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Court Ruling: Emde Lawsuit vs. City Can Go Ahead

KRAUSE, KALFAYAN, BENINK & SLAVENS, LLP, Announces Court Ruling Allowing Lawsuit Against the City of Pacifica Alleging Proposition 218 Violations to Move Forward
SAN DIEGO, November 22, 2010—At a hearing on November 19, 2010, the Honorable Gerald J. Buchwald of the Superior Court for the County of San Mateo refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the City of Pacifica and Recology of the Coast, a contractor hired by Pacifica to collect refuse for Pacifica’s residents. In the suit, Pacifica resident Lionel Emde claims that Pacifica and Recology are violating Proposition 218, the "Right to Vote on Taxes Act." Proposition 218 requires affected property owners to receive a notice of a hearing and a right to protest rate increases. It also prohibits local governments from collecting fees beyond that which is necessary to operate the service. Emde alleges that the defendants are violating both aspects. For example, Pacifica generates four different types of fees from the contract with Recology which Emde alleges is deposited into Pacifica’s general fund rather than for the operation of the refuse services. And residents have no right to protest rate increases. Pacifica and Recology argued that because it contracts with a private entity to perform the refuse collection services, Proposition 218’s mandates do not apply. There is scant legal authority regarding Proposition 218’s application in the context of public-private contracts for property-related services and thus, Judge Buchwald’s ruling represents a significant victory for rate-payers in Pacifica. No trial date has been set.

About Krause Kalfayan Benink & Slavens, LLP.: KKBS is a boutique law firm in San Diego, California representing consumers, rate-payers, shareholders, and businesses in individual and class action litigation. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning the lawsuit or rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact attorneys for plaintiff, Eric J. Benink at Krause, Kalfayan, Benink & Slavens, LLP, 625 Broadway, Suite 635, San Diego, CA 92101, telephone 619-232-0331, website


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This is exciting news, Lionel. Thank you for continuing to pursue this important suit against the city. Happy Thanksgiving to us all!

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