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California Briefing / NEWPORT BEACH

Judge tosses suit on group homes

August 16, 2008|Susannah Rosenblatt

A federal judge has dismissed a $250-million lawsuit brought by a citizens' group opposed to the proliferation of addiction recovery homes against the city's largest provider, Sober Living by the Sea.

The lawsuit filed by Concerned Citizens of Newport Beach originally named the city, City Council and 10 addiction recovery providers; the group had previously settled or dismissed claims against all the groups except for Sober Living by the Sea.

The legal action was dismissed this week by Judge James V. Selna with prejudice, which bars the group from filing additional lawsuits on the same claim.

"We felt that we needed to protect ourselves so they couldn't come back at us," said John Peloquin, vice president of operations for CRC Health Group, which runs Sober Living by the Sea. "The lawsuit didn't have merit."

Concerned Citizens plans to focus its efforts on political battles to fight what it deems an over-concentration of recovery homes, which the group says bring secondhand smoke, noise and traffic to Newport Beach's coastal neighborhoods.

"Attention to this matter is far from over," said Denys Oberman, chief executive of Concerned Citizens of Newport Beach.

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