The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 19, 2013
Court order signals final chapter in $5 million CCPOA case

JV_LAWRENCE_KARLTON.JPGAfter fighting and twice losing in court, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is poised to pay off a $5 million federal defamation judgment.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton has ordered that $3 million the union had paid into a court-controlled escrow account be released to Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP, the law firm representing Brian Dawe. Once the court clerk releases the money, CCPOA has three days to pay the balance.

A federal jury said in 2010 that that CCPOA officials defamed Dawe and ruined his livelihood. It awarded him $12 million in damages, but Karlton found the sum excessive and reduced it to $4.96 million.

CCPOA appealed, but the union didn't have the money on hand to secure the award while that process played out. So Karlton required the union to make regular payments into the escrow account and put up union-owned property as collateral. With court costs, the union will pay a bit more than $5 million.

Union spokesman JeVaughn Baker said today that CCPOA is waiting for the clerk to release the escrow funds.

"We don't have a specific release date," Baker said in an email, "but once that happens, we will pay the entire balance of the award."

PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton. José Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee file, 1999

AMENDED ORDER FOR RELEASE OF FUNDS ON DEPOSIT, PAYMENT OF JUDGMENT, AND RELEASE OF DEEDS OF TRUST

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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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