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2-22-12 Ruling re PLP lawsuit


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Judge Donald Alvarez heard arguments on 2-22-12 in Kimble, et al vs. Schwarzenegger, et al [the PLP lawsuit in San Bernardino]. A dozen or so interested miners were in the courtroom to listen, including myself. Arguments lasted about 45 minutes. No substantive decision was rendered. However, the court made a procedural ruling that both sides were to file supplemental briefs no later than April 30th regarding the legal effect on the instant lawsuit of the recently released proposed F&G regulations. Further arguments were scheduled to take place on May 10th at 8:30am.

The court made two key observations:

1. That in light of mounting and closely related litigation cropping up all around the state, the parties should consider whether to request "coordination" [this means requesting the CA Judicial Council to consolidate pending and future cases across CA that share sufficiently similar factual and legal issues in a single, designated court which would take evidence, hear arguments and make a final ruling]. The state attorney commented that there might be objections to coordination made by environmental groups and also that individual plaintiffs who are proceeding in pro per [as their own lawyers] might be disadvantaged by not being able to pursue their individual actions in their local jurisdictions.

2. The judge commented that he did not feel the issues were identical in the Hillman case currently in Alameda County and in the PLP case pending before him.

David Young, the PLP lawyer, poignantly painted a dramatic picture that time is working against the miners who can not work, but yet must provide food for their families, pay mortgages, keep afloat, etc., while the state has dragged out the SEIR process like some sort of shell game.

My personal impression is that judge Alvarez takes his time to carefully weigh issues and that his suggestion to seek coordination is worth considering.

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