Ruling may not be legally sound.
After a Superior Court Judge’s decision halted the
Providence Holy Cross Expansion construction in Mission Hills, both the
hospital, and members of the Los Angeles City Council are weighing how they
will fight back.
The Judge ruled that when the Los Angeles City Council
approved the 136 bed expansion project nearly a year ago, they did so in
contrast to state laws.
The project was originally approved by a super-majority,
which required ten of fifteen City Council members’ votes for passage. Oddly
enough, the Judge ruled that the City should have used a simple majority, which
would have only required eight votes.
That ruling forced Holy Cross to immediately halt
construction of their new patient wing, leaving 150 construction workers out of
“The lawsuit is specifically and totally about the process
that the Los Angeles City Council used to approve the project,” said Chief
Operations officer for Providence Health & Services Kerry Carmody. “They
approved it a year ago, Mayor Villaraigosa signed it, we moved forward on
construction, now the construction is halted.”
The expansion project was nearly 20% complete when
construction stalled, and it was four months ahead of schedule.
“If we had continued, we were looking to complete the
Patient Care wing in 24 months,” said Carmody.
The decision is one of legality, and according to Los
Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith’s Chief of Staff Mitch Englander, that
decision could be overturned on appeal.
“The way we’re
looking at this, is that the Council followed the legislative process to the
letter of the law, to the administrative code set forth in the Charter by the
City of Los Angeles,” Englander told
KHTS. “A judge who clearly doesn’t understand Charter
City law process made a ruling and
we don’t want to set a precedent in the City of Los
That precedent has Englander concerned. If the Council were
to re-affirm the decision, it could lend credence to the alleged illegality of
the hundreds of other decisions that the Council has used the super-majority
vote to approve.
The whole situation has left both the Los Angeles City
Council and Providence Holy Cross in a sort of limbo. The quick cure would be
to simply vote again on the matter, however that could bring up questions about
hundreds of old decisions, and they aren’t convinced the whole process is
illegitimate in the first place. The only viable option may be to appeal the
decision and work to get it overturned. Such a battle could prove costly, and
delay the new hospital facility at a time when Los
Angeles County is
grossly in need of the beds.