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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

Cross-complaint filed over deadly crosswalk accident

City says homeowners' association failed to maintain adjacent property

The father of a seven-month-old girl who died after being struck by a vehicle in March 2015 while crossing a busy street in Point Loma was careless and negligent, reads a newly filed court document ...

Phew. No fees for SOHO

Judge says preservation group not required to pay opponent's legal fees in Balboa Park case

The lawsuit challenging Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama renovation project is officially over, with a judge issuing his ruling that Save Our Heritage Organisation, the group that challenged the legality of the proposal, was not ...

Lawsuit filed over paramilitary training facility in Alpine

Shoot first. Ask later

As promised, environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez has filed a lawsuit against the County of San Diego for granting a permit to a 160-acre firearms training facility called Covert Canyon tucked away in the mountains of ...

Historical or perfect for a park?

Options abound for old houses at access point to Maple Canyon

Stephen Hill, policy advisor for councilmember Todd Gloria, says city staff has determined that due to uneven terrain, dilapidated houses, and absent a clear path to Maple Canyon, the city-owned property in Bankers Hill should ...

Frye comes in for the kill

Ex-councilwoman introduces ballot measure aimed at elected knuckleheads

In January 2014, former city councilmember Donna Frye, now president of open-government group Californians Aware, and the group's lead attorney, Terry Francke, urged San Diego city councilmembers to place an initiative on the 2014 ballot ...

He said, San Diego Unified said

Elementary school sexual assault investigations not so elementary

Attorneys for San Diego Unified School District reject claims made by former investigator Michael Gurrieri that he was terminated after finding the district was trying to hide sexual assaults on a local elementary school campus. ...

What about Mission Bay's toxins, SeaWorld?

Lawsuit claims orca-pool expansion will stir up decades-old dump

The land SeaWorld sits on is a toxic wasteland and the City of San Diego or the California Coastal Commission is ignoring this, says a January 4 lawsuit from a group calling itself Save Everyone's ...

Contract killers

Did the City of San Diego kill Epic Pest Control?

Eleanor and Claude Thedford, owners of Epic Pest Control and Landscape Services, believe employees in San Diego’s Purchasing and Contracting Department are trying to shut down their business. The reason for the vendetta, says Eleanor ...

Time's up. No sexual harassment claim possible.

Alleged Filner victim contends with city's claim of missed deadline

On December 29, appellate court judges overturned a San Diego County Superior Court judge ruling that allowed a late claim to be filed by a woman who was allegedly groped by former mayor Bob Filner ...

No new Mission Beach lifeguard station

Construction stopped following judge's ruling

On December 24, superior-court judge Katherine Bacal ruled that the City of San Diego violated the city's own site development permit while going about the construction of a state-of-the-art lifeguard tower in South Mission Beach. ...

Hoteliers versus the "creature"

San Diegans for Open Government again cast as profit vehicle for attorney Briggs

As of November, as reported by the Reader, boardmembers for the San Diego Tourism Marketing District have spent more than $2.1 million on outside attorneys trying to get a lawsuit dismissed. Attorney Cory Briggs for ...

Councilman Kersey quiet

District 5 representative won't address cell towers in parks issue

If all goes as planned, a cell-phone tower, disguised as a eucalyptus tree, and a 20-foot-by-9-foot concrete enclosure will be placed less than 10 feet from a sidewalk and approximately 300 feet from the nearest ...

Prisoners' mail privileges restored

County to resume policy of allowing more than postcards and emails

Inmates in San Diego County jails will soon be allowed to receive letters, books, and magazines, according to a settlement reached on November 18. The county will be required to return to the former policy ...

Palomar Card Club's string of bad luck

Sexual and racial discrimination lawsuit follows raid by feds

On December 9, the Palomar Card Club was named as one of many illegal gambling operations that had laundered a total of approximately $10 million in proceeds. Two days later, on December 11, the club ...

More Filner business to settle

Complaints allegedly fell on communications director's deaf ears

Tomorrow, December 15, attorneys for the City of San Diego will update councilmembers and the mayor on one of four unresolved legal cases stemming from former mayor Bob Filner's sexual harassment scandal. The case to ...

Storm drain didn't do its job

City deals with flooding cases that will likely lead to $1 million payout

On Tuesday, December 15, the San Diego City Council is expected to finalize payment of $1 million to two property owners in San Diego's San Carlos neighborhood for flood damage resulting from a backed-up storm ...

