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Bev Hills's Purple Line Subway Suits Likely to Be Combined

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The latest issue of the Beverly Hills Weekly (digital edition, page 9) is overflowing with news on the city and school district's battle against the Purple Line subway extension and its planned tunnel underneath Bev Hills High. First off, the newspaper quotes Malissa McKeith, an attorney from Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith who's previously worked with Metro, as saying one judge will likely hear both BH challenges to the subway project--one from the school district, one from the city. McKeith says budget cuts are the reason for the likely consolidation and that an obligatory settlement conference (good luck with that) will happen this summer before court action begins. The school district and city are both suing over the tunnel under BHHS--which Metro says is necessary in order to have a safe station location in central Century City--but the city is also suing over construction staging for all the BH stations, so that could complicate the one-judge ruling. Even though BH has spent millions on geologic experts, publicists, and lobbyists to refute Metro's findings," "The ... trial will not be a battle of experts," McKeith said. "The court will limit its analysis to whether substantial evidence supported the findings of the MTA, not whose experts are right or wrong." Don't expect a ruling for at least six months, she says.

The Weekly also has another story, running right after the litigation piece, about how the school district and the city have worked together before on litigation. Their last team effort was in 2003 as defendants, not plaintiffs, when they were sued by environmental activists/lawyers Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry for alleged health dangers posed by the school's active oil wells (another piece in the Weekly covers an oil company applying to expand slant drilling underneath Beverly Hills). In the 2003 case, "the city did not pay BHUSD's legal fees during the oil well litigation, but the city paid for initial environmental testing at the Beverly High campus." The testing showed the drilling didn't pose a threat to students and staff, though the school is ending surface drilling at the school by 2016.
· Beverly Hills Weekly [PDF]
· 90210's Way or the Highway Archives [Curbed LA]

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