The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 24, 2010
More about the minimum wage court hearing delay

Thumbnail image for 100609 gavel.jpgWe told you on Tuesday that minimum wage litigation has been delayed between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (who insists that state workers' pay must be withheld during a budget impasse) and Controller John Chiang (who says his computers and the state's pay rules make it impossible).

Here's why: The Schwarzenegger administration requested it.

Court documents in the case amount to finger pointing by both sides about why attorneys won't be ready for the now-canceled Nov. 29 hearing. Here's what the Department of Personnel Administration's attorney, Suzanne Solomon, said in this Nov. 12 request for Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette to postpone the hearing:

The motion will be made on the grounds that good cause exists to extend the deadlines and allow a supplemental expert report because the current discovery and trial schedule was premised on SCO's production of the bulk of its documents by October 20, 2010. SCO did not produce the bulk of its documents by that date. Of the approximately 800,000 pages of documents that SCO produced, approximately 500,000 of those were produced after October 27, 2010 and SCO's document production is still not complete. The timing of the document production has accordingly impaired DPA's ability to notice and conduct depositions and to conduct expert discovery.

Chiang's attorney, Steven Rosenthal, didn't oppose the idea, but his Nov. 15 court filing put the blame for the discovery delay on DPA:

DPA's current predicament is a product of DPA's own making. Since this case's inception, DPA has insisted on proceeding at a breakneck pace, making unrealistic scheduling demands and refusing to approach discovery with any semblance of organization or efficiency. It was only at DPA's insistence that the parties started taking depositions before documents had been produced. SCO has consistently maintained that DPA's approach was wasteful and unrealistic; nonetheless, SCO has done its best to comply with the tight deadlines.

As for DPA's complaints regarding the volume of SCO's production, SCO also asked DPA to narrow its 51 far-ranging document requests. DPA refused. And yet DPA now complains that SCO produced too many documents. DPA could have easily avoided the present state of affairs had it simply narrowed its requests.

Chiang spokeswoman Hallye Jordan said in a Tuesday e-mail that, "No new date has been set but the court is considering some dates in March 2011."

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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