The Maricopa County Superior Court made a preliminary order Monday regarding the lawsuit against Phoenix by city residents alleging that it was creating a public nuisance by not cleaning up “the Zone,” a massive homeless encampment near downtown. Judge Scott Blaney ruled in the resident’s favor, ordering the city to clean up.
“Today’s ruling offers hope not just for the homeless themselves—who, after all, don’t deserve to be left in a ghettoized section of the city’s roads—but to the ignored small-business owners in the area, who are forced to try to earn a living in the midst of such chaos,” wrote Timothy Sandefur, Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Goldwater Institute (GI), who previously filed an amicus brief in this case.
A lawsuit filed last August challenging “the largest homeless encampment in Arizona” is going ahead after a judge denied the City of Phoenix’s motion to dismiss. Residents who live near “the Zone,” which has grown to over 1,500 people, allege that the city has failed or refused to enforce criminal, health, or quality of life statutes to improve the Zone.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Stephen Tully said in his January 16 ruling that dismissal wasn’t warranted because the city didn’t meet the standard where “as a matter of law plaintiffs would not be entitled to relief under any interpretation of the facts susceptible of proof.” He found that the plaintiffs properly pleaded their case and supported a private cause of action for public nuisance.