SANTA MONICA, CA – The city of Santa Monica is immune to any claims made by a local company against the coastal community that owns Third Street Promenade that claims rodents roaming in and around two dinosaur-shaped topiaries are a health threat to the patrons, according to new court files filed by prosecutors.
EJA Associates LP, which owns a commercial building on the 1300 block of Third Street Promenade, claims consolidated lawsuits in Santa Monica Superior Court against the city and Downtown Santa Monica Inc. dated August 17 and October 15 that the figures were decorative a public nuisance.
In court files filed on Feb. 1, attorneys for the Santa Monica District Attorney say the sculptures in question are one of three sets of metal-framed dinosaur topiaries covered in ivy and on large planters in public law are positioned -way on the promenade. The sculptures and nearby water fountains are part of the design element of the promenade and are considered a cultural art source for the city, according to the city’s court files.
“In this case, the city is immune from harassment liability … because the use of the topiary art sculptures as part of the landscaping of the boardwalk … is city laws expressly approved by state law,” the city court records read.
The owner’s complaints about rodents and other pests as well as unsanitary rubbish areas in the parking garages have been examined by the legislator and, according to court files, do not support any claim to harassment of the city for legal reasons.
The “inevitable result” of running a large outdoor pedestrian mall in an urban landscaping setting that includes grass, plants and fountain water, according to city lawyers, is that all of this can be attractive to pests and a homeless population.
“As such, the city is immune from liability for harassment and the plaintiff’s harassment claims fail on legal grounds,” the city lawyers claim.
EJA, which rents storefronts to companies like Sunsations Travel Store and Hummus Bar Express, wants the city to strip off the ivy on one and the jasmine on the other, replacing the sieve below with a grille that keeps rodents out. The plaintiff also says the rodents should be poisoned or caught.
The dinosaur topiaries have been on the boardwalk since the mid-1980s and are owned by the city and managed by the city and DTSM, a private, non-profit organization that works with the city to manage services and operations in the downtown area, operated and serviced the lawsuits.
Last spring, EJA found that the topiaries “were infested with swarms of rodents that routinely ran in, out and around them in the early evening hours,” according to the company’s court records, according to which the rodents migrated through wire mesh on the bodies of the Topiaries, the holes of which are large enough to enter and build nests.
Claims that rodents can transmit disease to humans, EJA states that they were the cause of the 14th century bubonic plague.
– City news service