Beachwood: The Legal Cost

Half Moon Bay is struggling to fight off the Beachwood case, which they lost late last year in District Court (with a judgment against them of over $40 million) and which they are wisely appealing.

Unfortunately, Half Moon Bay is a small town (with about a $10 million budget, which doesn’t include the separate fire services but does include law enforcement). The Palo Alto developer they are up against is wealthy. The disparity in financial resources–and nuance in California law which places the burden of a town’s legal defense on itself, even if it prevails–means that Half Moon Bay is in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Even if they achieve total victory and the Beachwood judgment is thrown out they will will not be reimbursed for for legal expenses. But yet, by all measure of common sense, they have to fight.

And those expenses are not trivial. In 2007 alone legal bills were roughly 25% of the total city budget. The police force took another 50%, leaving the final 25% for all other city expenses. Rough numbers but you get the clear impression that something is very wrong with the financial situation in Half Moon Bay, no matter what happens in the Beachwood case.

To help viewers make up their own minds we are providing copies, in pdf format, of some of the actual invoices for legal services paid by Half Moon Bay. We will be adding to our collection as time goes one.

Click here to see the invoices

Thanks to George Muteff for providing these documents and the Swisstranslate Zürich legal translation service.

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