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.

So as I’m sure you’re aware, I don’t know much about the law, and for all I know the cops’ arguments are correct with respect to the Federal rules of discovery, whatever those might be. But I do know a little bit about the California Public Records Act, not to mention the fact that in March of this year, the California Supreme Court ruled that work-related material stored on the personal electronic devices of public officials is absolutely subject to disclosure under the CPRA.

And of course, the CPRA famously requires the disclosure of much, much more material than the rules of discovery. So one wonders why everyone’s arguing about whether the request is overbroad, or whether the material is under the control of the City, or is it a fishing expedition, or whatever. It seems pretty clear to me that the CPRA trumps the City of PVE’s contract with its cops, and that perhaps the defendants’ objections wouldn’t stand up to a CPRA request even if it turns out that they’re not defensible as discovery. After all, the CPRA is fishing-expedition-friendly!1

I mean, who really knows if that theory makes any sense?2 Although I will mention that the last crackpot theory I propounded on this blog, that it might be relevant that Jalian Johnston values one day of surfing Lunada Bay at $5,000, ended up being mentioned in the plaintiffs’ deposition of the guy.3


The image up top is ©2017 MichaelKohlhaas.Org, and it is a heavy modification of this image here.

  1. Much to the chagrin of any number of damn BIDs in the City of Los Angeles, amirite?
  2. But, as always, it amuses me at least.
  3. Of course I’m not claiming they got the idea here. They’re perfectly capable, naturally, of thinking of that nonsense themselves.
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