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Costa Mesa recovers $61,000 in costs from defending sober-living home ordinance against lawsuit

A federal judge allowed Costa Mesa to recover $61,488 in costs in a case the city won defending its sober-living home ordinance against a lawsuit by Yellowstone Recovery and other plaintiffs.
(File Photo / Getty Images)

A federal judge this week allowed Costa Mesa to recover $61,488 in costs from a case the city won defending its sober-living home ordinance against a lawsuit by Yellowstone Recovery, a sober-living home operator, and other plaintiffs.

“We will reinvest those funds in continued efforts to enforce our laws, protect our neighborhoods and patients from unscrupulous sober-living operators and prevail in court so other communities can enact similar laws,” Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement.

The amount is a fraction of the millions of dollars in legal costs the city had defending regulations that sober-living home operators alleged unfairly discriminated against people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.

Yellowstone Recovery, Sober Living Network and Lynn House sued Costa Mesa in November 2014, a month after the city adopted the sober-living ordinance.

A jury decided in December 2018 that the regulations, which require sober-living homes to apply for permits, cap the number of residents in a group home at six and prohibit sober-living homes from being within 650 feet of one another in residential areas, did not unfairly discriminate against people in recovery. Proponents of the restrictions said they would prevent an over-concentration of sober-living homes in single-family neighborhoods.

Since the law was enacted, a string of other sober-living homes have sued the city for similar reasons, to no avail.

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Updates:

5:06 PM, Feb. 06, 2020: This article was originally published at 2:23 p.m. and has been updated with new information.


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