Cases & Deals

Los Angeles County obtains favorable judgment in two related taxpayer actions with potential $200 million loss

Client(s) Los Angeles County

Jones Day successfully defended Los Angeles County (the "County"), and obtained a favorable trial court judgment in its favor, against a potential $200 million loss in two related taxpayer actions. Both actions challenged the validity of a November 4, 2008 election ("Measure U"), whereby voters approved the County's continued imposition of a utility user tax ("UUT") in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Both actions claimed, albeit through different procedural postures, that the November 4 election was invalid because the County's "impartial analysis" in Measure U's ballot materials failed to disclose certain information. The plaintiffs in both actions sought refund of all UUT paid since the date of the election based on the allegedly misleading ballot materials. The trial court had rejected every one of the plaintiffs' arguments, finding the County's ballot materials for Measure U were not misleading and comported with all applicable law; it also found the plaintiffs in one action were procedurally barred by waiver and judicial estoppel from challenging the election. The plaintiffs in both actions appealed. This case has substantial implications for California election law.

Oronoz v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. BC334027; Owens v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. BC419572 (Cal. App.)