- Dispute Resolution
Notice of Availability of Alternative Dispute Resolution Process
On October 26, 2018, the City of Tustin entered into a Settlement Agreement in litigation entitled “Orange County Catholic Worker et al. v. County of Orange, et al. That lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division, in Santa Ana and bears case number 8:18-cv-00155 DOC (JDE). The case was assigned to Judge David O. Carter. A copy of the full Settlement Agreement can be reviewed here: Settlement Agreement
As part of the Settlement Agreement, the City of Tustin agreed that an alternative dispute resolution process would be available to some individuals and for certain disputes.
1. Who can use the alternative dispute resolution process?
Any homeless individual or individuals who consent, at the time of requesting the Dispute Resolution Process, to be bound by the Process and the provisions of the Settlement Agreement that apply to the Plaintiffs in the case. (See section 6.1 of the Settlement Agreement.)
2. What disputes does the dispute resolution process apply to?
Disputes with the City of Tustin, the Tustin Temporary Emergency Shelter, or a Shelter employee relating to: (a) the implementation of the Settlement Agreement, and/or (b) Tustin’s enforcement of Tustin’s anti-camping ordinances (Tustin City Code section 7602 and 7113a(2) (collectively the “Anti-Camping Ordinances”), or any analogous provision of State law, or law concerning “loitering”, applied against homeless individuals arising out of that individual’s homeless status, including but not limited to disputes regarding the availability of adequacy of any shelter or shelter services offered to the individual pursuant to the Settlement Agreement. (See sections 4.1 and 6.1 of the Settlement Agreement.)
3. Does the alternative dispute resolution process apply to other violations of law that do not arise from the individual’s homeless status, like possession of illegal substances or weapons, acts of violence, public intoxication, etc.?
No. Violations of law not arising from the individual’s homeless status such as those are not covered by the alternative dispute resolution process. Those are handled as crimes are ordinarily handled, without resort to the alternative dispute resolution process.
4. How is the alternative dispute resolution process initiated?
The process is described in detail in Section 6 of the Settlement Agreement. Here is a summary:
First, the individual or her/his attorney must attempt to meet and confer informally with the other side (the City or the Shelter) in an effort to resolve the dispute. If the individual is represented by an attorney, the attempt must include at least (a) a communication to the other side’s attorney describing in detail the dispute and the requested remedy, and providing any available evidence; and (b) a discussion either in person or by phone seeking to resolve the dispute. If the individual hasn’t done so already, the individual should exhaust any available appeals that apply to the complaint. The City and Shelter have written appeal processes that explain what appeals can be taken, and how to do it.
Second, if the parties are unable to resolve the dispute within two court days (that is, days that the Federal Court is actually open) after it is first raised informally, any party may then request a hearing with Judge Carter under the standards and processes to be set by the Court. (If the dispute involves an emergency situation that presents a threat to the immediate health and safety of an individual, the parties may seek expedited review by the Court.)
5. Can attorneys be consulted?
Yes, an individual always may consult an attorney of their choice. The following attorneys who represented the plaintiffs in the litigation may be able to assist:
Elder Law and Disability Rights Centers
1535 East 17th Street
Santa Ana, California 92705
Carol A. Sobel
Law Office of Carol Sobel
725 Arizona Avenue, Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Telephone: (310) 393-3055
6. Can I get an award of damages or other monetary relief using this alternative dispute resolution process?
No, the Court is not empowered to award damages of any other monetary relief to any party as a result of any dispute submitted to the alternative dispute resolution process. The Court does have the authority to enforce other rights available to a party, however. (See section 6.5 of the Settlement Agreement.)