This breaking news pertains to a citizen-generated lawsuit in Sonoma County.
You might recall that George Luke, a Sonoma County resident, sued the Sonoma Board of Supervisors for violations when granting enhanced pensions in 2002-2003, pursuant to the passage of SB 400, and specifically Sections 7507 and Section 31516 of the California Government Code.
CSPP core member David Brown later brought a similar suit against the City of San Rafael, also including violations of Section 31678.2 of the CA Government Code.
Both lawsuits failed as the court ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. Both were appealed.
Mr. Luke’s appeal was denied, and he has submitted a Petition for Review to the CA Supreme Court. David Brown’s case is in the appeals process.
After reading Ken’s letter below and the attached petition, I think you will agree that the case is strong.
Thought your group would be interested in yesterday’s filing of an appeal to the California Supreme Court challenging Sonoma County’s illegal pension increases.
The attorneys on this case and every attorney I have talked to about this matter has said if the government does not follow the statutory requirements when they enact something, like in this case ongoing pension increases, the enactment is void from its inception. That would mean when Sonoma County increased the pension formula by about 50% in 2002 and 2003 without the Board of Supervisors hiring an actuary to determine the future annual cost of the increase and notifying the public 2 weeks in advance of the cost at a board of supervisors meeting where citizens could comment on the plan and the Press Democrat could possibly report on the increase to notify the public it was happening, the County violated Sections 7507 and Section 31516 of the California Government Code.
During their research George Luke’s attorneys Robison and Robinson could not find a single court ruling in California where the passage of time turns something that was illegal into something legal. Section 23006 of the Government Code provides a clear remedy for this situation, it makes it clear any violation of the government code voids of the illegal act from its inception and cannot be used as a claim against government funds, especially not an ongoing claim as pension payments. In addition, any payments of illegally enhanced pensions are an illegal gift of public funds under the state constitution.
When you read the Petition you will see the attorneys laid out all the reasons why the Supreme Court needs to hear the case. As it stands, the ruling of the superior court and the appellate court would allow a government to hide something they did that was illegal for 3 years and then prevent it from being challenged by taxpayers. Also the doctrine of continuous accrual states that whenever you repeat an offense, like the illegal collection of a tax or payment of an illegal pension, then the statute of limitations clock starts all over again.
You will see that the attorneys referenced numerous cases where illegal pension and tax increases were stopped, even though the litigation was brought after 3 years after the increase occurred. In other words, we have a lot of case law on our side including previous supreme court rulings.