Moot Google suit booted

Dismissing legal challenge to SFMTA’s pilot bus shuttle program as moot, S.F. Superior Court judge observes that plaintiffs would have failed anyway

Google-Bus-RulingSAN FRANCISCO (April 28, 2016)—A San Francisco Superior Court judge today dismissed as moot a legal challenge to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.  In issuing his ruling from the bench this afternoon, Judge Garrett L. Wong substantially sided with lawyers for the City and intervening defendants, Google, Apple and Genentech, that the pilot program’s termination left plaintiffs with neither a justiciable controversy nor an available remedy. 

Although the court did not reach the merits of the plaintiffs’ first cause of action—that the California Vehicle Code preempts San Francisco’s program to manage commuter shuttles that operate locally—Judge Wong noted in his written order: “In denying the Motion for Judgment on mootness grounds, the Court further observes that it would have also denied the Motion for Judgment because Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden with respect to the First Cause of Action.”

“We think the dismissal makes sense, given that the pilot program at issue in the litigation no longer exists,” said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera.  “Beyond that, we’re especially grateful for the court’s observation that plaintiffs failed to prove their case on state preemption.  The alleged conflict between a single provision of the California Vehicle Code and the City’s shuttle program was the gravamen of their case.  So we’re encouraged by the court’s foreshadowing of how that argument would have gone.”

The case is: Coalition for Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit, et al. v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CPF-14-513627, filed May-01-2014.


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