The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 29, 2011
Judge weighing $500,000 quarterly CCPOA payment plan

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100602 yolo county gavel.jpgThe California Correctional Peace Officers Association may have to start making $500,000 payments every three months and put up its West Sacramento headquarters and other property as it appeals its loss in a federal defamation case.

After hearing arguments this morning, Judge Lawrence Karlton is still deciding what to do about CCPOA's inability to buy a bond to cover a judgment rendered last October in his Sacramento courtroom -- eventually reduced from a total $12 million to $5 million by the court -- while the union appeals to San Francisco's 9th Circuit Court.

Plaintiff Brian Dawe is appealing to the same court to restore the full award.

CCPOA said last month that it didn't have enough liquid assets to buy a bond to cover an amount equal to 125 percent of the $5 million award Dawe is due pending appeal and asked to use its properties as collateral instead. Dawe attorney Daniel Baxter objected for several reasons, including the expense of taking over the properties.

Now Karlton is considering a plan that would require CCPOA pay $500,000 per quarter to an account set up by the court until the appeal is resolved. The union would also have to put up its properties, including its headquarters, two Sacramento homes and a vacant parcel of land in Southern California.

Dawe would draw on that money if CCPOA loses the appeal. If the money doesn't cover the total amount -- either $5 million or $12 million depending on the outcome of Dawe's appeal -- and the union couldn't write a check for the balance, Dawe would also take over property.

Given the timeline for briefing the appeals, Baxter said, oral arguments in San Francisco probably won't be heard by the circuit court until "late next year." He expects a ruling won't be issued until the first or second quarter of 2013.

"The judge is still chewing on (the payment plan)," Baxter said this morning, "But if that's his decision, it's a good outcome for my clients."

CCPOA hasn't yet responded to a call and an e-mail seeking comment on today's court action.

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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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