Surfers' Bullying Stoked California Class Action

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By Perry Cooper

Aug. 9 — A gang of territorial surfers harasses beachgoers and restricts access to a California beach, a class complaint filed Aug. 4 alleges ( Spencer v. Lunada Bay Boys, Cal. Super. Ct., No. BC 629596, complaint filed 8/4/16 ).

The plaintiffs allege that the gang, known as the Lunada Bay Boys, violated the California Coastal Act by threatening, intimidating and harassing non-locals who try to visit the beach in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

Since the 1970s, gang members have thrown rocks at visitors, slashed their tires, stolen their property and otherwise threatened violence, according to the complaint filed in California Superior Court.

The city is also named as a defendant in the suit for excluding the plaintiffs and others from their right to recreational opportunities on its beaches.

Prior Federal Suit

The state court complaint comes after a federal trial court in July declined to consider California law claims in a suit filed by the same plaintiffs over the same incidents in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Their claims under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause will proceed in federal court.

An attorney for the city referred Bloomberg BNA to a May statement from the mayor, urging the public “not to jump to conclusions based on a few statements taken out of context or a few false and inflammatory allegations raised in a lawsuit.”

Attorneys for the surfer defendants didn't respond to requests for comment.

Otten Law P.C. and Hanson Bridgett LLP represent the plaintiffs.

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith LLP, Veatch Carlson LLP and others represent the surfers in the federal suit. Kutak Rock LLP represents the city in that suit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

For More Information

The state court complaint is at http://src.bna.com/hyW.

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