The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 1, 2013
CCPOA says it will pay multimillion-dollar defamation award

MONEY_FACTORY.jpgAfter years of court fighting and a failed appeal, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is negotiating details to pay nearly $5 million to a former business associate defamed, a federal jury said, by union officials.

"The association is going to pay the award," union spokesman JeVaughn Baker said in a telephone interview this afternoon.

A federal jury said in 2010 that that CCPOA officials had ruined Brian Dawe's name and his livelihood over a business dispute and awarded him a total $12 million in damages. Presiding Judge Lawrence Karlton found the sum excessive and reduced it to $4.96 million.

CCPOA appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel upheld the trial court decision last month.

The union could have asked the full appellate court to hear the case or it could have taken it to the U.S. Supreme Court. With Dawe's court costs kicked in, CCPOA's total obligation is around $5 million.

Baker and Dawe attorney Daniel Baxter both said today that the two sides are negotiating the details of the payment. While CCPOA was appealing the trial court decision -- and Dawe was asking the court to restore the jury's higher award -- CCPOA put $3 million into an escrow account and secured the balance with property, including its West Sacramento headquarters.

The union says it now has the money on hand to pay the full amount. Talks between the two sides have centered on the "mechanics of releasing the funds from the court account and also covering the remaining amount of the judgment with additional, non-deposited funds," Baxter said in an email.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stacks of one dollar bills are readied for shipment after being cut from sheets at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Washington on Tuesday, April 24, 2001. Hillery Smith Garrison / Associated Press file, 2001

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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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