BREAKING: Judge Slaps Down CATER In A Withering Ruling In Angels Lawsuit

CATER’s lawyer, blogger Greg Diamond, is infamous for his rambling, palaverous style of writing. Superior Court Judge James Di Cesare issued a stinging ruling today against CATER’s lawsuit against the Angels negotiations MOU, and it’s clear he has had his fill of Diamond’s windy, tortuous argumentation, calling him out for “long-winded, meandering obscuring the legal substance of the claims” and chastising him (and CATER) for not really knowing what they’re talking about:

The operative pleading herein, continues its predilection for long-winded, meandering obscuring the legal substance of the claims. What rises to the surface first is the fact that nobody seems to have a clear grasp of just what violations may have occurred, and how they were ultimately remedied if at all. Rather than guessing at just what plaintiff intends to claim, this Court upon further reflection has concluded the duty to separate the chaff from the wheat ought to rest with plaintiffs, not defendants or this Court. 

Further in, Judge Di Cesare admonishes CATER that pleading alleged Brown Act violations requires being clear and to the point with facts and recommends “leaving out the rhetoric”:

The Brown Act is intended to facilitate public participation in the local legislative process, and to curb misuse of the democratic process through secret legislation. To accomplish these goals, the Brown Act requires public agencies to deliberate and act “openly.” Govt. Code §54950. When an agency fails to do so, an aggrieved party may seek judicial intervention. A party alleging Brown Act violations must plead with particularity (1) which statutory requirement was implicated, (2) the precise manner in which it was violated (in light of the governing ‘substantial compliance’ standard), and (3) if the party requests an order setting aside the agency’s action, facts demonstrating actual prejudice.

Rather than accuse the opponent of “frequently misconstruing” (Opp. Brief pg. 24-25) the Brown Act claims, it is for plaintiffs to do a far better job leaving out the rhetoric and pleading with surgical precision the essential elements of the claim.

The judge gives CATER a few more days to file a third amended complaint but orders Diamond to keep it under 12 pages!:

Plaintiffs shall have 15 days leave to file a Third Amended Complaint not to exceed 12 pages in length. CCP §128(a). This is the order of the Court. Plaintiff give notice.

This matter has already been argued. No further argument of appearance is invited or necessary.

I’m not lawyer, but I have a feeling this still isn’t going to go CATER’s way. Apparently, even the late-inning assistance of “Last Minute Attorney” Doug Pettibone couldn’t not turn the tide in CATER’s favor.

The CATERites have convinced themselves they are the true voice of the people of Anaheim, and will doubtless somehow spin this waste of the city’s time and taxpayers’ money as some kind of victory.  It’s not. It’s a loss for CATER, coming on the heels of the defeat of their Anaheim Convention Center expansion lawsuit. All CATER accomplished was to help poison the city’s relationship with the Angels.

15 comments

  1. Dan Chmielewski

    No matter; they are convinced they are right no matter what the judge says. Is it me or is the judge basically saying CATER has a bad lawyer?

  2. Yeah, Matt, that part about lack of concision stung a bit. But his not dismissing the suit, instead giving us the opportunity to include in the complaint the material included in our opposition and referenced in our oral argument, more than makes up for that. “Game over” is bad; “fix these parts” is ok.

    We will take the judges criticisms and admonitions to heart in drafting the amended complaint. I have a feeling, though, that we are less disappointed in today’s ruling than our opponents are, because we’re left standing with a better sense of what the judge thinks this complaint must contain.

    Whoever armed you with enough slanted facts to go out and hurt my feelings failed to account for the thickness of my skin. If you came up with this “analysis” youself — well, that makes sense.

    Dan, don’t you have some poor people to go mock?

  3. Yeah, I’m sure the city’s legal team is shaking in their boots, thinking how much worse this is for them than it is for you, Greg.

    The judge pretty much said you and your CATER buddies have no idea what you’re doing. Don’t know how that is worse for the city than for your case.

    • That’s right — you don’t know. But then, like Matt and Dan, you probably don’t understand the role of a demurrer in litigation. (By being anonymous, though, you have no reputation on the line to lose.)

      I neither know or care whether our opponents in the case are “shaking in their boots.” I know that this judge has written a wise and helpful ruling that indicates what reforms he sees as necessary to continue the case; we will, accordingly, accept any criticism and make the appropriate changes.

      But if there were “no there there,” the case would have ended yesterday. It didn’t. On we go. If you obtain quotes from the City’s legal team proclaiming glorious victory — then so what? Smack talk changes nothing; I still go back to my rewriting.

      I have to say, though: all of this public relations effort to denigrate our work doesn’t move me; if anything, it smacks of desperation to escape the scrutiny that CATER brings to Anaheim’s governance. But we have no plans to go away — and we can afford to “take a long view” of events.

  4. This is better than Judge Judy.

    “I’d like 10 million people to hear that you’ve done something stupid. That’s my joy in life.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH57MnJIjkc

    • Oh, is Mike Tardif here to explain what a demurrer is?

      • Dan Chmielewski

        Greg, since I’ve been on the side of a lawsuit, my understanding is a demurrer is a device that the court uses to ascertain if the allegations the plantiff makes provide legally sufficient reason to sue the defendant. I’ve read the ruling against you and it seems the judge isn’t sure that CATER even has standing to file the complaint. Now that might not be a perfect response for you, but I’m in the ballpark….

        • There’s no challenge to CATER’s standing on the Brown Act claims. He’s not convinced on the CPRA claims, but nor is he yet convinced otherwise. In any event, Cynthia Ward, whom I also represent, clearly does have standing.

          • So you represent Cynthia Ward?
            Does she pay you? (I would assume she does not personally pay you – as would be required if you represent her, as you suggest.)
            Isn’t she a “public official” – as an OC Cemetery Board member, and thus prohibited by law from receiving gifts (of legal service or anything else) of over $500?
            I believe that she is – so have your months of legal services yet to amount to $500 in fair market value or is she breaking the law by accepting your legal services for free?

            • I believe Greg has been paid by CATER but for the amount paid and hours spent, it works out to $10 an hour. Would you like fries with that?

      • Love it. The judge writes an opinion all but calling Diamond incompetent, and now he’s acting like Mr. Know-It-All-Lawyer.

  5. Dan Chmielewski

    I believe I was mocking you Greg. I don’t mock the poor. I do mock people who pay thousands of dollars to run for office instead of paying rent on time. Do you consider yourself a poor lawyer? And with your comment, you prove me right.

    • You’re not aware of the mocking of the poor, not involving me, that you tend to engage in on your own site?

      Actually, that’s somewhat credible. If it ‘s a reflex on your part, as it seems to be, you may not even notice that you’re doing it.

      • Dan Chmielewski

        Again, Greg….specific criticism of the priorities you place on your own life and how you chose to spend your money versus providing basic necessities for your family are not a broad brush against those who don’t make a lot of money. I suggest you engage in the faces of your family when you decide to throw away a couple of grand on a ballot statement instead of paying your rent on time.

        But then again, the ruling from the judge is sort of a signed proclamation that you’re a bad lawyer.

  6. Dan Chmielewski

    Is this because I teased Jose S. About his chickens…whether they were pets or meat? Did you ever see “Roger and Me”? It was rabbits in the film. Besides that, SantaAna has some sort of ordinance against raising roosters for cockfighting. Get over yourself. You made choices of how you live your life at the expense of your family. Keep putting up the brave face of this case. All those legal fees you were hoping for from Anaheim taxpayers isn’t happening.

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