Settlement to give disabled persons better access to San Bernardino County courts

A proposed settlement has been reached in a 2006 federal class-action lawsuit filed against San Bernardino County and its courts over accessibility for disabled persons at more than a dozen courthouses.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, claimed that parking, paths of travel, courtrooms, bathrooms and other areas were inaccessible to people with mobility or manual dexterity disabilities.

Lawyers for the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, which represented plaintiffs in the case, said Tuesday that both sides worked hard to reach what they described as a model settlement that could be a blueprint for any court system in any county.
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Fontana teachers go to court to get counselors brought back

By Jim Steinberg Staff Writer
Posted: 11/05/2011 09:23:21 PM PDT

FONTANA – The teachers union has filed a lawsuit against the school district seeking to reinstate laid-off counselors on the basis of seniority.

The legal action, filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, contends that the Fontana Unified School District’s practices violate the California Education Code, a charge the district denies.

Pat Mazzulli, president of the Fontana Teachers Association, said the district created new job categories after it laid off 68 counselors at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
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Judge declines to bar Grand Jury transcripts in San Bernardino County corruption case

Mike Cruz and Joe Nelson, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 10/24/2011 02:55:29 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO — A Superior Court judge on Monday declined to bar more than 2,000 pages of Grand Jury transcripts in a criminal corruption probe from being used in a civil case involving the county and three other public entities.

Attorneys representing the county filed a motion with the court in September attempting to block the defendants in an indemnity lawsuit from using the transcripts in its defense. The county sued San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBag), Caltrans and the city of Upland in 2004, seeking to recover any damages that could arise from a separate land rights lawsuit it was engaged in with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP.

The developer sued the county in 2002, arguing the county abandoned its flood control easements and refused to pay for flood control improvements on its 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland. The county settled with the developer in November 2006 for $102 million, a settlement prosecutors now say was tainted by bribery and conflict of interest.
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Conspiracy target wants county probation report corrected

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/25/2008 09:58:45 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – The victim of a murder conspiracy involving two San Manuel tribal members has filed a complaint with the county Probation Department, claiming a probation officer erroneously noted in reports that he was a gang member.

Highland attorney Frank Peterson filed the complaint Monday on behalf of Leonard Epps, who has sued San Manuel tribal members Stacy Barajas-Nunez, 26, her brother Erik Barajas, 36, and several others involved in a conspiracy to kill him. He is seeking $50 million in damages.

Epps, the former manager of the now closed Brass Key bar in Highland, alleges in the one-page complaint that information included in Probation Officer Jeremy Smith’s reports, which indicate Epps is a gang member, is inaccurate.
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Lawsuit planned over slashing of kangaroo rat habitat

By Lauren McSherry, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/14/2008 12:04:53 AM PST

Three environmental groups have announced they intend to sue a federal agency for slashing critical habitat protection for the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat.

“The whole point of critical habitat is to recover the species to viable population levels,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We just felt it’s an outrage that the Bush administration would make these substantial cuts that have no basis in science.”

The Center for Biological Diversity, the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and Friends of the Northern San Jacinto Valley sent a letter notifying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday that they intend to file the lawsuit.
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U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Flesh Club’s appeal

Jason Pesick, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/10/2008 10:05:20 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request Monday by the owners of Flesh Club to review a California Supreme Court decision that might have saved San Bernardino a chunk of change.

In April, the state Supreme Court sent a case filed by Flesh Club back to San Bernardino Superior Court after three appellate judges ruled the city had to pay the club $1.4 million. The money was intended to make up for profits lost during a period starting in 1995 when the city got a court to bar an adult cabaret at the club. The city claimed the club, owned by Manta Management Corp., was operating in an area that wasn’t zoned for nude dancing.

The state Supreme Court found that because a court ordered the injunction in 1995, the city might not be liable for the $1.4 million even though the city ordinance the court was enforcing with the injunction was later found to be unconstitutional.
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San Bernardino County agrees to jail headscarves

ORANGE (AP) — San Bernardino County will allow jailed Muslim women to wear headscarves after settling a lawsuit with a woman who alleged her religious freedoms were violated when she was forced to remove her hijab during a 12-hour jail stay, her attorney said today.

The county, which did not admit wrongdoing, will also pay $45,000 in damages, according to a settlement agreement signed by the county last week and released today.

Plaintiff Jameelah Medina will get $10,000 after subtracting attorney fees, said Hector Villagra, director of the Orange County office of the American Civil Liberties Union.
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Loma Linda city attorney to provide update on lawsuit

Loma Linda City Attorney Richard Holdaway will brief the City Council at its 7 p.m. meeting tonight regarding the status of a lawsuit involving two large housing projects.

A state appeals court in August ruled in favor of a citizens’ group that has fought against plans for the projects south of Redlands Boulevard and west of California Street.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Riverside reversed a lower court’s decision removing two referendums from the June 2006 ballot.
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Mother of teenager killed by deputy’s car in Highland files lawsuit

The mother of a teenage boy who died after being struck by a sheriff’s deputy while riding his bicycle filed a lawsuit against the city, Sheriff’s Department and county today alleging wrongful death.

In the lawsuit, seeking $3,000 for funeral expenses and general damages yet to be determined, Stacey McCombs alleges the unnamed deputy was speeding and blinded by a setting sun when he struck her son, Justin Ames, at the intersection of Ninth Street and Drummond Avenue the evening of Aug. 22.

The deputy was one of two responding to a call about 6:30 p.m. when the collision occurred. Neither of the deputies, both alleged to have been traveling between 50 and 60 mph, had their sirens or flashing lights on, and the posted speed limit was 35 mph, according to the lawsuit.
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San Bernardino police officer speaks out against plea agreement

By Joe Nelson, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 10/25/2008 10:13:29 PM PDT

A San Bernardino police sergeant Saturday criticized county prosecutors for pleading out a murder conspiracy case to two San Manuel tribal members that may enable them to serve house arrest and probation.

It is the first time a ranking San Bernardino police officer has spoken out publicly against the plea agreement struck in April between prosecutors and members of San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Stacy Nunez-Barajas and her brother, Erik Barajas.

Nunez-Barajas, 26, and her brother, 35, pleaded guilty to attempted murder with a gang enhancement and assault with a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement, respectively. They are facing six months to a year of house arrest and probation. They are scheduled for sentencing Nov. 6 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Sgt. Steve Filson, a 27-year veteran of the San Bernardino Police Department who worked a seven-month joint investigation with federal drug agents in 2006 targeting the Mexican Mafia’s methamphetamine rackets in the Inland Empire, said he would have liked to have seen the case go to trial.
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