Federal Judge Issues Ruling Affirming Costa Mesa Victory In Sober Living Lawsuit

July 22, 2019  |   Recent Posts   |     |   Comments Off on Federal Judge Issues Ruling Affirming Costa Mesa Victory In Sober Living Lawsuit

The City of Costa Mesa sealed its victory in the groundbreaking case involving Yellowstone Women’s First Stop House, Inc. and two other entities after Federal District Judge James Selna ruled in the city’s favor.

This latest ruling punctuates the city’s resounding victory in December of 2018 when a jury disposed of most of the Yellowstone case by unanimously agreeing the city’s sober living ordinances are not discriminatory and do not violate the Fair Housing Act.

“This ruling by the Honorable Judge Selna, determining the enforceability of our local laws, allows us to continue to protect patients and the public from those operators who are more concerned with profits over patient care,“ Mayor Katrina Foley said. “It confirms once again that investing in the litigation and fighting to keep our ordinance was the right thing to do not only for our Costa Mesa community, but others as well.”

In the court case, the City of Costa Mesa was represented by lead trial attorney Jennifer Keller of Keller/Anderle LLP.

“The Costa Mesa City Council stood tall and refused to be intimidated by the Plaintiffs,” Keller said at the time. “These victories are not just for the people of Costa Mesa and those in recovery homes, but also for every city in California.”

The City’s law, passed in 2014, was written to balance the rights of all citizens – including residents of group homes – to live in and enjoy Costa Mesa’s single-family neighborhoods.  The City implemented the law to protect the entire community from operators of unlicensed facilities which exposed residents to dangerous conditions and created public nuisance concerns.

Yellowstone, another sober living home and an industry trade group brought the original suit in the Central District of California in 2014. Numerous city employees and officials testified before the eight-person jury.

They spoke about the need for the law and discussed the City’s efforts to help those rendered homeless after being kicked out of sober living homes, including many people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction who had been enticed to Costa Mesa from out of state.

Several neighbors of poorly run recovery homes testified about the way these facilities mistreated recovering addicts and the impacts they had on the community.

After a four-week trial before Judge Selna, the jury deliberated for half a day before returning the verdict on all counts in favor of the City of Costa Mesa.

The verdict and Judge Selna’s ruling on July 16 are big victories for Costa Mesa as it means the city can continue to enforce its ordinance, which regulates sober living home operators in single family neighborhoods, including limiting the number of residents to six or fewer and maintaining a 650-foot buffer between non-licensed sober living homes.

VIEW NEWS RELEASE FROM CITY OF COSTA MESA

Other Posts

  • Jennifer Keller selected as “Top 100” lawyer in California for 13th time
    September 17, 2020

    Jennifer Keller has again been named to the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals’ list of “The Top 100 Lawyers in California.”  This is her thirteenth appearance on the list.  There are over 220,000 attorneys in California, making Ms. Keller’s achievement that much more remarkable.  The award, one of the California legal profession’s most coveted, is given by the editors of the statewide lawyers’ newspapers “to honor those whose superior achievement and stellar results place them in a super-elite category.”

  • Keller/Anderle announcement: Six attorneys selected by Best Lawyers 2020-21
    August 20, 2020

    Congratulations to Jennifer L. Keller, Kay Anderle, Reuben Camper Cahn, Jesse Gessin, Chase Scolnick, and Shaun A. Hoting for being selected by Best Lawyers® 2020-21.

  • Jennifer Keller selected to nationwide 2020 list of “Top 250 Women in Litigation”
    August 4, 2020

    Jennifer has been selected annually for the award since 2017. According to Benchmark Litigation: The Benchmark Litigation ‘Top 250 Women in Litigation’ is a list of “the most distinguished women in the world of litigation. These women have earned their place amongst the leading female litigators by participating in some of the most impactful litigation matters in recent history as well as by earning the hard-won respect of their peers and clients.”

  • Thank you first responders!
    April 3, 2020

    We appreciate the dedicated first responders who are helping so bravely with the COVID-19 pandemic. Keller/Anderle is pleased to provide lunches to Costa Mesa police and fire departments through Dick Church’s Restaurant. Thank you first responders!

  • Reuben Camper Cahn admitted to American College of Trial Lawyers
    March 20, 2020

    Founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only. Lawyers must have a minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship. Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province.