Tag Archives: Carol Sobel

Charmaine Chua V. City Of Los Angeles — Motion For Leave To Present Classwide Damages Filed — Hearing Scheduled For January 14, 2019 At 8:30 A.M. Before Judge John Kronstadt — First Street Courthouse Courtroom 10B

UPDATE: This hearing has been changed to February 4, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. The trial has been reset as well. The new dates are set here in this order.

Almost three years ago now, in January 2016, Charmaine Chua and others sued the City of Los Angeles for civil rights violations arising from 2014 protests over the killing of Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. In May 2017 the case was certified as a class action, but it seems like not that much has happened since then, I guess maybe because it still seemed like there was some chance that it might settle.

Well, evidently that’s not going to happen, and the case is revving up again. In September of this year Judge John Kronstadt issued a scheduling order which, in part and barring settlement, which didn’t happen, ordered the plaintiffs ” to file a motion (“Motion”) for leave to present claims of alleged general damages on a classwide basis at trial of the corresponding claims for liability, which shall include a proposed trial plan for the presentation of evidence as to such alleged damages.”

I guess the point is that usually in a lawsuit the plaintiff can get damages to make up for what the defendant’s conduct cost them but if they’re suing for so-called general damages, where no specific objective dollar value can be assigned, it’s necessary to argue that such payments are appropriate. Anyway, as always, I’m not a lawyer, but that seems to be what the motion, filed by plaintiffs on November 5, 2018, seems to be arguing.1

It seems that the way to make this argument in cases of police misconduct, false imprisonment, and so on, is to introduce an expert witness who has studied and/or been involved in many such cases. The plaintiffs also filed, therefore, a declaration by Michael Avery, who analyzes more than 20 cases of police misconduct involving wrongful imprisonment in which, at least in the class action ones, victims were paid between $1,800 and $23,000 as compensation for their loss of liberty. There is a transcription of this after the break, along with links to other interesting materials and a little background as well.

Note that the hearing on this motion is scheduled for January 14, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in John Kronstadt’s courtroom in the First Street Federal Courthouse, which is 10B. Don’t be misled by the wrong date which appears on a bunch of these pleadings. It was an error, as reflected in this notice of error filed with the court a couple days ago.
Continue reading Charmaine Chua V. City Of Los Angeles — Motion For Leave To Present Classwide Damages Filed — Hearing Scheduled For January 14, 2019 At 8:30 A.M. Before Judge John Kronstadt — First Street Courthouse Courtroom 10B

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Rebecca Cooley v. City Of Los Angeles — On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging The Illegal Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of Rebecca Cooley, Benjamin Hubert, And Casimir Zoroda — Three Disabled Homeless People Living In Venice At The Time — Seeks Class Action Status For Approximately 60 Others Similarly Situated

On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles on behalf of three named homeless people along with about sixty others similarly situated. The three, Rebecca Cooley, her husband Benjamin Hubert, and Casimir Zaroda, are homeless people who were living on the streets in Venice in September 2017 when the City of Los Angeles, without notice and without any kind of process, confiscated and destroyed their property, including tents, blankets, essential paperwork, transit passes, and other items essential to the maintenance of human life. The suit comes just as the City is resuming its horrific, indiscriminate sweeps of homeless encampments outside of neighborhoods covered by the various injunctions.

The initial complaint claims that the City’s actions violate constitutional bans on takings and on unlawful seizure as well as the constitutional guarantee of due process. These familiar theories have been consistently upheld by federal courts up to and including the Ninth Circuit,1 all of which have been willing to issue and/or uphold injunctions against the City’s property confiscation and destruction policies. So it’s hard to imagine that the City can prevail on these issues.

Also, because two of the three named plaintiffs are disabled along with many of the similarly situated unnamed plaintiffs, the complaint also alleges that the City violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by confiscating their essential papers and means of transportation, by storing confiscated property in locations and facilities not properly accessible to disabled people, and, in general, by following policies and practices with respect to homeless people’s property that disproportionately burden disabled people.

