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Judge: San Juan Capistrano Owes $237,242 in Attorney Fees

The money represents what citizens group Capistrano Taxpayers Association is due for bringing a lawsuit over the way the city bills for water.

A judge ruled the city of San Juan Capistrano must pay the attorneys of a citizens group that successfully sued it $237,242
A judge ruled the city of San Juan Capistrano must pay the attorneys of a citizens group that successfully sued it $237,242

An Orange County Superior Court judge has ordered the city of San Juan Capistrano to pay attorneys for the Capistrano Taxpayers Association $237,242.

The citizen group sued and last year won a lawsuit that asserted the city’s water rates violate the California Constitution by not tying fees to actual costs of delivering the water. The City Council decided in September to appeal the case.

Nevertheless, Judge Franz E. Miller issued the ruling  Tuesday that orders the city to pay CTA’s attorneys’ fees and even adjusted it upward by $17,000 over a tentative ruling which came out last week, Tuesday.

“We’re pleased with the judge’s decision and thought it was fair,” said Mike Hensley, co-counsel representing the Capistrano Taxpayers Association.

Meanwhile, the appeal process continues. Hensley expects a hearing, often called “oral arguments,” before a three-judge panel later this year.

Donna Fleming February 19, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Thanks to Mayor Allevato and his abuse of power, the city is ordered to pay the legal fees incurred by Sam Allevato, over the removal of newspaper. The judge ruled rightly. But, our city coffers suffer. Recall Sam Allevato. Sign the Recall Petition.
Peace 4 SJC February 19, 2014 at 01:01 PM
LOL...thanks, Donna for the morning laugh. Still trying to find one person to blame...
GreenInOC February 19, 2014 at 01:02 PM
Good that they continue to appeal the decision so as to incur more costs that they will have to reimburse. The SJC City Council reminds me of a group of 3-year olds demanding that they get the purple suckers instead of the yellow ones.
quercus February 19, 2014 at 01:03 PM
With the appeal ongoing, the meter is still running. Poor governance is expensive
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 19, 2014 at 01:04 PM
I need to add that should the city lose on appeal, it would owe another $75-80K to the plaintiffs attorneys (exact figure to be calculated precisely), Hensley said.
concerned parent February 19, 2014 at 01:23 PM
As a nonresident of SJC (and interested-yet-bemused reader of its politics), I'm completely confused why the city is pursuing this lawsuit, given the cost it continues to incur. Is there anyone who's somewhat neutral (if that side exists) to explain it to me?
Donna Fleming February 19, 2014 at 01:27 PM
Having trouble remember the meeting behind closed doors called and the decision to remove the newspapers from city property. There was a vote. There was no vote. We voted. There was a meeting but we did not vote. Did we vote? We all agreed. Hmmm?
concerned parent February 19, 2014 at 01:58 PM
But the subject of this article is the water suit, is it not?
Donna Fleming February 19, 2014 at 02:10 PM
All.....Sorry.... I misread Penny's Post regarding attorney's fees being granted to city of SjC. Clearly, I need two cups of coffee in the morning before reading the Patch. Yes, water not first ammendment. Mea culpa.
Gus Gunderson February 19, 2014 at 02:18 PM
This is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of attorney fees the city will pay for the appeal. Count on those fees being in the 2 million dollar range that the taxpayers will have to pay as a result of the continued piss poor decisions made by Sam Allevato. Next thing you know, he will want to ban news racks. Wait he already did.
Peace 4 SJC February 19, 2014 at 03:21 PM
LOL...thanks, Gus another good laugh from comments made today. Still trying to find one person to blame. Don't go buy that new boat just yet.
Dusty W Otero February 19, 2014 at 05:07 PM
I get it ,move to san Juan capistrano,,and sue and split the money after all said and done,,than you will all most likely move to another town,and be a transplant there,,,what a racket , Now enjoy your glass of Water..
Gus Gunderson February 19, 2014 at 07:11 PM
Allevato has been here the entire time. He voted to fight the lawsuit every time. Wait until the attorney fees hit for the class action lawsuit. That will par ably be another 5 million. Who voted to fight this all the way? Sam Allevato
Gus Gunderson February 19, 2014 at 07:11 PM
There is just one person to blame, Sam Allevato.
Donna Fleming February 19, 2014 at 07:28 PM
Dusty....Racket is the right word. But you are not gettin who the bad guy is. Contractors contribute to "we love you Sam" fund. Sam and posse approve contracts, and building permits. It used to be called protection rackets in the Chicago Maffia days. It is called quid pro quo.
Sunshine February 21, 2014 at 01:00 PM
Gus needed to mention that Sam's buddies, councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor, always vote with Sam. They are also to blame for the egregious decisions made and bills racked up since they were elected four years ago. Thank goodness Derek Reeve and Roy Byrnes vote with the best interests of the residents of SJC in mind. Whereas, Sam, Larry, and John vote with the goal of paying back the contributions aka investments the unions, lobbyists, car dealerships, developers, contractors, and politicians have made to their elections.

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