Judge James Otero just today issued Judge James Otero issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the City of LA from wantonly confiscating homeless people’s property on Skid Row. an order granting an injunction prohibiting the City of Los Angeles from confiscating the property of homeless people living on Skid Row without following a detailed procedure meant to protect their property rights. In order to grant this order, Otero had to find that the claims of the plaintiffs against the City were likely to succeed, and this he did. In particular, he analyzed the evidence that the City submitted in opposition to the request for a restraining order and stated unequivocally that This strikes my (uninformed) eye as a fairly bad start to the City’s defense of this case, which is a fairly good omen for justice, fairness, and humanity in this City of Angels. “The counterevidence submitted by Defendants, including the videos, are at best inconclusive.”
You can see the conditions under which the City is allowed to confiscate property after the break, but they seem to be essentially the conditions (notification, health hazards, storage for 90 days, etc.) that are already prescribed by LAMC 56.11. My superficial reading of the situation is that he’s ordering them to stick to what the law already allows, but now they have a federal judge ordering them to stick to what the law allows. After all, it’s one thing to have to follow the law because it’s the law. It’s another more serious thing entirely to have to follow the law because a federal judge is watching you to make sure you follow it. Anyway, that’s what I think is going on here.
Continue reading Court Finds Plaintiffs’ Arguments Likely to Succeed on their Merits, Issues Preliminary Injunction Limiting Confiscation of Homeless People’s Property on Skid Row
The federal civil rights lawsuit The lawsuit filed against the City of Los Angeles by four homeless residents, LA Catholic Worker, and LA CAN, has been assigned to James Otero. filed yesterday by four homeless residents of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, and the LA Community Action Network, was assigned today to District Court Judge S. James Otero (I have the order here). In 2013 Judge Otero decided the big lawsuit against the misuse of VA property in Westwood, thus enraging a bunch of ritzy Brentwood people who think their dogs are more important than not only the lives of veterans but than the property rights of Los Angeles founding mother Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker, who donated the property to the VA explicitly for the sake of veterans. Anyway, he did the right thing there, and perhaps he will here too, although the gossip around the MK.org water cooler is leaning towards a motion to switch the case over to Judge Gutierrez, probably based on a “substantial amount of factual overlap” or some such thing. We shall see, I suppose.
Continue reading Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed Yesterday Against City of Los Angeles is Assigned to District Court Judge S. James Otero
A lawsuit filed today in Federal Court on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, and four homeless plaintiffs charges the City of Los Angeles along with LAPD officers Andrew Mathes, Sgt. Hamer, and Sgt. Richter of endangering the lives of the plaintiffs by wrongfully arresting them and by wrongfully confiscating and destroying their property, including medicine, blankets, tents, and other items necessary to the support of life. The plaintiffs’ attorneys are Carol Sobel and associates, Fernando Gaytan and Shayla Myers of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Paul Hoffman and Catherine Sweetser. The inimitable Gale Holland has an excellent write-up in the Times but, as usual, it doesn’t include a link to the actual court filings, which is where I can help. The suit isn’t particularly on our BID-beat, but I’m going to get all the filings anyway, so I might as well make them available here. There are some excerpts after the break.
Continue reading Federal Lawsuit Filed Today by LA Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, Four Homeless Plaintiffs, Against City of LA and Three Named LAPD Officers Over Property Confiscations, Wrongful Arrests, Endangerment of Life