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Monday, November 21, 2011

When The Whip Comes Down

When will they ever learn?  The PERS Coalition has had a dreadful record of inserting themselves in legal proceedings at exactly the wrong time.  I have no idea which genius decided to *not* intervene in the original legal proceedings between PERS and the Oregonian and the Statesman-Journal.  By taking the "high road" in that case, the parties reached a settlement (does that sound achingly familiar?) that permitted the newspapers to have somewhat free reign over the lives of PERS retirees.  So, at the last minute (relative to the length of this case), the PERS Coalition pulls a goal-line stand to enjoin PERS from releasing the information (today) to the newspapers.  And the legal response?  Too late.  You don't have any standing.  You could have had standing, but you sat on your hands while the real action was taking place.  Too bad, so sad, way too late.

Argh is all I am capable of saying at this point.  The Coalition has been defeated again by its own poor sense of timing.  Rhetorical question:  does PERS ever switch sides in litigation?  Does it rain in Oregon?  Does this "lack of standing" have a familiar ring?  It does to me.

So, when you wake up one of these mornings with your name plastered across one of the newspapers or find your name in some whipped up database, you can blame both the PERS Coalition and Attorney General John Kroger, and for good behavior, you can add PERS itself to the list of people selling us out right, left, and center.  The whip has come down again, and we are again the whipping people.  How fun.


Unknown said...

I attended the court hearing. I heard Judge Day's explanation for his ruling. I didn't hear what you are suggesting at all.

Is this just you "take" on things or did you hear something I didn't?

Unknown said...

Just a follow-up comment to my previous one. I will agree that it was particularly galling that the Attorney for PERS presented a lengthy (and boring) argument, which likely had a huge influence on Judge Day's ruling today. Nice to see our PERS investments at work and working against us rather than for the PERS members. Being snide....incase there's any confusion.

mrfearless47 said...

Judge day concluded that the coalition had no standing. What else could you possibly conclude?

mpguy said...

Republicans who are elevated to the bench see themselves as Republicans first, judges second.

"Judge" Day is a Republican. This ruling shouldn't be any surprise.

Unknown said...

You wrote:

"Judge day concluded that the coalition had no standing. What else could you possibly conclude?"

Judge Day ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction, granting PERS and the newspapers petition to dismiss. In my mind that is different from what you are writing.

I ask you again, were you there to hear all the arguments and the judges explanation for his ruling?

Unknown said...

You posted,

"When will they ever learn? The PERS Coalition has had a dreadful record of inserting themselves in legal proceedings at exactly the wrong time. I have no idea which genius decided to *not* intervene in the original legal proceedings between PERS and the Oregonian and the Statesman-Journal."

You seem intent on blaming the PERS Coalition. I didn't see anyone else fighting for PERS retirees' rights. Perhaps you should seek a seat on the PERS Coalition so you can have your say when it counts for something.

mrfearless47 said...

I am blaming the PERS Coalition. One doesn't "seek" a seat on the PERS Coalition. It consists of representatives (Presidents and bargaining unit representatives, and the chief lobbyist for OPRI. OPRI is the only organization specifically representing retirees. The other organizations represent active employees. Thus, there is no possible way to position oneself on the Coalition. The PERS Coalition should have been on the case as intervenors at the time the initial lawsuit between Pers and the newspapers was filed back in late 2010. Then they would have had the legal standing for the court to have jurisdiction over the case.

mrfearless47 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrfearless47 said...

In order to have jurisdiction in a case like this, the party filing the request for an injunction must have the legal standing to make the claim . In the judge!s mind he lacked jurisdiction because the PERS Coalition did not make its position known by intervening in the case that led to the settlement itself. That case was the appropriate jurisdiction in which to make the argument. It is not like the coalition not having experience with PERS changing sides and signing a settlement agreement. The exact analogy is the White case percolating in the supreme court. The reason white is still bubbling along is because the coalition had intervenor status in the city of Eugene case when PERS and the eight jurisdictions settled under their noses. What keeps the case rolling is that as a participant in the original litigation, the coalition had a legal basis and the court proper jurisdiction to file the suit. We are haggling over very nuanced differences of interpretation. I have heard the audio of yesterday's hearing, but I wasn't at the hearing. Why do you think that the judge ruled that the court had no jurisdiction?

Unknown said...

Perhaps our different takes on the basis for Judge Day's ruling boil down to a difference of opinion. I am not a legal expert. If you are, then your assessment may be more accurate. I only know what I heard at the hearing. In the event I may have misunderstood something during the attorneys' arguments and the Judge Day's reasons for his ruling,I will endeavor to review these via the audio of the proceedings before responding to your question.

OPRI is the only organization representing PERS retirees and OPRI is doing an excellent job despite the fact that it seems to be an uphill battle these days. Battles aren't generally successfully fought alone. Despite what you believe, the PERS Coalition is fighting for PERS retirees' rights too.

Unknown said...

About the court having no jurisdiction; one of the lawyers for PERS & and papers argued this point. The lawyer argued that, because PERS is complying with a ruling made by a Marion County Circuit Court Judge, another judge in the same court has no legal ability to enjoin the judgement of any judge of equal legal standing. The point is that an appeals court or the supreme court could issue an injunction but not the circuit court. Judge Day just didn't address the issue (in my hearing, I was there in the courtroom) he ruled that the PERS Coalition had no legal grounds to bring a suite in the first place. That is, for sure, what I heard yesterday. I'm glad you got to hear the record of the proceedings, Marc. In this case it would be as good as being in the room as there was very little in the way non-verbal communication.

mrfearless47 said...

Of course PERS wasn't complying with an order. They caved in and agreed to settle the case instead of making the judge issue a decree. Thus, the Court decree was issued only because it was needed to codify the settlement. It is disengenuous of PERS to claim they were complying with the court's order. They initiated the settlement that resulted in the Court's order. Huge difference.