Local News

Tuesday, Feb 18 2014 06:52 PM

October trial date set in Amberton wall case

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    By Theo Douglas/The Californian

    In a Nov. 27, 2013 photo, a flier is posted on a wall that blocks a walkway between Amberton and Stokdale Estates. Homeowner Michael Hansen constructed the wall to block foot traffic between the developments. Neighbors in the area have been fighting against the wall.

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

The lawsuit challenging the Amberton-Stockdale wall is headed for trial Oct. 27, after both sides agreed on a date in Kern County Superior Court.

Commissioned by homeowner Michael Hansen in mid-June 2013, the wall divides Hanson's cul-de-sac in Stockdale Estates from one in neighboring Amberton.

It blocks a public walkway used by residents and a generation of students as a safe neighborhood route to school.

Hansen had the wall built on his own property. He has said he did so to increase his family's safety after three home burglaries, at least one theft, and nearly hitting a motorcyclist who rode into the Estates on the walkway.

Area homeowners formed the Amberton-Stockdale Alliance, an anti-wall Facebook group, not long after it went up. They sued Hansen, his father, Dan Hansen, and 20 unidentified defendants in August, seeking the wall's removal.

Attorney Ray Mullen, who represents Hanson, questioned why their lawsuit hasn't been pursued as a class-action suit.

"That sure seems like a class-action to me. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's generally a duck," Mullen told Judge David R. Lampe in court.

Lampe said he believed individual plaintiffs could "assert their right to establish a public easement," but it wasn't really an issue he wanted to handle during a case management conference.

Technically, both sides will meet again before October, however, for a mandatory settlement conference Sept. 26.

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