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Sat, Feb 05, 2011

Palm Desert Balloonists Get Free Legal Help

Law Firm Offers To Assist Pro Bono Against Olive Grower

In a development favorable to the balloonists being sued by olive grower JCM Farming, a lawyer in Palm Desert has offered to defend the balloon companies against what he calls "bullying" on the part of the olive grower. Attorney Robert Gilliland Jr. told The Desert Sun that he and his law firm, Guralnick and Gilliand LLP, would take on the case "pro bono."

The firm has five attorneys and 20 staff.

The few balloon companies who have not succumbed to JCM's legal onslaught were very appreciative of the offer. Steve Wilkinson said fighting in court was very difficult, and now there will be someone who can help let them know what to do when.

Gilliland said those who have settled or dropped out of the suit may still have some recourse, even if they have signed agreements not to fly over JCM's property.

The FAA has looked into claims by JCM of low overflights on two occasions, and both times have found no evidence to support those claims. The agency considers the matter closed.



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