People of the State of California and City of Oakland v. Fellowship of Humanity
On behalf of the People of the State of California and the City of Oakland, our Office recently reached a long-awaited settlement with the owner of a local business, Fellowship of Humanity. During the early days of the pandemic, the Neighborhood Law Corps filed a complaint against the business and its owner for operating an ongoing public nuisance at their event space, Humanist Hall, where they were hosting large parties in violation of state and county health orders during the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The settlement imposes injunctive terms requiring that Humanist Hall seek appropriate permits and notify the City of its event calendar and requires that the defendant pay the City $115,000 in attorneys’ fees and fines. We are continuing to closely monitor Humanist Hall’s compliance with the settlement and will take whatever actions are necessary to protect the public from nuisance activity.
Lacy et al. v. City of Oakland
A group of petitioners from Orange County dismissed their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Measure S, a ballot measure approved by Oakland voters in November 2022 that would allow non-citizen parents and guardians of school-age children in Oakland public schools to vote in Oakland School Board elections if the Oakland City Council adopts an ordinance authorizing them to do so. To date the Council has not adopted such an ordinance. Recently a California Court of Appeal upheld the legality of a San Francisco ordinance that grants non-citizen parents the right to vote in local school board elections.
This dismissal is a positive development for all Oakland residents, who no longer face a challenge to the rights of parents and guardians, regardless of citizenship status, to have a voice in their children’s education.
City of Oakland v. BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell
We recently received some great news from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the climate justice lawsuits Oakland and San Francisco filed against the five largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies in the world (“Big Oil”) to protect our residents, workers, and businesses from the harms of climate change Big Oil knowingly visited upon our communities. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the 2022 ruling by a federal trial court judge to send Oakland’s and San Francisco’s climate justice lawsuits back to the state courts where we originally filed them in 2017. This is the second time the Ninth Circuit has concluded that Oakland’s and San Francisco’s lawsuits belong in state court.
We are optimistic that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling will clear the way for the City of Oakland and San Francisco to move forward with our lawsuits against Big Oil in state court. As we continue to witness escalating climate catastrophes around the globe on a nearly daily basis, we are unrelenting in our resolve to hold these oil giants accountable for the public health, environmental, and economic damages they have caused to our communities.