Tag Archives: Palos Verdes Estates

Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Grants City Of Palos Verdes Estates And Former Chief Jeff Kepley’s Motion For Summary Judgment, Meaning They Are Out Of The Case!

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

This is a very short note to announce the breaking news that James Otero, judge in the Lunada Bay Boys case, filed an order last night granting the motion of the City of Palos Verdes Estates and Jeff Kepley for summary judgment. Thus these two defendants are out of the case at this point. The plaintiffs’ theory with respect to these defendants was that they conspired with the Bay Boys to keep outsiders from surfing Lunada Bay.

Plaintiffs alleged two means by which this happened. First, that the City enforced laws, e.g. traffic laws, more harshly against outsiders than against locals. Second, that the City refused to protect outsiders from harassment by locals. The basic finding in the order is that the plaintiffs don’t have enough evidence to support the first kind of claim and that the City as a matter of law has no affirmative duty to protect anyone from harassment or attacks. I apologize for the fact that I don’t have time this morning to transcribe even part of the order, but I recommend it as very interesting, if disappointing, reading.

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Recommends That Because Defendant Brant Blakeman Failed To Preserve Text Messages After He Became Aware Of The Lawsuit He Must Pay Attorneys’ Fees And Costs For Motion For Sanctions And Cover Costs Of Additional Deposition On Subject Of What Happened To The Damn Text Messages!

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

At this point the Lunada Bay Boys discovery-related complaints, cross-complaints, bitching, cross-bitching, moaning, cross-moaning, and so on and on and on have gotten so tortuously complexicated that there’s essentially no way to summarize them any longer. However, I will remind you all that there was a hearing on December 6 before Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver on spoliation of evidence by the City Defendants1 and most rapiest Bay Boy defendant Sr. Brant Blakeman.

At issue were some text messages that Blakeman failed to preserve. The texts were on a phone issued to him by the City of PVE, which is why they were involved. The plaintiffs asked Oliver to find that Blakeman and the City not only had a duty to preserve the texts but that they had been so adversely affected by their destruction that the court ought to make Blakeman and the City pay fines, pay fees, pay costs, their motions for summary judgment ought to be denied out of hand, and an instruction to the jury stating that they should draw an adverse implication from the destruction of the texts. Blakeman and the City argued that they didn’t do anything wrong at all because they had no duty to preserve anything. Just yesterday Magistrate Judge Oliver issued her report and recommendations on the issues raised during the hearing.

With respect to the City, Oliver found that while they did have a legal obligation to preserve evidence starting earlier than they claimed, no evidence was lost specifically due to the City’s inaction, so she declined to recommend any sanctions against the City. Blakeman, on the other hand, did a few bad things, according to the Magistrate Judge.

First of all, he did have a duty to preserve the text messages. Also he failed to take reasonable steps to preserve them. Finally, the text messages were lost because of his inaction, and this prejudices the plaintiffs’ case. However, Oliver declines to find that Blakeman did it on purpose,2 and so she declines to recommend the most harsh sanctions possible.

Basically, she’s recommending that Blakeman have to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys for their costs and fees in bringing the motion for sanctions against him, and that he submit to an additional deposition that he pay for on the subject of what happened to the text messages. Additionally she recommends that the plaintiffs be allowed to present evidence to the jury about his failure to preserve and that if Judge Otero thinks it’s justified at trial, he consider allowing an instruction to the jury on what kind of inferences they can draw from Blakeman’s actions. Finally, she declined to recommend that Blakeman’s motion for summary judgment be dismissed a priori. Turn the page for transcribed selections.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Recommends That Because Defendant Brant Blakeman Failed To Preserve Text Messages After He Became Aware Of The Lawsuit He Must Pay Attorneys’ Fees And Costs For Motion For Sanctions And Cover Costs Of Additional Deposition On Subject Of What Happened To The Damn Text Messages!

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Oliver Files Amended Recommendation For Sanctions Against Sang Lee And Some Ferraras, Plaintiffs Respond To Blakeman’s and City’s Oppositions To Their Motions For Sanctions In Preparation For Tomorrow’s Hearing Before Oliver

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

You probably remember that a few weeks ago Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver set a hearing for tomorrow, Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in her courtroom on the ninth floor of the Spring Street Federal Courthouse. The subject of the hearing is sanctions for Brant Blakeman and the City defendants for allegedly destroying or failing to preserve relevant evidence. They filed oppositions to the plaintiffs’ motions a few days ago, and yesterday the plaintiffs filed responses to these oppositions:

They’re both interesting, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new material there. They’re quite plainly spoken as to the failures of defendants to preserve evidence. There’s a transcription of the response to Blakeman’s reply after the break.

