Los Angeles Street Vendor Lawsuit Reaches Settlement

Street Vendor Lawsuit

A long-standing controversy in Los Angeles is nearing resolution. The status of, and protections for, street vendors has been called into question previously. Street vendors have now brought another lawsuit against the city. The lawsuit claims that the Los Angeles Police Department and the Fashion District Business Improvement District used cleanup crews to destroy the vendors' property.

While Los Angeles has promised to establish legal protections for street vendors in the past, municipal codes still push hefty fines on those who use the sidewalk to sell food or other products. Criminal charges have sometimes also been raised. However, the American Civil Liberties Union branch of Southern California, as well as the National Lawyers Guild, have spoken out against these practices. They state that to take away vendors' property, even if no arrests are made, constitutes little more than "extrajudicial street punishment."

Now, the Los Angeles City Council has voted to spend up to $150,000 in order to settle this latest lawsuit. Although it was a majority vote, with 11 council members in favor of the settlement, Councilman Mitch Englander voted against it. He has not released a statement explaining his choice.

Cynthia Anderson-Barker, an attorney representing the vendors in the case, calls it a big victory. She explained in a written statement that it finally acknowledges street vendors' rights to their property.

The LAPD could not be reached for comment. Instead, they directed inquiries towards city attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox. Wilcox noted that the settlement has not yet been finalized.

Meanwhile, Rena Leddy, who is the Executive Director of the Fashion District Business Improvement District, offered her own perspective on the case. She wrote that she is glad her organization has now been dismissed from it. After the lawsuit goes through, the district will not have to pay the plaintiffs' legal fees.