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Moratorium on Court Filings Ordered in Oxnard Dunes Case

June 22, 1989

A judge has ordered a two-month moratorium on court filings in the complicated Oxnard Dunes case so that attorneys can concentrate on reaching a settlement.

Ventura County Superior Court Presiding Judge Joe D. Hadden cited the expense of conducting a trial for the case, in which 175 residents of the coastal subdivision that was built on a dump for oil wastes are seeking $3.5 billion from 120 defendants.

"It would take a very long time to try and it would take a lot of money," Hadden said.

The case, which involves defendants from real estate brokers to dump operators, also poses logistical problems because more than 500 people would have to be accommodated if all the plaintiffs, defendants and their attorneys appeared at once. The largest facility available to the Superior Court seats fewer than 100.

Site for Case

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Yegan, who next month will be transferred from the case, had contemplated conducting hearings either in the 2,000-seat Oxnard Auditorium or a facility built expressly for the 18-month-old case.

Hadden, who has yet to appoint a replacement for Yegan, said he has already met with some attorneys and plans to meet with more this month. His plans met with approval from Paul Dolan, a Dunes resident and a leader in the suit.

"It gets very expensive on all sides," Dolan said.

But Glenn J. Campbell of Ventura, an attorney who represents six real estate brokers and is also the lead attorney for several other lawyers for real estate brokers, was not so enthusiastic.

"It's almost morally reprehensible to think that you have to settle because of the costs when you aren't liable," he said."

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