In its second lawsuit over a proposed formula retail pharmacy on Castro Street, AHF is ‘mistaken that the U.S. Constitution allows it to put chain stores wherever it wants’
SAN FRANCISCO (April 29, 2016)—A controversial advocacy group that Newsweek magazine described as “extremely litigious” sued San Francisco in federal court again yesterday, alleging that city officials violated the organization’s constitutional rights by disapproving its conditional use request for a formula retail pharmacy. The lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the second such action involving its proposed establishment at 518 Castro Street. Like its prior lawsuit filed on Aug. 1, 2014, AHF named both the city and Supervisor Scott Wiener as defendants.
AHF seeks damages from city taxpayers in the amount of $500,000, plus attorneys’ fees, in its newly-filed case, which contends that the Planning Commission’s Jan. 28 vote to disapprove its conditional use application violated its rights under state and federal law. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on April 28, missed the 90-day deadline for such actions by one day—apparently neglecting to count 2016’s quadrennial “Leap Day” on Feb. 29.
“Because AHF’s new lawsuit is time-barred, we won’t need to address its utter lack of merit and other procedural infirmities,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “As with its prior suit, however, AHF is mistaken that the U.S. Constitution allows it to put chain stores wherever it wants. Courts have long recognized local governments’ broad authority to regulate land uses in myriad ways, and San Francisco is no exception.”
Herrera has not ruled out the possibility of exploring sanctions against the AHF plaintiffs for violating Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which generally intends to deter frivolous and otherwise slipshod pleadings, in order to curb vexatious abuses of the judicial system. In 2008, Herrera threatened to pursue similar sanctions against the National Rifle Association for suing the City and County of San Francisco over gun-related lease provisions of the San Francisco Housing Authority—a federally-funded creature of state law, which has never been a local government entity. The NRA withdrew that action, which Herrera at the time called “a publicity stunt that improperly names the City as a defendant, and makes false representations to the Court.”
The case is: AIDS Healthcare Foundation v. City and County of San Francisco, Supervisor Scott Wiener, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:16-CV-02319-WHA, filed April 28, 2016.
- AHF v. San Francisco, Wiener, et al. PDF presskit (April 29, 2016)
# # #