Judge Rules In City's Favor, Dismisses Library Lawsuit
On Tuesday morning, a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Chatsworth granted the City of Santa Clarita its demurrer in a privacy-rights lawsuit related to its libraries.
In August, the Santa Clarita City Council voted to withdraw from the County of Los Angeles Public Library and subsequently contract with Library Systems and Services, LLC (LSSI) to operate the Valencia, Canyon County and Newhall libraries starting July 1.
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Concerned with what LSSI might do with access to patrons’ personal information, the Save Our Library nonprofit group, represented by attorney Don Ricketts, filed two lawsuits ultimately seeking an injunction to the City’s contract with LSSI.
Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Barbara M. Scheper found that, since the City of Santa Clarita would act as the “administrator” to its new library system, it would be entitled to the information of its patrons, Ricketts said in a statement.
Thus, it could disclose that data to LSSI to operate the libraries.
Edward Shain, a patron of the Valencia library, filed a separate lawsuit in November alleging the City violated the Brown Act, which requires California governments to vote on issues in public. Shain is accusing the City and LSSI of reaching a handshake deal behind closed doors.
The court also consolidated Shain’s Brown Act lawsuit and the second Save Our Library lawsuit on Tuesday.
Ricketts said today’s ruling could affect the Brown Act case.
“The City is gratified that the Court affirmed our position and upheld the City Council’s efforts to create our own library system utilizing LSSI for the administration of the City’s libraries," said Mayor Masha McLean in a statement. "The City is and will continue to be very supportive of the City’s libraries for the benefit of the public."