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Costa Mesa wins in another sober-living home lawsuit

A U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of Costa Mesa in a lawsuit by Pacific Shores Recovery that challenged the city's regulations on sober-living homes.
(File Photo / Getty Images)

A judge granted Costa Mesa a victory in another case involving a sober-living home that the city said was operating illegally.

U.S. District Judge James Selna granted summary judgment Tuesday, agreeing with Costa Mesa that Pacific Shores Recovery, a sober-living home on Cabrillo Street, was operating unlawfully.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Pacific Shores in July 2018 challenging Costa Mesa’s regulations on sober-living homes.

“The court has told these operators that their claims fail over and over, but they persist in fighting the city at the expense of all taxpaying residents,” Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement. “At a time when the city is focused on protecting people from the coronavirus, these operators are only focused on their profits, not helping anyone. The city will continue to protect its residents and fight these frivolous lawsuits.”

Pacific Shores did not respond to a request for comment.

The ruling in the Pacific Shores case follows similar cases and rulings involving sober-living home operators Casa Capri Recovery and Yellowstone Recovery.

“There should be no doubt that the plaintiffs cannot win these lawsuits,” said Seymour Everett, Costa Mesa’s lawyer in the Pacific Shores case. “They need to quit now, and in fact, they should have never begun.”

Costa Mesa next month will ask Selna to order Casa Capri to cover the city’s attorney fees related to that case.

As with the other lawsuits, the Pacific Shores case centered on two ordinances the City Council adopted in 2014 and 2015 that imposed new permitting requirements on sober-living homes and stipulated that they, other group homes and licensed alcohol and drug treatment facilities be at least 650 feet from one another in residential areas.

As in the other cases, the two sides disputed the definition of a “handicap or disability.” Pacific Shores argued that it includes alcoholics and drug addicts, but the city argued that not everyone in a rehabilitation program qualifies as disabled.

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