Tom Butt
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  Failed Legal Tactic by City Muddies Point Molate Waters
September 21, 2022

In a failed attempt to shortcut litigation by Winehaven LLC (SunCal) against the City of Richmond, the City Attorney’s Office filed a demurrer, which is, according to the legal dictionary, “An assertion by the defendant that although the facts alleged by the plaintiff in the complaint may be true, they do not entitle the plaintiff to prevail in the lawsuit.”

While a demurrer admits the truth of the plaintiff's set of facts, it contends that those facts are insufficient to grant the complaint in favor of the plaintiff. A demurrer may further contend that the complaint does not set forth enough facts to justify legal relief or it may introduce additional facts that defeat the legal effectiveness of the plaintiff's complaint. A demurrer asserts that, even if the plaintiff's facts are correct, the defendant should not have to answer them or proceed with the case.

Click here for the tentative ruling on the demurrer (it’s the 2nd item) on September 15, 2022, which was not challenged.

Of six rulings on the demurrer, the City’s position was sustained on only two items, but even on those, Winehaven was given an opportunity to amend. On the other four items, Winehaven prevailed. This is not good news for the City, which has perhaps prematurely basked in its previous victories concerning temporary restraining orders and injunctions.

The lawsuit by Winehaven challenging the City’s action to kill the proposed project is very much alive and will burn up a lot of taxpayer money in attorney’s fees before it is over.

The action to kill the Winehaven project was a decision by the RPA City Council majority that has put the future of Point Molate into limbo and saddled the taxpayers with millions of dollars in attorney’s fees, maintenance and security costs, and potentially million more in damages. The RPA City Council members have seized defeat from victory, foregoing $22.5 million from sale of the property and millions in future taxes for an uncertain future.