Turn the page for transcriptions of selections from the initial complaint.
Continue reading Rebecca Cooley v. City Of Los Angeles — On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging The Illegal Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of Rebecca Cooley, Benjamin Hubert, And Casimir Zoroda — Three Disabled Homeless People Living In Venice At The Time — Seeks Class Action Status For Approximately 60 Others Similarly Situated

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Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

On September 3, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles, alleging that Rex Schellenberg, a homeless man living in the San Fernando Valley, stepped away from his property briefly only to have it confiscated and much of it destroyed by the LAPD and LA Sanitation personnel. I can’t find anything about this case in the media, in contrast to Sobel’s other pending case on the matter, Mitchell v. City of LA, which is covered extensively. You can read and get copies of the pleadings here on Archive.Org. I’ll update the collection as more stuff is filed.

The facts of the case are simple. Schellenberg, an elderly man homeless in Los Angeles for more than twenty years and disabled as well, lives in the San Fernando Valley. In July 2017 he left his property momentarily unattended to visit a convenience store and employees of the City of Los Angeles summarily confiscated and destroyed Schellenberg’s neatly stored possessions. In its monumental decision in Lavan v. City of LA, the Ninth Circuit had this to say about this practice:

As we have repeatedly made clear, “[t]he government may not take property like a thief in the night; rather, it must announce its intentions and give the property owner a chance to argue against the taking.” This simple rule holds regardless of whether the property in question is an Escalade or [a tent], a Cadillac or a cart. The City demonstrates that it completely misunderstands the role of due process by its contrary suggestion that homeless persons instantly and permanently lose any protected property interest in their possessions by leaving them momentarily unattended in violation of a municipal ordinance. As the district court recognized, the logic of the City’s suggestion would also allow it to seize and destroy cars parked in no-parking zones left momentarily unattended.

As with all of Sobel’s writing, the initial complaint makes compelling reading. You can get a copy of the PDF here, or turn the page for a transcription of selections.
Continue reading Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

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Venice Justice Committee Free Speech Lawsuit — City Of Los Angeles Settles — Agrees To Rewrite Beach Ordinance To Expressly Permit Leafletting, Petitioning, And So Forth On Boardwalk Until Midnight — And To Pay Carol Sobel $80,000 — When Will They Ever Learn?

Peggy Lee Kennedy and the Venice Justice Committee advocate for the rights of homeless people on the Venice Boardwalk. The LAPD has regularly threatened Kennedy with arrest for illegal vending in violation of the ordinance regulating such activities on the Boardwalk, that is to say, LAMC §42.15. Thus in February 2016 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court on behalf of the activists. The suit survived a motion to dismiss after an August 2016 hearing in which not only did the City’s oral arguments seem pathetically pro forma but the judge, Dean Pregerson, seemed openly skeptical of the City’s position.

And that’s pretty much where things stood for over two years until yesterday, Wednesday, October 10, 2018, when the City of Los Angeles passed a motion agreeing to settle the case. The terms are excellent for the plaintiffs. The City agrees to rewrite the relevant section of LAMC 42.15 to explicitly state that activities protected by the First Amendment, including the use of a table, are expressly allowed on the Boardwalk until midnight. The City will also pay Carol Sobel’s office $80,000 for her excellent work on this matter. Turn the page for the full text of the motion. You can also read most of the pleadings here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Venice Justice Committee Free Speech Lawsuit — City Of Los Angeles Settles — Agrees To Rewrite Beach Ordinance To Expressly Permit Leafletting, Petitioning, And So Forth On Boardwalk Until Midnight — And To Pay Carol Sobel $80,000 — When Will They Ever Learn?

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Amicus Briefs Filed In Orange County Catholic Worker Case In Support Of Injunction Against Evictions, Hearing On Tuesday Morning, February 13

For background, see Luke Money‘s excellent coverage in the Times, starting with this January 29 article on the Lawsuit and continuing with this article on the February 13 hearing. You can also download selected pleadings in the case from our Archive.Org site.

Last week Judge Carter issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Orange County, the City of Anaheim, and anyone else who might be minded to do so from arresting anyone on the bed of the Santa Ana River for trespassing, camping, and similar anti-homeless offenses. Prior to this, on February 4, in the order setting the fast-approaching February 13 hearing1 on the plaintiffs’ original application for a restraining order, Carter invited a broad range of non-parties to appear at Tuesday’s hearing:

The Court also welcomes attendance at the hearing and written briefing by any amicus groups, which may include veterans’ organizations, service providers, abused women’s protection and housing organizations, and other cities affected by the homelessness crisis in Orange County that are not named as Defendants in this case.

Well, beginning last Friday and continuing on through tonight, a number of amicus briefs were filed. You can find a list and links to the actual pleadings after the break. Also, although I’m not really committing myself to covering every aspect of this case, it’s been really interesting so far, so I went ahead and set up a page on the Archive to collect pleadings.
Continue reading Amicus Briefs Filed In Orange County Catholic Worker Case In Support Of Injunction Against Evictions, Hearing On Tuesday Morning, February 13

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In Response To Emergency Motion Filed Yesterday By Plaintiffs, Last Night Federal Judge David Carter Issued Temporary Injunction Forbidding Orange County From Arresting Homeless People On The Santa Ana Riverbed Pending The Scheduled Hearing On February 13

For background, see Luke Money‘s excellent coverage in the Times, starting with this January 29 article on the Lawsuit and continuing with Monday’s article on the February 13 hearing.

UPDATE: The Times (finally) got around to covering this development this afternoon. Here’s their story on the temporary restraining order.

I’m not really covering the lawsuit, filed on January 29, by the Orange County Catholic Worker and Carol Sobel’s law firm against Orange County for civil rights violations incurred against homeless human beings living on the bed of the Santa Ana River.1 You can read the initial complaint here to get an idea of what’s going on.

Yesterday afternoon the plaintiffs asked the County when they were going to start arresting people living on the riverbed and the County replied at 5:31 p.m. that arrests would begin today, February 7. Read the entire email exchange here:

Consequently, beginning tomorrow morning, OCSD personnel will begin advising people remaining on the District Santa Ana Riverbed property that they must vacate or may be cited and/or arrested for trespassing.

This prompted the plaintiffs to file an Emergency Request to Stay Arrests with the court. The metadata of that PDF suggests it was written at 5:59 yesterday, about half an hour after the County’s reply. There is a transcription after the break.

This, in turn, prompted the court to issue an Order Granting Temporary Restraining Order forbidding the County from arresting homeless human beings on the riverbed for trespassing, loitering, or camping, until the hearing on February 13. The metadata of that PDF suggests that it was written at 11:11 p.m. yesterday. There is a transcription after the break.
Continue reading In Response To Emergency Motion Filed Yesterday By Plaintiffs, Last Night Federal Judge David Carter Issued Temporary Injunction Forbidding Orange County From Arresting Homeless People On The Santa Ana Riverbed Pending The Scheduled Hearing On February 13

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Street Vending Lawsuit Teetering On Brink Of Settlement: Check Cut By City And Plaintiffs Have Signed Release But Defendants Have Not Yet Signed — Carol Sobel Anticipates Dismissal Within Two Weeks

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

About five weeks ago a pending settlement was announced in the monumental street vending case brought by brave local civil rights attorneys on behalf of a number of street vendors against the diabolical forces of the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID.

Well, nothing moves fast in Federal Court, so it’s no surprise that it’s taken this long to even get a hint of what’s happening behind the scenes. However, finally, yesterday afternoon plaintiffs’ attorney Carol Sobel filed a status report (transcription of this PDF after the break) with the court stating that things are moving along, that the City has cut a check for the settlement amount, presumably $150,000 as previously announced, and that the plaintiffs have signed the release. The defendants have not yet signed, but she anticipates that everything will be finished and the case will be dismissed within two weeks.1
Continue reading Street Vending Lawsuit Teetering On Brink Of Settlement: Check Cut By City And Plaintiffs Have Signed Release But Defendants Have Not Yet Signed — Carol Sobel Anticipates Dismissal Within Two Weeks

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

Towards the end of September the parties to this monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID filed papers with the court announcing that a settlement was in the works and asking that the calendar be put on hold.

Today and yesterday a few things happened with respect to this process. Today the parties filed a status report with the court announcing that the settlement process was on track but they needed until December 30 to work out the details. This was closely followed by an order from Judge André Birotte extending the time as requested.

More interestingly, though, yesterday the City Council went into closed session to discuss the terms of the settlement.1 They passed this motion authorizing the expenditure of $150,000 to fund the settlement, at least some of which is going, with good cause, straight to Carol Sobel. Interestingly, and the reason’s not clear, Mitch Englander voted against the motion.

