David Roy, in court documents dated Wednesday, Jan. 23, requested and was granted dismissal of his lawsuit against the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce.
Roy originally filed the suit nearly six months ago, in August. He represented himself, as lawyers say “in pro per,” without an attorney.
In the complaint, Roy alleged the Chamber hired him to apply a sealing coat to his carving “Harmony” prior to its July 2012 dedication. He stated he was owed $1,500 for the work performed.
Reached by telephone and asked why he had dismissed the lawsuit, Roy replied, “It’s really Ken [Carlson] you should talk to.” Carlson is an attorney and former Chamber president.
When asked why, since he (Roy) had filed the suit “pro per,” without attorney, Roy said, “I really can’t comment. I’m not supposed to talk. It’s not up to me to speak about it yet. I don’t owe you an answer.”
Carlson has stated that his name was not on the complaint and that he is not attorney of record in the suit.
Roy’s complaint however explicitly acknowledged there was no contract between him and the Chamber board. He filed his claim not for breach of contract, but for “quantum meruit,” that he was owed the reasonable value of work he performed. His complaint stated that the Chamber hired Roy “at a labor price which was not specifically identified but was to be the reasonable value of those services.”
On Aug. 30, shortly after Roy filed his complaint, Carlson offered the Chamber board settlement terms on Roy’s complaint, even though Carlson claimed not to be representing Roy. Carlson sought $1,500 for the work Roy performed in coating his carving, $1,000 for attorney fees incurred, $665 for “costs incurred to date,” $5,000 for “fraud and related claims,” transfer of the monument fund from the Chamber’s care and oversight to that of David Roy and ownership of the monument transferred from the Chamber to “residents of Idyllwild,” with David Roy as trustee. The proposed settlement date of Sept. 5 passed without response from the Chamber.
In dismissing Roy’s complaint “without prejudice,” the court leaves the door open for Roy to file a claim based on the same set of facts anytime in the future. In its dismissal, the court acknowledges it did not rule on the merits of the suit and that leaves Roy free to refile against the same or an expanded list of parties.
It also prohibits defendants in the August suit from using a defense against a future suit by Roy that the matter had been previously decided and therefore could not be litigated again.
The court waived court fees and costs for Roy in this action, but each named Chamber defendant had to pay a minimum of $395 in court fees. “I don’t know how to compute any loss of sales in my shop due to having to go and do the filing, but there were also incidental gas and time costs,” said Chamber director Peter Buhl.
Two Chamber directors, Mike Lackey and Chris Titus, hired attorneys and had, in addition to filing fees, costly attorney fees. “It’s frustrating,” Titus said. “I’ve never been sued before. I had to put out significant amount of money for attorney representation as did the Chamber board. At least now [with the suit dismissal] we can start focusing on what the Chamber can do for the town.”
For the months between September and January, Chamber directors acknowledged in public meetings that the lawsuit, with its associated fees and costs, had preoccupied them and diverted their attention from the business of the Chamber.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Buhl said. “Now, we, as a Chamber, can concentrate on what we are supposed to do — promote Idyllwild’s visibility to others and help develop the business community with positive directions and programs.” He has already developed the idea for a Vistors’ Choice Awards Program.
The record of the actions in the David Roy v. Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce lawsuit is a public document and is available online at http://www.riverside.courts.ca.gov/publicaccess.shtml, case number HEC 1202489.