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Christopher J. Neary's Profile Image

Christopher J. Neary

Fax: (707) 459-3018

Christopher Neary is both an attorney and a rancher. Mr. Neary operates Sunny Brook Ranch near the City of Willits which his family purchased in September 1950. Mr. Neary’s family settled in Sonoma County in 1843, his grandfather’s great grandfather, Joel P. Walker, having been a delegate from Sonoma and Mendocino County to the 1849 California Constitutional Convention. Mr. Neary was admitted to the California Bar in 1976. He is married to Susan Neary and they reside on the family ranch.

Upon admission to the Bar Mr. Neary returned to Willits and started his law practice in his hometown as a general practice attorney.

As he began to focus on real estate and environmental issues, his practice expanded to its present regional scope. Being a cattle rancher gives Mr. Neary a uniquely personal perspective on the complex laws surrounding land use, water use and other environmental issues.

Professional experience:

  • General Counsel, Brooktrails Township Community Services District, 1976-present
  • General Counsel, Mendocino Paving, Inc., 1976-present
  • General Counsel, North Coast Railroad Authority, 1991-present
  • General Counsel, Harwood Investment, 1997-present
  • Counsel, Millview County Water District, 2001-present
  • Willits School Board, 2013 - Present


  • Supreme Court of California, 1976
  • Northern District Court of California, 1976
  • United States Supreme Court, 1991
  • Eastern District of California, 1989
  • United States Tax Court, 1999
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 2010


  • University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif.
    • English, 1970
  • Humphreys College of Law, Stockton, Calif.
    • 1975

Published cases:

Friends of the Eel River v NCRA 2017 WL 3185220 This case establishes that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act preempts the remedy of injunction for state causes of action.

Millview County Water District v SWRCB 229 CA 4th 879

Paland v. Brooktrails Township Community Services Dist. In this 2009 case, Mr. Neary successfully defended a constitutional challenge to a public agency's utility rate setting. The California Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision, the California Supreme Court denied review, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.
(197 Cal.App.4th 1358, 102 Cal.Rptr.3d 270, Rev. Den. Feb. 10,2010, Cert. Den. April 19, 2010, 130 S. Ct. 2112, 176 L. Ed. 726)

Michael H. Meyer, Trustee in Bankruptcy for California Western Railroad Inc. v. North Coast Railroad Authority, d/b/a/ Northwestern Pacific Railroad, (2007) Surface Transportation Board Finance Docket No. 34337, January 30, 2007.

Friends of Eel River v North Coast Railroad Authority 230 Cal.App.4th 85 (2014) Review Granted December 10, 2014

Community involvement:

  • North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
    • Member, 2003
  • Mendocino County Bar Association
    • President, 2000
  • Rotary Club of Willits
    • President, 1994
  • Willits Unified School District
    • Trustee, 1980-1991; 2013-present
    • Chairperson 1986, 1991, 2015-present

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