UPDATE: Today, February 7, 2020 Judge Beckloff changed his mind about the bench warrant for technical reasons that I don’t understand. Not sure what’s going to happen next and even though it remains quite likely that George Yu will be hauled off in chains in the near future, it won’t be because of the warrant that was issued on Wednesday. Here’s a copy of today’s order.
In 2018 Katherine McNenny and I sued the Chinatown Business Improvement District over their failure to comply with the California Public Records Act. And for the last 18 months neither BID director George Yu nor anyone else from the BID has appeared in court at all. In due course they lost, Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued an order to them to hand over the records, and they ignored that as well. Late last year we moved to have Yu held in contempt for his failure to obey the order, and the judge issued an order for Yu’s arrest and suspended it pending a hearing at which he ordered Yu to appear in person and explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt.
That hearing was held this morning. Perhaps predictably, Yu didn’t show up today either, and the judge released the arrest warrant. Apparently this isn’t the kind of warrant where the cops go out and hunt down the offender, but if he’s pulled over or a cop has some other reason to enter his name into a computer, this will come up and he’ll be arrested and hauled before the judge. The Chinatown BID is in CD1, Gil Cedillo’s little kingdom, and as do all BIDdies with their Councilmembers, Yu has hitherto enjoyed Cedillo’s unconditional love. But having the guy arrested and hauled by force before a judge to explain why he refuses to obey the law may, just may, not saying for sure, erode that affection, that tolerance, just a bit. We can hope!
Continue reading George Yu Fails To Appear At His Last And Final Contempt Hearing — Judge Mitchell Beckloff Orders Yu Seized — And Detained — And Chained — And Hauled Bodily Into Court — To Explain In Person Why He Has Been Ignoring The Judge’s Order To Hand Over The Damn Records — And Also He’s Ordered To Pay Our Lawyers An Additional $21K In Legal Fees — Looks To Me Like Now He’s Pushed His Luck Too Far — I Am Guessing That Gil Cedillo Will Have To Withdraw His Support At Some Point — Beginning To Look Very Much Like Yu’s Days Are Numbered
Here’s a summary of where we are in our public records suit against the Chinatown Business Improvement District. We filed it in August 2018 because the BID ignored our requests for records. The BID never participated at all and in July 2019 we prevailed over them and Judge Mitchell Beckloff subsequently ordered the BID to produce the records.
They continued to ignore the whole situation so last week our attorneys filed a motion asking the judge to hold them in contempt of court for refusing to comply with his order. They didn’t show up for the hearing on that either, which was on Friday morning, so the judge ordered them to show up on December 27, 2019 at 9:30 AM and explain themselves. The charge is contempt of court, which is defined in the California Code of Civil Procedure at §1209 to include “Disobedience of any lawful judgment, order, or process of the court.”
And the same Code, now at §1218, allows the judge to punish the contempt with fines of up to $1,000 and up to five days of jail time. Also the judge is allowed by §1212 to have people arrested and brought before the court to answer for contempt charges. So if the BID doesn’t show up for this proceeding things might get really, really interesting! Read on for a transcription of the judge’s order.
Continue reading Judge Mitchell Beckloff Orders George Yu And The Other Directors Of The Chinatown BID To Appear Before Him And Explain Why They Should Not Be Held In Contempt Of Court For Continuing To Ignore His Order To Hand Over The Damn Public Records — They’ve Ignored Every Part Of This Lawsuit So Far — But If They Ignore This Part They May Be Forced To Pay Even More Money — And Be Arrested — And Go To Jail For Up To Five Days — The Hearing Is Set For December 27 At 9:30 AM
I reported a couple weeks ago about the hearing on plaintiffs’ motion to hold the City of LA in contempt for failing to produce discovery documents. The order scheduling the hearing also required the plaintiffs to submit pleadings today outlining the status of the discovery requests and also detailing how much in fees and costs they were asking for. Those documents were filed tonight around 6:30 p.m. and I have them for you here:
Shayla Myers’s declaration has multiple goodies in the exhibits, including a full transcript of the deposition of LAPD Information Technologist LeShon Frierson, in which he revealed for the first time in February that the LAPD does in fact use an email archiving product called GWAVA Retain, which, notably, allows keyword searches across mailboxes, something which the City had wrongly denied was possible. I speculated about this issue in December 2015, so it was a treat to find out that they had this capability, and it’s a treat now to read the actual words of LeShon Frierson describing the software and how it’s used. There are beaucoup emails in there too between Myers and Ronald Whitaker, who’s representing the City. It’s fascinating if, like me, you just can’t resist reading other people’s correspondence.
