After reading this article on Scout.com on yesterday's hearing, I am cautiously optimistic that we will have the injunction lifted on July 17 or shortly thereafter.
Plaintiffs to submit arguments by June 11, UC to respond by June 15 and hearing on July 17.
Why I'm optimistic:
Based judges remarks quoted in the article, she sounds ready to close and let UC move ahead. In response to the Plaintiffs demands for more time to review UC's documentation, she responded:
"I'm not sure I understand," said the Judge. "Aren't we now down to just a few very specific issues? Why is so much time needed?"
This sounds very favorable for Cal.
Why my optimism is mixed with caution:
The plaintiff's response:
"Your Honor," said Volker, "We see a far different reality."
"We're very concerned about the seismic issues that result from the removal of the grade beam from the project," he said.
In a last ditch effort to further delay the SAHPC, it appears plaintiffs will argue that the famous grade beam is indeed necessary, forcing UC to propose a valuation of CMS and the grade beam. Plaintiffs will then contest any valuation in an effort to drag the process on.
I'm also still concerned about the possibility for appeals. COB seems to be the key player here because they provide financial protection for the Oaks and Panoramic Hill folks. In the absence of public statements or insider information, it is hard to say which way COB is leaning.
The judge seems to be getting fed up with the plaintiffs stall tactics. Her language suggests that indeed her ruling is in favor of UC except for a few minor technicalities and that she is sensitive to the costs of further delay to UC. Cal's request to lift the injunction is comprehensive and convincing. Cal also has expert testimony on the grade beam. Plaintiffs will certainly come up with their own, but I trust that UC knows what it is doing and would not trade safety for expediency. I'm not even sure if plaintiffs have any legal basis to stand on here.
The biggest threat remains appeal. It is important for the judge to lift the injunction before any appeal can be made. As explained in the article by Rossman, an appeal would apparently lift her jurisdiction and tie up the injunction with the settlement of the appeal, which could take 18-24 months. If she lifts the injunction before, it is unlikely that the appeals court would reinstate it, meaning that the project could move ahead while the appeal plays out.
I know I'm going out on a limb here...but I believe the judge is giving favorable consideration to UC's request to lift the injunction. I'm optimistic that we could break ground as early as this month, but certainly by August.