Pilot/attorney Clark Garen's suit against homeowners over noise regulations at Torrance airport suffered a serious setback Monday when a federal judge said he would dismiss the suit if it came before him.
U. S. District Judge James M. Ideman made the comments after postponing to April 1 a decision on a petition by attorney Peter Lacombe, acting for the homeowners, to move the suit against the homeowners from Superior Court to federal court.
Ideman said Garen's suit against the homeowners was "malicious" and "outrageous" and that he would prefer to keep the case in his court. He said, however, that he had reached a tentative conclusion that it should be sent back to the Superior Court.
Ideman said he would be surprised if a Superior Court judge did not see the suit as he does.
Ideman said he would reconsider his decision, however, after an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the homeowners, argued that the matter does have federal implications because Garen's suit challenged citizen's constitutional rights to vote for an elected official without fear of being sued.
Garen argued that the First Amendment could not be considered in deciding jurisdiction for the suit, but Ideman asked for additional written briefs on the issue.