Resident’s lawsuit against Apple Valley continued (March 13, 2016)

Continuance allows town more time to produce additional public records

SAN BERNARDINO — A continuance was granted Wednesday in an Apple Valley resident’s lawsuit against the town, court records show.

Leane Lee filed the lawsuit last year to obtain documents related to the Hayward Consulting Group, True North Research, Inc. and the 20/20 Network — all of which the town has utilized during its attempt to acquire by eminent domain the water system currently owned by Liberty Utilities, Apple Valley.

The continuance, granted by Judge David Cohn, allows the town an unspecified amount of time to produce additional public records related to Lee’s request, which was submitted in last April.

Lee filed the lawsuit shortly after submitting her public records request and alleged that the town failed to produce proper documents pertaining to that request, according to a previous Daily Press report.

She told the Daily Press Wednesday that if things don’t go as anticipated, — meaning if the town fails to produce the additional documents — an action to compel discovery will be submitted.

Neither a representative for the town nor legal counsel were present in court Wednesday, according to court records, and the town declined to comment Thursday out of an abundance of caution on whether additional documents would be produced per the continuance.

Last May, Town Attorney John Brown — of Best Best & Krieger — told the Daily Press the town would vigorously defend against Lee’s lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Lee has maintained throughout that she believes the town’s legal expenses have significantly exceeded the budgeted amount, and she alleges that the town is attempting to conceal the amount spent on legal services by transferring funds from one account to another in order to obscure the nature of the expenditures.

Lee is suing the town to enforce her right to receive the documents she requested pursuant to the California Public Records Act of 1968, according to a writ of mandate filed by her Corona-based attorney Chad Morgan.

A status conference hearing was scheduled for May 12 after the continuance was granted.

Hopefully by then everything is resolved, Lee said, referencing the additional documents.

Source: Matthew Cabe, Daily Press

Webmaster note: This first appeared online on the 10th, but did not appear in the print edition until the 13th.