Testimony and documents submitted in federal court earlier this month said that an outside attorney retained to defend the city and the utility also represented a ratepayer who was the lead plaintiff in a 2015 class action lawsuit against the city. The city attorney’s office said it is investigation the allegation.
Attorney Paul Paradis worked for the city as special counsel in its lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting giant that implemented the billing system. At the same time, Paradis represented a DWP customer who would become the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the city, according to testimony in the case.
A recent report from Consumer Watchdog backs up the notion that people aren't willing to search for redemption centers. The report says around 40% of California's recycling centers have closed in the last five years. Meanwhile, Californians have left at least $300 million on the table by not returning their bottles and cans for deposit refunds.
Back in 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed against DWP for overbilling ratepayers. The case was settled for $67.5 million. Consumer Watchdog’s Jamie Court said, "The settlement was a sweetheart deal for DWP and a bad deal for consumers.” Nearly four years later, documents filed in LA Superior court, allege counsel for the City of Los Angeles picked its own opposing counsel in the case against DWP, choosing an Ohio attorney they had previously worked with.
Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit group, recently released a report claiming Californians lost $308 million in deposits last year by landfilling containers they could have redeemed. Noting state legislation requiring the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to fine large retailers for not providing in-store bottle and can redemption in cases where there is not a nearby recycling center, Consumer Watchdog cited “lax oversight” by state regulators as one of the factors reducing recycling rates.