Angel's no angel

Baggy shorts, tats, he ran, unarmed, now dead.

“The inequity here is that a civilian goes to jail and is presumed guilty, whereas an officer is given a leave with pay.”

Free English for Californians

Lawsuit prompts San Dieguito school district to correct policy

San Dieguito Union High School District will no longer charge registration fees to adults looking to learn English as a second language, says associate superintendent Eric Dill. The district's decision to stop charging the $40 ...

Insomniac sedated to death

Lawsuit claims "Lucky" Phounsey hadn't slept for days

The family of a man who died while in the custody of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the department and county. According to the complaint, filed in federal ...

Councilmembers' risky business

Deputy city attorney warns of possible violations of Brown Act

In a November 20 memorandum of law, chief deputy city attorney Prescilla Dugard found the city is at risk of violating California's open-meeting laws if councilmembers continue to issue memos on issues and attend committee ...

City moves closer to plastic bag ban

If you have a dime, your grocer will sell you a paper sack

The proposal to ban grocery stores and big-box retail stores from using plastic bags has moved one step closer to becoming law. On November 20, the city posted the draft Program Environmental Impact Report required ...

Legal battle on La Jolla Shores

Lawsuits float in after city's approval of 8518-square-foot project

Earlier this month, La Jolla Shores resident and attorney Bernie Segal filed a lawsuit alleging that the City of San Diego violated the California Environmental Quality Act and ignored building codes when it approved a ...

Drunk-driving case spills onto city

Three beers, vodka shots, and then I-15

The family of a man killed by an alleged drunken driver filed a wrongful death claim with the City of San Diego on October 23, the first step before seeking legal action. Rodolpho De La ...

Cop on cop ruination

Alleged retaliation for maternity leave leads to harassment suit

San Diego's Police Department has been slapped with another sexual discrimination lawsuit, bringing the tally to five such lawsuits filed by female officers against the department in as many years. Denise Mills, a 15-year-veteran of ...

The bars of El Cajon Boulevard: 15 through 56th

Shots are a dollar when an ambulance drives by

Maybe it’s the walk toward the little yellow bar near the corner of 50th Street and El Cajon Boulevard that skeeves a person out. Eyes are fixed to the ground to avoid stepping on an ...

But it's okay when the city's permit expires

Mission Beach lifeguard station project still hung up in court

Former development services directors for the City of San Diego say it is standard operating procedure to allow building permits for city projects to lapse while funding is procured and outside permits are obtained. In ...

Tourist money spigot wide open

Hoteliers have so far paid $2.1M for legal defense against taxpayer group

Since January 2013, San Diego's hoteliers have paid outside attorneys $2.1 million in hotel-tax revenues, according to numbers released by San Diego's Tourism Marketing District pursuant to a public records request. That number will increase, ...

Not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind

Law students sue school over allegedly false job numbers

Former law students at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law continue their quest to prove that the downtown San Diego school tricked them into enrolling with false employment rates. Instead of lucrative jobs at law ...

More body cameras for SDPD

Chief Zimmerman intends to keep tight control of recorded evidence

The City of San Diego wants body cameras for all uniformed police officers. On Thursday, November 12, city councilmembers sitting on the Public Safety Committee are expected to authorize spending another $1.85 million to purchase ...

Another Filner case settled...sort of

Plaintiffs' lawyer wins settlement and drops hammer on city attorney's office

Carla DiMare represented former Marine Katherine Ragazzino and her nurse Michelle Tyler in a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against former San Diego mayor Bob Filner. A week after winning a settlement in the case ...

Beach brawl, La Jolla style

"We each have the fundamental right to develop our property..."

Over the course of the past five years, La Jolla Shores property owner Bob Whitney has fought against neighbors and the La Jolla Community Planning Association to demolish two single-story units located on Avenida La ...

Court blesses city attorney's email practice

Yet taxpayers may have to pay Briggs's $55,772 transparency fee

San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith's emails sent to and from his personal accounts discussing city business are a matter of public record, ruled an appellate court on October 28. "...[D]uring Goldsmith's tenure as city ...

Pretty quiet for a railroad

Desert Line president doesn't respond to court summons

The wild ride continues for owner and operator of Metropolitan Transit System's Desert Line, Pacific Imperial Railroad. On October 19, the California Labor Commission ordered the fledgling binational railroad company to pay $90,152 in unpaid ...

