City's bid to have suit tossed
by C.A. Gilman
In what local attorneys Cathy Elliot Jones and David Jones
called a "a good day for the good guys," Superior
Court Judge David Long ruled on Oct. 15 that "the city's
challenges to five of six causes of action" (in their client,
Lisa Clark's, complaint for damages against the city of Ojai,
Dan Singer, et al) "were without merit."
Basically, said Jones, "The City had asked the court to
dismiss Clark's complaint in its entirety."
He added that, with just one cause of action - "negligent
interference with prospective economic damage" - thrown
out, "we're still going forward, (much like) we have since
The remaining causes of action include: defamation, inverse condemnation,
injunction, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and
civil rights violations.
A SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion,
filed by the city on Sept. 13, was also denied.
According to Erik Feingold, an associate of City Attorney Monte
Widders, "SLAPP suits protect people's right to participate
in public discussion. And the SLAPP motion we filed was in response
to those causes of action - cited in the Jones' complaint - designed
to stifle free speech and limit public participation."
Specifically, said Feingold, those actions were defamation/slander;
intentional infliction of emotional distress; and civil rights
Also denied was a request that the city be reimbursed attorney
fees spent litigating the case.
These rulings, said Jones, constitute "a stinging defeat
for the City of Ojai. It's nice to get some vindication, and
we look forward to finally being able to prove our case."
Neither Widders nor Feingold was available for comment before
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
Back to the news