On March 24, a federal judge tentatively dismissed large portions of Ernie Dalidio's civil lawsuit over his proposed Madonna Road development. While not final, the decision is the second legal blow Dalidio has suffered in as many months, following a ruling in February that struck down the 2006 Measure J county initiative that would allow him to develop his land.
The civil suit, filed Aug. 31, sought unlimited damages from the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association and the Responsible County Development LLC, both of whose members he alleges improperly fought his development plans.
The allegations in the suit included money laundering, unfair business practices, and federal racketeering charges under the RICO act, which ultimately landed the case in federal court.
"A tentative ruling is not a final one," SLO City Attorney Jonathan Lowell said in an e-mail regarding the ruling, "but it gives a good indication of how a court might rule."
In his view, the decision "is signaling there are fundamental defects in the complaint."
Attorneys for Dalidio did not return calls for comment as of press time.
In February, Dalidio's lawyer submitted a revised and scaled down complaint, which, among other things, axed the federal RICO charges. The federal judge's dismissal doesn't mean the case can't re-appear in SLO's superior court.