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The city of Brentwood will ask an appellate court to overturn a judge's ruling against a city lawsuit challenging the state's ability to "claw back" former redevelopment money.

The case is one of several post-redevelopment lawsuits that have significant fiscal implications for the state. State officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown, have warned that legal losses could cost it more than $3 billion.

In the Brentwood case, the city challenged a central part of the 2011 law dissolving the anti-blight program. It allowed the state to "claw back" money transferred by redevelopment agencies to their sponsoring cities or counties from Jan. 1, 2011 to Feb. 1, 2012, when redevelopment ceased to exist.

In a December tentative ruling, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner said that provision was unconstitutional. State officials disagreed and in a subsequent court filing said the tentative ruling — if upheld — would create a precedent and prompt a flood of local government demands to reclaim redevelopment money.

The judge ruled in favor of the state earlier this month.

"The court did a 180," attorney Leah Castella, the special counsel to the city on the case, said this week. "We hope the appellate court will see things the way we do."

PHOTO: A mermaid swims in the aquarium at Sacramento's Dive Bar in 2011. Redevelopment helped finance the business. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling


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