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Central Valley | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Nine New Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Homeless Residents of the City of Fresno
by posted by Mike Rhodes ( editor [at] fresnoalliance.com )
Friday Mar 23rd, 2012 1:39 PM
A Press Release announcing the lawsuits by homeless people against the City of Fresno and Caltrans is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 23, 2012
Contact: Paul Alexander
650-798-2921 Paul.Alexander [at] Aporter.com or
Chris Schneider
559-570-1214 chris [at] centralcallegal.org
Nine New Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Homeless Residents of the City of Fresno

Attorneys for homeless residents of Fresno announced the filing of nine new lawsuits yesterday, brought on behalf of 12 individual homeless residents of Fresno arising out of the demolition and destruction of their dwellings and personal property beginning on October 27, 2011 and continuing through the winter months. The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Fresno, name as defendants the City of Fresno, Caltrans and a number of individual defendants who authorized or participated in the demolition of the homeless encampments. The suits claim that the City and Caltrans destroyed shelters, warm clothing, tents, and irreplaceable personal items in violation of both federal and state law as well as the City’s own ordinance, without any regard to the impact these destructions would have on the homeless. As the suit points out, the City of Fresno choose to begin its demolitions, including the destruction of shelters and clothing that were essential for protection against the rain and freezing weather, just as winter began.

In 2008, the City of Fresno and Caltrans settled a class action, known as the Kincaid class action, brought against them for their treatment of homeless residents for a total of $2.35 million. These lawsuits differ in that they are proceeding as individual actions and each will seek trials to establish damages not only for property loss, but also for suffering and illness caused by exposure to the elements, mental suffering, and other forms of damage arising from the way the City decided to go about its demolitions. As in the earlier case, personal items, medicine, text books and other essential property was destroyed. Because of the nature and timing of the destruction, the suits also seek losses for significant individual damages beyond property damage. Each suit filed today sets forth the nature of the destruction and damages caused to each plaintiff.

The law firms of Arnold & Porter LLP and Central California Legal Services, Inc. are representing the individuals who filed lawsuits yesterday.

Lawyers for homeless residents anticipate that there will be a significant number of additional individual actions filed in the weeks ahead, though the exact number is unknown. Many homeless residents are still contacting counsel to assert claims.

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