Gavel

A Riverside Superior Court judge on Thursday denied the city of Los Angeles’ motion to throw out key parts of the lawsuit against it filed by Ontario over control of L.A./Ontario International Airport.

By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 04/23/15, 10:53 AM PDT | Updated: 1 hr ago

RIVERSIDE >> It will be up to a jury to decide if Ontario can seek damages as a result of alleged malfeasance by Los Angeles World Airports over management of L.A./Ontario International Airport.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Gloria Connor Trask on Thursday denied Los Angeles’ motion to dismiss Ontario’s lawsuit to gain local control of ONT.

The ruling by Trask allows Ontario to seek damages on three claims — breach of fiduciary duty; contract; and covenant of good faith and fair dealing — when the case goes to trial on Aug. 17.

“Trask found there were triable issues of material fact that is for a jury to determine,” said Andre Cronthall, attorney for Ontario.

Thursday’s decision follows another recent development in the suit that could favor Ontario. The state 4th District Court of Appeal in Riverside issued a writ late last week indicating that Ontario’s petition to dissolve the decades-old agreement that handed over control of ONT has merit.

The Court of Appeal issued an order April 16 stating it is inclined to issue a writ, unless Los Angeles submits a brief on or before May 5 showing good cause why it should not do that, Cronthall said.

“The tables have turned on that earlier ruling,” he said.

In Thursday’s ruling, a jury will have to decide whether the settlement discussions between 2010 and 2013 stopped the statute of limitations, Cronthall said.

Attorneys for L.A. argued that Ontario is not entitled to the claims. L.A. City Charter and Administrative Code require that claims for money against the city of Los Angeles have to be filed no later than one year from the date when the claim accrued.

Because the lawsuit was filed April 2013, Ontario needed to show evidence that there was a violation in the year before, argued Scott Lewis, attorney for Los Angeles.

Lewis added that Ontario never sought damages during negotiations, just the transfer of the airport.

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