Danville Express

Newsfront - October 26, 2007

Livery files lawsuit to stop disturbances

Judge rules homeless man must stay 250 feet away

by Natalie O'Neill

Managers at the Livery shopping center are hoping a lawsuit will keep a homeless man from drunkenly threatening employees and customers - a disturbance their lawyer claims has been happening repeatedly since May 2006.

A county judge ruled earlier this month that the man, who allegedly "will regularly yell and shout to himself and others" and "spends most of his time in or around the center," must now stay at least 250 feet away.

"There is an order and we hope that it solves the problem," said Livery general manager Nancy Casale. She declined to comment further.

Court records show that Livery lawyer Jennifer Freedman filed reports indicating the retail location has suffered damages because of the man's behavior. Tenants felt unsafe, and customers had been more or less scared away, she wrote.

The records also detailed that the man was aggressive, showed signs of mental illness, had been publicly intoxicated on many occasions and used offensive language. Police were called several times as a result of the "loud" and "menacing" disturbances.

In Contra Costa County, therapy and medication for the mentally ill homeless population are offered at shelters.

But a combination of few available bed spaces and the fact that over 90 percent of schizophrenic patients go off their medication within a year, makes mentally ill transients a troublesome county social issue - even for upscale bedroom communities like Danville.

Currently, about 25 percent of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness, according to the most recent National Coalition for the Homeless report.

The same document notes there are not enough "community based treatment services" and affordable housing to accommodate Americans who are disabled by their mental disorders.

In Danville and Alamo, transients are often found passing through on the Iron Horse Trail and are usually off their medication, police officers say.

California civil code grants injunctive relief - as in this case - when a person's property is injuriously affected or personal enjoyment is lessened by a nuisance.

While this case affected the public by interfering with shoppers' and employees' well-being, the most common grounds for injunction cases are private disturbances.

The defendant didn't attend the most recent court hearing and could not be reached for comment. Court documents filed in September 2007 show a request for a restraining order. But to date it is unclear whether the man is even aware of the lawsuit.

Should the behavior persist, he risks a fine of $1,000 and jail time.


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