A Superior Court judge has blocked a protracted legal bid by the Fillmore Center's current ownership group to convert more than 1,100 occupied rental units in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood into condominiums. In a final trial court decision issued March 4, Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow sided with City Attorney Dennis Herrera in two parallel legal actions, both filed by Fillmore Center Associates in 2008, ruling that the landlord was time-barred from resurrecting condominium conversion rights that prior owners had surrendered nearly two decades ago. The 17-page statement of decision similarly rejected the plaintiff's arguments -- including some Karnow called "bizarre" -- that Fillmore Center Associates was legally entitled to convert the rental units into condos based on an array of property rights and alleged preemptions of San Francisco's Condominium Conversion Ordinance.
Said Herrera: "This is a major legal victory that protects affordable housing at a time when San Francisco desperately needs it. The displacement of Western Addition tenants from more than 1,100 apartments in the midst of the current housing crisis would have been unthinkable. And the high stakes of this potentially devastating legal attack justified the resources we deployed to defend against it. I'm very proud of the extraordinary work done on this case by my office's Land Use Team, especially Victoria Wong and Kristen Jensen. And I'm grateful to Judges Karnow and Kramer for their thoughtful consideration of the myriad issues these complex lawsuits presented."
City Attorney Herrera won a key legal victory in January when a San Francisco Superior Court granted his motion for preliminary injunction against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, or ACCJC. Under terms of the ruling, the ACCJC is barred from finalizing its planned termination of City College of San Francisco's accreditation as it had planned to do on July 31. Still, Herrera's litigation -- which alleges that the private accrediting body has allowed political bias, improper procedures, and conflicts of interest to unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state's largest community college -- continues.
After a thirteen year battle that broke new legal ground and consumed years of work by public and private attorneys, the City and County of San Francisco along with Santa Clara County, Los Angeles County and seven other California cities and counties won a $1.1 billion judgment from the Honorable Judge James P. Kleinberg of Santa Clara Superior Court, who ruled that three manufacturers of lead-based paints are jointly liable for the cost of removing their products from homes around the state.
City Attorney Herrera has filed a class action against the State of Nevada for its controversial "patient dumping" practices -- busing hundreds of indigent people who suffer from mental health afflictions to out-of-state locations, including San Francisco, "with inadequate provisions of food and medication, and without prior arrangements for their care, housing or medical treatment upon arrival." The lawsuit is on behalf of all California localities affected by the practice.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is engaged in litigation against Monster Beverage Corporation for violating California law with its marketing of highly-caffeinated energy drinks to children as young as six-years-old, despite scientific findings that such products may cause "significant morbidity in adolescents" from elevated blood pressure, brain seizures, and severe cardiac events.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed suit against three gun accessories companies and a gun show promoter for selling disassembled high-capacity magazines in California in violation of a state law that prohibits the sale, manufacture, or import of gun ammunition feeding devices that accept more than 10 rounds. The equipment is marketed as gun magazine "repair kits" in a barely-disguised attempt to skirt a 14-year-old California gun safety law, according to Herrera's complaint.