Update 9/5 10:30 AM – If you haven’t seen it yet, the Merc’s John Woolfork has picked up the story and gotten quotes from San Jose City Attorney John Doyle.
Activity regarding the astroturf group Stand for San Jose‘s lawsuit challenging the A’s Diridon land deal appears to have picked up in the last week, as the respondents, the City of San Jose and the A’s, have submitted a request to depose Stand for San Jose and its members. I’ve uploaded a copy of the motion (6 MB PDF) for your perusal.
The thrust of the City’s argument is that it complied with S4SJ’s numerous information requests, while asserting that it has the right to request information about S4SJ’s inner workings to determine if S4SJ has standing. The motion asks for relevant documents related to the operation of S4SJ, as well as a person to represent the group in a deposition. This maneuver comes after repeated requests made by the City for this information. Through attorney Geoffrey L. Robinson from the A’s-hired firm Perkins Coie, the motion asks for some in-depth information.
The matters on which the deponent will be examined include the following:
- The standing of Stand for San Jose to assert any or all of the claims raised in the First Amended Petition in this case.
- The nature of the beneficial interest held by Stand for San Jose in the subject matter of this litigation and the extent to which those interests differ from those of the general public.
- The origin and formation of Stand for San Jose.
- The organizational purpose, structure, functions and activities of Stand for San Jose.
- The governance, direction, control and/or leadership of Stand for San Jose.
- Taxes paid by Stand for San Jose to the City of San Jose or any other public entity.
- The funding or financing of Stand for San Jose’s activities.
- The legal or financial relationships between Stand for San Jose and its members and/or any persons or entities funding or controlling its activities.
- Any actual or proposed use of this litigation to impose regulatory burdens on the City or Real Party in Interest.
- The “fees and costs, including reasonable attorneys” fees and expert witness costs” (sic)…
Named individuals in the motion include Michelle Brenot, Robert Brown, Karen Shirey, Fred Shirey, Robert Shield, and Eileen Hannan, who initially didn’t know she’d be a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Just in case you’re wondering where her allegiances lie, here’s her Facebook profile picture.
The challenge is a technical one – if the plaintiffs don’t have standing, the suit can be dismissed. S4SJ claims they have standing by the nature of the suit (originally an EIR challenge). The tax issue is interesting, in that the City is arguing that if the plaintiffs aren’t taxpayers in San Jose they have no standing. The motion will be made on September 21 at 9 AM. (Come on people, I’m supposed to be in an iPhone 5 line at that time! You’re killing me.)
Seriously, this is the first real sign that the legal team that the A’s were assembling in the spring is breaking out some weapons to use in could be a lengthy legal battle. Could the lawsuit blow up if it’s found that the Giants were behind the whole thing (snicker)? I guess we’ll find out.
P.S. – I look forward to reading the various lawyers’ assessments of this motion in the comments. Also – I’m not a lawyer or legal reporter, so forgive my butchery of the legalese.