UPDATE: Monrovia Food Truck Lawsuit Costs City $215,000

Monrovia will pay the Socal Mobile Food Vendors Association $75,000 in attorney's fees on top of what the city has spent in legal costs and agreed to repeal its law banning food trucks from its Old Town district.

A settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought against Monrovia by a food truck association requires the city to pay the organization $75,000 in attorneys fees, making the total legal cost of the ordinance to the city about $215,000.

The Socal Mobile Food Vendors Association that barred food trucks from parking in Old Town and restricted their operation elsewhere in the city. The city reached a confidential settlement with the group last month that requires the city to repeal its ban on food trucks and recommend new regulations for mobile vending.

In an email to Patch, Monrovia City Manager Laurie Lile said the city decided to settle the suit because it was unsure if it would prevail in court. A drawn out court fight could have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars more in legal costs in addition to the $140,000 it had already spent, she wrote.

"Regrettably, this is an expensive settlement for the city," Lile wrote. "However, the City Council made a business decision to avoid the financial risk of taking the matter to trial. With no published legal authority on the issues raised in the case, there was no way to evaluate how the judge would evaluate the city's ordinance. Some pre-trial rulings indicated that the court was in agreement with the Association on certain issues."

One curious clause in the agreement bars the city and food truck vendors from sending out written information about the settlement to the news media. The clause was included at the request of the city, according to SoCalMFVA attorney Kevin Behrendt.

"The parties will not disparage one another in any context or circumstance," the agreement reads. "The parties will not issue any written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing the terms of this Agreement."

The city is required by law to make the settlement agreement public under the California Public Records Act. Patch obtained a copy of the settlement agreement through a public records request.

City Attorney Craig Steele did not return two messages requesting comment on the settlement agreement.

Lile said in her email that the city will amend its ordinance into a "set of regulations consistent with other cities and acceptable to the food truck industry."

Holly Hale September 10, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Robert, You're probably right. Everybody gets their toes stepped on in a competitive market but you're right the trucks are takers not givers. So it makes a case for them being charged a licensing fee to park in Monrovia unless they want to find some place off the beaten path to have a Food truck festival of sorts periodically. There's a spot in Pasadena where several of them park on certain nights of the week and it's rather fun. @Barb: Library park has lovely playground equipment. Which parks need it? We need a lot of streets repaired, too I'm not sure it's poorly advised in order to protect our local businesses. If you owned a restaurant and saw a line at a Food Truck parked a half a block away while your restaurant sat empty, when it used to jam, you'd be bummed, too.
Holly Hale September 10, 2012 at 12:15 AM
The message is that Monrovia is loyal to it's businesses. The protection is not sending a message that they need protecting because they aren't good, if that's what you're thinking.
Dave September 10, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Monrovia should protect businesses, all of them. Food trucks will not be a local restaurant killer, bad ordinances will. They should be treated like any other business, make them buy a business license, pay a fee appropriate to their use of public infrastructure and call it a day.
Holly Hale September 10, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Belittled? That was unprofessional.
Dan Crandell September 10, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Along with the settlement $$$$$$'s do the they get open run on our city?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »