San Bernardino County v. Super. Ct.Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs-respondents The Inland Oversight Committee (IOC) and Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (CREED), were taxpayer organizations that challenged a November 2006 settlement agreement between petitioners County of San Bernardino and San Bernardino County Flood Control District (County) and defendant Colonies Partners, L.P. (Colonies and, together with County, defendants), pursuant to which County paid Colonies $102 million. Plaintiffs sought to have the settlement agreement declared void under state law governing conflicts of interests of government officials, and to force Colonies to disgorge any money already paid pursuant to the agreement. Colonies appealed the denial of its special motion to strike the complaint as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP motion) and two writ petitions, one brought by County, the other by Colonies, regarding the denial of their respective demurrers. This opinion addressed only the County’s writ petition; the Court of Appeal ruled on Colonies’ appeal and writ petition in separate opinions, issued contemporaneously with this. In its petition, the County argued that the respondent trial court erred by overruling County’s demurrer, because plaintiffs lack standing. The Court of Appeal agreed, finding plaintiffs' complaint did not allege adequate facts to demonstrate standing to assert their claims. The petition for writ of mandate was granted, and the Superior Court therefore ordered to vacate its order overruling petitioner's demurrer.