The marathon Rolling Hills Flying Triangle landslide case in Superior Court here will not get to the final arguments until September, according to trial Judge Frank Baffa, who began the case in January. The jury trial, in which owners of 21 properties are seeking $31 million in damages as a result of the slow-moving slide, is in recess this week. It will resume for two more weeks but will recess throughout August because Baffa, attorneys and jurors and their alternates have scheduled vacations.
"We have to give these poor people a break," the judge said.
California Water Service Co., the second of two defendants, is putting on its case and Baffa said he hopes company attorney Charles A. Bennett will complete it by the end of July so that final arguments can start when the trial resumes in September. The Rolling Hills Community Assn. presented its defense earlier.
Attorneys for the property owners, who called 28 witnesses, rested their case after four months of testimony.
Property owners blame the association and the water company for water erosion in Flying Triangle canyons that they contend triggered the slide in 1980. The defendants say excessive rainfall during the late 1970s is to blame.