City Zoning Powers Versus Claims of “Disability” Under a Federal Statute: A Sobering Issue?

The US Supreme Court will consider claims of municipal authority clashing with those of the sober living business in City of Costa Mesa, California v. SoCal Recovery, LLC, et. al. No 23-71, a pending petition for certiorari to the High Court. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit set a new and low threshold for considering suits brought not by individual disabled persons but rather by sober living homes seeking to sue on a “collective basis.” Although focused on two sober living facilities in the City of Costa Mesa, the Ninth Circuit’s decision has wide potential impact on other municipalities throughout the Western United States. That decision is the subject of a petition seeking Supreme Court review.

Ring Bender LLP attorneys Norman Dupont, Patrick (Kit) Bobko and Jay Tufano filed an amicus brief on behalf of seven southern California cities and the Association of California Cities-Orange County. The amici argued that traditional municipal regulation of zoning and designation of residential-zoned areas merit judicial deference, particularly in light of the evidentiary failures of the sober living homes to identify even one individual at their facilities who qualified as disabled under the federal statute, the American Disabilities Act.

Ring Bender’s amicus brief can be seen here.