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Hanson Bridgett Lands Groundbreaking Victory in Grover Beach Election Litigation

June 4, 2024 (Los Angeles, CA) - Hanson Bridgett LLP, representing the grassroots organization GroverH2O, is pleased to announce a significant victory in Grover H2O et al. v. City of Grover Beach et al., allowing the advocacy group to proceed in their effort to recall Grover Beach City Councilmember Daniel Rushing. San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig Van Rooyen ruled in favor of GroverH2O last week, stating that the city violated election laws by denying the group's recall petitions based on their content.

"The right to vote for and to select elected representatives is fundamental to a participatory democracy," explained Hanson Bridgett partner Ellis Raskin, "and this was a significant win for the people of Grover Beach and a precedent-setting victory for people throughout the state of California."

The court's ruling emphasized that under the Elections Code, elections officials are not authorized to reject a recall petition simply because the elections official believes that language in the petition is false or misleading. Instead, any perceived inaccuracies in the language of the petition must be referred to a judge for a decision. This pivotal ruling upheld the First Amendment rights of GroverH2O, allowing the group to continue its recall efforts without further obstruction from the city.

The Hanson Bridgett team led by partner Ellis Raskin included associates Jillian Ames and Kaden Sundberg.

Background on the Case

Between January and April 2024, GroverH2O has diligently submitted five versions of a petition to recall City Councilmember Dan Rushing. The group's petitions were repeatedly denied by the city clerk, Wendi Sims, on the grounds of perceived inaccuracies in the language of the petitions. This included statements regarding Councilmember Rushing's votes on key infrastructure projects.

The Hanson Bridgett team filed a petition for writ of mandate, arguing that the city clerk had no authority under the Elections Code to unilaterally decide that certain statements were false or misleading. The judge agreed that an elections official cannot unilaterally determine whether a statement in a recall petition is true or false and should instead bring the matter to court. The court then issued a peremptory writ of mandate. The City has agreed to comply with the writ, and Grover H2O is now circulating the petition.

About Hanson Bridgett LLP

Hanson Bridgett LLP is a full-service AmLaw 200 law firm with more than 200 attorneys across California. Creating a diverse workforce by fostering an atmosphere of belonging and intentional support has been a priority at Hanson Bridgett since its founding in 1958. We are dedicated to creating an environment that provides opportunities for people with varied backgrounds, both for attorneys and administrative professionals. As the first law firm recognized as a certified B Corp, we are committed to the communities where our employees live and work and consider it part of our professional obligation to serve justice by encouraging and supporting pro bono and social impact work.

For media inquiries contact:

Patrick L. Clos
Communications Manager
Hanson Bridgett LLP


Ellis Raskin
Ellis Raskin
Los Angeles, CA
Jillian Ames Headshot
Jillian Ames
San Francisco, CA
Kaden Sundberg
Kaden Sundberg
San Francisco, CA