practice before the federal courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court of Federal Claims, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.  She is a member of the American Bar Association and its Section on Environment, Energy and Resources as well as the Litigation and International Sections.  Ruth serves as President on the Board of Directors of the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel for 2019.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Appellate Litigation

  • Represented a transportation industry group before the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court in challenges to the CPUC's Transportation Network Company (TNC) decisions, including an original CEQA petition to the California Supreme Court.

  • Represented a group of small rural telephone companies before the California Court of Appeal as amici curiae, concerning the CPUC's decisions related to a funding program for small independent telephone carriers.

  • Represented a public water district before the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court in defending against a challenge to environmental review for its participation in a major water supply project approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, involving discretionary writ proceedings.

Civil Litigation

  • Represented a public water district in litigation of claims related to jurisdiction and validation of public agency actions.

  • Assisted litigation team in initiating, prosecuting and resolving a shareholder's derivative suit for breach of fiduciary duty against the board of a company specializing in innovative water management and conservation technologies.

Regulatory Litigation

  • Represented 19 defendants, including a corporation's sole shareholder and president in a state administrative proceeding against the corporation, defending against allegations of alter ego.

  • Represented a public water district in multiple complex proceedings before the CPUC concerning a regulated public utility's successive proposals for a critically-needed water supply project, including several weeks of evidentiary hearings and extensive briefing on preliminary issues of preemption and jurisdiction as well as applications for settlement and project approvals.

  • Represented an agricultural company in a complaint before the CPUC regarding the company's private railroad crossing, reaching a favorable settlement within six months of filing.

  • Represented a major California electric public utility in multiple lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking billions of dollars in damages against the United States, several Cities, and multiple municipal utilities for overcharges in wholesale electric power sales to California public utilities made during the California Energy Crisis of 2000-2001.

  • Represented a public water district in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation concerning a major water supply project.

  • Represented a regulated public utility in an investigatory proceeding before the California Public Utilities Commission, obtaining a decision dismissing all allegations against the utility.

NOTEWORTHY

  • Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy for 2009-2010.

  • Author, “Seeing the Free Exercise Forest for the Trees:  NEPA, RFRA and Navajo Nation,” 16 Hastings W-Nw. J. Envtl. L & Pol’y 277 (2010), addressing issues of religious freedom in public land use.  Ms. Muzzin's article was cited in written testimony to the United States Senate by representatives of the Navajo Nation, regarding U.S. endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”).  (Setting the Standard: Domestic Policy Implications of the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Oversight Hearing Before S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 112th Cong. 174 (2011) (written testimony of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, Duane Yazzie, Chairperson).)  The testimony was subsequently presented to the 22nd Navajo Nation Council.

  • President, Board of Directors, Conference of California Public Utility Counsel 2019.

  • Northern California Rising Star Super Lawyer in Energy and Natural Resources 2019.