San Diego Housing Commission v. PERB (San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00087278)
In November of last year a Riverside County superior court held factfinding under the MMBA applies only to disputes arising from contract negotiations, and not, for example, to disputes over effects bargaining. (Click here to read that post) However, even before the Riverside case there was a similar case brewing in San Diego involving the local housing commission. (Click here to read that post) A motion for summary judgment was heard in the San Diego case on January 31, 2014. Significantly, the San Diego court reached the same conclusion as the court in Riverside and held that factfinding under the MMBA applies only to contract negotiations.
In the written ruling, the San Diego court held that, “PERB’s construction that the factfinding provisions of the MMBA apply to an impasse arising out of negotiations other than for a MOU, including an impasse in a dispute over the effects and impacts of an employee layoff, is clearly erroneous.” (Click here for the decision) The court noted that the statutory criteria to be considered by the factfinder under the MMBA, “reflect considerations specific to the negotiation of a MOU” and that it would be incongruous to apply those criteria outside the context of MOU negotiations. The court also rejected PERB’s reliance on factfinding under EERA and HEERA; finding that differences in the statutory language of those two acts precludes analogy to the MMBA.
This is the second superior court that has ruled against PERB in its attempt to expand factfinding beyond contract negotiations. As with the Riverside case, I expect that there will be an appeal in this case. That’s fine as I think with these two decisions, PERB has a tough uphill battle in the courts of appeal.