The Cerritos city attorney has responded favorably to a judge’s dismissal of a public nuisance lawsuit brought by the City of Norwalk against Cerritos alleging that route and weight restrictions on big rig travel by Cerritos had forced the large vehicles into Norwalk, to the detriment of citizens and businesses in Norwalk.

“I was very pleased to inform the council that the trial court heard the matter this morning and ruled in favor of Cerritos,” said Cerritos City Attorney William H. Ihrke, who prepared a verbal report for the City Council for their Thursday meeting.

The court’s standard of review for such a motion was that even assuming all the facts as alleged in Norwalk’s complaint were true, that city could not prevail against Cerritos based on the law, Ihrke said.

On Thursday morning, Judge Michael P. Linfield ruled that a city has broad statutory authority to establish vehicle weight restrictions on streets within its boundaries. Even if those measures have a regional impact, the weight limitations are allowed by the “express permission of the sovereign power,” the judge said.

The judge further found that Cerritos was entitled to statutory immunity under the state Civil Code.

According to Norwalk’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, many of the trucks at issue are traveling to and from the Damco Distribution warehouse in Santa Fe Springs. Norwalk sought court orders directing Cerritos to abate the alleged nuisance and to stop enforcing its current large truck travel routes.

Damco’s operations generate a substantial amount of commercial truck traffic affecting surrounding cities, including Cerritos, which altered its big rig routes in such a way that any vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds is effectively prevented from traveling on its streets, the Norwalk suit alleged.

Lawyers for the City of Norwalk maintained that while Cerritos was entitled to adopt weight restrictions impacting its own residents, the city did not have immunity for shifting its traffic problems to Norwalk.

Cerritos’ weight limitations have caused a substantial increase in heavy truck traffic in Norwalk that has negatively impacted major and residential Norwalk streets, hurt the quality of life for residents and business owners and diminished property values, according to the suit filed on Oct. 18.

Norwalk city leaders also believe that Cerritos does not have jurisdiction over some of its streets and therefore was required under the state Vehicle Code to get approval for those particular truck route changes from the state Department of Transportation.

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