Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Association et al. v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Assn. et al., No. S247095, 2020 WL 4360051, — Cal.5th — (Cal. Supreme Ct. July 30, 2020) – Case involved whether statutory amendments to the County Employees’ Retirement Law made by the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act impaired employees’ vested rights protected by the contracts clauses of the state and federal constitutions. Linda Ross and Randy Riddle represented the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, the Real Party in Interest in this case, successfully petitioning the California Supreme Court for review and achieving a victory on the merits in a 90-page opinion authored by the Chief Justice and issued on July 30, 2020.
Nowicki v. Moraga-Orinda Fire District, No. A153833 (Cal. App. 1st Dist., Aug. 27, 2019) – Case involved the applicability of the Government Claims Act to a former Fire Chief’s lawsuit against the Moraga-Orinda Fire District for allegedly tortious actions regarding his pension contributions. Linda Ross persuaded the First District Court of Appeal to affirm the trial court’s order sustaining the Fire District’s demurrer without leave to amend, and the Court of Appeal awarded the Fire District costs on appeal.
City and County of San Francisco v. Public Employment Relations Board, No. A152913, 2019 WL 3296947 (Cal. App. 1st Dist., July 22, 2019) – Case revolved around a 2010 San Francisco proposition, “Proposition G,” – a voter initiative aimed squarely at enhancing the City’s transit system, and discouraging union contracts that negatively impact transit service. Various labor unions filed an unfair practice charge contending that the provisions constituted “unreasonable” local labor relations rules under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (“MMBA”). PERB sustained the charge, and ordered that two provisions of the city’s Charter – provisions adopted by the voters through Proposition G – be stricken. In July 2019, Art Hartinger and Ryan McGinley-Stempel persuaded the Court of Appeal to grant the City’s writ for extraordinary relief and overturn significant portions of PERB’s decision. The Court also ordered PERB to pay the City’s costs.
City and County of San Francisco v. San Francisco Employees Retirement System, et al., No. CPF-16-515266 (San Francisco Superior Ct.); No. A151518, 2019 WL 2067236 (Cal. App. 1st Dist., May 10, 2019) – Case brought by the City and County of San Francisco and the Controller against its retirement system and Board for exceeding their authority under the Charter. Linda Ross achieved a complete victory in the trial court and on appeal, and upheld a significant part of the City’s pension reform efforts.
Los Angeles Police Protective League, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., No. BC489113 (L.A. Superior Ct.); Nos. B281868, B280319 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., Oct. 30, 2018) – Case brought by the Los Angeles’ public safety union against the City of Los Angeles challenging the pension system’s discretion to set medical subsidy rates. Linda Ross and Art Hartinger successfully obtained a reversal of the lower court’s adverse ruling.
Ramirez v. City and County of San Francisco, No. A151552, 2019 WL 1323449 (Cal.App. 1st Dist. March 25, 2019) – Art Hartinger represented the City and County of San Francisco filed by a former employee of the District Attorney’s Office regarding an employment decision by former District Attorney George Gascon. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of San Francisco in an age discrimination case targeting former District Attorney George Gascon.
Harris v. County of Orange, 902 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2018) – In retiree medical class action case, Ninth Circuit affirmed judgment on the pleadings in favor of the County on the plaintiffs’ age discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and on the plaintiffs’ claims that the County breached its contractual obligations by de-pooling retirees from active employees for determining medical insurance premiums.
Allum, et al., v. San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association, and the County of San Joaquin, Case No. STK-CV-UBC-2017-10696 (San Joaquin County Superior Ct.) – In September 2019, Art Hartinger and Ryan McGinley-Stempel obtained summary judgment for the County of San Joaquin in a class action seeking millions of dollars from the San Joaquin County Retirement Association, the San Joaquin County Board of Retirement, and the County of San Joaquin for alleged breaches of a settlement agreement arising from Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Assoc. v. County of Ventura (1997) 16 Cal.4th 483. We are representing the County in the plaintiffs’ appeals (Nos. C090833 & C091768, Cal. App. 3d Dist.) from the superior court’s summary judgment order and order awarding costs.
