Press Releases Feb 18, 2015

BB&K Attorneys Garner Top Verdict Recognition

Jeff Dunn, Thomas Eastmond and Steven DeBaun Recognized by the Daily Journal for WRCOG v. Beaumont

For Immediate Release: Feb. 18, 2015
Media Contact: Denise Nix • 213-787-2552 • 
denise.nix@bbklaw.com

IRVINE, Calif. – Best Best & Krieger LLP attorneys Jeffrey V. Dunn, Thomas J. Eastmond and Steven C. DeBaun were recognized by the Daily Journal for having one of the Top Plaintiffs’ Verdicts by Impact in 2014. The legal journal’s editors selected Western Riverside Council of Governments v. City of Beaumont as one of the top 10 verdicts in California last year because of its larger significance on society — not just the dollar amount awarded.

After a four-week trial, an Orange County Superior Court judge ruled against the City of Beaumont and ordered it to pay nearly $43 million in withheld fees and more than $14 million in prejudgment interest for failing to comply with its municipal ordinance requiring it to collect and remit transportation impact fees to WRCOG. The impact fees are part of the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) Program administered by WRCOG. Under the TUMF Program, impact fees collected from new development in western Riverside County are remitted to WRCOG and allocated to build new transportation infrastructure to mitigate the impact of development on the regional transportation system.

The BB&K attorneys provided evidence that Beaumont failed to comply with its TUMF obligations and, instead, created both tax and traffic burdens on Beaumont’s own residents. The court found that“ the evidence shows poor local transportation planning and execution.” The court went on to conclude that “[t]he evidence and testimony reveals that city management and staff engaged in a pattern and practice of deception that transcends the typical give-and-take of dispute negotiation. Had this been a typical civil trial I would have found fraud by clear and convincing evidence as against the city.”

The case is now on appeal.

In a special Top Verdicts supplement to the Daily Journal, the editors wrote, “Some of the work honored in this issue garnered national headlines. Others got little attention outside of legal circles. In every case, the attorneys demonstrated that excellent trial work remains a prized skill.”

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Best Best & Krieger LLP is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With 200 attorneys, the law firm has nine offices nationwide, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.bbklaw.com or follow @BBKlaw on Twitter.

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