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Landslide decision in judge’s hands

An outside legal firm contracted by the city and the McClellan Law firm, representing 65 homeowners whose property was damaged in the October 2007 Mt. Soledad landslide, presented closing arguments last week in a lawsuit seeking damages from the city for alleged city water leaks that plaintiffs argued caused or contributed to the slide.

The decision is now left to San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Styn, who said he won’t rule quickly on whether the city is liable for damages.

Attorneys for both sides reiterated their positions, which were well articulated during the nearly monthlong trial. The city’s defense is that the water leaks were minor, repaired swiftly and that the slide was caused by shifting soil and not the intrusion of water, as the defense contended.

The judge’s decision could take weeks as he needs to sift through a substantial body of evidence, which included more than 900 exhibits and hours of expert testimony.