How Friday's (1/7/2011) Judge's ruling on L.A.'s unconstitutional medical marijuana ordinance just helped Matt Dowd & Zuma Dogg on their Venice Beach lawsuit against the City. (Aka: They delay paying us, again...AND IT GETS WORSE FOR THEM, AGAIN!!! THIS TIME...THEY LOSE IT ALL...AND HAVE NOWHERE TO RUN!)
How so? First read THIS, which explains how a judge may not help the city write an ordinance, due to separation of powers between judicial (The Judge) and legislative(The City) branches:
LA TIMES: Judge refuses to lift medical marijuana injunction - 1/7/11
The judge who declared that key parts of Los Angeles' medical marijuana ordinance are unconstitutional refused to stay his injunction Friday as the City Council works on an amended version, and he rebuffed the city's request for advice on how to rewrite the law.
"I don't want to legislate. I'm not the City Council," Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr said at a hearing. "I really think I'm going to decline that invitation."
Mohr said that responding to the city's request for guidance would violate the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches. [End of excerpt from L.A. Times.]
So Matt Dowd and Zuma Dogg sued the city over 1st Amendment, constitutional issues, including Venice Beach and City Hall (public comment). There are many facets regarding the Venice Beach portion, alone.
October 21, 2010, a Federal judge placed an injunction on some of the Venice Beach portion of the lawsuit (regarding their Venice Beach ordinance.) However, there are still other aspects of the lawsuit that have not been ruled on by the judge.
At this point though, since the injunction does hereby constitute a LEGAL VICTORY for DOWD/DOGG -- and requires the city to admit defeat -- and either settle the matter...or we take it to a jury for a (much bigger) damage amount.
THE CITY WANTS TO AVOID THIS MORE THAN ZUMA DOGG DOES! (BUT, Zuma Dogg will also be happy to settle for a reasonable amount.) So currently, we are in settlement talks with the city attorney's office.
BUT, THERE IS A GAME CHANGER, NOW...regarding the time frame Dowd/Dogg are willing to accept (JUST GOT MUCH SHORTER)...and the amount of money we are willing to accept to allow the city to carry on at Venice with a new ordinance (JUST GOT MUCH BIGGER).
AND THAT GAME CHANGER IS THIS COMMENT FROM THE JUDGE ON FRIDAY'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA RULING: "Mohr said that responding to the city's request for guidance would violate the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches."
WELP, unfortunately, the judge presiding over our Venice Beach ordinance lawsuit...HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES ON CREATING A NEW ORDINANCE. This has been in the form of twelve status conferences with the City of L.A. (of which Matt Dowd was in attendance), where the judge crafted the ordinance with the city.
So first of all, because you may be wondering, why did he place an injunction on an ordinance he was part of crafting?: There was a new ruling that came out in the 9th Circuit (see: Berger) that caused it to become illegal. HAD the city had already settled the matter with Hunt/Dowd, on a previous lawsuit...NONE OF THIS WOULD BE AN ISSUE. The more the city delays, the worse it gets for them. (Plus, the city kinda didn't do it the way the judge recommended, anyway.)
SO NOW...on Monday, Dowd/Dogg will be filing for a summary judgment for the remaining portion of the lawsuit that the judge has not ruled on yet, awaiting the city to settle with Dowd/Dogg to prevent this whole enchilada from unraveling.
AND IT WAS GONNA BE PRETTY BAD FOR THE CITY ON THE REMAINDER, ANYWAY...but here's why it will be a TOTAL LOSS IN COURT FOR THE CITY, NOW...
THERE IS NO WAY THE CITY CAN WIN (or saying, "no way Dowd/Dogg can LOSE") SINCE THE JUDGE WORKED WITH THE CITY ON THE ORDINANCE. IT WAS AN ILLEGAL PROCESS...SO VICTORY GOES TO DOWD/DOGG IN IT'S ENTIRETY
Please write the check on Monday. And remember, two "G's" in my name, cause I'm twice that of which you will ever be.