Paul M. Gelb

Phone: (310) 203-4028 (310) 203-4028
Fax: (310) 229-1285


Paul M. Gelb represents clients in all aspects of their businesses including data use and privacy, technology transactions, e-commerce, and real estate. He provides business and regulatory counsel and, when necessary, litigates on their behalf in state and federal courts.

Paul has also represented clients in a variety of land use litigation and regulatory matters arising under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

In addition, Paul counsels clients on numerous aspects of digital marketing, from crafting and implementing branding and licensing agreements to responding to potential lawsuits. He has assisted clients with issues related to social media, branding, internet law, and false advertising.

Paul's clients have included the Oakland Raiders, Warner/Chappell Music, Walmart, NextEra Energy, the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, Fremont General Corporation, and Missoni.


Paul handles the purchase and sale of industrial properties, commercial lease negotiations and agreements, zoning disputes, title actions and issues related to mixed-use developments. He complements his real estate work with litigating disputes involving energy and environmental issues. Representative experience includes:

  • Defending against claims that challenged approval of a proposed project to repower a 49.5-megawatt wind farm in Riverside County, California, asserting that the plaintiff received insufficient notice of the project and that the proposed project would create a “waking” effect and deprive plaintiff’s down-wind project of substantial wind flow (defeated claims on motion to dismiss and summary judgment). Wind Energy Partnership, et al. v. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, et al.
  • Defending action asserting claims against the Bureau of Land Management for alleged NEPA and ESA violations during its approval of two solar energy projects in the Mojave Desert (obtained summary judgment). Defenders of Wildlife v. Sally Jewell et al.
  • Defending an action brought by a coalition of labor unions against the California Energy Commission for alleged CEQA violations concerning its certification of the Blythe Solar Energy Project in the California desert (obtained dismissal). Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local Union No. 1184 v. Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.
  • Defending against claims asserted under NHPA, FLPMA, the Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act and NEPA that challenged the development of a California solar energy project (defeated claims on motions to dismiss and summary judgment). La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al.
  • Obtaining appellate reversal on nine separate issues arising under the California Planning and Zoning Law and CEQA to enable construction of a retail project in Rialto, California. Rialto Citizens for Responsible Growth v. City of Rialto, et al. (published appellate decision available at Rialto Citizens for Responsible Growth v. City of Rialto (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 899).
  • Defending against claims brought under the Subdivision Map Act and CEQA that challenged construction of a retail project in Barstow, California. CREED-21 et al. v. City of Barstow.
  • Defending a quiet title action concerning a valuable property between a Westfield Shopping Center and the historic Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California. Santa Anita Companies, Inc.v. Westfield Corp., Inc.
  • Prosecuting a breach of contract action for the return of a multimillion-dollar deposit made as part of a mixed-use development project in San Diego, California (obtained favorable settlement after filing summary judgment motion). Polygon Shelter, Inc. v. Makallon La Jolla Properties, LLC, et al.
  • Public trust doctrine lawsuit concerning impact of wind turbines on wildlife unconnected to tidelands or navigable waters. Center for Biological Diversity, Inc. et al. v. FPL Group, Inc. et al. (published appellate decision available at Center for Biological Diversity, Inc. v. FPL Group, Inc. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 1349).
  • Lawsuit asserting that the groundwater for use in the Genesis Solar Energy Project is hydrologically connected to the Colorado River and that the Bureau of Land Management did not independently consider whether pumping groundwater for the project constitutes an unauthorized allocation of Colorado River water (obtained dismissal of all claims on motions to dismiss). California Unions for Reliable Energy v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, et al.
  • Defending an action brought by a federally recognized Native American tribe against the federal government to enjoin the development of a solar energy project for alleged NEPA and NHPA violations (obtained denial of preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit, and then favorably settled action). Colorado River Indian Tribes v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, et al.

  • Representing the trustee of the Georges Marciano bankruptcy estate as appellate counsel concerning state court judgments resulting in more than $300 million in claims In re Georges Marciano (obtained substantial reduction of claims as described in Gottlieb v. Fahs (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2012) 2012 WL 5310004 and Gottlieb v. Iskowitz (Cal. Ct. App. June 20, 2012)
    2012 WL 2337290).
  • Obtaining appellate reversal of trial court order that had denied a motion to compel arbitration. Pulli v. Pony International, LLC (published appellate decision available at Pulli v. Pony Intern., LLC (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1507).
  • Defending consolidated petitions by contingent beneficiaries asserting claims exceeding $100 million for breach of fiduciary duty against the trustee of six trusts that held ownership interests in Kelley Blue Book (obtained favorable settlement after filing summary judgment motion). In re Charles E. and Dorothy L. Cook 1995 Family Trust.
  • Defending, on behalf of a financial services holding company, two actions asserted by the California Insurance Commissioner alleging over $450 million in damages from the alleged misappropriation of net operating losses (obtained favorable settlement after filing summary judgment motion). Fremont Indem. Co. v. Fremont General Corp.
  • Petitioning the California Supreme Court for review of an action concerning over $1 billion in claims asserted against the NFL. Oakland Raiders v. National Football League, et al. (Supreme Court opinion available at Oakland Raiders v. National Football League (2007) 41 Cal.4th 624).


Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Columbia Law School

Award Methodology (


Bar Admissions

  • California


  • Columbia Law School, J.D., 1999
  • Columbia University, B.A., 1996, cum laude

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California


  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee