[Updated on April 9 to remove information that the plaintiffs have requested that the court place under seal. I’ll reevaluate this elision after the court rules.]
(See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times for background).
Recall that on April 1, the plaintiffs in Mitchell v. Los Angeles asked the court to enjoin the City from confiscating the plaintiffs’ property while the case was pending. Today the City filed its opposition to this application. The pleading pulls no punches:
Defendant City of Los Angeles hereby opposes the Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order. The grounds for the opposition are that the Plaintiffs have misrepresented the facts which led to the destruction of their property, there is no widespread practice violating federal law which requires enjoining, and there is no urgency justifying ex parte relief.
Further, should the Court deem it appropriate, the City requests that the Court set a Rule 11 briefing to determine an appropriate amount of sanctions against Plaintiffs and their counsel, jointly and severally, for submitting factual contentions which have no evidentiary support. In the alternative, the City requests that the Court set said hearing at least against Plaintiffs Escobedo and Roque and their counsel, jointly and severally.
The relevant part of Rule 11 seems to be:
(b) By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:
(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
The City also filed a number of other interesting items, which I have not yet have time to read in detail. You can find a list of them and some more detailed selections from the Opposition after the break.
Here are the additional filings:1
- Declaration of LAPD Lt. Andy Mathes
- Declaration of Chief Environmental Compliance Inspector Steven Pedersen
- Objections to Evidence
And here are the actual accusations of “factual contentions which have no evidentiary support.” It’s certainly shaping up to be an interesting case.
Escobedo is on video during the enforcement action receiving the citation he says he never received, and leaving with all of the property he says was taken. … Coleman and Mitchell come the closest to having common facts, since both of them claimed that shopping carts over which they exercised dominion were not theirs. But even they diverge completely when it comes to the manner in which they are shown to be lying in their declarations before this Court. Mitchell had almost no property to return after City Hazmat-trained workers screened his property, which was inundated with rat feces, for immediate threats to health. Coleman received her property back when she finally went to retrieve it, but only after doing a conspicuously non-arthritic thank-you-dance for the arresting officer she is suing for giving her the “wake-up call” necessary to get off the streets.