Friday, August 3, 2012
City of Lancaster, Officials Are Spared Litigation by Motorcycle Club
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The City of Lancaster’s appeal of the denial of its anti-SLAPP motion in a civil rights case was dismissed as moot yesterday and the trial court was ordered to terminate the action because the plaintiff, a corporation, had filed a certificate with the secretary of state’s office saying it had wound up its affairs and had no assets.
The action was brought by the Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc. against the city and its officials, including Mayor R. Rex Parris who, in a July 15, 2009 television interview declared that “The Mongols are domestic terrorists.”
The group, comprised chiefly of Mexican Americans and native Americans, is widely perceived as a crime syndicate.
Parris, a prominent Antelope Valley attorney, also said in the interview that the hotel where the group was planning to hold its convention “will be closed forever tomorrow,” and proclaimed:
“I don’t care about the civil rights of gang members.”
Parris directed this message to the Mongols:
“We will direct law enforcement to incarcerate you, we will not tolerate your presence. Anybody wearing Mongol colors will serve as a beacon for law enforcement.”
The following day, a chain was wrapped around the Desert Inn Hotel, precluding use of the facility. Mongols Inc. had already paid it about $14,000 to reserve more than 100 rooms, plus about $2,500 by way of a food and beverage guarantee.
The group sued under civil rights statutes and for negligent and intentional interference with contractual relationships, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and libel per se and slander per se.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey denied the defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion, and they appealed.
In filing its certificate of dissolution, the group did not list the litigation as an asset.
In her opinion dismissing the appeal, Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of this district’s Court of Appeal said:
“Although a dissolved corporation continues to exist for the purpose of winding up its affairs, the discrete issue presented is the impact of the instant certificate of dissolution, filed by Mongols Inc. under penalty of perjury….
“The continued pursuit of this lawsuit cannot be part of the winding up process of Mongols Inc., in that the certificate of dissolution indicated the corporation was at all times devoid of any assets, debts or liabilities, and therefore had nothing to wind up.”
The case is Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc. v. City of Lancaster, B230908
William Litvak of Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak represented the city and its officials and Albert Perez Jr. acted for the Mongols, Inc.
Perez said of the decision:
“It’s unfortunate because the City of Lancaster wronged the Mongols.”
Filing the dissolutuion “cost them the lawsuit,” he observed.
As to why the lawsuit was not listed as an asset, Perez responded:
“Their corporate counsel did that dissolution.”
The lawyer said he disagrees with the opinion because “case law indicates that the Mongols still could wind up their business even though they dissolved it.”
Litvak did not provide a comment.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company