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Calif. County Gets Homeowners' Pot Fines Suit Tossed

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A California magistrate judge has thrown out with prejudice a suit by four homeowners alleging Humboldt County imposed unconstitutional fines and penalties for suspected cannabis growth, finding that they failed to allege any rights deprivations. In a 52-page order filed Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Illman slammed the complaint filed by plaintiffs Corrine Thomas, Doug Thomas, Blu Graham and Rhonda Olson, saying it is "overwhelmingly dominated by legal arguments couched as factual allegations, unreasonable inferences, unwarranted deductions, conclusory assertions, unjustified labels, and hyperbole," and the rest is largely "irrelevant or simply implausible." Because of the "distorted picture" the complaint paints, Judge Illman began his order by granting the county's bid to take judicial notice of records of interactions between the plaintiffs and county officials to clarify matters, over the plaintiffs' one-sentence objection. With those records in hand, Judge Illman said, it is clear that none of the plaintiffs have had to pay any fines or penalties, and only one — Graham — paid permitting fees after voluntarily settling his case with the county. As such, none of them have standing to pursue their claims of unconstitutional fees and fines, he said.


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