Tempers Flare in Federal Court as Voluminous New Filings in LACW, LACAN v. City of LA, CCEA Case Reveal Inside Story of Lengthy, Painful Discovery Process

The discovery process in all its glory.
The discovery process in all its glory.
On Tuesday (December 8) a bunch of new documents related to the discovery process were filed in the ongoing lawsuit filed by Los Angeles Catholic Worker and the Los Angeles Community Action Network against the City of Los Angeles and the Central City East Association, which runs the Downtown Industrial District BID. I don’t have the competence to comment usefully on most of this stuff, but, interestingly, there’s a lot of discussion of how the city of Los Angeles deals with public records. This, I do know something about.

Anyway, you can find all of the new pleadings here in the subdirectory, dated December 8, 2015. First there is a brief motion to compel discovery from the city of LA, necessary because getting camels through the eyes of needles is easier than getting documents out of the city of Los Angeles. This was foreshadowed by something I missed in the the joint stipulation, discussed in my post the other day:

The City and Plaintiffs have met extensively regarding Defendants’ responses to Plaintiffs’ Requests for Production and will likely require Court intervention to resolve their disagreement

It seems that, however, as I recently reported, the CCEA at least is complying with discovery requests. There’s a little bit more detail after the break, including some sample prose laden with negative feelings in a manner not so commonly found in pleadings. I hope to write on a number of specific items later today or quite soon, especially the controversy over production of emails, an area where the city of Los Angeles is infamous for flouting the law.

The motion to compel is accompanied by a joint stipulation which explains in great detail the utter, pig-headed stubbornness of the city, and that is supplemented by a number of declarations from the plaintiff’s lawyers: Catherine Sweetser (Part 1), Catherine Sweetser (Part 2), and Shayla Myers. Finally, there is a most curious declaration of Elizabeth Fitzgerald, deputy city attorney with the city of Los Angeles, in which she complains vociferously about how unprofessional the plaintiffs’ lawyers are and how much money they earn and accuses them of, among other things, historical revisionism. It’s quite a LOL-U-mad-bro moment. Here’s a sample:

During the course of this litigation, Plaintiffs’ counsel has repeatedly sent me a number of lengthy letters, misrepresenting facts, mischaracterizing our agreements, leaving out important facts, and often demanding immediate action on my part. I simply have not had the time to respond to every point in each and every one of Plaintiffs’ counsels’ revisionist history style letters. To do so would have taken a substantial amount of time – time, which in my opinion, was better spent working on getting documents and preparing supplemental responses. Plaintiffs’ counsels’ letter writing campaign has unfortunately turned this case into a “he said” “she said” swearing contest.

Plaintiffs’ counsels’ claim that the City has acted in bad faith, is not only untrue, but it is made by a party with unclean hands.

Plaintiffs’ counsel exhibited a complete lack of professionalism and courtesy by serving a 400 page motion to opposing counsel the afternoon before a holiday weekend. While Plaintiff did agree to allow the City an additional two days to prepare its portion of the Joint Statement, this conduct by Plaintiff was disappointing, at best, and is a violation of the Civility and Professionalism Guidelines for the Central District.

Plaintiffs’ excessive request for $25,000 in attorneys’ fees for its motion is grossly excessive and flies in the face of the right to Due Process .

The declarations contain a number of testy back-and-forth email sniping between lawyers which may also interest you. As I said above I will be writing on various parts of these documents in more detail quite soon.

The image is available here and ’twas released by its creator under the CC BY-SA 2.0.


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