Los Angeles, CA – MALDEF filed a lawsuit against the City of Placentia today for breaching a 2016 settlement agreement to secure Latino voting rights as required by the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed a breach of contract complaint in Orange County Superior Court after the City Council adopted a districting plan that violates various provisions of the 2016 agreement, in which Placentia agreed to convert from at-large to district-based elections and to adopt a plan containing an effective and contiguous Latino-majority district in time for the November 2018 elections.

“Placentia was not simply required to transition to district-based elections, it was required to convert to a lawful plan that actually restores the voting rights of disenfranchised Latinos,” said Julia Gomez, MALDEF staff attorney. “Instead, Placentia adopted a plan with a tortured configuration of elongated districts that were not designed to provide neighborhood representation.”

The map adopted by the council on May 1 violates the settlement agreement because the plan “contains a non-contiguous Latino-majority district, intentionally splits up neighborhoods and communities of interests, and is not tailored to remedy the CVRA violation because the Latino- majority district is not designed to afford Latino voters a meaningful opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice to the City Council,” the complaint states.

The letter sent by MALDEF in May demanded that the council act to adopt a compliant map at its regularly scheduled June 5 meeting or to convene a special meeting to take action. It warned that MALDEF would file a lawsuit to enforce the settlement agreement if the council failed to act by today, June 15.

Read the original agreement here, the demand letters from May 11 and May 31, and the breach of contract complaint filed today.