The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 30, 2009
View all the furlough lawsuits

Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Six courts in four counties. A legion of lawyers. Nearly two dozen lawsuits stretching back nearly a year.

No wonder we're having trouble staying on top of state furlough litigation.

In an effort to corral the cases, name the players and identify the issues, we've built a spreadsheet. You can download the table by clicking here.

It's not perfect, and we know it. We'd like this to be a go-to resource, but we need your help.

First, if you're an official who can speak for one of the parties involved and you see info that needs to be changed, contact The State Worker via e-mail with the specifics. Distilling 21 court cases into a few easy-to-read lines is more art than science.

Second, we're looking for a handful of State Worker users to help us keep the table updated and to alert us to newsworthy documents that deserve posting on the blog. Maybe you're an attorney or a union activist. Maybe you're just intensely interested in a particular furlough case. If you'd like to get involved with building this chart, shoot us an e-mail with which cases you'd like to report.

Click the link below for more about the furlough spreadsheet.

A few notes about the project:

Not all courts make documents available online.
Sacramento Superior and Alameda Superior courts are quick to post documents for online viewing. Los Angeles makes documents available, but you have to register and pay a fee. (If you want to read the furlough complaint filed with that court on Oct. 7 by the Operating Engineers, click here.) San Francisco Superior Court provides links to some documents.

The links are intended to get you as close to the details as possible.
The links provided will open windows to either court document search engines (you'll have to enter the case number info) or to specific case dockets. As cases you want to follow unfold, those links will help you track developments.

Search engine tips
To search by case number on the appeals courts' Web site, input all letters and numbers of the lower court case, but do not use hyphens. (Example: You'd search for the appeal docket for Superior Court Case No. 34-2008-80000126-CU-WM-GDS by inputting 34200880000126CUWMGDS.)

The Sacramento Superior Court's document search engine uses year and case number. So, to see documents in Case No. 34-2008-80000126-CU-WM-GDS, you'll use 2008 in the year field and 80000126 in the case number field.

Eliminate hyphens when using the Alameda Superior Court's search engine.

San Francisco Superior Court searches require just the last six digits of the case number.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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