Legal Issues


COURT: Key Parts of San Jose Measure B Unconsitutional

On December 20, 2013, the Santa Clara County Superior Court overturned the heart of Measure B, San Jose's attack on employees' pensions. In doing so, the court followed the Monterey and Los Angeles superior court which have overturned similar attacks on employees' vested rights. The court ove..

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NINTH CIRCUIT: Reporting Safety Concerns To Supervisor May Not Be Protected By First Amendment

In Hagen v. City of Eugene (9th Cir. 12-35492 12/3/13), the Court of Appeals held when an employee makes statements within the chain of command, regarding an issue of employment, and has a duty to make those statements, they do not first amendment protections. Officer Hagen was a K-9 Officer..

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The Reed Initiative Is Unconstitutional

The Pension Reform Act of 2014, chiefly supported by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, seeks to radically change what it means to have a pension in California. It is well established that a right to a pension vests when an employee accepts employment. But Reed wants to change that to make a pension benefit..

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COURT OF APPEAL: POBR Violation Voids Dishonesty Charge

In Ruiz v. City of Bell Gardens (2013) Case No. B244395, the Court of Appeal affirmed a superior court ruling voiding a dishonesty allegation because of a POBR violation. Officer Ruiz was on administrative leave pending the outcome of an IA investigation. When his department put him on administrativ..

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Stockton POA President, Officer Vinidated of Insubordination

As reported in LRIS, an arbitrator reversed the suspensions of Stockton's POA president and a board member after the City retaliated against them for participating in a POA charitable fundraiser and ordered full back pay. The decision vindicates the officers and makes clear they did nothing wrong. I..

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TERMINATION OVERTURNED: Lake County Deputy Reinstate, Full Backpay Plus Interest

Thanks to the support from the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and PORAC Legal Defense Fund, Deputy Tom Andrews was vindicated of any wrong doing concerning allegations of dishonesty. Arbitrator John Wormuth determined the Sheriff’s Department lacked just cause interminati..

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Ninth Circuit Rules Law Enforcement Managers Can Be Personally Liable For Retaliation

In Martha Karl v. City of Mountlake Terrance (9th Cir. May 8, 2012) No. 11-35343, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled "it was clearly established ... that a supervisor cannot retaliate against a public employee for his or her subpoenaed deposition testimony offered as a citizen in the c..

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Manteca Court Issues Rare Restraining Order To Protect Officers From Protester's Vendetta

In a rare and significant case involving limitations on speech directed at police, a Manteca judge has issued permanent restraining orders prohibiting the brother of a parolee shot last June from harassing the involved officer. The orders also prohibit him from having any contact with another office..

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US Supremer Court Approves Strip-Searches For Suspects Arrested For Minor Offenses

On April 2, 2012, the United States Supreme Court held that the Constitution permits correctional facilities to conduct blanket strip searches on all arrestees entering general population, even those arrested only for minor offenses. Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington et a..

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Stockton Officer Prevails In Use Of Force Case

Veteran Stockton police officer William Teague recently was exonerated of excessive force charges after an arbitrator found he used reasonable force in detaining a combative subject. Arbitrator Katherine Harris ordered a five-day suspension overturned and ordered appropriate back pay and benefits be..

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CLIENT ADVISORY: Court Of Appeal Strikes Down POBR Waiver, Awards $362,000 In Back-Pay

In Jaramillo v. County of Orange (November 8, 2011) 2011 WL 5338998, the Fourth District Court of Appeal awarded an assistant sheriff back-pay because the County denied him a pre-termination administrative hearing. The case hinged on his purported waiver of POBR rights. Former Orange Count..

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Court Of Appeal Permits Waiver Of POBR Rights In Limited Circumstances

In Lanigan v. City of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App., Oct. 4, 2011) 2011 WL 4552533, the Court of Appeal for the Second District overturned the trial court, finding POBR protections can be waived in a minority of discipline cases. The case concerned a Los Angeles police officer facing several serious di..

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National Labor Relations Board: Posting On Facebook May Be Protected Union Activity

In Hispanics United of Buffalo, Inc. (September 2, 2011) NLRB Case No. 3-CA-27872, an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board ruled a New York nonprofit violated federal law by firing five employees who posted comments on Facebook about working conditions, including worklo..

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Termination After Officer's Attorney Declares Settlement "Null And Void"

In Ferguson v. City of Cathedral City (2011,E051039) 2011 WL 2582134, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the termination of a police officer, even after he agreed to settle his discipline case for a 160-hour suspension. The Court’s decision relied on a letter sent by the officer&rsqu..

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California Supremer Court To Hear Challenge To City's Purported Fiscal Emergency

The California Supreme Court recently depublished City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Engineers and Architects Association) (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 1159, and granted review. The decision of our Supreme Court to grant review appears to reflect a greater willingness of the courts to provide judicia..

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CLIENT ADVISORY: Superior Court Rules Peace Officers Have POBR Right to See Original Complaints Filed Against Them

On June 10, 2011, the Sacramento Superior Court ruled POBR guarantees peace officers access to the actual complaints against them, not merely summaries. The case, Matthew Medina v.State of California, has been followed closely by peace officer advocates because of its state-wide implications..

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CLIENT ADVISORY: Wisconsin Court Strikes Down Anti-Union Law

On May 26, 2011, a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge struck down Wisconsin’s anti-union law, deciding the state Legislature passed the law in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law. In State of Wisconsin et al., v. Scott Fitzgerald, et al., Case No. 11CV1244, Judge Maryann Sumi decided t..

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CLIENT ADVISORY: Court of Appeal: Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act applies to Charter Cities

In International Association of Firefighters, Local 230 v. City of San Jose (May 24, 2011), 2011 WL 1998674, the Court of Appeal ruled section 3254.5 of the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act (FFBOR) does not violate the “home rule” provisions of the California Constitution. As a..

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CLIENT ADVISORY: United States Supremer Court Upholds California Prison Population Cap

In Brown v. Plata (May 23, 2011) --- S.Ct ---, the United States Supreme Court upheld the California prison population cap imposed by a special three- judge court. The Prison Law Office (PLO) alleged prison conditions, especially overcrowding, violated the Constitution’s protection against cru..

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CLIENT ADVISORY: Court of Appeal Upholds $1.5 Million Judgement for Disabled Police Officer

In Cuiellette v. City of Los Angeles (April 22, 2011) - -- Cal.App.4th ---, the Second District of the Court of Appeal decided the Los Angeles Police Department could be held liable for disability discrimination after it terminated a disabled police officer. LAPD police officer Rory Cuiellette ..

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