Legal Issues


Court Rejects POBRA Appeals from Involuntary “Fresh Start” Transfers

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel In a decision interpreting the punitive transfer provisions of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA), the Second District Court of Appeal rejected the claims of two officers that involuntary transfers not affect..

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Third District Court of Appeal Holds Proposed Discipline Must Be Personally Served within One Year Statute of Limitations

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel Fundamental to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act is a “statute of limitations” that requires law enforcement agencies to investigate and propose discipline within one year of the date a person authorize..

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First District Court of Appeal Issues Ruling on Brady and Personnel Records

By Christopher W. Miller, Esq. SCOPO General Counsel A new appellate court decision in California would greatly expand prosecution access to peace officer personnel records under Brady v. Maryland by allowing prosecutors to review those records before seeking disclosure through a Pitchess..

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PERB Rules City of Palo Alto Failed to Meet and Consult Over Impasse Procedure Modification

On August 6, 2014, PERB issued a decision in City of Palo Alto. This ruling is significant for public employees for two reasons. First, the decision confirms that meet and consult obligations underGovernment Code section 3507 the same as the meet and confer obligations under section 3505. Second..

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Court Rules No Qualified Immunity for Officer Accused of Deleting Video

On August 5, 2014, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California held in Crago v. Leonard that an officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in a First Amendment lawsuit. The plaintiff, a probationer, alleged the officer violated her First Amendment rights when he did not allo..

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Ventura County Pension Initiative Barred from November Ballot

On August 4, 2014, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew tentatively decided to issue an injunction barring the initiative to phase out Ventura County's pension system from appearing on the November 2014 ballot. The ruling has significant statewide implications for counties that par..

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California Public Safety Labor Blog - July 2014

PERB: "Economic Exigency" Not Enough to Declare Impasse Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:00 AM PDT In Selma Firefighters Association, IAFF, Local 3716 v. City of Selma, the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") took a hard line against employers’ citing economic exigency to declare i..

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US Supreme Court: Public Employee Testimony Protected By First Amendment

On June 19, 2014, in Lane v. Franks , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an employee’s testimony was protected by the First Amendment because it was a citizen’s speech on a matter of public concern. Edward Lane directed a program for underprivileged youth at Central Alabama Community..

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PERB Rules County Rushed to Declare Impasse

In SEIU Local 721 v. County of Riverside , the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") took a hard line against employers that rush to declare impasse. SEIU and Riverside County started negotiations over a new MOU in late March 2009. The existing MOU was set to expire on June 30, 2009. T..

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Court of Appeal Denies Workers' Compensation Benefits for Officer's Injury During "Hold Over" Shift Commute

On May 19, 2014, the California Court of Appeal in Lanz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board ruled an officer's family was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits because an employee's commute after a "hold over" shift fell outside his ordinary course of employment. In Lanz , a Pl..

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PERB Holds Factfinding Applies to Single-Issue Disputes

On April 26, 2014, PERB held factfinding applies to single-issue disputes as well as negotiations for memorandums of understanding ("MOU") in County of Contra Costa. This important point of contention will likely be resolved by appellate courts in other recent cases considering the same issue. ..

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California Supreme Court Rules CPRA Requires "Particularized Showing" to Prevent Disclosure of Officers' Names After Shooting

On May 29, 2014 in Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach , the California Supreme Court held the California Public Records Act ("CPRA") requires a "particularized showing" of officer safety concerns to prevent disclosure of an officer's name after a shooting. In this case,..

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Court of Appeal Rules Employer May Seek a Second Doctor's Opinion About Fitness for Duty After Employee Returns from FMLA Leave

On March 15, 2014, the California Court of Appeal in White v. County of Los Angeles held an employer may order a second fitness for duty evaluation after the employee returns from medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). Under the FMLA, an employee must be reinstated to work a..

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PERB Asserts Jurisdiction Over Police and Police Management for Factfinding and Denies Untimely Request

PERB's recent decision in City of Redondo Beach was significant for two reasons. First, while PERB does not ordinarily assert jurisdiction over police and police management due to exceptions outlined in MMBA sections 3509 and 3511, it found these exceptions do not apply to its authority to appo..

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CalPERS Fights for Retirement Security in Detroit

The California Public Employees' Retirement System ("CalPERS") filed an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals to support the Committee Retirees of the City of Detroit and others in appealing the bankruptcy court's determination that Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy. Specifically,..

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Court of Appeal Finds Department May Have Unlawfully Terminated Officers

On March 20, 2014, the California Court of Appeal found the Orange County Sheriff's Department may have violated officers' POBR rights when it failed to provide a pre-termination hearing after a potentially pre-textual layoff. The officers were "laid off" from their positions at the Sheri..

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BART POA Wins Injunction Protecting Identity of BART Officer Involved in Critical Incident

In BART Police Officers Association v. Bay Area Rapid Transit District et al ., the BART Police Officers’ Association (BPOA) successfully defended the privacy rights of its members and prevented the unlawful disclosure of the name of an officer under investigation in a critical incident. ..

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Court Strikes Down San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s Challenge to Attorney General’s Summary of His Pension Reform Act

On March 17, 2014, a Superior Court judge rejected Mayor Chuck Reed’s challenge to the Attorney General’s summary of his “Pension Reform Act of 2014.” Reed claimed the first sentence of Attorney General Kamala D.Harris’s summary was false, partial, and argumentative. ..

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Court of Appeal Rules CPRA Does Not Require Public Agencies to Disclose Officials’ Communications on Personal Accounts

On March 27, 2014, the California Court of Appeal held the California Public Records Act (CPRA) does not require public agencies to disclose officials’ communications about public business on personal email and cell phone accounts. The Court held communications stored solely on private acc..

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Court of Appeal Rules Overtime is Defined By Collective Bargaining Agreement

The California Court of Appeal issued an opinion in Vranish v. Exxon Mobil Corporation. The Court ruled collective bargaining agreements (CBA) meeting certain requirements define overtime for covered employees, not the California Labor Code. In Vranish, Exxon Mobil employees regularly worke..

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