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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear De La Fuente Appeal

The city of San Diego won another victory in a long running legal battle with developer/car dealer Roque De La Fuente when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal. The California Supreme Court rejected his appeal in January, said City Attorney Mike Aguirre on May 15.

The dispute goes back to 1995 when De La Fuente filed suit against the city for actions it took in the 1980s that he claimed greatly reduced the value of his Border Business Park in Otay Mesa.

Those actions included rerouting truck traffic near his industrial park, and the city holding talks with Mexican officials for a possible binational airport called Twin Ports.

In 2001, a jury agreed with De La Fuente’s attorneys and awarded the developer $94.5 million.

That award was later reduced by an appellate judge, but with all the interest and legal fees was estimated in 2005 to be $120 million. In his latest press release, Aguirre put the judgment at $150 million.

“We have now put to rest the bulk of De La Fuente’s claims against the city and taxpayers of San Diego,” Aguirre said.

The city still faces claims by De La Fuente totaling $29.2 million that were separated and ordered to be retried, which the city attorney’s office will also vigorously defend, Aguirre said.

The city has been using outside lawyers to defend itself following the 2001 De La Fuente trial, which it litigated with in-house attorneys. The outside firms are Horvitz & Levy, and Latham & Watkins.

, Mike Allen

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