Komesar v. City of Pasadena
Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC 677632

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The notice explains that the Court has allowed, or “certified,” this lawsuit to proceed as a class action.  Pasadena Water and Power’s records show that you are a member of the Class, based on the class definition set forth in the notice.  Accordingly, you have legal rights and options that you may exercise at this time, before the trial takes place or the case is settled.

  • This lawsuit is currently pending in Department 14 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, before the Honorable Kenneth R. Freeman. It is titled: Komesar v. City of Pasadena, Case No. BC 677632.

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more named parties called “Class Representatives” sue a defendant on behalf of other people who have similar claims against that defendant.  Each person is a member of the Class, unless he or she makes a timely request to be excluded from the Class.  All claims brought on behalf of the Class are resolved in a single case before a single court for all members of the Class, who will be bound by the judgment.  Entities such as businesses and non-profits can also be members of the Class.

    Plaintiff Eve Komesar is the Class Representative in this case.  The City of Pasadena is the defendant.

  • The Court decided that this lawsuit can proceed as a class action because it meets the requirements of California Code of Civil Procedure, section 382, which governs class actions in California state courts.  More information about why the Court is allowing this lawsuit to proceed as a class action can be found in the Court’s order certifying the class, which is available on the Important Documents page.

  • Plaintiff claims that the City of Pasadena has violated, and continues to violate, California Constitution article XIII C, section 2, subdivision (b) (“Proposition 218”) by imposing fees and charges for its electric utility service that exceed the cost of providing that service, without voter approval.  In particular, she alleges that the City of Pasadena designs its electric rates to generate funding for the City of Pasadena’s annual transfers of money from its light and power fund to its general fund pursuant to Pasadena City Charter, article XIV, sections 1407-1408; and that this practice, in the absence of voter approval, violates Proposition 218.  Amongst other relief, she seeks a refund of all amounts charged that exceed the City of Pasadena’s reasonable cost of providing electric service.  For more information about Plaintiff’s allegations and claims, please review Plaintiff’s complaint, which can be found on the Important Documents page.

  • The City of Pasadena denies any wrongdoing.  It contends that Pasadena Water and Power’s fees and charges for electric utility service do not exceed the reasonable cost of providing that service.  In particular, it claims that Pasadena City Charter, article XIV, sections 1407-1408 authorize annual transfers of money from the light and power fund to the general fund; that these provisions were approved multiple times by Pasadena voters; and that accordingly, the City of Pasadena may design its fees and charges for electric utility service in a manner that ensures the transfers are funded, without violating Proposition 218.  It has also asserted a number of procedural defenses that, if proven, could limit or prevent any refund. 

    For more information about the City’s allegations and defenses, please review the City of Pasadena’s answer to the complaint, which can be found on the Important Documents page.  

  • No.  The Court has not yet decided whether the City of Pasadena or Plaintiff is correct, nor has it entered judgment in favor of any party.  By certifying the case as a class action, the Court is not expressing any opinion regarding the merits of Plaintiff’s claims.  Those claims will be resolved by the Court at trial or by a motion, or by the parties if a settlement is reached.

  • Plaintiff seeks a refund of all amounts of Pasadena Water and Power’s electric fees and charges that exceed the reasonable cost of providing electric service; a declaration from the Court that those fees and charges are “taxes” that require voter approval under Proposition 218; and a judgment preventing the further collection of electric fees and charges that exceed the reasonable cost of providing electric service unless and until the City of Pasadena obtains voter approval of those fees and charges.

  • No.  Because the Court has not yet determined whether the City of Pasadena has violated Proposition 218, there is no money available for members of the Class at this time.  There is also no guarantee that money or other benefits will be obtained.  If at some point money is available, either after trial or as the result of a settlement, members of the Class who have not requested exclusion will be sent instructions for how they may receive a share.

  • The Class includes all persons and entities that, from June 1, 2017 through October 29, 2019, were billed by Pasadena Water and Power for retail electric service provided under any rate schedule described in Title 13, Chapter 13.04 of the Pasadena Municipal Code.  Any judges assigned to the case, as well as their immediate family members, are excluded from the Class.

    According to Pasadena Water and Power’s records, you are a member of the Class, and unless you ask to be excluded from the Class, you will be bound by any decisions of the Court that determine the Class’ legal rights.  For information on how to be excluded from the Class, see FAQ 15.

