Yesterday Kimberly Barlow with Jones & Mayer, on behalf of the City of Fullerton, asked the Hon. Richard Y. Lee to change the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against myself and this blog. An exhibit to said TRO was NOT INCLUDED when the Judge signed the original order and Jones & Mayer wanted to substitute the list of files we were originally told we couldn’t publish, share or delete with a shiny new list that allegedly only included private records. Read about that issue in our previous post [HERE].
The judge denied Ms. Barlow’s ex parte request. While Judge Lee agreed he had authority to change the TRO, he wasn’t going to do so as he didn’t believe it was necessarily the “clerical error” Fullerton’s attorney was claiming. Chalk up yet another loss for Jones & Mayer.
During the hearing Ms. Barlow took umbrage with our opposition paperwork, specifically the part about costs. Here’s the relevant part from our opposition (emphasis added, linked [HERE]):
Finally, filing of the anti-SLAPP motion by the Defendants within a week of the date this lawsuit was filed, halts proceedings so that Defendants and the Court are not burdened by the time and ever-increasing costs incurred in response to a frivolous lawsuit.
Yet, at present, the Defendants have been required to incur the expense of filing multiple briefs, a writ petition, numerous objections, last week’s court appearance, and are now must oppose on the City’s ex parte request to reconsider a restraining order, a request this Court has already rejected. Currently, Defendants have incurred nearly $100,000 in legal fees, which despite the pending SLAPP motion, are continuing to increase.This is exactly the point of SLAPP suits: To discourage public participation by running up litigation expenses, even though the City’s suit is completely meritless.
Ms. Barlow didn’t understand how it could possibly cost so much to fight her nonsense. She claimed it couldn’t cost so much to fight a TRO that in her words had no effect because the exhibit listing the files had been left off.
How could it cost so much? Gee. I wonder.
Perhaps if the City Attorney didn’t co-mingle everything up to and including billable hours she would understand how every time our attorney responds to the City’s paperwork, filings, declarations (alone totaling 21 and counting with 4 declarations from Strebe, 3 from Klein and so on and so forth), it costs money. There are more pages in those declarations than the first two Harry Potter novels combined. Plus every time our attorney has to read an email, field a phone call, talk to media on our behalf and show up to court, it costs us money. Every time the City does something, she informs us, which costs us money. And on and on.
We’re a month into this process, with three months to go before the anti-SLAPP motion, and we’re already staring down $100k. Imagine the bill when the dust settles. If our ONE attorney is racking up billable hours responding to the city’s filings, one can only imagine the costs being incurred over at Jones & Mayer in creating all of that paper they’re attempting to bury us under each day.
Yesterday, three weeks after getting it, Ms. Barlow went to court to argue that the TRO she demanded, received and then we had stayed, is incomplete. This mistake, which Barlow blames on the court, led to that hearing. Her appearance as well as our attorney’s appearance is costing billable hours and somebody is going to have to pay the piper.
We’re betting it’ll be the taxpayers.
As always we’ll keep you posted as to the details of this case as they happen.