By Cari Hachmann
U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson has dismissed claims made by homeless rights advocates in a lawsuit against several South County cities and the county, “for lack of standing with leave to amend.”
According to the federal court order released on Monday, Aug. 12, the court further dropped the cities of Aliso Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, Irvine and Dana Point from the case, but left San Clemente and the County of Orange in the lawsuit.
“Because the Court has dropped all of the defendants except San Clemente and the County, the Court will analyze the sufficiency of the 1st AC’s (First Amended Complaint) claims against only San Clemente,” the court order states.
The court found that federal law does not allow the plaintiffs—Housing is a Human Right Orange County, Orange County Catholic Worker and Emergency Shelter Coalition, along with homeless individuals Bruce Stroebel, Duane Nichols and Darren James—to combine claims into a single action against multiple municipalities, as “each have their own ordinances . . . and other local circumstances that require individualized determinations,” according to the court order.
On July 1, the three cities of San Clemente, Aliso Viejo and San Juan Capistrano filed a motion to dismiss the Housing is a Human Rights case, which alleges the cities’ anti-camping ordinances and other laws violate homeless civil rights under the Housing Accountability Act.
Judge Anderson agreed with all of the arguments advanced by the cities. In the court order, Anderson “declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s allegations of violations of the Housing Accountability Act.”
While he dismissed the homeless advocacy groups’ claims over a “lack of standing,” he’s giving the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaint.
The plaintiffs have until Sept. 16 to file a “second amended complaint” or face dismissal of the case.