The state Supreme Court has agreed hear to an unusual case from the Sonoma County city of Cotati that involves both mobile home rent control and an alleged strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). Several years ago, Cotati implemented mobile home rent control in response to rapidly rising rents. Mobile home park owners in town sued in federal court, arguing that the rent control ordinance was unconstitutional. Cotati responded by filing a lawsuit in state court that sought to have the ordinance declared lawful. The mobile home park owners contended that Cotati's state court litigation was a SLAPP suit intended to prevent them from having their day in federal court. A trial court ruled against Cotati but the First District Court of Appeal reversed the decision and remanded the case back to the trial court in July. The appellate panel ruled that Cotati's lawsuit sought to resolve the same constitutional issues that mobile home park owners had raised themselves. The court held that Cotati's lawsuit served the public interest and did not result in additional expense or inconvenience for the park owners. The state high court has not yet set a date for oral arguments. The case is City of Cotati v. Gene Cashman, No. S099999, 2001 DJDAR 7375.