Court Rules That City Violated the Brown Act in Little Saigon Dispute

Practices:
Litigation, General Civil

Result:

Court Rules That City Violated the Brown Act in Little Saigon Dispute

Client:

Vietnamese American Community of Northern California (VACNORCAL)

Overview:

McManis Faulkner represented the Vietnamese American Community of Northern California (VACNORCAL) in an action against the City of San Jose.  The suit arose when the City Council named a Vietnamese district “Saigon Business District” in spite of overwhelming community support for “Little Saigon.”  Suspicions of back-door politics were confirmed when an interview of then-Councilmember Forrest Williams revealed that private conversations about the project occurred before the public vote.  VACNORCAL alleged that the City Council violated the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act) and an injunction prohibiting communications between city councilmembers which result in such violations.  The City refused to concede any violation of the Brown Act in relation to the project.  After a month-long trial, the Court held that the City violated the Brown Act, and issued an injunction prohibiting practices which pose a significant risk of further violation of the Brown Act.