City Attorney Creates Potential for Self-Inflicted Landslide of Lawsuits


I watched with great interest the news yesterday regarding the landslide in La Jolla. Kris and I were particularly interested when we recognized one of the homes that was destroyed was one that was currently on the market and that Kris had recently shown to one of our clients. They came very close to buying it but passed at the 11th hour.

As I watched the TV coverage I was fully prepared to post here, but I thought maybe I should wait 24 hours and get more information. Unfortunately, our City Attorney, Mike Aguirre was not inclined to do the same. The tragic landslide had not even stopped moving and there was Mr. Aguirre, already at the scene and giving a TV press conference. I had no idea that Aguirre was also a geologist. He had to be because he was speaking as though he had been intensely studying the geological formations of Mt. Soledad for years. Interestingly, at about the time he was on TV speaking on one channel, the City Geologist was on another channel actually speaking intelligently. He was not trying to give legal advice, thankfully.

Certainly, many of the facts are not yet known. There will be a ton of information coming out over the next few days and weeks regarding this unfortunate event, and of course liability will be a major consideration. But why was Mr. Aguirre, whose sole purpose as the City Attorney is to defend the interests of the City, making comments at his press conference that, in my opinion, implicated the City he is sworn to defend? Why was he holding a press conference at all? He is not the Mayor, nor is he a policy maker. If the City has responsibility, so be it. There are plenty of attorneys out there who are fully prepared to represent the people whose homes were damaged. What we don’t need is our own City Attorney, within one hour of the landslide event, creating liability for the City without any command of the facts. 

I guarantee you that the tapes from his press conference will show up as Exhibits A, B and C in court for the damaged homeowners . It would seem that he has now prejudiced his own ability to defend the City. Wonderful! Then I saw another TV piece where he was speaking to a Town Hall Meeting in La Jolla saying that there will be no cover-up by the City which, of course, suggests to many that there is already a cover-up. This was within 24 hours of the landslide.  How self-serving. This guy is totally out of control.

What we do know is that the City had known about this situation. That is why they took several preemptive and very wise measures, such as shutting down underground water lines and temporarily rerouting them above ground. The City had also brought in SDG&E to put flexible connections on gas lines weeks ago.  Thank goodness they did all of this. There was no gas explosion or fire, in fact no fatalities and not even any injuries. Regardless, the finger pointing and accusations have already begun. 

Lost in this mess is the extremely sad and tragic situation for those impacted by the landslide. My heart goes out to them.  

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