Tag Archives: TRO

OC Superior Court in Santa Ana

Fullerton v FFFF – Fullerton’s Small Loss & Big Costs

OC Superior Court in Santa Ana

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.

Fullerton Stopped Us From Publishing Public Records

OCR- Top of the Fold

Fullerton is headed back to court tomorrow to try and fix what it claims is a “clerical error” in their Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against us here at FFFF. The TRO that’s already in front of the Court of Appeals and has mostly been stayed. The meat here is that the City Attorney did not incorporate into the TRO the list of files we’re alleged to have “hacked” by clicking links the city gave out to the world.

To try and fix their mistake, the City’s attorneys are running back to court to get the TRO fixed. This is all a part of their quest to search our digital lives to see if we have files they themselves admit they put on the internet.

For those just catching up, the core of the city’s illegal SLAPP case is that the public can only access information on the City’s website that the City has sent you a link and express permission to access/download.

This is preposterous and amounts to me calling you, dear reader, a “thief” and “hacker” if you click the “Contact” link on this page without me giving you express permission to click it despite me inviting you onto this page. This idiocy, if allowed to stand in court, will break the internet as we know it.

But in true Fullerton fashion it gets better.

You see, when the city was rushing to stomp on our First Amendment rights (despite Jan Flory expecting that to get struck down and Bruce Whitaker claiming there was no vote to do so at all), they couldn’t even be bothered to check their work. This is the list of files in question according to the City and the files we were restrained (gagged) from publishing or sharing:

TROed Public Records

Those red arrows are files that the City claims are public records disclosed as part of records requests according to the declaration of Mea Klein. You can likely spot other obvious public records on your own.

In other words – the city got a court to stop us from publishing and sharing records they themselves claim are public. Files the clerk’s office released to members of the public.

Let us contrast that with the City’s argument where they claim we should have known which files/folders on the city’s Dropbox account were public versus private before allegedly accessing anything. The City Attorney, as evidenced by this exhibit of their own creation, can’t discern public from allegedly private files. They not only admit to co-mingling files they have a legal duty to keep confidential with documents they have a legal duty to share with the public but they did it again in their TRO against us.

Allow me to repeat this very important point:

At the behest of our City Council, the City Attorney actually convinced a court to restrain us from publishing and sharing things they themselves admit are public records.

One might expect a little more due diligence when working to step on the First Amendment. We’ll see what the judge says tomorrow regarding this TRO update and we’ll keep you posted as this case continues.

Stay of TRO

Fullerton v FFFF – Appeals Court Rules in Favor of FFFF

Stay of TRO

The Court of Appeals has issued a STAY on the Temporary Restraining Order issued against myself, David Curlee and this blog regarding publishing of information allegedly obtained through the city’s Dropbox:

“That portion of respondent court’s October 25, 2019 order cited above (paragraphs (1)(j) and (1)(k)) is STAYED pending further order of this court.”

Paragraphs (1)(j) and (1)(k) are as follows:

(j) Selling, publishing, distributing, disclosing or otherwise using any of the information or documents obtained from the City Dropbox folders and files listed at Exhibit A, without the City’s permission, or a valid court order; and

(k) Conspiring with third parties to sell, publish, distribute, disclose or otherwise use any of the information or documents obtained from the City Dropbox folders and files listed at Exhibit A, without the City’s permission, or a valid court order.

This means that the prior restraint against us has been struck down. The court also granted the amicus application from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Read the ruling [Here]