Scales of Justice

By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 02/18/15, 11:43 AM PST | Updated: 2 hrs ago

RIVERSIDE >> Ontario’s lawsuit with Los Angeles seeking local control of L.A./Ontario International Airport will go to trial Aug. 17, a judge said Wednesday, but a new motion by the defendants aims to preempt that and get the case dismissed.

Both sides will return to court April 8 to address a new claim filed by attorneys for L.A., arguing that Ontario waited too long to seek any damages on three claims in the suit for breach of fiduciary duty, contract, and covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The nine-page motion was filed in Riverside Superior Court on Tuesday.

During proceedings Wednesday in Riverside Superior Court, Ontario’s attorney, Andre Cronthall, called the motion a legal maneuver to delay the case.

“It had not been mentioned before,” he said. “They were never raised in an answer to the claim by the defendants, never raised in subsequent motions filed in the case. My suspicion is that this is an effort to try and delay the case.”

Ontario filed a lawsuit in June 2013 against L.A. and Los Angeles World Airports, an agency of that city that operates ONT, Los Angeles International Airport and Van Nuys Airport. The suit seeks to transfer control of the airport to an Inland authority arguing that LAWA has failed to develop air service since 2007. Steven Rosenthal, attorney for L.A., said the new motion – and another motion that will be filed in the coming months – would need to be resolved by the courts before a trial can be held.

The hearing in April asks the court to decide what Rosenthal called the issue of presentment, referring to the timeliness of when Ontario filed its administrative claim.

According to Rosenthal, the L.A. City Charter and Administrative Code require that claims for money against the city of L.A. have to be filed no later than one year from the date when the claim accrued. In this case, Rosenthal said, the date would have been long before April 11, 2012, which is a year before Ontario filed its administrative claim.

“We think the motions will resolve this case without a need for a trial,” Rosenthal said.

But the plaintiffs’ claims for damages and the types of damages “are improper as a matter of law,” he said.

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