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News & Recent Developments

Officials Not Required to Disclose Personal Texts and Emails Because They Are Not “Records” Under the CPRA

   Published on:  28 Mar, 2014

A Court of Appeal determined yesterday that the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) does not require public access to communications among public officials using private cell phones or personal e-mail accounts. In City of San Jose v. The Superior Court of Santa Clara County (Smith, Real Party in Interest), the court reversed the trial court’s … continue reading

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San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Loses Lawsuit on Statewide Pension Reform Ballot Measure

   Published on:  14 Mar, 2014

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s 2014 statewide pension reform initiative suffered what seems to be a fatal blow for this year. This afternoon, a Sacramento County trial court rejected a lawsuit challenging the wording that the Attorney General, Kamala Harris, used in the state’s required, official summary of the measure. Reed and four other California … continue reading

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Supreme Court Holds Union Can Bargain Away Right to Compensation for “Changing Clothes”

   Published on:  28 Jan, 2014

For much of the last decade, “donning and doffing” lawsuits have been brought around the country with varying degrees of success. Very generally, “donning and doffing” refers to the putting on and taking off of clothes, equipment and protective gear that employees in certain industries are required to wear during their workday. Questions arise concerning … continue reading

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Court Strikes City’s Attempt to Increase Employee Pension Contributions and Decrease Retirement Benefits, as Violating the “Vested Rights Doctrine”

   Published on:  23 Dec, 2013

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge has declared unconstitutional the City of San Jose’s attempt to increase employee pension contributions and reduce retirement benefits because this would unconstitutionally impair employees’ contractual rights under the “vested rights doctrine.” Judge Patricia M. Lucas’s tentative decision, if made final, would invalidate the key components of “Measure B,” … continue reading

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Detroit Bankruptcy Ruling May Reverberate

   Published on:  05 Dec, 2013

In a ruling with potential implications for California public sector unions, a federal bankruptcy judge in Michigan ruled this week that Detroit is eligible to declare bankruptcy and that Detroit’s pension obligations would be treated the same as any other contractual obligation for bankruptcy purposes. The Court found that public employee pensions are not protected … continue reading

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Superior Court Ruling Limits Fact Finding Under MMBA to Disputes Arising After Contract Negotiations

   Published on:  19 Nov, 2013

Recently, a trial court ruled against the argument by the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”)* that fact finding under the MMBA, as set forth in AB 646, applies to effects/impact bargaining. In County of Riverside v. PERB (SEIU Local 721), the County argued that fact finding is limited to disputes arising from collective bargaining for … continue reading

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Gregg Adam selected as a Top 20 Municipal Lawyer in California by the Daily Journal

   Published on:  11 Nov, 2013

Carroll Burdick & McDonough LLP is pleased to announce Public Sector Labor Partner Gregg Adam has been selected for inclusion in the Daily Journal’s Top 20 Municipal Lawyers. The Daily Journal describes this select group of California lawyers as “unsung legal heroes” in a wide range of practice areas. Gregg was the only union-side lawyer … continue reading

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Effective January 1, Public Agencies are Barred from Taking Action Against a Peace Officer Solely Because the Officer’s Name is on a Brady List

   Published on:  06 Nov, 2013

A new amendment to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights bans public agencies from disciplining, firing, demoting, or denying a promotion to a peace officer merely because a Brady list includes the peace officer’s name. Brady lists are maintained as a result of Brady v. Maryland, under which a criminal prosecutor must disclose … continue reading

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U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Broad Challenge to Unions’ Right to Collect Agency Fees

   Published on:  23 Oct, 2013

On October 1, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a federal class action, Harris v. Quinn, regarding the constitutionality of compelled payment of fair share fees. In that case, nonmember home health workers in Illinois claimed fair share (or “agency”) fees—fees unions have long been able to charge nonmembers for … continue reading

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Release Time Rights Under MMBA to Expand

   Published on:  11 Sep, 2013

Monday, the Governor signed a bill that significantly expands release time rights under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, which governs local public entities’ labor relations. Currently, the MMBA (Gov. Code § 3505.3) provides that an employer must allow a reasonable number of employee representatives paid time off when “formally meeting and conferring with representatives of the public … continue reading

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