Dunsmuir City Council members named in a lawsuit early this year must respond to the allegations. Chris Raine, Arlis Steele, Diane Dolf and Nick Mitchell have 30 days to file an answer with Siskiyou Superior Court, according to an order issued Dec. 12, 2011 by Judge William Davis.

Davis found no cause of action against the city, which was also named in the suit filed Feb. 2 by plaintiff Peter Arth. The petition charges the defendants with ethics violations under California statutes.

“Because Petitioner has adequately alleged that the individual respondents have engaged in a course of conduct of meetings violative of the Brown Act, and that their statements and behavior reasonably indicate the likely continuation of such course of conduct... the demurrer as to the individual respondents is overruled,” Davis wrote.

A demurrer is legal tactic that challenges the facts supporting the allegations in a petition. Last summer, Superior Court sustained the respondents’ demurrer, meaning that the plaintiff did not state the case adequately. However, the ruling allowed for an amended petition. That is the one Judge Davis ruled on last week.

“The case will go forward,” said plaintiff attorney David Hicks in his office Friday. He said that means the four council members would have to answer every allegation in the 37-page petition. “They will be required to admit or deny, under penalty of perjury, each one of the 155 paragraphs in the complaint,” Hicks said.

But, Hicks said he would like to work something out with the respondents, saving the city any further legal expense.

Arlis Steele and Dolf declined comment at the time of this post. Both said that they had just heard about the ruling and wanted to know more before speaking to the press.

Raine and Mitchell did not yet respond to telephone messages.