Plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to force the county and city of Los Angeles to shelter thousands of people camping on sidewalks and near highways have filed a proposed updated complaint after a federal appeals court gutted previous efforts had, as shown by documents received on Saturday.
The LA Alliance for Human Rights, an association of downtown residents, the homeless and landowners, added plaintiffs to the amended complaint, describing the history of the housing failure and systemic racism that exacerbated the homelessness crisis. The lawsuit updates equal protection claims – an area in the original lawsuit that resulted in the US 9th Court of Appeals overturning a judge’s verdict in favor of plaintiffs in September.
The revised 116-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court late Friday alleges decades of inactivity, missed opportunities, structural racism, and tax waste on the part of the city and county that led to the current crisis affecting the local population The number of homeless has almost doubled in the past nine years.
“The only way to address this crisis with the urgency it deserves is through an emergency response – providing immediate shelter for all, increasing the range, services and treatment needed, and reducing the deterioration of our cities and towns for the benefit of all. “Says the lawsuit.
In his April blanket ruling, U.S. District Judge David Carter set a 180-day schedule for local government to provide shelter to every uninhabited person on downtown Skid Row.
The order was based on the court’s finding of structural racism in the city’s history in relation to discriminatory lending, redlining, unequal access to affordable housing and other past ill-treatment and its disproportionate impact on the black community.
City officials appealed, though the defendants did not deny the premise that structural racism is a cause of Skid Row homelessness. Instead, the city claimed that Carter issued an overly broad order and misused the court’s discretion.
The appeals court agreed, finding that none of the plaintiffs’ actions alleged racial discrimination and that the district court’s order was largely based on allegations and theories not put forward in the lawsuit.
Carter had “improperly resorted to independent research and evidence,” the appellate body said. The panel overturned Carter’s order to provide housing to the downtown homeless population through mid-October.
The LA Alliance filed a lawsuit in federal court in March 2020, but the litigation was suspended almost immediately for nearly a year pending consideration of a settlement. From April to September, the parties waited for a decision by the Ninth District on the judge’s injunction.
“As a result, this case has only been active for less than three months and an investigation has not yet been initiated,” the plaintiffs wrote.
A hearing is scheduled for November 29 in downtown Los Angeles to discuss the revised complaint.