Tom Butt
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  City Prevails in Appellate Court on Point Molate Brown Act Lawsuit
June 10, 2022

One of the most enduring mantras of the RPA, the RPA City Council members, the Point Molate Alliance and SPRAWLDEF et al has been that the City violated the Brown Act in the approval of the Point Molate settlement. The federal trial (District) Court rejected that argument, and it was subsequently appealed. The appeal was rejected on May 11,2022, by the 9th Circuit, nearly a month ago, but strangely, no one in the City Attorney’s Office bothered to tell the City Council. See

In the litigation, the Petitioners claimed:

“Richmond’s Mayor and City Council, in unannounced serial meeting and in closed session, violated California’s open meeting ‘Brown Act,’…when they approved specific land development, purported to settle litigation over development of Point Molate,” the environmentalists said in a petition to the court. (

The 9th Circuit rejected the appeal, writing:

The district court did not err in granting judgment on the pleadings. “To state a cause of action, a complaint based on [the Brown Act] must allege . . . [that] the legislative body did not cure or correct the challenged action.” Bell v. Vista Unified Sch. Dist., 98 Cal. Rptr. 2d 263, 271 (Ct. App. 2000) (quoting Boyle v. City of Redondo Beach, 83 Cal. Rptr. 2d 164, 168 (Ct. App. 1999)). “[I]f the court determines the alleged Brown Act violation has been cured or corrected by the legislative body, the action filed . . . shall be dismissed with prejudice.” Id. In November 2019, Richmond City Council approved the amended settlement of the 2 underlying Guidiville Rancheria of California v. United States litigation in an agendized, open meeting after public hearing. Because Richmond City Council has cured any alleged Brown Act violation, the district court did not err in granting judgment on the pleadings.

The challengers to the Point Molate project have consistently lost every legal challenge to date. Although they were able to cobble together four votes to politically stop the sale to SunCal, there have already been two legal actions filed that, even if successful, will cost the City of Richmond millions of dollars to litigate.