Recall that as of ten days ago the parties in the Lunada Bay Boys surf-thuggery case found themselves unable to schedule defendant Alan “Jalian” Johnston’s deposition. Well, this afternoon, Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver filed a minute order reporting that they still have not been able to schedule the deposition (as always, there’s a transcription after the break). Furthermore, she orders them to get their damn act together and have it scheduled by Friday, June 30 or else everyone has to write five page briefs explaining what they did to try to come to terms with one another. This is, I think, the judicial equivalent of the babies getting fussy and scratching at themselves until mom makes them put their mittens on.
At that time Judge Oliver ordered the parties to brief her thoroughly on the matter. Well, it seems that the City decided to just hand over the report rather than fight about it any more. Hence they all filed a joint stipulation asking the judge not to make them write the briefs any more. You’ll find a transcription of the stipulation after the break. It’s not by any means clear that we’ll be able to get our hands on the report itself, although often discovery material turns up in the exhibits to later motions, so maybe we will.
Earlier today Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver held a telephonic conference with attorneys for the Lunada Bay Boys plaintiffs and also defendant Brant Blakeman. They’re evidently still squabbling over discovery matters. This may be the same dispute I wrote about in January or it may be something else. It has to do, though, with Blakeman claiming that the plaintiffs’ responses to his supplemental interrogatories were inadequate. It’s possible that this disagreement is the one described in these two docket items:
You might recall that in early 2016 the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department organized a sting operation to catch zillionaire surf thugs the Lunada Bay Boys in the midst of their zillionaire surf thuggery but someone tipped off the Bay Boys, no doubt because they’re not just all sleeping with each others’ spouses up there on The Hill, they also all grew up together like a bunch of hillbillies in a holler and they operate on a need-to-know basis but they have their own ideas of who needs to know what.
A little more than two weeks ago, federal district court judge James Otero denied class certification in the Lunada Bay Boys case, turning it into a merely personal dispute between a bunch of thuggish zillionaire surf-localist gangbangers and the few surfers brave enough to put their names on the case. Today, the plaintiffs filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for permission to appeal Otero’s decision immediately, rather than, I guess, waiting until the whole case is done, which is probably the more normal time to appeal. This is a so-called interlocutory appeal, in other words, which is made before the case which gives rise to it is settled. Obviously it would cause chaos if lawyers were allowed to appeal every random decision a lower court judge made while the actual case was proceeding, which is probably why it’s necessary to (a) ask the Ninth Circuit for permission to appeal and (b) to argue that the case will suffer “irreparable harm” if the appeal of the given order, in this case denial of class certification, isn’t allowed to proceed while the underlying case is ongoing. The basic argument seems to be this:
Californians have a constitutional right to access their public beaches. Accordingly, Petitioners ask this Court for the opportunity to appeal now, so that their motion for class certification can be given proper consideration under the correct interpretation of rule 23. As this Court has recognized, there is no reason for a plaintiff to litigate to finality “when a certification decision is erroneous and inevitably will be overturned.”
Perhaps you recall that yesterday’s scheduled hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion to have their lawsuit against the putative Lunada Bay Boys certified as a class action was cancelled by the Judge on the grounds that he would be able to rule without hearing oral arguments. Well, this morning his order denying class certification hit PACER. I can tell you right now that his reasoning with respect to the conclusion that this case cannot proceed as a class action is completely beyond my ability to interpret sensibly, so you’ll have to figure that part of it out yourself.
The introduction to the order strikes me as pretty skeptical of the plaintiffs’ claims generally, and even a little sarcastic. For instance, in what must be for the plaintiffs a particularly disconcerting example of judicial humor, Otero begins his summary of the facts with the following pun: “Riding the wave of the Point Break remake, Plaintiffs initiated this putative class action lawsuit…” It can’t be pleasant to read insinuations from the judge that one’s lawsuit was essentially a movie tie-in! There are excerpts after the break.
Tonight I had the pleasure of receiving from self-proclaimed active member of the revitalized Hollywood community1 Jeffrey Charles Briggs almost 200 emails between the East Hollywood Business Improvement District and various far-too-friendly folks at the City of Los Angeles. For now these are available here on Archive.Org. They’re PDFs, but they’re that super-PDF-format that one can make with genuine Adobe software that embeds attachments right in there with clickable links.2 I have only been able to give these a cursory look-over, but I can already see a few crucial items. I’ll be writing on these matters as soon as I possibly can, but if you want a preview of one of them take a look at this juicy little number.
Oh boy! No doubt you recall that in January, the plaintiffs filed a declaration of Philip King in which King, a professor of economics at San Francisco State who studies coastal recreational economics. King made a preliminary calculation of the economic damage caused by the aggressively psychopathic surf localism of the Lunada Bay Boys at around $50,000,000 since 1970.
A quick note to announce a recent order in the Lunada Bay Boys case that hit PACER last week and somehow I missed it. It’s an order by magistrate judge Rozella Oliver to compel discovery and production, binding on both plaintiffs and defendants. The plaintiffs are ordered, in part, like this:
Plaintiffs are ordered to identify witnesses in response to Interrogatory Numbers 1 through 12. For each interrogatory, Plaintiffs shall identify the responsive witnesses by name. For each witness, Plaintiffs shall specify whether that witness is represented by Plaintiffs’ counsel, or, if Plaintiffs know, by other counsel. For each witness, Plaintiffs shall provide contact information for that witness or state unambiguously that Plaintiffs do not have contact information for that witness.
Oh dear. Hitting PACER just now is Defendant Brant Blakeman’s Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Defendants’ Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification. It seems that plaintiff Diana Reed was sued in LA County Superior Court for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and a few other such torts, arising out of a music promotion business run by Reed and her husband Gabe. Blakeman is arguing that these allegations, along with the fact that Reed didn’t defend the suit, make her unfit to represent the class of people harmed in the Lunada Bay Boys case.
According to the complaint in the fraud suit,1 the Reeds accepted tens of thousands of dollars from the business manager of some band in exchange for the band being allowed to open for an Aerosmith concert in Mexico City and to go on some rock tour that the Reeds were promoting. None of this ever happened, the band didn’t get its money back, they sued, the Reeds didn’t defend the case, and the court entered a default judgment for more than $440,000.