Statement by the City Council, City of Pleasant Hill
December 5, 2016
We are pleased to announce that tonight in closed session we agreed to a settlement in our attorney fee dispute with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and City Arms East. As we resolve this legal matter, it is important to note that we still have in place the provisions that regulate firearms dealers in Pleasant Hill, and that this past February, the challengers dismissed their lawsuit seeking to overturn those provisions.
When the City Council initially adopted the firearms ordinance, the goal was to protect the health and safety of our citizens by putting in place reasonable regulations for firearm dealers to operate safely in Pleasant Hill. After the initial ordinance was passed in 2013, it was challenged in court by the NSSF and City Arms East. During the course of the legal challenge, we were able to address many of the challengers’ concerns while keeping intact the intent and requirements of the original ordinance. As a result, this past February the NSSF and City Arms East dismissed their lawsuit. Since we attempted to address some of their concerns, however, the NSSF and City Arms East filed a claim against the City for the entirety of their legal fees, approximately $1,000,000.
Because the City was represented pro bono, it did not have to pay the cost of its own attorney fees, and only paid expenses throughout the litigation. Unfortunately claims for attorney fees are a separate matter, can be expensive, and sometimes take years to resolve. Although the City believes it has strong arguments for why the NSSF and City Arms East are not entitled to any attorney fees in this matter, in the interest of moving on to other priorities for our community, we have agreed to cover a portion of the challengers’ legal fees, $400,000.
We think this is a fair resolution and are very happy that we were able to protect our ordinance, while also listening to the NSSF and City Arms East to address a number of their concerns. We would like to thank our attorneys from the law firm of Keker & Van Nest, who represented the City pro bono and were an invaluable resource throughout this process.
For more information please contact CG Communications at (925) 979-5404.