NFSR Is Not Done with the Supreme Court Yet

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Neighbors for Smart Rail, the group of homeowners that has fought the Expo Line running through their community, isn’t quite done yet. Despite Streetsblog’s proclamation after the California Public Utilities Commission gave the Expo Line the green light that the appeals were over, NFSR is now appealing the Supreme Court ruling.

The initial Supreme Court ruling was that while the Expo Construction Authority should have used current traffic conditions as the baseline for their traffic study in their environmental support documents, that the error was not so grave as to force a new EIR. In fact, several lower courts upheld Expo’s environmental documents and some of the Supreme Court justices felt that the document was just fine, future traffic study and all.

While it’s a long-shot, NFSR feels that the ruling has enough holes in it that the Supreme Court could change its mind if they can prove that the court accidentally mis-stated the law in its conclusion.

For those not familiar with the Supreme Court appeals process, it goes like this.

Within 15 days of the decision, a request for rehearing may be filed if there is an important mistake in the appellate court’s decision in the appeal — like a major misstatement of fact, an error of law, major law or facts that were left out, or an important argument that was not included . No opposition to the petition may be filed unless the court asks for it.

The court can issue a new decision if it agrees with the rehearing request without holding more hearings. Or, they can hold more hearings or ask for a response brief from the other party. Or, they can reject it outright. Or, they can ignore it.

I talked to two attorneys about the chances for success for NFSR. One concluded that the plaintiffs, NFSR, are “nuts.” The other, while admitting it was a long shot, noted that for a group with deep pockets there is nothing really to lose by taking it.

As news breaks from the Supreme Court on this case, Streetsblog will continue to follow this story.

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