Breaking News: Judge Gives Initial Ruling in Favor of Expo

It's not over, but Expo supporters are warming up their closer.
It's not over, but Expo supporters are warming up their closer.

I just got off the phone from the courthouse in Norwalk and the news is good for supporters of Phase II of the Expo Line, although the case brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail was not completely dismissed by the judge.

Judge Thomas McKnew gave an initial ruling to dismiss the lawsuit brought by NFSR, but then John Bowman, representing the plaintiffs argued that the traffic figures used in the environmental documents was flawed because it should address the current traffic patterns and not just the ones predicted for 2030.  Attorneys for the Expo Construction Authority declined to ask for more time to file briefs, instead opting for a quicker decision by the judge.

What this means is that while it’s possible McKnew will change his mind, his preliminary research favors Expo’s argument that their environmental studies are adequate to begin construction.

A final ruling that would dismiss the case or allow it to go to trial is expected in January of February.  While it’s probable that NFSR will appeal.  However, unless they get an order staying construction while the trial moves forward, they could end up litigating against a rail line that’s already being built.

  • DonnieK

    I sure hope Expo supporters don’t bring in Broxton as their closer…

  • eric

    Looks like this fight is basically over. I guess if those NFSR people want to keep pushing a legal fight they can throw their money away at it. What a huge waste of time this group is! Can’t wait for the expo line to open. I’m thinking of buying right around pico and westwood in part because of the future expo line there.

  • Joel

    I’m surprised NFSR didn’t roll out the “dark-skinned people robbing our houses” argument in the opening briefs. Oh well, hooray for Expo!

  • As usual, I have a take on this (all quotes are fictitious): CEQA Attorney happy to take NIMBY money

  • Chris

    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s be real, the plaintiffs are a bunch of Nimbys that are doing everything in their power to block the project…

  • Karen Leonard

    Great sign up there by the Smarter Rail people…and hope the Judge issues his ruling soon, he was efficient and fair and seemed inclined to confirm his tentative denial of the NFSR lawsuit.

  • S.S. Sam Taylor

    Damien:

    Have you seen the bank account of the opponents? They are not getting pro bono legal work and have to pay a real hourly fee. Do you think they are going to pay and waste more of their family savings?

    Appeal unlikely and this project is on forward.

  • Bob Zwolinski

    HOORAY!
    Love that NFSR [Smarter] sign too!
    Expo grade separation has been done for phase-1 and will be done for phase-2 where it is needed and required.
    Traffic volumes on Overland & Westwood Boulevards are not even close to meeting the requirement.
    Worried about your kids? Then teach them not to play in or around an active rail right-of-way! It’s THAT simple!
    Hopefully we will not waste further taxpayers money on needless NIMBY litigation for this badly needed rail line.

  • Scott Mercer

    Here’s hoping that NFSR will get discouraged and run out of cash.

    I wonder if they ever heard the saying “throwing good money after bad.”

    What I don’t understand is why a train is so much more dangerous than the large buses, trucks and construction equipment, that can already pass within feet of their front door, and are allowed to travel down any street, at any time, for any reason, without advance permission, and without advance notice.

    A large SUV (which I am sure is either parked in the private driveways of almost all the members of NFSR, or at least some of their immediate neighbors) has quite enough weight on it to kill or injure a human being, if driven irresponsibly. (And we know that drivers of private cars, private vans, private trucks, and privately-owned construction equipment NEVER drive drunk or recklessly, right?)

    Is NFSR going to bring a lawsuit to prevent from heavy trucks, SUVs, RVs, delivery vans, and construction equipment from driving along public streets in their neighborhood? Why is that safe but a train isn’t?

    A train has an advantage that none of these vehicles (which are already, currently, right now, allowed to drive on any street, at any time, for any reason, at the whim of the driver, with no advance notice) have, namely: a train is ATTACHED TO TRACKS. It cannot deviate from them. The only potential problems are at road crossings, or if pedestrians (illegally) walk along the tracks.

    Respect the train at road crossings when driving, and stay off the tracks!