Doe v. White, et al., No. 19-cv-04923-SI, 2020 WL 887852 (N.D. Cal. 2020) – Judge Susan Illston issued a complete defense victory in this high profile case challenging the constitutionality of the interim suspension of a student pending investigation of alleged sexual misconduct, with the Court granting motion for qualified immunity on behalf of all the individual defendants and motion to dismiss without leave to amend. Art Hartinger and Ian Long continue to represent the California State University and its employees on appeal (No. 20-15450, 9th Cir.) in defending the district court’s dismissal.
Alameda Health System, et al., v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, et al., No. CPF-19-516795 (San Francisco Superior Ct.) – Art Hartinger, Linda Ross and Ryan McGinley-Stempel represent Alameda Health System and Anthony Redmond as plaintiffs/petitioners in a challenge to the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association’s allocation of responsibility among participating employers for unfunded liabilities for the ACERA retirement plan (costing AHS as much as $14 million annually). In 2019, the Alameda Superior Court granted our motion to transfer the case to the neutral venue of San Francisco. In February 2020, the San Francisco Superior Court overruled ACERA’s demurrerallowing the case to proceed beyond the pleadings.
Dikes v. Santa Clara Valley Water District, Case No. 19CV346252 (Santa Clara Superior Ct.) – Plaintiff filed suit against defendant Santa Clara Valley Water District that involved alleged negligent administration of pension benefits. On behalf of defendants, Art Hartinger and Ian Long denied plaintiff’s contentions, and asserted it had no ultimate control over what CalPERS determines is pensionable compensation. Defendant asserted a variety of defenses in its demurrers to each cause of action, including: (a) immunity under the Government Code; (b) no duty in this context that would support any negligence based case of action. Judge Sunil Kulkarni sustained in its entirety the District’s demurrer to the first amended complaint without leave to amend. Case finally resolved on January 9, 2020.
Barrett et al. v. County of Napa et al., Case Nos. 3:18-cv-6124 & 3:18-cv-6683 (N.D. Cal.) – Art Hartinger, Linda Ross and Ryan McGinley-Stempel obtained a victory for the County of Napa regarding this case. The case sought to invalidate a voter initiative that amended the County Zoning Code to prohibit personal-use heliports and limit the circumstances under which helicopter takeoffs and landings in support of agricultural activities may occur on private property.
In the Matter of the Appeal of Membership Determination of Mark R. Dana and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit, OAH No. 2018120359 (2019) – Case involving independent contractor vs. common law employment status: Art and Ian Long secured a victory on behalf of BART at the Office of Administrative Hearings, overturning CalPERS’ initial determination that an individual was a common law employee requiring CalPERS to pay for service credit. CalPERS’ Board of Administration eventually adopted the decision from OAH on February 24, 2020.
Mulder v. Children’s Hospital et al., Case No. RG17868998 (Alameda County Superior Ct.) (2019) – On May 16, 2019, RPLG’s Geoff Spellberg and Ian Long obtained a complete defense verdict for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. A Children’s Hospital Oakland employee alleged harassment against her former supervisor, including unsubstantiated allegations of racial comments. The jury ultimately returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the Hospital.
Kerzich, et al. v. County of Tuolumne, No 16-cv-01116-DAD-SAB (E.D. Cal. 2019) – This FLSA case was brought by deputy sheriffs who contended that the County failed to properly calculate the regular rate of pay. RPLG helped the County reach a favorable settlement.
Project Labor Agreement for City of Fresno (2019) – Jon Holtzman successfully negotiated a Project Labor Agreement between the Fresno Madera Kings Tulare Building Trades Council, the City of Fresno and the Fresno International Airport in order to cover a terminal and parking garage expansion. The Agreement, which includes a targeted hiring provision for disadvantaged workers, was adopted unanimously by the Fresno City Council.
Interest Arbitration Proceedings between the San Francisco Municipal Attorneys Association and the City and County of San Francisco (May 9, 2019) – $10.8 Million savings in a binding wage arbitration with the City’s attorney union.
Factfinding Proceedings between American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299 and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (2019) – We received a very favorable outcome from the factfinder, allowing the College more financial flexibility to maintain and create new facilities, and continue to attract a high-caliber, incoming student body.