The California Supreme Court’s recent denial of petitioner’s request for review of Creed-21 v. City of Wildomar (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 690 affirms that discovery can be sought to challenge standing in CEQA cases. Since publication in Dec 17 we have successfully obtained discovery orders to determine the true nature of petitioners’ members and others are doing the same. While there have been legislative efforts to require disclosure of petitioners’ interest, it is the courts that are defining and interpreting CEQA.
Creed-21, an organization with undisclosed members, challenged the City of Wildomar’s approval of a Wal-Mart and sued under CEQA. The City challenged Creed-21’s standing and argued that “Creed-21 was a shell corporation that Briggs used to recover attorney fees from large corporations. Creed-21 had filed over 100 lawsuits and Briggs Law Corporation had received all the proceeds from these actions.” Creed-21 and its attorneys did not comply with discovery requests, arguing that “discovery was not appropriate in the action since it involved CEQA and also intruded on the privacy of Creed-21 members.” Neither the trial, appellate nor Supreme court was persuaded by Creed-21’s arguments and the case was dismissed due to Creed-21’s discovery abuse.