Also recall that in late October, Rozella Oliver filed a report making various recommendations for sanctions against Sang Lee and Charlie and Frank Ferrara for their failure to preserve evidence. Last week she filed an amended version of this report softening some of her recommendations.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Oliver Files Amended Recommendation For Sanctions Against Sang Lee And Some Ferraras, Plaintiffs Respond To Blakeman’s and City’s Oppositions To Their Motions For Sanctions In Preparation For Tomorrow’s Hearing Before Oliver

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Lunada Bay Boys Defendants Blakeman And City of PVE File Timely Oppositions To Plaintiffs’ Motion For Sanctions, Blakeman Throws His Co-Defendant Frank Ferrara Under The Bus To Some Extent

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

OK, so the Lunada Bay Boys plaintiffs filed a motion for sanctions against defendants Brant Blakeman, the City of PVE, and some others. The motion is here. And a couple weeks ago Judge James Otero ordered all relevant parties to brief Rozella Oliver, the magistrate judge in the case, on the issues. She turned around and set a briefing schedule and a hearing, which will happen in her courtroom on Spring Street on Wednesday, December 6, at 1:30 p.m.

That order required Blakeman and the City defendants to file briefs in opposition by November 27, which they did, and which are the reason for today’s post.3 The issue is, of course, whether these particular defendants destroyed evidence, mainly text messages, after they had a legal duty to preserve it. No one seems to deny that they did destroy the texts, so the argument is mostly about precisely when their duty to preserve evidence was activated.4

You might recall that at some point various Ferraras argued that their duty to preserve only attached when they were served with papers in the suit, but Rozella Oliver wasn’t buying it. She said that because Frank Ferrara had been interviews by the Daily Breeze prior to service he knew about the suit and ought to have not destroyed his texts. Well, Blakeman turns that argument to his own account by asserting that because he wasn’t interviewed by the paper, there’s no evidence that he knew about the suit prior to service.

Anyway, here are the briefs filed, and there are selected transcriptions from Blakeman’s pleading after the break:

Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Defendants Blakeman And City of PVE File Timely Oppositions To Plaintiffs’ Motion For Sanctions, Blakeman Throws His Co-Defendant Frank Ferrara Under The Bus To Some Extent

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Rules That Mostly Plaintiffs Can File Supplemental Oppositions To Individual Defendants’ Motions For Summary Judgment But Not In The Case Of City Defendants For Some Damn Reason

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

The discovery problems in this case are getting exceedingly hard to follow. At this point they seem to be divisible into two main categories. There are the motions for sanctions, which are set for a hearing next week. And then there is the plaintiffs’ motion for administrative relief, which is based on the various and sundry motions for summary judgment filed by the various and sundry defendants in combination with the fact that those various and same defendants have not been forthcoming with discovery materials. The argument is that without access to the discovery material the plaintiffs haven’t been able to adequately respond to the motions for summary judgment.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Rules That Mostly Plaintiffs Can File Supplemental Oppositions To Individual Defendants’ Motions For Summary Judgment But Not In The Case Of City Defendants For Some Damn Reason

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Lunada Bay Boys News Roundup: More Discovery Matters, October 12 Hearing Set Before Rozella Oliver — Tiffany Bacon Withdraws As Attorney To Ferraras — Plaintiffs File Memorandum Supporting Discovery Request For Work-Related Texts From PVEPD Officers’ Personal Cell Phones

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

The latest episode in the ongoing nightmare that is the discovery process in this case is summarized in this minute order setting the schedule for dealing with the plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions against Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee. You can read a transcription after the break to get the details, but essentially everyone has to meet and confer and a strict briefing schedule is set. There is an in-person hearing scheduled for October 12 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom F on the ninth floor of the Spring Street Federal Courthouse.

And turn the page for the story on the other items mentioned in the headline!
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys News Roundup: More Discovery Matters, October 12 Hearing Set Before Rozella Oliver — Tiffany Bacon Withdraws As Attorney To Ferraras — Plaintiffs File Memorandum Supporting Discovery Request For Work-Related Texts From PVEPD Officers’ Personal Cell Phones

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Who Is In Charge Of The Palos Verdes Estates Police Department? Jeff Kepley Is Definitely Out, But Other Than That No One At The City Is Talking, At Least They’re Not Talking To Judge James Otero

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit.ames Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

A very peculiar pleading in this most peculiar of cases hit PACER last night, in . It seems that PVE police chief Jeff Kepley retired at some point recently. Since he’s being sued in his official capacity rather than his personal capacity, it appears that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d) requires that Jeff Kepley be dropped from the suit and his successor named instead:

Public Officers; Death or Separation from Office. An action does not abate when a public officer who is a party in an official capacity dies, resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office while the action is pending. The officer’s successor is automatically substituted as a party. Later proceedings should be in the substituted party’s name, but any misnomer not affecting the parties’ substantial rights must be disregarded. The court may order substitution at any time, but the absence of such an order does not affect the substitution.

So, very reasonably, it seems, plaintiffs’ attorney Kurt Franklin filed a Suggestion to the Court that the acting Chief, who seems to be Mark Velez at this point, be substituted in.5 This seems to be fairly inconsequential in that the rule seems to say that the substitution happens irrespective of whether anyone acknowledges it, but it also seems like the kind of thing one would want to tell the court about. If it comes up later and one knew about it and didn’t tell the court, how weird is that going to look?