It’s also interesting that the motion was put forth by Paul Krekorian and seconded by Paul Koretz. It’s my unscientific impression that in the ordinary course of events this would have been moved by José Huizar, since the events which precipitated the case happened in his district. Who knows what’s going on? Maybe it’s because Krekorian and Koretz are on the committee which gave its preliminary approval to the motion? Anyway, the whole matter is in Garcetti’s hands now, and he has until December 18 to sign off. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

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Tentative Settlement Reached In Street Vending Lawsuit Against Fashion District BID And City Of Los Angeles

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

The monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID for their abominable treatment of street vendors was set for trial in January. However, papers filed with the court yesterday announce that the plaintiffs have reached a settlement with the City and as soon as it’s approved, a process which can take many months for it to work its way through Committees and Council, they will drop the case against both the City and the BID. Hence they asked Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell to put the calendar on hold until the settlement is approved.

Today Virginia Phillips, Chief Judge of the local federal district, issued an order vacating the schedule in anticipation of this settlement. You can read the joint notice of pending settlement that inspired the order, and, as always, there’s a transcript of both documents after the break.
Continue reading Tentative Settlement Reached In Street Vending Lawsuit Against Fashion District BID And City Of Los Angeles

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More Scenes From The First Interested Persons’ Meeting — Über-Lobbyist Bill Delvac Reveals That His Clients Tactically Report Their Opponents In The Land Use Wars To The Ethics Commission As Unregistered Lobbyists But No Action Is Ever Taken — Heather Holt Corrects Him With Provocative Obliquity: “Perhaps No Public Action,” Quoth She

Oh dear, CPRA material from various BIDs, fascinating stuff, is pouring in as usual and just piling up on my metaphorical desk while I write post after post after post about the Ethics Commission‘s ongoing effort to revise the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. Well, it can’t be helped, because the MLO is essential.1 Part of the process is holding a bunch of meetings to seek input, the first of which took place last Thursday.2 I’ve also posted my take on the various proposals. I’ll get to the BID stuff as soon as possible, friends, but meanwhile, here’s yet another MLO post.3

If you’ve been following the conversation you’ll know that the lobbyists opposing the proposed revisions have argued consistently that the City doesn’t need more regulations imposed on lobbyists who, according to them anyway, desperately want to follow the law but instead needs to register the herds of unregistered and unregulated lobbyists swarming around City Hall.4

They’re not wrong that there are far, far too many unregistered lobbyists. Turning these people in to the Ethics Commission is one of the main purposes of this blog and I have, uncharacteristically, to agree with the registered lobbyists that there are an awful lot of unregistered lobbyists haunting 200 N. Spring Street and that the ease with which they can be detected is astonishing.5

Where they are wrong is in their claim that there’s some kind of dichotomy between registering the unregistered and revising the laws. Mostly the people pushing this idea, that somehow revising the law and registering the unregistered are mutually exclusive, seem to be doing it only to distract everyone’s attention from how badly the present law needs revision and, possibly, how badly their subterranean activities might be exposed were the law to be revised.

At least that’s how it sounded in last week’s meeting when John Howland, late of the CCALA but more recently employed by Arnie Berghoff and Associates, broke out with the same old routine, of which I’ll spare you a transcription, because it’s essentially content-free. However, at that same meeting supervillainesque land use attorney Bill Delvac also had quite a lot to say, most of which, in contrast to the self-serving contributions of his fellow flacks in the so-called regulated community, was quite interesting.

On the subject of unregistered lobbyists, for instance, Bill Delvac asserted that not only were there bunches of them, but that many of the lawyers who professionally oppose development projects are engaged in lobbying, and that essentially none of them are registered. He also, surprisingly to me, revealed that many of his clients had reported such lawyers to the Ethics Commission but that no action had been taken. Heather Holt, executive director of the Commission, corrected him, saying “perhaps no public action.”

And turn the page for some comments on the more technical parts of what Bill Delvac had to say, including the only colorable argument I’ve ever heard against a compensation-based definition as the main criterion for registration as a lobbyist.6 There is also, as usual, a transcription of all relevant remarks.
Continue reading More Scenes From The First Interested Persons’ Meeting — Über-Lobbyist Bill Delvac Reveals That His Clients Tactically Report Their Opponents In The Land Use Wars To The Ethics Commission As Unregistered Lobbyists But No Action Is Ever Taken — Heather Holt Corrects Him With Provocative Obliquity: “Perhaps No Public Action,” Quoth She

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