    If you are not sure whether you are a member of the Class, you can obtain free help by contacting the lawyers representing the Plaintiff in this case at the email or phone number listed in FAQ 12.

  • The Court has appointed Plaintiff Eve Komesar to serve as the Class Representative.  Ms. Komesar is a customer of Pasadena Water and Power who was billed for electric utility service during the relevant period.

  • The Court has appointed the law firms of Kearney Littlefield, LLP and Benink & Slavens, LLP as “Class Counsel.”  If you remain in the Class, these firms will represent your interests in this case.

    Class Counsel may be reached by the following methods:

    Thomas A. Kearney, Esq.
    tak@kearneylittlefield.com
    Prescott W. Littlefield, Esq.
    pwl@kearneylittlefield.com
    KEARNEY LITTLEFIELD, LLP
    3436 N. Verdugo Rd., Suite 230
    Glendale, CA 91208
    Tel: (213) 473-1900
    Fax: (213) 473-1919

    Vincent D. Slavens, Esq.
    vince@beninkslavens.com
    Eric J. Benink, Esq.
    eric@beninkslavens.com 
    BENINK & SLAVENS, LLP
    550 West C Street, Suite 530
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Tel: (619) 369-5252 
    Fax: (619) 369-5253

  • Because Class Counsel are working on your behalf, you do not need to hire your own lawyer.  If you would like a different lawyer to represent you, you may hire one.  However, you will have to pay that lawyer yourself.

  • Class Counsel have entered into a contingency fee agreement with Plaintiff.  This means that they are advancing all costs and fees in this case and will be paid or reimbursed only if there is a recovery.  If there is no recovery, Class Counsel will not be paid and/or reimbursed.

    If Plaintiff prevails or the case settles, Class Counsel will ask the Court to issue an order providing for the payment or reimbursement of their fees and costs, either by deducting the fees and costs from any money obtained for the Class or by directing the City of Pasadena to pay those fees and costs.  The Court must approve any such request.  The City of Pasadena can, and may, oppose any request that it be ordered to pay Class Counsel’s fees and costs.

  • At this time, you must decide whether or not you wish to remain in the Class.

    (a) NO ACTION REQUIRED to remain in the Class

    You do not need to do anything to remain in the Class. If you do not take any action, you will automatically become a member of the Class on October 29, 2019.

    (b) ACTION REQUIRED to be excluded from the Class

    To exclude yourself from the Class, you must send a completed Request to Opt Out of Class Action form to the following address:

    KEARNEY LITTLEFIELD, LLP
    Attn: Pasadena Class Exclusion Request
    3436 N. Verdugo Rd., Suite 230
    Glendale, CA 91208

    This form can be downloaded and printed from the Important Documents page. IT MUST BE POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 29, 2019 TO BE VALID. ANY LATE REQUESTS TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THE CLASS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Class Counsel will submit to the Court all forms received before the deadline.

    If you are considering excluding yourself from the Class, please note that any legal claims that you separately assert against the City of Pasadena may be time barred, which would prevent you from securing relief.

    The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was October 29, 2019 and has passed.

  • If you stay in the Class, you will be bound by the decisions of the Court and any judgment entered in the case.  This means that even if you do not receive any money or benefits as a result of your participation in this case, you will not be able to pursue a separate lawsuit against the City of Pasadena on your own that raises the same claims Plaintiff has alleged on behalf of the Class.

  • If you stay in the Class, you do not have to sue the City of Pasadena on your own for any of the claims that Plaintiff has brought against the City of Pasadena on behalf of the Class.  If there is a recovery, either after trial or as a result of a settlement, you may be entitled to a share of that recovery.

  • No.  You do not have to come to trial or to any hearings in this case.  Class Counsel and Plaintiff will represent you.  You are welcome to come at your own expense.

  • No trial date has been set.

  • No settlement has been reached.

  • There is no guarantee that money or benefits will be obtained, and even if they are obtained, there is no guarantee as to when that will occur.  If you stay in the Class and Plaintiff obtains money or benefits for the Class after trial or as a result of a settlement, you will be notified about how to participate in the recovery.

  • A copy of the Notice, the Complaint, the Answer to the Complaint, the order certifying the class, and the Request to Be Excluded from the Class form can be viewed and downloaded on the Important Documents page.  If you have any questions, you may contact Class Counsel by any of the methods identified in FAQ 12.

    Please do not contact the Judge or the Court directly.

For More Information

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Mail

Komesar v. City of Pasadena
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91209
Seattle, WA 98111