The lawsuit the ACLU filed against San Diego this week alleging the city had illegally destroyed the property of homeless people came as a surprise to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, according to a letter he wrote to one of the attorneys involved.

In a letter to attorney Scott Dreher, whose law firm filed the suit jointly with the ACLU, Goldsmith said he was disappointed Dreher had not disclosed the pending lawsuit in a meeting the two had a day before it was filed. Goldsmith’s letter says:

When we met with you the day before to discuss homeless issues, you didn’t mention that you were suing the City. I am disappointed.

Most attorneys would, at least, make an attempt to resolve an issue before filing a lawsuit, particularly when we are already in discussions on a creative means of allowing the City to enforce its illegal lodging laws while increasing homeless services. In fact, we both agreed at the meeting to a general framework for an ultimate agreement.

In the letter, Goldsmith asked Dreher to dismiss the lawsuit and give the city an opportunity to discuss its policies on handling homeless property. He also said the city would vigorously defend itself if the lawsuit goes forward.

Dreher did not immediately return a call. I’ll keep you posted.


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