Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Appellate Court Throws Out OC Lawsuit On Sheriff's Pensions

Late Wednesday afternoon I received a press release from the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs announcing rejection of a lawsuit filed by the County of Orange against the Association attempting to overturn the 3% at 50 pension plan.


The press release also quantified the legal costs incurred by the County of Orange waging this lawsuit.


I find myself wondering just how this information will affect Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer's assault on our municipal employees wage and pension plans. Will he harden his already granite-like position? Based on recent public comments he seems unwilling to let facts get in the way of his agenda. During a recent council meeting he refused to be impressed with the fact that our fiscal situation is not as bad as anticipated. Instead, he told the staff that he wanted them to come up with $15 million dollars for road repairs in the next budget. Of course, there is only one place to get that money - from staff costs.

The press release follows:

George Urch (714) 464-9125 (Cell) January 26, 2011



After An Extremely Short Deliberation, The County Of Orange’s Legal Effort

To Overturn 3% At 50 Pension Benefit For Orange County Deputies

Is Thrown Out Of Court A Third Time

LOS ANGELES – The Second District Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed in a 3 to 0

opinion today, to uphold an earlier judgment by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, to

throw out the County of Orange’s lawsuit to overturn 3% at 50 pension benefits for Orange


DEPUTY SHERIFFS et al., Case #B218660). After an extremely quick 7 days of

deliberation, the court also awarded the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs

(AOCDS) their costs for the appeal.

The decision marks the third time in 2 years the County of Orange has been rejected by

the courts in their legal effort to overturn 3% at 50 pension benefits for Orange County Deputy

Sheriffs. They were quickly tossed out of Los Angeles Superior Court last February 26 and

again on May 22, before even being set for a formal hearing.

The County of Orange filed the controversial lawsuit in February 2008, despite having three

different outside law firms they had hired for legal counsel, warn them they could not win

such a case. As of July 31, 2010, they have spent almost $2.3 million on their legal costs.

“After three strikes, the County is out,” said Wayne Quint, President of the Association of

Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS). “We hope the Orange County Board of

Supervisors now come to their senses and realize what we, and their attorneys, told them

four years ago -- they are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law on this one. They

can’t win. They have been told this by three different law firms and four judges in two

different courts. If they don’t realize it at this point, they are in major denial. How much

more apparent can it be that they have no legal argument?”



As of July 31, 2010, the County of Orange has spent a total of $2,264,166.34 in legal costs associated

with the Board of Supervisors’ litigation effort regarding Orange County Deputy Sheriffs’ pensions.

Law Firm - Amount Paid

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP - $ 99,598.40

(Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen - $125,561.04

(Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Snell & Wilmer LLP - $ 57,713.00

(June 30, 2007 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP - $1,981,293.90

(June 1, 2007 to July 31, 2010)


Kirkland & Ellis Billings

$ 138,461.10 (October 2007)

$ 82,753.25 (November 2007)

$ 60,004.56 (December 2007)

$ 106,538.09 (January 2008)

$ 38,202.72 (February 2008)

$ 133,317.84 (March & April 2008)

$ 65,123.57 (May 2008)

$ 95,405.18 (June 2008)

$ 61,424.67 (July 2008)

$ 21,231.07 (August 2008)

$ 52,559.88 (September 2008)

$ 51,877.56 (October 2008)

$ 72,609.49 (November 2008)

$ 80,938.84 (December 2008)

$ 228,109.14 (January 2009)

$ 155,873.17 (February 2009)

$ 104,559.92 (March 2009)

$ 76,968.04 (April 2009)

$ 67,903.31 (May 2009)

$ 12,057.65 (June 2009)

$ 37,561.93 (July 2009)

$ 19,462.68 (August 2009)

$ 25,910.49 (September 2009)

$ 5,762.87 (October 2009)

$ 5,063.05 (November 2009)

$ 110,448.35 (Dec. 2009 & Jan. and Feb. 2010)

$ 4,640.30 (March 2010)

$ 1,920.45 (April 2010)

$ 20,469.75 (May 2010)

$ 24,322.13 (June 2010)

$ 19,812.85 (July 2010)

$1,981,293.90 (October 2007 – July 2010)

* As per records provided by the County of Orange County Counsel’s office

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Anonymous Max said...

Why does Righeimer want to spend money the city doesn't have on roads? Considering the current budget deficit, I wouldn't consider that such a high priority.

1/27/2011 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Max, that's a very good question - one that should be directed to Righeimer. I suspect he doesn't really care about the roads, but it's a smoke screen to mask the launch of his attack on employee wages and pensions. He knows full well that the staff cannot come close to finding $15 million without some major impacts on either staffing or staff costs. Keep your eye on him.

1/27/2011 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

While I don't necessarily have a problem with the OCSD 3@50 plan, it is interesting that the plan was retroactive to already retired deputies. I can understand the conuty's challenge on those grounds, and that aspect of the case seems the most "winable". However, I can understand the court's position (twice) on the rest of the contract. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

1/28/2011 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob Dimel,

Thanks for your thoughts.. Yes, indeedy, this is going to be very interesting to follow. Stay tuned..

1/28/2011 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Trust me, I'm a businessman said...

No, cutting staff is not the only way to raise money - it's just the usual reaction of people with insufficient business experience. The city has numerous ways to increase revenue if only they had some strong leadership. By way of looking in the rear view mirror, the TOT should have been raised at least another percentage point. But that's what we get when we elect weak leaders.

1/29/2011 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

I did a little research. The OCSD 3@50 plans was not retroactive to already retired personnel as has been reported in the Register. The retroactivity was only active deputies. In other words, it did not create a second tier wherein new hires were 3@50 and active deputies were under the old formula.

Based on that, it will be intersting to see if the courts decide that this is settled law or if an appeal has merit.

1/29/2011 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

We haven't raised business fees in this city since 1979.

1/29/2011 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with Trust me and Gericault and even touched on this in a recent article that I wrote for the Daily Pilot,0,6521372.story
"Even in the good times, we should always be looking for new income streams and planting more and more seeds for the future growth of our city. Look how long the transit occupancy tax finally took to pass. City staff suggested that increase years ago but it never made it passed council. We are now benefiting from that decision. What about business fees? Should Nordstrom be paying the same $100 fee as the smallest family business in Costa Mesa? Can we compromise and be competitive with other cities while generating incremental income?" Wsneen

1/30/2011 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Trust me... said...

William: Of course, you are correct. But our weak leadership on the city council lacks the guts to tell the Segerstroms that they are raising the taxes on their mall tenants - and on them, too. They just changed the name of the Performing Arts Center to the Segerstrom Center so let's just get it over with and change city's name to Segerstromville.

1/30/2011 04:06:00 PM  
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