SM COURTHOUSE — A group of animal rights protesters has recently decided to drop a civil suit brought against city officials and UCLA.
The five plaintiffs, who filed a civil litigation case in October of 2007 against UCLA, the city of Santa Monica and the Los Angeles Police Department for violation of First and Fourth Amendment rights, filed for joint stipulation of dismissal on May 14 and were granted their request by United States District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II on May 18.
Linda Faith Greene, Hillary Roney, David Rutan, Pamela Fedin and Dr. Jerry Vlasak were suing for what they said were infringements on their rights, citing the search and seizure of property from their homes by police and citations given by police for noise violations at protests as evidence to these complaints.
Greene and Roney, both of whom were affected by a court injunction passed Wednesday protecting UCLA researchers from harassment, were granted dismissal with prejudice, as was Rutan, said Carol Ann Rohr, deputy city attorney for Santa Monica.
The phrase “with prejudice,” Rohr explained, pertains to the stipulation that the plaintiffs may not file the same charges in civil litigation again.
Fedin and Vlasak, however, insisted on dismissing without prejudice, allowing them to file suit for the same complaints at a later date.
“We have simply been run into the ground with expenses,” said Vlasak explaining that Christine Garcia, the plaintiffs’ attorney, had been working on a contingency basis in hopes of successfully obtaining reimbursement from the defendants. “The dismissal had nothing to do with the validity of the case, they’ve just made it so horrendous and expensive that we cannot keep going at this point.”
But Vlasak also said that his fight with the UCLA and city officials is far from over, and that he and Ferdin intend to make use of the “without prejudice” clause of their dismissal.
“We fully intend to use some or all of the information from this in a future civil case, one to be pursued in a more strategic manner to avoid them being able to run us into the ground financially,” Vlasak said.
In a related case, the District Attorney’s Office has filed a criminal indictment against Greene for her actions toward UCLA researchers. No further information on that case is available at this time.