Judge gives Walmart, Burbank four more months to prepare defense

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday gave attorneys for the city of Burbank and Walmart four more months to prepare their defense against a lawsuit filed to block the mega-retailer from opening adjacent to the Empire Center.

The additional time could further delay Walmart’s plans to open at the former Great Indoors site, where no work has been allowed since a court-ordered injunction was issued last month.

“I’m not in a hurry anymore. Everybody’s gotten over being in a hurry,” said Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones after the attorneys made their request.

The defense may include updated information from Burbank’s traffic engineer, said attorney Katherine Jenson, who is representing the city.

Walmart attorney Rollin Chippey II also said he plans to file a motion to lift the injunction that was issued to halt construction pending a trial.

Three Burbank women — Shanna Ingalsbee, Katherine Olson and Yvette Ziraldo — filed a lawsuit earlier this year to stop construction of the Walmart until another environmental impact review is conducted and street improvements that are part of a city ordinance passed in 2000 are complete.

The improvements include more turn lanes at key intersections on Buena Vista Street at Victory Boulevard and Empire Avenue.

Gideon Kracov, the attorney representing the women, argued that additional evidence shouldn’t be allowed, only information that was available when the city issued building permits to Walmart.

Jones said a trial-setting conference will be held on Dec. 14. However, she added that attorneys for both sides must submit a letter by Dec. 7 affirming that all additional information has been gathered and it’s been made available to Kracov, who also represents United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 770.

Jones said that while giving the attorneys more time to develop their case delays proceedings, she still wants to move the case forward.

“I’ve got my seatbelt on and I’m ready,” she said.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam


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