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Judge’s Transfer of Lawsuit Opposed

Community activists challenging the constitutionality of legislation that helped bail Orange County out of bankruptcy oppose county efforts to have the suit heard in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, their lawyer said Wednesday.

Richard I. Fine filed a motion to remand the action to Orange County Superior Court, where he first filed it Dec. 18.

It wound up before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John E. Ryan when Bruce Bennett, the county’s bankruptcy lawyer, filed a motion asking that Ryan hear the case.

At the time, Bennett said, Ryan still retained jurisdiction over certain types of litigation, even though the county was officially discharged from bankruptcy last June.

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The lawsuit challenges the legality of shifting tax funds to bail the county out of bankruptcy, contending that the practice has been outlawed by the California Constitution since the 1880s.

A status conference on the motion is scheduled for Feb. 24 and a hearing for Feb. 25.


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