Larchmont Village Trial Setting Conference Today Essentially Anticlimactic But With A Few Interesting Aspects — Judge Mary Strobel Grants Respondents 30 Days Extra To File Response

As I’m sure you recall, in April I was forced by their bizarro antisocial intransigence and utter failure to comply with the California Public Records Act to file a petition for writ of mandate against the kooky little backwater Larchmont Village BID in the heart of South Central Hollywood. They don’t seem to be interested in settling right now, and so this morning we all had to haul our tired bones out to the Stanley Mosk courthouse for the trial setting conference.1

It was the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros appearing for me and for the BID it was some dude who goes about the place passing himself off as J. Thomas Cairns, although I don’t know anyone who’s seen his ID. You may already know, but these conferences tend to be fairly routine, although sometimes something interesting happens, and a couple things happened here.

First of all, The judge, the honorable Mary Strobel, asked Cisneros if we’d received any response at all to the three requests at issue. He told her that there had been no response to two of them, and the only response to the third was a statement that they would be responding within 14 days, which they then proceeded not to do.

She then asked if it were true that the respondents had not filed a reply to the petition. As you may recall, this is absolutely accurate. They did not in fact file a reply. J. Thomas Cairns had some explanation for this which sounded like essentially delusional wishful thinking2 with a hint of blaming his failure on the judge somehow. But what do I know? In any case, the judge neither rose to the bait nor sanctioned them. She gave the BID until August 10 to file a response.

And finally, J. Thomas Cairns told the judge that this case was related to a bunch of other CPRA cases of mine. Here “related” seems to be a technical term, and Cairns seemed to be implying that Cisneros had somehow failed in a duty to file a motion informing the court of these other cases. The judge invited Cairns to file such a motion, but did not otherwise seem moved by his comments. She noted that he was required to file the motion in all the pending cases.

This all seems to be laid out in Rule 3.300 of the California Rules of Court. There it defines related cases this way:

A pending civil case is related to another pending civil case, or to a civil case that was dismissed with or without prejudice, or to a civil case that was disposed of by judgment, if the cases:

(1)Involve the same parties and are based on the same or similar claims;

(2)Arise from the same or substantially identical transactions, incidents, or events requiring the determination of the same or substantially identical questions of law or fact;

(3)Involve claims against, title to, possession of, or damages to the same property; or

(4)Are likely for other reasons to require substantial duplication of judicial resources if heard by different judges.

Nothing here seems to me to apply,3 so I’m guessing that this was hot air on Cairns’s part, trying to get it on the record that I have other CPRA cases pending in an effort to paint me as, I don’t know, the kind of person that files a lot of CPRA cases. It seems as likely to me that he’ll succeed in painting his fellow business improvement districts as, I don’t know, a bunch of damn criminals who can’t follow the law at all. In any case, my guess is that nothing will come of this, but I suppose we’ll see. Anyway, more news when I have it, which I’m guessing won’t be before August 10, when the reply is due.

OMG, I almost forgot to mention the whole point of the damn hearing, which was to set a trial date!! The trial is set for May 16, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. Mark your calendars!!


Image of J. Thomas Cairns is ©2018 MichaelKohlhaas.Org. It’s kinda-sorta modified from this Cairns here.

  1. To be precise, I had to haul my tired bones out there. Both lawyers appeared telephonically.
  2. Of exactly the kind you might expect from a guy who did real estate law for 40 years and knows nothing about the Public Records Act.
  3. Although as always I’m not a lawyer and don’t know anything about it for reals.
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