Anyway, since the ruling, Jeffrey Charles Briggs and, presumably, his clients, have been stumbling about the place not paying and mumbling semicomprehensible nonsense about how they were going to appeal, about perversions of justice,2 and so on, the upshot of all of which mumbling is that, by God, they weren’t gonna pay. But a court order is a scary, scary thing. So yesterday, September 26, 2018, they paid the damn money to my lawyer, the incomparable Colleen Flynn!
I know some of my readers have been wondering why I haven’t written much lately about batty little fusspot Blair Besten, the nattering sociopathic zeck dreck of the Historic Core, third weirdest of the minor downtown BIDs. Well, the reason for that is simple yet appalling. After a reasonably good run in early 2017,1 in May 2017 she just up and stopped producing records in response to my requests. And being the weirdo little liar that she is, she didn’t just stop producing, she randomly cancelled existing appointments, said she’d mail records and never did, claimed bizarro and indefensible lists of exemptions and so on. But then things really took a turn for the weird.
In October 2017 La Besten and/or her shadowy puppetmasters on the BID Board hired self-proclaimed Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs who, at that time, was seen by the BIDs as a reasonably competent obstructer of CPRA requests.2 And after that, once everything was placed in the unclean hands of El Briggs, I received essentially no records.3 And being the weirdo little liar that he is, he didn’t just continue not to produce. Instead he announced an endless series of broken promises, imaginary technical difficulties, unnecessary test transmissions, ignored deadlines, and gratuitous lies.
As I’m sure you’re aware I was forced in 2016 by the arrogant intransigence of the Hollywood Media District BID to file a writ petition against them asking that they be ordered to follow the damn law.1 The petition was granted in part on January 30, 2018 and the BIDdies had to hand over some emails to me. I wrote about those goodies here and here.
What happens then is exceedingly clear under the law. The CPRA §6259(d) states that: The court shall award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the plaintiff should the plaintiff prevail in litigation filed pursuant to this section.
The “shall” means that a fee award is mandatory. The judge is not allowed not to award fees to the requester if the requester prevails. Of course, we have to consider what it means to prevail, but this has been settled by the courts in Belth v. Garamendi, which states: We further hold that the plaintiff has prevailed within the meaning of the statute when he or she files an action which results in defendant releasing a copy of a previously withheld document.
So the fact that the judge ordered the BID to give me those emails in February pretty much sealed their fate. Of course, they weren’t going down without a fight. My lawyer, the incomparable Colleen Flynn, asked them for $48,000 in fees. Briggs filed a response saying essentially that we shouldn’t get any fees but if we did it shouldn’t be nearly that much.
Why is the City of LA fighting this lawsuit? What a freaking waste of time and money. On January 26, 2016, the City of Los Angeles filed its answer to the petition filed by Colleen Flynn and Carol Sobel on behalf of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles seeking a writ of mandate ordering the LAPD to stop messing about and turn over the goddamned goodies. (You can find a collection of filings from this suit here). Paragraphs 1 through 9 of the initial complaint are background, and Julie Raffish, who wrote the answer, gets to indulge her evident taste for dark sarcasm in her responses, e.g. at paragraph 4 denying that the NLG is a non-profit legal association.
She also displays a wry, deadpan humor. For instance, in paragraph 3 the plaintiffs assert that the Coalition to Stop LAPD Spying “empowers its members to work collectively against police repression and to dismantle domestic spying operations” and that therefore the Coalition has an interest in the LAPD’s adhering to the Public Records Act. Julie Raffish has the City admitting that the Coalition is interested, but claiming that, as to the rest of the allegations they “lack sufficient information and knowledge to form a belief as to the truth…” of, I guess, whether there are “police repression” and “domestic spying operations” to be dismantled and worked collectively against. Dry as a bone, is Julie Raffish, and isn’t lawyerly humor fun! But the public records stuff is where it gets really interesting: Continue reading City of Los Angeles Files Answer to Stop LAPD Spying Coalition Public Records Act Petition: Admits Guilt, Expects Reward→
Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!