Trial of tourism marketing district to proceed

Failure at last-minute attempt to subpoena Cory Briggs

A lawsuit challenging San Diego's Tourism Marketing District and the levy hoteliers charge tourists to pay to promote San Diego will move forward on November 6 in San Diego Superior Court. Today (October 27), Superior ...

Close down Crawford High immediately

Also, San Diego Business Leadership High is among worst in state

Two San Diego high schools are doing such a poor job at educating students and preparing them for college-level courses, it would be better if they shut their doors, says a new study released by ...

Bill Horn and the life east of the 15

County supervisor advised to recuse himself from development vote

An environmental nonprofit has put San Diego County supervisor Bill Horn and his colleagues on the board on notice: follow the advice of the Fair Political Practices Commission and don't permit Horn's vote to weigh ...

Leading with the carotid, not the stick

Coworker labeled detective Paul Ward a "loose cannon"

Twenty-five-year-old Robert Branch has filed a lawsuit against sheriff's detective Paul Ward for putting him in a "carotid-restraint" and illegally detaining him in May 2015, after their cars nearly collided while merging onto Interstate 8 ...

Got the library — stiff the architects!

Quigley and Tucker Sadler claim the city owes many thousands

Finding the $185 million to pay for construction of San Diego's Central Library was a constant struggle. The city, which at the time was trapped under a structural deficit, relied heavily on private donors to ...

Handicap placard abusers on notice

"The flagrant and willful misuse has increased substantially."

On Tuesday, October 20th, San Diego city councilmembers are expected to amend the municipal code to increase the fines for people without valid disabled parking placards and license plates. The amendment is twofold. The city ...

University of California's skewed take on Title IX

Judge in Northern California says officials botched sexual assault hearing

Administrators at University of California campuses throughout the state continue to struggle with following protocol while investigating and adjudicating Title IX sexual misconduct cases. On September 22, 2015, a Yolo County Superior Court judge found ...

Mission Valley development machine cranks up

Town and Country hotel makes move to become "mixed-use"

Regional planners in San Diego have placed a bullseye on Mission Valley as the preferred location to absorb San Diego's forecasted population boom. According to the San Diego Association of Governments' (SANDAG) 2050 Regional Growth ...

Debate: short-term rentals, good or bad?

"Hewlett Packard and Apple and countless other start-ups bear out my point."

What impact do short-term rentals and home sharing websites have on the city and the communities where they are located? According to a recent study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, from ...

County sued for ignoring jumper's history

Sheriff's dept. had adequate warning about schizophrenic inmate

The father of a mentally ill inmate who was seriously injured after jumping from a second floor at San Diego's Central Jail has filed a lawsuit against the County of San Diego. Jonathan Thomas jumped ...

Store at your own risk, bud

City says pot shops are on their own when it comes to storing product

In March 2014, San Diego's city councilmembers approved the sale and distribution of medical marijuana in designated areas throughout the city. What they didn't do, however, is address where, or how, dispensary owners should store ...

Riley Elementary special-needs student victimized

District bus driver accused of performing "lewd and lascivious acts"

The San Diego Unified School District has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a parent who claims her child, a special-needs student at Riley Elementary in Clairemont Mesa, was sexually assaulted by a district ...

$250k raised, lifeguard project stopped

"I placed 44 calls to Zapf’s office. She refused to speak on the issue."

A group of Mission Beach residents fighting against unpermitted construction of a new lifeguard tower near the Mission Beach Jetty has raised the $250,000 bond needed to stop the project until a court trial can ...

Shocking goings-on at Green Elementary School

School investigator's case reveals cracks at San Diego Unified

Michael Gurrieri, a former investigator for San Diego Unified School District, says district officials fired him after he found evidence that the principal at Green Elementary School in San Carlos was allegedly drinking on the ...

Local lawsuit vs. Volkswagen

Amber Handal displeased with her dirty diesel Jetta, files class action

Volkswagen and Audi owners in cities throughout the U.S. are rushing to file class-action lawsuits days after the Environmental Protection Agency discovered the Volkswagen Auto Group installed "defeat devices" in more than 480,000 diesel-powered vehicles ...

Who's minding Department of Animal Services?

Lawsuit lends insight into X-ray safety protocol and lack of permits

A former veterinarian is accusing San Diego County's Department of Animal Services of retaliating against her and her colleagues after discovering that several X-ray machines were not inspected and two shelters lacked permits to operate. ...

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