Not that the City of PVE is worried about such niceties. As with everything to do with the City’s involvement in this case, the events leading up to this filing have an air of shady incompetence, evasion, and deception. It hasn’t yet been proven that this weirdo little City on a Hill has anything to hide, but they surely do act as if they do. So what’s one more little item like not telling the court that the freaking chief of police retired?

As always there’s a transcription after the break, as well as a timeline of key events.
Continue reading Who Is In Charge Of The Palos Verdes Estates Police Department? Jeff Kepley Is Definitely Out, But Other Than That No One At The City Is Talking, At Least They’re Not Talking To Judge James Otero

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Schedules Telephonic Hearing To Determine How To Proceed On The Manifold Motions Regarding Discovery Disputes Sent Over By Judge Otero For September 5, Orders, To The Delight Of Everyone Who Has To Pay PACER Fees, That No Further Briefs Be Filed Unless Requested

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit.ames Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

NOTE: Because I was asked, I thought I’d just announce that I’m sorry for the lack of cartoons. For the next week I’m forced to use a substandard computer. The cartoons will return on or about September 5 if all goes as planned.

Yesterday Judge James Otero bestowed sufficient authority upon Magistrate Judge Oliver to decide all the pending motions relating to discovery shenanigans on the parts of the various defendants, including the plaintiffs’ monumental motion for administrative relief. Well, Oliver is no slacker — today the Magistrate Judge issued an order scheduling a telephonic hearing on all the pending discovery matters for September 5. The purpose of this hearing, it seems, isn’t to decide the issues, but to agree on what further briefs and proceedings will be necessary to decide the issues. As always, there’s a transcript after the break.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Schedules Telephonic Hearing To Determine How To Proceed On The Manifold Motions Regarding Discovery Disputes Sent Over By Judge Otero For September 5, Orders, To The Delight Of Everyone Who Has To Pay PACER Fees, That No Further Briefs Be Filed Unless Requested

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Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Announces That He Can Decide All Eleventy-Jillion Motions For Summary Judgment, Administrative Relief, Et Damn Cetera, Without Oral Arguments, Cancels September 5 Hearing

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Remember all those eleventy-jillion motions everyone in this “over-pled”6 behemoth of a case has filed over the last weeks? Like first every single defendant filed motions for summary judgment:

Then the plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss all those motions because, they plausibly claimed, they were prevented from making an adequate response by the manifold discovery shenanigans perpetrated by the defense. Then all the defendants opposed that motion and of course the plaintiffs subsequently replied to that opposition. And arguments over every last jot and tittle of this stack of claims, counter-claims, cross-counter-claims, and so on and on and on, were scheduled to be heard on September 5.

Well, just this afternoon, Judge Otero announced that he will be deciding all of these motions, oppositions to these motions, replies to oppositions, etc., without oral argument. He therefore cancelled the hearing, and that, I suppose, is that. There’s no PDF associated with this kind of announcement, but you can read the whole thing after the break anyway.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Announces That He Can Decide All Eleventy-Jillion Motions For Summary Judgment, Administrative Relief, Et Damn Cetera, Without Oral Arguments, Cancels September 5 Hearing

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City of PVE And Jeff Kepley And The PVE Police Officers’ Association File Opposition To Motion Because They Don’t Want To Hand Over Text Messages From Cops’ Personal Phones — No One Seems To Be Discussing The Fact That The California Supreme Court Decided In March That Work Information On Personal Phones Is Public Record

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Last week the plaintiffs in the Lunada Bay Boys case asked magistrate judge Rozella Oliver to sanction the City of PVE because they refused to hand over work-related text messages. Oliver subsequently denied this motion on technical grounds. At roughly the same time the plaintiffs filed a motion for administrative relief, essentially asking Judge Otero to deny the zillions of defense motions for summary judgment because of various discovery failures on the part of the defense.

And tonight the City of PVE and Jeff Kepley filed their opposition to that motion. The most important item is this memorandum of points and authorities which has, as these all seem to, a good discussion of the facts of the dispute.

The main issue seems to be, though, that the plaintiffs’ asked for material from the personal phones of PVE cops and the cop union intervened and said via their lawyer, Howard A. Liberman, that they weren’t going to hand it over because it would violate the officers’ privacy and also it would violate their contract with the City of PVE. The City also argues that they can’t hand it over since they don’t have control over it.

There are links to all the other goodies after the break, by the way, along with more of the usual uninformed speculation.
Continue reading City of PVE And Jeff Kepley And The PVE Police Officers’ Association File Opposition To Motion Because They Don’t Want To Hand Over Text Messages From Cops’ Personal Phones — No One Seems To Be Discussing The Fact That The California Supreme Court Decided In March That Work Information On Personal Phones Is Public Record

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