Judge denies CAA’s bid for injunction

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Tuesday, July 1, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge in San Francisco County denied the request of the California Alarm Association for a preliminary injunction that would stop police here from implementing an alarm ordinance to make alarm companies operating within city limits legally responsible for collecting and remitting false alarm fines to the city.

Although both sides met in a hearing May 21, the decision was handed down in early June. It said the alarm association did not adequately demonstrate the irreparable injury to the alarm dealers under the proposed ordinance in order for the injunction to be granted, according to Arthur Fine, attorney for the CAA.

“The case is still pending and we have the right to appeal the denial of the preliminary injunction,” Fine said.

Tom Owen, deputy city attorney with the City Attorney’s Office for the City and County of San Francisco, said now the Department of Emergency Communications and the tax collector’s offices would be free to enforce the policy and his office would continue to litigate the case.

“We can’t tell based on a preliminary basis, but it’s a good sign that based on an initial review, the ordinance withstood all the legal challenges,” Owen said.

In February, the Board of Supervisors for the City and County of San Francisco approved changes to the Police Emergency Alarm Ordinance that made alarm companies operating in the city responsible for collecting and handing over to city tax collectors any fees related to San Francisco’s alarm registration fee or false alarm fines.

Not only would the alarm company be required to collect those fees, but it would also be financially responsible for any uncollected debts as a result of those charges.

While an appeal is a possibility, the CAA could also choose to strike an agreement with the city’s attorneys to discuss other legal facts in the case that would likely work to the CAA’s advantage in an appeal, Fine said.