At 6:23 a.m. on June 25, Santa Barbara is shaken by a severe earthquake, destroying much of the downtown area. Although unable to use its offices, the firm opens for business as usual at 8:30 a.m. on the lawn in front of the Lobero Theater. The mayor appoints Price to be city attorney and gives him a seat on the city council for the duration of the emergency.
Price announces that he has an anonymous client who will pay $200,000 towards the construction of a yacht harbor if the City will pay the remaining $200,000. The voters approve the plan, and Price reveals that the donor is Major Max Fleischmann, the “Yeast King.” The Santa Barbara Yacht Harbor is completed in 1930.
Although the Granada Building survives the earthquake, many clients refuse to visit the firm’s offices on the seventh floor. The firm then moves to 21 East Carrillo Street.
Price represents the Montecito Water District in the landmark case of Gin S. Chow vs. City of Santa Barbara. The suit alleges that Santa Barbara and Montecito do not have the right to divert flood waters from the Santa Ynez River. If successful, the suit will have catastrophic consequences for the south county cities.
After a year-long trial, the Gin Chow case is decided in favor of the cities. Commenting on Price’s performance, Judge Frank Collier states, “I have never, as a judge or as a practicing attorney, seen a more thoroughly prepared case.” The case is reported in newspapers across the country and is still one of the most important water rights cases.
The firm moves to 21 East Canon Perdido Street, where it remains for the next 40 years.
Price is offered the Peabody Medal as “the outstanding man of the county” for his success in the Gin Chow case. However, since he has been paid for his work, Price refuses the medal.
Firm member Percy Heckendorf is elected District Attorney. In 1959, he becomes a judge of the Superior Court.
The firm successfully represents the justices of the California Supreme Court in the Blodgett Litigation.
Firm member Atwell Westwick becomes a judge of the Superior Court.
The California Supreme Court affirms the Gin Chow decision. The City of Santa Barbara issues a resolution thanking Price for his “invaluable victory.”
Harold A. Parma becomes a partner in the firm, which becomes known as Heaney, Price, Postel & Parma.
Price is appointed trustee of Stanford University, his alma mater.