Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit over DWP billing scandal


Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit over DWP billing scandal

LA Politics, Homepage News

Dakota Smith

February 5, 2024

A lawsuit filed by a customer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power against a former high-ranking attorney for the city can proceed, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge George H. Wu denied a request by former chief deputy city attorney. Jim Clark will dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by DWP client Dennis Bradshaw.

Bradshaw is suing Clark and more than a dozen other lawyers over their handling of a separate lawsuit arising from DWP overbilling charges, alleging breaches of his procedures. Clark and the other attorneys named in Bradshaw’s lawsuit, which at one time included City Atty. Mike Feuer, have denied wrongdoing.

Bradshaw’s lawsuit stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by DWP customers over a billing system rolled out in 2013, a scandal that sparked a federal criminal investigation.

Customers were inundated with excessively high bills caused by the billing system, including a Van Nuys couple who were charged nearly $52,000. Several lawsuits have been filed by customers.

Federal prosecutors described in charging documents how attorneys working for Feuer staged a sham lawsuit in an attempt to stop the lawsuits. The sham lawsuit was created so the city could quickly reach a settlement with a friendly opposing attorney in an effort to settle all claims over the flawed accounts, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors have never named or charged the city attorney’s staff, who they allege ordered the collusion lawsuit. The U.S. attorney’s office announced last year that it had ended its investigation into the billing scandal.

Bradshaw’s lawsuit alleges that during a February 2015 meeting, Clark authorized Paul Paradis and Paul Kiesel, two attorneys working for the city, to find a “friendly” attorney to file a lawsuit against the city. The friendly lawyer was Jack Landskroner

an attorney from Ohio

of Ohio, according to Bradshaw’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges that Clark instructed Paradis to create a data mining team consisting of city attorneys and DWP staff. The purpose of this team was to compile a list of damages suffered by customers, information that Landskroner would later use in its settlement letter to the city, according to the lawsuit.

Clark also met with Paradis so that Clark could review and discuss the draft settlement letter. The purpose of the meeting, according to the lawsuit, was so that Clark could sign the letter, which Paradis would then deliver to Landskroner, who in turn would send it to the city.

Clark sought to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that Bradshaw’s attorneys had not provided sufficient facts to prove Clark’s alleged involvement in the collusive scheme.

Wu disagreed with his preliminary decision last week.

Although certain individual allegations (such as that Clark participated in the data mining project), taken alone, may be consistent with other statements, the plaintiffs’ allegations as a whole are sufficient for the Court to infer Clark’s participation in the scheme, wrote Wu. . [parens are cq, from judge’s ruling]

Clark’s attorneys were not present at Monday’s hearing and did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge’s ruling. “The idea that Mr. Clark had knowledge or consent [the lawsuit] The plan has been repeatedly discredited and is a complete fabrication,” Marisol Mork, Clark’s attorney, previously told The Times.

Filippo Marchino, a lawyer for Bradshaw, said Wu’s ruling was significant. “We think the judge sees the facts,” Marchino said.

Paradis, the city’s former lawyer, is serving a nearly three-year prison sentence for accepting bribes in connection with the sham lawsuit.


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