Thursday, March 22, 2012

Legal Hearing Update from Monday

This week we turn our post over to a parent that has been following the BCS/LASD legal issues closely. She wrote this after she attended the latest court hearing on Monday, March 19th. 

By Linda Baxley,  Los Altos Parent

The Honorable Patricia Lucas conducted a hearing On March 19 on BCS's amended proposed judgment and LASD's alternative proposed judgment in the 2009 litigation between LASD and BCS over LASD's 2009-2010 offer.  

LASD's new lead trial attorney, Ray Cardozo, asked that the Court change three things about BCS's proposed judgment:

1.  That paragraph 2 at page 1 of BCS's Amended Proposed Judgment reflect the word "facilities" only, rather than "site."  With this change, the paragraph would read:  

The District shall provide Bullis with [deleted text:  a site and] facilities that are reasonably equivalent to the 10-acre minimum facilities [delete: sites]   enjoyed by the comparison schools.

LASD's attorney argued that the affect of this change removes any potential ambiguity as to what the word "site" would mean (e.g., does it mean only one site? does it mean one site or a non-contiguous facility that is consistent with what the law allows?) because it copies the language of Proposition 39.

2.  That paragraph 2 at page 3 be removed entirely since it could be read to say that no configuration that included BCS's current facilities at Egan could ever satisfy Proposition 39.  That paragraph read in relevant part:  "The temporary camp site Bullis currently occupies is not reasonably equivalent to the District's own comparison schools. . . .”

3.  That the paragraph allowing for continuing jurisdiction be removed.  LASD's attorney argued that continuing jurisdiction caused multiple issues, including that if BCS sought to use the 2009-2010 judgment against LASD's 2012-2013 offer, LASD would be denied notice about the parameters and limits of BCS's complaint since BCS would not have to file a new writ (complaint) describing the metes and bounds of their complaints.  He also argued that the state law governing writs (California Code of Civil Procedure, section 1085) speaks against continuing jurisdiction since it requires that there be a "clear and present" duty and because the 2012-2013 offer was not finalized, there is no clear and present duty.  Finally he argued that attempting to litigate a 2012-2013 offer under the 2009-2010 litigation caused evidence issues as well if the proceedings were one for contempt instead of for a hearing on their writ. In response to BCS's attorney's argument that continuing jurisdiction was necessary to get prompt and timely relief, BCS's attorney stated that an expedited proceeding could be reasonable, depending on the circumstances.

Judge Lucas heard argument on all three of these points and indicated that she would go back and read the specific cases that each side said supported their position and issue a timely judgment.  She did not indicate what she meant by a timely judgment.

Of note, when pressed by Judge Lucas, BCS's attorney conceded two things:

1. The Court of Appeals decision did not explicitly require LASD to give BCS its own site (although he did argue that this was the "practical" effect of the opinion); and

2.  The Court of Appeals decision did not state that the Egan campus could not be used in any configuration as part of an offer to BCS.