A quick update on a motion that Metro filed in Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss three lawsuits filed in state court against the Regional Connector project: A judge has declined to rule on the motions and dismissed them.
The trial in the lawsuits is scheduled to begin Nov. 4. The plaintiffs in the lawsuits are Japanese Village Plaza, the Bonaventure Hotel and Thomas Properties Group. They have filed lawsuits against the project in both state and federal court. The lawsuits have not been consolidated but are being heard in state and federal court, respectively, in the same courtrooms and by the same judges.
I’m pretty sure writs of mandate are bench trials, not jury trials.
The following is not a legal opinion… just armchair commentary.
Metro asked for something called “summary dismissal” on the ground that the project is exempt from CEQA. To put it in non-legal term, Metro asked the judge to throw out the lawsuit before it starts because the law does not require Metro to do a EIR (which the property owner are disputing). I think Metro presented a fairly good case for summary dismissal but the judge declined to rule on it. But keep in mind that summary dismissal is not granted very often in litigation.
Metro can still argue CEQA exempts the project in trial and convince the jury that it was unnecessary, therefore the lawsuit against it is baseless. However, since Metro did complete an EIR, I suspect they will probably stage a defense of EIR rather than argue that the project is exempt.
I checked the Westlaw docket, which states the following:
Event: MOTION-JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (C/F 6/5/13; 6/17/13; 7/16/137/19/13) Disposition: COMPLETED Department: 15 RICHARD FRUIN”
Could you post a link to the decision, or otherwise summarize it? Does it say that the project is not CEQA-exempt, or is it simply reserving judgment on that issue until trial?
I don’t believe there is a ruling. My understanding is that the judge declined to rule on them, thereby meaning that they’re dismissed.
Editor, The Source
This seems to present a potential delay to start the Project. What Metro needs to do is to come up with a work around strategy to mitigate this issue.
What are the parties suing Metro for? Can you post a summary of their basis for the lawsuit? This is the first I have heard of this. Thanks.
As typical of lawsuits against large infrastructure projects, the lawsuits allege that Metro failed to approve environmental studies for the project that comply with state and federal environmental law by not studying all the impacts, construction and otherwise.
Editor, The Source