Jay Allen Sanford 9:45 p.m., May 19
City Attorney accuses lawyers for Medical Marijuana patients of playing hardball with City
Jan Goldsmith says City should not pay legal fees for medical marijuana cases.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is digging his heels in, refusing to give ground to medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners who have filed lawsuits against the City of San Diego.
Days after Mayor Bob Filner announced Neighborhood Code Compliance would no longer target dispensaries and collectives for code violations, Goldsmith asked lawyers representing medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners to agree to waive lawyer fees and court costs.
Lawyers for the litigants, however, refused that offer.
On January 14, the City Attorney fired back in a letter, later posted by medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access.
"Unfortunately, you refused," writes Goldsmith. "Instead, you seized upon this request to make allegations. demands and threats. Thus, you are trying to transform what was a good faith effort by the Mayor to resolve the dispensary issue through legislation into a sword aimed at the City's legal position."
In his letter, the City Attorney accused the lawyers and respondents of trying to play "hardball "with the City.
"You did not win any case in court. All of the marijuana dispensaries in these 12 cases have been shut down. We won and would be entitled to costs. The Mayor is giving your clients a reprieve in light of his effort to work with the dispensaries on a legislative solution.
"You are overplaying your hand through "hardball" tactics. A dismissal without prejudice without having to pay our costs and with waiver of your costs is what you get. If the Mayor wants to do otherwise, you are welcome to reach a separate agreement with him on this. We won't be a party to the City paying costs or fees."
The City Attorney didn't stop there, calling the claim that Mayor Filner's announcement effectively ends the ban on dispensaries as being "ridiculous."
"The Mayor cannot change the law and he hasn't tried to do so. What he has said is that he wants to end enforcement actions and, instead. focus on an ordinance."
On their website, representatives from Americans for Safe Access says Goldsmith has got it all wrong. They accuse the City Attorney of not following the Mayor's directive by not agreeing to a full resolution with the respondents.
"The City Attorney misleads the carbon copied recipients by insinuating [respondent Dexter Padilla] is quibbling over fees when in actuality Dexter simply requests a true end to his case as was intended by the Mayor. The statement also suggests the respondents are free to take the unethical action of approaching the City’s client, the Mayor, for a “separate agreement” thus further harassing litigants and indicating Goldsmith’s disregard for the Mayor’s request."
Read Goldsmith's letter here.