A Sacramento federal judge has ruled that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association can put up four properties it owns, including its West Sacramento headquarters, as collateral for several million dollars it owes from a defamation lawsuit loss while it appeals the decision.
But Judge Lawrence Karlton said in his order Thursday that the union also must pay $500,000 every three months into a court-controlled account while the appeal plays out.
The decision is the latest twist in Dawe v. Corrections USA, in which a federal jury decided the union had defamed businessman Brian Dawe and two other individuals. The jury awarded a total $12 million to the plaintiffs, but Karlton reduced that to $5 million. Dawe is appealing the reduction. (Click here for more about the case.)
On Monday, lawyers debated how CCPOA should guarantee its debt if it loses on appeal, since it couldn't buy a bond to cover the obligation.
Union attorney Tom Umberg said this morning that the decision "allows CCPOA to vigorously pursue" its appeal since Karlton didn't hobble the union's finances with a cash demand.
"This is what CCPOA was planning all along," Umberg said, since the union has been setting aside money in the event of a loss. "But we anticipate success."
Dawe's lawyer, Daniel Baxter, said, "This is definite win for us. Rather than having to rely on real estate, which can be wildly variable, we're now going to have cash on the barrel head, which is what we wanted all along. We're very happy with the results."