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SLO City Council won't appeal court order to pay legal fees in homeless sleeping case

A line of cars on Prado Road, where many homeless gathered to live and sleep in their vehicles.
A line of cars on Prado Road, where many homeless gathered to live and sleep in their vehicles. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-1 in closed session Tuesday to not appeal a Superior Court judge’s order to pay $133,880 in legal fees and other associated costs to the two attorneys who sued the city over its treatment of homeless people living and sleeping in their vehicles.

Councilman Dan Carpenter was the lone dissenting vote.

The 14-page ruling issued by Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall in January said attorneys Stewart Jenkins and Saro Rizzo acted in the public's interest, resulting in the dismissal of 99 criminal citations for people living and sleeping in their vehicles on public streets.

Jenkins and Rizzo will receive $132,990 in attorneys' fees -- the equivalent of 443.3 hours at the rate of $300 per hour. They would also receive $890 in additional costs, such as filing fees.

The ruling brings the city's cost to settle the lawsuit to more than $270,000.

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