TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: CITY MANAGER
DATE: OCTOBER 17, 2006
SUBJECT: CITY WEBPAGE FOR PENDING LAWSUITS
Consider placing the pleadings for all pending lawsuits against the City on the City’s website.
On August 29, 2006 Councilman Gardiner asked it was possible to have lawsuit pleadings added to the RPV website. He was advised by the City Manager that his request was a policy matter that should be addressed by the City Council.
On August 30, 2006 Councilman Gardiner asked that this matter be placed on a City Council agenda. In his request he indicated:
“The point of putting these on the web is not to avoid having a resident go to City Hall and avoid paying for a copy. Rather, it is to keep the residents informed about lawsuits filed against the City. A resident cannot be expected to request a copy of a lawsuit they do not know exists. Moreover, I am not sure I am aware of all the current lawsuits the city is involved in. This would be one way to keep track for me also.”
According to our records, the following cases currently are pending and are being defended by the JPIA:
1. Bodiwala, Viramontes, W& R, et al.
This case involves the Pontevedra storm drain that lies in an easement between two homes and empties into a CalTrans storm drain in Western Avenue. Both property owners are suing the City and Caltrans for damage to their homes related to lack of maintenance of the drain. The amount of damage claimed by the two homeowners is $5.5 million.
2. Hickson, Carl and Clark et al.
This is the case that originated with the February 19, 2005 storm and the mudslides that damaged homes on Sea Cove Drive. The amount of the three claims total $12.1 million.
3. Maus and Dakin et al
This case also involves storm damage to a Sea Cove Drive home. The amount of the claim is $200,000.
Zone 2 landslide inverse condemnation case.
This lawsuit is related to a bicycle accident on Beechgate Street in the Silver Spur area. A $110,000 settlement agreement is pending. The amount of the original claim was unspecified.
This case is related to a motorcycle accident on PVDS near the east end of the landslide area on January 9, 2006. The motorcycle struck a hump in the road and the rider was thrown from his motorcycle resulting in bodily injuries. Damage amount is still undetermined.
Claimant alleges the City failed to disclose the location of the County’s sewer main, which was damaged during private construction by a subcontractor. The County Sanitation District served Ulman with a complaint for real property damage on September 13, 2005, and Ulman filed a cross-complaint against the City.
This is a civil case for compensation for real estate loss and damages associated with the purchase of the property at 41 Cherryhill Lane in March 2006. A total remedy sought is for the amount of $2,216,000 million dollars.
Richards, Watson & Gershon is defending the Kay antenna case, which is on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
The Indian Ridgecrest Gardens case is being defended by outside counsel, Andy Thomas, Esq.
Should the City Council decide to put information /complaint/pleadings or other information regarding these cases on the City website, staff will require direction on exactly what materials should appear.
The task of placing pleadings on the website will use staff time. If other documents generated in connection with lawsuits (motions, depositions, etc.) also are placed on the website, this will require additional staff time. Thus, Staff is seeking direction from the City Council on this issue, as well as the issue of how often the site should be updated.
As an alternative to placing actual court documents on the website, the complete name of the case along with the case number and a brief description of the matter could be listed on the City’s website, so that if someone wants to go look at the court files, they can do so. A link to the site that displays the court’s docket also could be included, for ease of reference.