Judge spikes pro-billboard motions.
Local litigation to continue on!
Many more fee-grinding motions expected.
September 20, 2011
Continued attempts by General Outdoor Advertising (GOA) and the County
of San Bernardino to have the California Superior Court dismiss a civil lawsuit against them,
regarding the permitting of billboards in Newberry Springs, has again failed.
San Bernardino County Superior Courthouse, San Bernardino.
Judge Brian McCarville, the fourth judge assigned to the matter since
local Newberry Springs resident Fred Stearn first filed the suit in October 2006, followed his
predecessors by ruling in favor of Stearn during the September 19, 2011 hearing in the city of
Judge McCarville quashed GOA's contention that Stearn's litigation was a
Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP).
The judge also denied a critical defendants' motion to dismiss the case.
A declaration submitted to the court by Tim Lynch, GOA
owner, "Looked out-of-order," according to Judge McCarville.
A calendared request by Fred Stearn before the court to permit discovery
was continued until January 17, 2012; with all parties requested by the court to resubmit their
briefs regarding discovery.
Both GOA and the county have been highly opposed to Stearn being permitted
the right to discovery which would reveal how the county processed the billboard permit application.
GOA and the County of San Bernardino have been unsuccessful through 59
months of legal manuevering to have the legal challenge by Stearn dismissed.
Ted Stimpfel of Newberry Springs, who attended the court hearing,
said that the court's denial of the defendants' despirate anti-SLAPP motion was expected by
him as the motion appeared frivolous and misapplied. Stimpfel also stated that he forsees
the defendant GOA's attorney possibly challenging Judge McCarville's decision not to dismiss the
Stimpfel agrees with Stearn that the law was circumvented in some
rezoning and the issuance of billboard permits. "What happened at the county level stinks,"
said Stimpfel, "we have a lack of transparency and accountability. Stearn appears correct
but after-the-fact litigation is difficult and doesn't always result in satisfaction."