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For Immediate Release                                    Contact: Jeff Dermer, Law Offices of Dermer Behrendt

March 29, 2011                                                Phone: 310-279-4151

“Food Trucks Sue City of Monrovia For Civil Rights Violations.”

(Los Angeles) – The Law Offices of Dermer Behrendt recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Association (SoCalMFVA), its members, and the consumers of Monrovia against the City of Monrovia to overturn Monrovia’s mobile-food ordinances. The lawsuit arises from Monrovia’s decision to both expand its laws to include outright bans on gourmet food-trucks and the admissions of its Mayor Pro-Tem and other executives admitting that the purpose of its actions are to protect its “Old Town” merchants from competition from the gourmet food-truck “phenomenon.”

The SoCalMFVA is a non-profit association of approximately 130 gourmet food vendors.  The Association exists in part to provide a unified voice in engaging local governments on regulatory issues affecting this new industry. As the Complaint describes in more detail, the gourmet trucks’ business model is based upon the economic law that demand, not costs, drives prices.  The trucks have discovered that a significant synergy exists when they operated together in addition to the demand created as a result of the diverse food offerings.  Consumers are thus the beneficiary of more diverse cuisines available and a open-space interactive environment.

The Complaint further explains that the success of the gourmet food-truck model has led to a reaction from parochial interests — in this case, the “Old Town” Monrovia merchants. The Complaint provides that “Members of Monrovia’s City Council in trumpeting their handiwork to the media, proclaimed that this new legislation…is a naked restraint of trade created solely to protect its favored interests —  certain fixed-location restaurants (particularly in “Old Town” Monrovia) at the expense of Association Members who would otherwise seek to serve Monrovia consumers with a better product at a better price.”  The Complaint goes on to explain “Monrovia’s recent legislation has built upon prior local law that is similarly violative of the rights of the Members” of the SoCalMFVA.”

According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Dermer, “This lawsuit is about protecting the civil rights of the public to enjoy a better product at a fair price and holding a municipality accountable for willfully violating established law and court precedents. City governments should not be used to nakedly protect one class of merchant against competition from another. The Association has been seeking to educate and work with municipalities on these issues, with success. Monrovia’s actions show that the legal process is the only way to ensure Monrovia follows the laws of the State. The relief we are seeking includes preliminary and permanent injunctions against all of the illegal provisions and damages for violation of the trucks’ civil rights.”

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