Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Northern California Daily Digest

Here are some of the other cases with recent orders in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur v. Fremont Corners is a typical environmental fight over who has to pay for the cleanup of a superfund site.  The question is federal subject matter jurisdiction.  The defendants allege that Technichem, Inc., Mohsen Tabatabai, and Shahin Fesahata are liable for the mess under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) but they assert the basis of jurisdiction is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA has a jurisdictional requirement of 60-day pre-complaint notice which is lacking in this case. CERCLA has no such requirement. Magistrate Harold R. Lloyd is confused by these odd pleadings and he dismissed the complaint with leave to amend.

San Francisco Unified School District v. SW is a request for a preliminary injunction of an administrative law judge's (ALJ) order under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).  SW attended Star Academy for the 2008-09 school years at a cost to her parents of $34,000 seeing this was prohibitively expensive they asked the School District about how to obtain a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for SW.  Upon a failure to agree, the parents sought a due process hearing, where the ALJ ordered that the School District should pay for SW's continued placement at Star Academy.  The School District appealed to Judge Donna M. Ryu, stating that it needed an injunction due to the irreparable harm it faced:
Here, the only irreparable harm asserted by District is that, in the absence of a stay, it will be forced to pay for Student’s tuition and related expenses at Star Academy, and that “seeking any recovery from Parents will likely be unsuccessful and may require additional legal action.”
Seriously?  "We need an injunction because the other side is poor."  FAIL.
This is a speculative statement, and falls short of establishing the likelihood of irreparable harm.  See, e.g., Los Angeles Coliseum Comm’n v. NFL (9th Cir. 1980) (“[m]ere injuries, however substantial, in terms of money, time andenergy necessarily expended . . . are not enough.  The possibility that adequate compensatory orother corrective relief will be available at a later date, in the ordinary course of litigation, weighsheavily against a claim of irreparable harm.”)
Judge Ryu denied the motion for a preliminary injunction [styled as a motion for a stay].

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