If the City transitions to district-based elections within the timeline established by the CVRA, the City will be liable for the attorney’s fees of the potential plaintiffs, capped at $30,000. If the City chooses not to make the transition within that timeline but does so after being sued, it is possible that the City will be liable for substantially higher litigation costs and attorneys’ fees of the plaintiffs, and the expense of the City’s own defense attorneys will also likely be higher. The amounts are unknown but will increase the longer the action is litigated prior to settlement.
Sued in 2008, Madera Unified School District ended up paying plaintiffs’ counsel over $100,000 for six weeks of uncontested litigation, and that was after a substantial reduction of the fees that were requested (which exceed $1 million).
An additional consideration is that the Council may have less control over the districting process if a court is involved.