Continue reading Documents Filed Just Now in LA CAN/LACW Suit Against City of LA, CCEA, Ask for Award of $46,568 in Costs and Entrance of Long List of Damning Facts as True
Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Wisterich has filed an order setting a hearing on plaintiffs’ application for contempt and sanctions, to be held March 21, 2016 at 11 a.m. in room 690 of the Roybal Courthouse. The City is also ordered to get those discovery materials in soonest. Ominously for the City, Judge Wisterich also ordered the plaintiffs’ to prepare a statement of the fees they’re seeking for dealing with the City’s recalcitrance. The text of the order is after the break.
Continue reading Hearing on Plaintiffs’ Application for Contempt and Sanctions Set for March 21, 11 a.m.
Last week attorneys for Los Angeles Catholic Worker and LA Community Action Network filed an application requesting that the City be held in contempt for its misfeasance in what has turned out to be painful, drawn-out discovery process. This morning, mere minutes ago, plaintiffs’ attorney Shayla Myers filed a supplemental declaration in support (along with an exhibit) in which she states:
I am producing this supplemental declaration to update the Court about facts which Plaintiffs have discovered since the ex parte motion to hold the City in contempt was filed. In particular, Plaintiffs have discovered that certain representations by the City of Los Angeles appear to be inaccurate. While the City of Los Angeles has maintained since July 2015 that it cannot do a global search of emails in the possession of the LAPD, Plaintiffs discovered at a deposition of the Person Most Knowledgeable on behalf of the City on February 22, 2016 that the LAPD employs e-discovery software that allows the LAPD to search all emails sent and received by LAPD officers since March 2013, that the software is designed to facilitate global keyword searches, and that when the LAPD has done such a search in the past, it was completed within a week.
Continue reading Documents Filed Mere Moments Ago in LACW/LACAN v. CCEA/City of LA Case Quite Plausibly Accuse City of Los Angeles of Inaccurate Representations Regarding LAPD Discovery Capabilities
Mere moments ago new filings in the LACAN/LACW lawsuit against the City of LA and the Central City East Association hit the RSS feed of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and what a doozy! It seems that, despite their representations to the contrary in front of Federal Magistrate Judge Andrew Wistrich, the City of Los Angeles is not complying with the Court’s discovery orders. I haven’t had time to read any of this stuff yet, but it looks super hot so I wanted to get it up here as quickly as possible. First we have an ex parte application for an order holding the City of Los Angeles in contempt and seeking sanctions against them. The plaintiffs state:
Good cause exists for such a motion because despite two orders from this Court compelling the production of responsive documents, the City has failed to produce these documents or identify a date certain when all responsive documents will be produced. Without further intervention and sanctions against the City, the City will continue to ignore this Court’s order and the City’s discovery obligations. Plaintiffs will experience prejudice if the City continues to be permitted to ignore its obligations and this Court’s orders.
Well, that ought to put the fear of God into them. The application was supported by two declarations and a proposed order, to which you will find links after the break (along with another long selection from the application).
Continue reading Plaintiffs File Application for Order Holding City of Los Angeles in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Discovery Orders! ” a contempt order [is] necessary and proper to impress on these departments … that Court orders cannot be ignored”