Sunday, November 4, 2012

BCS Hearing Follow-Up (Atty Fees)

By now, many of you have seen Mark Goines' summary from the BCS hearing in front of Judge Lucas on Oct 30.  That hearing was to address several issues:

1)  the discovery motion filed by LASD in response to BCS's lawsuit demanding attorney fees in the 2009-10 case
2)  BCS complaints in the 2012-13 facilities allocation
3)  LASD cross-motion on the 2012-13 complaint, asking for clarity on BCS' status as a public school

Judge Lucas was very thorough, and we anxiously await her rulings in these matters.

I want to share one exchange from the hearing that I found quite amazing.  Judge Lucas first wanted to address the discovery motion from the attorney fee case.  LASD had first filed a fairly broad discovery request.  BCS objected and so Judge Lucas held a "meet and confer" call, where LASD significantly reduced the scope of what we were asking BCS to produce.  The most significant change was that we dropped our request for any personal information related to BCS donors.  We restricted the scope to say "give us the amount of each of the top 25 donations, and the status of each of the corresponding donors.  Is the donor a BCS parent?  Community member?  Corporation?  Non-profit entity?"  By removing any personal information, we sought to remove BCS' largest objection (that we were invading someone's privacy) and therefore make it easier for BCS to comply.  All of this happened prior to the hearing on Oct 30th.

During the hearing, there was some back-and-forth about the exact language in the District's proposed court order granting the discovery.  Prior to the hearing, we received a declaration from BCS that caused us to want to go back a couple more years and collect the same information over a slightly broader time period.  I am not certain whether this was discussed this during the "meet and confer" process, and BCS argued that it was a "new" request.

The exchange from here skipped "strange" and went straight to "are you serious?"  Judge Lucas said that the additional request would be permissible under the circumstances.  BCS objected to the additional scope, and the judge again said it would be permissible.  BCS stuck to their guns and said LASD would have to file an additional discovery request.  The judge asked them if they were really going to require that LASD file additional paperwork, esp in light of the fact that she's already telling them that the request is permissible.  BCS dug their heels in and said they weren't willing to allow these two requests to be dealt with in a single order, but that instead we should all be dragged through the process again-- even though the judge has already acknowledged that the District's request is permissible.

Their attorney has indicated that they are going to fight this discovery every step of the way.  Judge Lucas' last action on this was to instruct the LASD attorney to redraft the Discovery order to comply with the outcome of the "meet and confer" process (excluding the additional discovery request).  Assuming Judge Lucas signs that order, I would not be surprised to see BCS file an appeal.  After incorrectly accusing LASD of "dragging out the process" in August, it seems that BCS is now the one who is undeniably using delay tactics.  The District remains committed to pursuing this information.  It is BCS who put it at issue- we just want to get to the truth.