Jeff Lewis files Opening Brief in First Amendment Appeal Challenging Misuse of California’s Anti-Harassment Statute, Code of Civil Procedure, Section 527.6

Jeff Lewis is representing a party restrained under California’s Civil Harassment Restraining statute, Code of Civil Procedure, section 527.6. The appeal is now pending against personal injury attorney Dan Dunbar in the second District Court of Appeal. Section 527.6 was intended to protect victims of violent stalking but in the case of Dan Dunbar, the law was misused to prevent the restrained party from speaking the truth about criminal drug convictions and a jail sentence imposed upon Palos Verdes Estates resident Cindy Dunbar. The order issued by Judge Gary Tanaka is an unlawful prior restraint in violation of the restrained party’s First Amendment rights because it purports to restrict him from speaking or writing truthfully about the drug convictions and nursing license surrender proceedings involving Dan Dunbar‘s wife, Cynthia Dunbar. Jeff Lewis agreed to represent the restrained party in this case because he has witnessed a trend of increased restraining orders issued not to prevent violence but instead to silence defendants or to improperly restrain persons who have not committed or threatened violence or harassment. You can access the brief filed in this case here.

Court of Appeal Denies Rehearing of Parkland Appeal

In January, the Second District Court of Appeal issued its opinion about the validity of the property deed restrictions and the propriety of the 2012 sale of parkland in Palos Verdes Estates. The Palos Verdes Homes Association filed a Petition for Rehearing asking the same three appellate justices who decided the case to change their mind. Today that request for a rehearing was denied. In addition, the Court of Appeal strengthened its earlier decision by adding the following footnote to the opinion on the validity of the deeds:

The Association argues that it had the right to transfer the parkland to the Luglianis because this original declaration was never properly amended. But, the Chairman of the Association’s board expressly consented to the terms of the 1940 deed. By expressly agreeing to those terms, the Association cannot now argue that Bank of America had no power to include them.

 

Court Orders PV Homes Association to Count Votes

For some time, an organization named “Residents for Open Board Elections” or “ROBE” has been attempting to get the Palos Verdes Homes Association to allow votes to be counted in the annual election to determine the members of the Board of Directors. The PV Homes Association’s long standing practice is not to count the votes and simply vote to re-appoint themselves as board members. As indicated in an article by the Daily Breeze, the Los Angeles Superior Court has ordered the board to count the votes:

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ordered the Palos Verdes Homes Association to unseal and tally ballots cast in its recent board election even though the group considers them invalid.

This was the ninth year in a row the association hasn’t met its quorum requirement — more than 50 percent of members voting — and each time that happens, the ballots remain uncounted and the directors retain their seats or appoint new members. This year, however, the association extended its voting deadline to Feb. 8 in an effort to reach a quorum.

Judge Ruth Kwan, hearing a lawsuit filed by a filed last May by a group of activists, said in December she would wait to see if a quorum was reached. Notified that it wasn’t, the judge last week called for an informal tally of the votes to help her decide how to rule in the case.

(Judge asks Palos Verdes Homes Association to count votes in disputed board election, Daily Breeze, February 23, 2018).

PV Parents Call on School Board to Resolve Threat of Murder Suspect Attending PV High School

The Daily Breeze reports on a parent group upset that PV High allowed a suspect in a gang murder to continue attending PV High. From the article:

On Monday, attorney Jeffrey Lewis said about a dozen parents forming the group Residents Against Gangs at School sent a letter to the Palos Verdes Peninsula school board asking for Terrell to be removed from campus and home-schooled, or transferred to a continuation school. He said the district was “needlessly exposing itself to moral and financial liability should any harm befall any student due to Terrell’s continued attendance at school.”

“The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District has been silent about what steps are being taken to protect Palos Verdes children from Terrell and his accomplices,” the letter said. “While Terrell does enjoy the presumption of innocence in a court of law, there are serious safety concerns raised by Terrell’s continued attendance at school. At best, Terrell is a distraction to teachers, staff and other students. At worst, most law enforcement officers would say that allowing an 18-year old gang member suspected of a felony to attend a high school presents a clear and present danger to other students.”

Jeff Lewis will represent Ted Rall in First Amendment appeal over defamatory comments by the LA Times

Ted Rall is a political cartoonist and syndicated columnist. For many years his cartoons were run in the Los Angeles Times. The LA Times stopped running his work after the LAPD claimed that Rall made false statements about the LAPD in a Rall piece that was critical of the LAPD and chronicled an incident when Rall was handcuffed by the LAPD for jaywalking. Rall sued the LA Times for defamation. The LA Times brought an anti-SLAPP motion and the lawsuit against the Times was dismissed. Rall will appeal that ruling and I am honored to represent him in this important First Amendment case about the outer boundaries of the anti-SLAPP law.

Jeff Lewis Successfully Challenges Ballot Language Proposed by Marymount College

In September 2010, Mr. Lewis filed a challenge to ballot language in the November 2010 election in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  Mr. Lewis contended that the ballot proponent included “false and misleading” arguments.  Mr. Lewis prevailed, obtained injunctive relief and the rebuttal argument was ordered revised to exclude the misleading statement. Lewis v. Logan, (Sept. 8, 2010, BS128266). The Daily News published this article about the lawsuit.