Gavel

By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 02/26/15, 12:01 AM PST | Updated: 1 min ago

RIVERSIDE >> A judge on Thursday ruled in favor of Los Angeles on two key claims in the legal battle for control of L.A./Ontario International Airport

Riverside Superior Court Judge Gloria Connor Trask upheld the 1967 joint-powers agreement that gave Los Angeles control of the airport.

Thursday’s ruling comes after Trask issued a tentative decision in January where she explained that Ontario had an opportunity to rescind a later 1985 agreement that turned over the deed to L.A. due to legal missteps that did not comply with the government code, but the city waited too long to exercise such an option.

Trask noted that Ontario needed to have made the motion by 1989.

“We’re satisfied with the decision. Los Angeles looks forward to future talks with our Inland Empire colleagues on a fair transfer of ownership of Ontario Airport,” said Jeff Millman, spokesman for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Ontario questioned the validity of the 30-year-old acquisition because it was being classified by L.A. as a sale because a sale would have required a public vote.

In addition to Thursday’s ruling, Trask declined Ontario’s request to hold a hearing on her final decision.

“Although we are disappointed by the court’s decision barring two claims within its complaint, we are pleased that a jury will have the opportunity to consider Ontario’s three other claims,” said Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner in a statement.

Ontario also claims L.A. and Los Angeles World Airports, which operates Los Angeles International Airport along with the Ontario International, have neglected and mismanaged ONT. Ontario is suing L.A. for breach of contract, violation of its fiduciary duty and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The case is expected to go to trial on Aug. 17.

But a new motion by the defendants aims to preempt the trial and get the case dismissed. Both sides will return to court April 8 to address the claim filed by attorneys for L.A., arguing that Ontario waited too long to seek any damages on the three claims.

In addition, L.A. and Ontario are still waiting for a ruling from the U.S. 4th District Court of Appeals in Riverside about 399 documents and whether they should be released by L.A.