SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The city of Sacramento could be facing an unexpected bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars to reimburse hundreds of Sacramento’s homeless, whose personal things were seized and destroyed.

Friday is the deadline for the lawsuit. Advocates for the homeless have set up a table and people are coming by and filling out claim forms. Each one could bring them either $400 or $750, and the city may be writing a big check very soon.

“They said they were going to store our stuff,” said homeless person Garcias Turner.

But Turner said when he was kicked out of his homeless camp; the possessions he left behind were thrown out.

“I had pictures of my kids when they was little, they’re gone,” said Turner.

Back in 2007, attorney Mark Merin filed a class-action lawsuit against the city and county, on behalf of the homeless who claim their stuff was illegally taken and tossed out beginning in 2005.

The county settled out of court.

“The public should be angry at the city officials,” said Merin.

But the city took it to trial, and last year, a jury found Sacramento liable.

“We agreed to a claims procedure whereby individuals can submit claims. That is ending today,” said Merin.

Nearly 900 homeless people have submitted claims of either $400, or $750.

“We’re certainly going to scrutinize them very closely to see if they’re valid,” said Senior Deputy City Attorney Chance Trimm.

Trimm, says the city hasn’t even begun to look at the claims.

“We got to determine if the information is sufficient,” said Trimm. “We got some very specific parameters of what’s going to be considered a valid claim.”

The claims the city chooses to dispute will be sent to a claims mediator who will make the final decision as to just how much the city must pay in the midst of an already difficult budget.

“What they should have done is follow the law,” said Trimm.

These people are hoping that their claim forms are submitted and able to go through and approved. It could take up to 35 days before they have an answer. The city is also deciding whether to appeal the jury’s decision in court.


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