BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
A sweeping federal judge’s order urging the city and county of Los Angeles to quickly house all of the homeless people living on downtown Skid Row was overturned Thursday by an appeals court calling it an abuse of the discretion of the judiciary.
The US 9th Court of Appeals found a major mistake by US District Court Judge David O. Carter, who is overseeing a major lawsuit over the Los Angeles homelessness problem.
The appeals court found that plaintiffs had no authority to bring most of their claims in the lawsuit and that Carter based his injunction on claims and “novel legal theories” not advanced by plaintiffs.
“In order to close the loophole, the district court has improperly resorted to independent research and additional evidence,” the appeals court said.
Carter toured Skid Row at least twice and held an extraordinary hearing at a homeless shelter before issuing a 110-page injunction in late April identifying the inability of local officials to stem the unprecedented increase in homelessness that has led to it Camps have spread in almost every quarter of the region, has been dejected region.
The order gave the city and county six months to house the homeless on Skid Row and review all expenses related to the street people crisis.
The lawsuit was filed by the LA Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition comprised of businesses, local residents, landlords, the homeless and others who claim the city and county inaction on the issue has created a dangerous environment.
“They found that his order was not adequately supported by the evidence because he did not rely on what we presented,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, attorney who represents Allianz. “That doesn’t mean it’s not true. To be honest, the district and the city do not dispute its results. “
The appeals court said Carter’s order was based on its finding that structural racism was the driving force behind the Los Angeles homeless crisis and disproportionate impact on the black community, but none of the plaintiffs’ claims were based on racial discrimination.
Mitchell said the alliance would file an amended complaint to include members of the coalition with authority to address the issues raised by the court.
“I think a lot of people see this as an obstacle,” said Mitchell. “But it’s more of a speeding.”
District Attorney Skip Miller said his clients were grateful for the verdict but remained determined to alleviate homelessness.
“The county will continue its massive efforts to fight the homeless,” said Miller. “We know where Judge Carter is from and look forward to working with him to resolve this lawsuit.”
As of January 2020, Los Angeles County had more than 66,400 homeless people, including 41,000 within the LA city limits, including thousands on Skid Row.
While the homeless population was once largely confined to the notorious downtown Skid Row neighborhood, rows of tents, cardboard shelters, battered RVs, and makeshift plywood structures are now familiar in the country’s second largest city.
Associate press writer John Antczak contributed to this.