In a sharp reversal of a lower-court decision, a panel of judges of the Fourth District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that a National City youth center's challenge to the city's eminent domain authority should have its day in court after all.

The Community Youth Athletic Center had filed a lawsuit against the city, but because of a minor technical error, a lower-court dismissed the case because a published legal notice seeking residents interested in joining the lawsuit inadvertently recorded the deadline to join the lawsuit as one business day earlier than the actual deadline.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties filed an amicus brief in August 2008 supporting the youth center's right to argue their case in court.

The brief argued that because of the possibility of discrimination — especially against minorities and the disadvantaged — it is vitally important that citizens have access to relief in the courts.

The ACLU brief also noted that “urban renewal” has often disproportionately affected the poor, politically underrepresented, and communities of color, making it even more important that citizens have access to relief in the courts in these cases.

The three-judge panel ruled that the lower court should have found there was good cause for the publication error, and ordered the lower court to allow the athletic center to republish the legal notice.

San Diego Union-Tribune Article,