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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
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September 8, 2010     Indian Valley Record
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September 8, 2010
 

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10A Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010 Indian Valley Record Fish and Game likely to appeal 'class' ruling Diana Jorgenson Portola Reporter djorgenson@plumasnews.com a class a couple of weeks ago. In an update to Portola's city council at its regular meeting Aug. 25, City Attor- ney Steve Gross reported he attended a case management conference for the court to meet with attorneys from both sides of the pike econom- ic impact lawsuit the previous Monday to discuss procedural issues and timelines. "At that case management conference, the attorney for For more than a year, the class action lawsuit of east- ern county citizens and the city of Portola versus the Cal- ifornia Department of Fish and Game over economic im- pacts of the Pike Eradication Project was out of public sight, until Judge Hilde's rul- ing to certify the plaintiffs as SPECIAL Susanville Rotary lubl .... items donated by our 60 member ..starts Friday and ends with a LIVE AUCTION SATURDAY, ROTARY ITEMS . 8=aN00O==FER=O. AntiqUe!Solid Oak S?hOq/Desk i Like  Wine Barrel Direr! from Winery Large!irror Trimmed wi P NFL Team Helmet Every New d Used Tools '4':'" LUXURY FIRM 10 YEAR WARRANTY QUEEN SET low price 549...THIS WEEKEND KING SET ,ow price 829 ..... THIS WEEKEND AII18 styles of Simmons and Englander mattresses are stocked and at close-out prices. When they're gone they're GONE! the state of California in- formed the court that they were working on their writ as we spoke, which means they will file a writ to appeal the court's decision. Based on that representation by the state, the court stayed everything for a month," Gross said. Speaking on behalf of the Department of Fish and Game, Jordan Traverso, deputy director of Communications, Education and Outreach, de- clined to comment. "The department has a longstanding policy that pro- hibits us from commenting on ongoing litigation," he said. Judge Hilde's comprehen- sive, 22-page ruling granted class certification with three subgroups. Class A is com- prised of persons and entities having businesses in the Lake Davis area that filed claims with the California Claims Board that were rejected. Class B is composed of per- sons and entities owning real estate in the area that filed claims that were rejected, and Class C is for persons, entities or political subdivi- sions injured by the 2007 poi- soning that filed claims that were rejected. Class C consists of the city of Portola, but was designed to incorporate Grizzly Lake Resort Improvement District Cal. LiD, 448528 SERVING ROBBINS' HOT OOG ' WITH YOUR CHOICE OF TOPPINGS & 16 OZ. SOFT DRINK m total lunch TWIN YR NP/ YR PRW SET ............. THIS WEEKEND PLATINUM PLUSH FIRM 348. FULL SET ............. THSWEEKEND 588. QUEEN SET .......... THIS WEEKEND X,Na SET ............ 498. FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED FOR i OPEN MON.-SAT. & * 2830 MAIN STREET SUSANVILLE * 257-7788 " L and Plumas County should they file, which they did not. Judge Hilde found suffi- cient commonality in the complaints filed with the Vic- tims' Compensation Board to qualify as a class, with differ- ences accounted for by the three subclasses. She also found it beneficial to avoid multiple lawsuits since more than 102 litigants had retained class counsel. Since more claims were fried with the claims board than re- tained counsel -- up to 200 ac- cording to estimates in the ruling -- it is possible those claimants might also file suit. Anyone who did not file a claim with the state in 2008 would be ineligible to join the suit at this point. According to Hilde's ruling, individual damages would still require proving and would be determined through an administrative proceeding at a later date. David Diepenbrock, attor- ney for individual plaintiffs, and Gross, attorney for Porto- la, both emphasized going to trial was not the only way the case could proceed. They continue to talk to eg- islators about creating legisla- tion to provide compensation to those claiming damages from the poisoning of Lake Davis. Senator Dave Cox was sup- portive of the idea, but be- cause of state budget prob- lems, he felt he needed the governor's support. Since Cox's death, the attorneys are looking for another legislator to champion their cause. "It would be more efficient and save everyone money," said Diepenbrock. At the last city council meeting, Gross also brought a resolution before the council for an addendum to the con- tract between the city and the plaintiffs' law firms, Diepen- brock Harrison (Sacramento) and Robertson and Benevento (RenD, NED.). The addendum adds clarity and strength to the city attor- ney retaining complete con- trol and veto power regarding the city's claim before the state. Gross said the original agreement stipulated the same, but a recent Supreme Court decision regarding con- tingency fee arrangements in class action suits, made it ad- visable to clarify the lan- guage. The council approved the resolution before going on to discuss the case. In answer to a question from citizen Bill Mainland as to how this veto power affect- ed the other plaintiffs, Gross replied, "Not at all. The city only has veto powers over the settlement of its claim and with respect to the strategy regarding its claim. The city couldn't veto any settlement with respect to any other plaintiff." He also explained contin- gency fee arrangements. "What we have here basically provides that we (the city) don't pay money unless we prevail in the lawsuit. The re- covery of the fee is based on the success of the lawsuit." Gross felt that the percent- ages in the contract (17 per- cent of net recovery to the city if settled before it goes to trial and 33 percent thereafter) were "favorable costs to the city." He said generally 33 percent of the amount recov- ered went to attorney fees be. fore trial and up to 40 percent thereafter. Citizen Larry Douglas asked Gross how long the suit was likely to take. Gross responded, "This could be a complex case. It's not likely to be resolved in less than a year." But, Gross said, "The good news is: The class was certi- fied. The state now has an up- hill battle to appeal and over- turn that decision." lemafl,us If you want to send a letter to the editor, please send it here: dfragnoli @plumasnews.com