County of Riverside v. PERB (SEIU Local 721) (Riverside County Superior Court Case No. RIC 1305661)
One of the most interesting pieces of litigation going on right now is PERB’s attempt to force Riverside County to go to factfinding over effects bargaining. Last year I wrote about how PERB filed an anti-SLAPP motion against the County for challenging PERB’s factfinding order. (Click here for that post) The court—properly, in my opinion—dismissed PERB’s anti-SLAPP motion. Now we have the court’s order on the County’s attorneys’ fees motion. In short, the court awarded the County $15,000 in attorneys’ fees against PERB. Here’s an excerpt from the order:
The County’s Motion for Award of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Sections 128.5 and 425.16 is GRANTED. The Court found that PERB’s anti-SLAPP Motion to Strike was frivolous within the meaning of CCP Section 128.5 and stated that any reasonable attorney would agree that such motion is totally devoid of merit. The Court awarded $15,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to the County, finding that the 60 hours spent opposing the anti-SLAPP Motion and related appearances were reasonable. The Court denied the County’s request for a multiplier.
Click this link to view the entire order: 2014-02-25 Ruling Re Atty Fees. This is the first time to my knowledge that PERB has been hit with an attorneys’ fees award in any case. It’s also very significant that a judge issued an order finding PERB’s motion to be “frivolous” and “devoid of merit.” Both the County and PERB have filed appeals so this order is not final and this case is far from over.