City Attorney, Macpherson Oil Pre-trial

"Rulings [in pre-trial hearing] do not materially change the scope and direction of the trial or the defenses that the City will present to the jury," according to Hermosa Beach City Attorney.

Tehnicalities behind how evidence will be presented during trial were the main topics of focus during a pre-trial hearing Monday in the 13-year contract dispute between Hermosa Beach and Macpherson Oil Co., according to city officials.

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As the multimillion-dollar lawsuit will go to trial Jan. 18, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on pre-trial motions, but none caused significant change, said Hermosa Beach City Attorney Michael Jenkins.

This statement from Jenkins was released following the rulings:

"Today’s rulings addressed technical legal matters governing the introduction of evidence in the trial. They are subject to change as the case progresses. The judge’s rulings limit in some respects what evidence will be presented to the jury and in what sequence and, hence, help the lawyers prepare for trial.

"Today’s rulings do not materially change the scope and direction of the trial or the defenses that the City will present to the jury."

The Santa Monica-based Macpherson Oil Co. filed a lawsuit against the city in 1998, alleging that Hermosa Beach violated a 1992 lease agreement to allow the company to drill in town for oil.

The city argues in response that the "oil company is now seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for a project that never got off the ground, and the city is fighting in court to safeguard its services and its right to make decisions to protect the community’s health and safety."

When a trial date in the case was set in February, Patch asked both Hermosa Beach and Santa Monica residents what they had to say about the latest legal development and oil drilling in general:

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