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Judicial Watch • 40714 Sturgeon v LA 1213

40714 Sturgeon v LA 1213

40714 Sturgeon v LA 1213

Page 1: 40714 Sturgeon v LA 1213

Category:Lawsuit

Number of Pages:15

Date Created:April 5, 2014

Date Uploaded to the Library:April 07, 2014

Tags:DECLARATORY, sturgeon, INJUNCTIVE, benefits, Supplemental, Relief, legislature, payment, Superior, angeles, defendants, senate, complaint, California, Judges, defendant, plaintiff, COUNTY, Supreme Court, court, EPA, IRS, ICE, CIA


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Sterling Norris, Esq. (SBN 40993) JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. 

2540 Huntington Drive, Suite 201 
San Marino, 91108 
APR 2014Tel: (626) 287-4540 

Fax: (626) 237-2003 Sherri Carter, Executive Officer/Clerk Shaunya Bolden, Deputy
Attorneys for Plaintiff 
SUPERIOR COURT THE STATE CALIFORNIA 
FOR THE COUNTY LOS ANGELES 
INTRODUCTION Plaintiff, taxpayer and resident the County Los 
Angeles, seeks enjoin Defendants from continuing expend 
taxpayer funds taxpayer-financed resources pay "supplemental 
judicial benefits" the judges the Superior Court 
HAROLD STURGEON, 
Plaintiff, 
vs. 
THE COUNTY LOS ANGELES; 
GLORIA MOLINA, MARK RIDLEYTHOMAS; ZEV YAROSLAVSKY; DON KNABE; MICHAEL ANTONOVICH; WILLIAM FUJIOKA; JOHN NAIMO, and GREGG IVERSON, their official capacities. 
Defendants. 
BC541213 
....;
Case No.: 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNC'fIVP. RELIEF California, County Los Angeles ("the Superior Court") 
Plaintiff also seeks judgment declaring Defendants' payment 
these benefits unlawful. 
JURISDICTION AND VENUE Jurisdiction this case found under California Code Civil Procedure  526(a), which provides follows: action obtain judgment, restraining and preventing any illegal expenditure of, waste of, 
injury to, the estate, funds, other property county, town, city city and county the state, may maintained against any officer thereof, any agent, other person, acting its behalf, either citizen resident therein, corporation, who 
assessed for and liable pay, or, within one year before the commencement the action, has paid, tax 
therein. Bla Pitchess, Cal.3d 258, 267-68, Cal. Rptr. 
42, 48-49 (1971), the Supreme Court California stated that "[t]he primary purpose this statute [Section 526a], originally enacted 1909, 'enable large body the citizenry challenge govern.mental action which would otherwise unchallenged the courts because the standing requirement' [citations 
omitted]." Blair, Cal.3d 268, Cal. Rptr. 49, the Court noted that "the mere expending [of] the time" paid public officials "performing illegal and unauthorized acts constitute(s] unlawful use funds which could enjoined under section 
526a." The Court also declared that "it immaterial that the 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF amount the illegal expenditures small that the illegal procedures actually permit savings tax funds." Id. 
PARTIES Plaintiff Harold Sturgeon resident and taxpayer the County Los Angeles. Plaintiff has paid taxes the 
County Los Angeles, including property taxes, the one-year period prior conunencement this action. Defendant County Los Angeles legal subdivision 
the State California under Article 11, Section the 
California Constitution. Defendant County Los Angeles pays the 
"supplemental judicial benefits" challenged Plaintiff this 
action. Defendant Gloria Molina member the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors. member the Los Angeles County 
Board Supervisors, Defendant Molina authorized and approved 
Defendant County Los Angeles' payment the "supplemental 
judicial benefits" challenged Plaintiff this action and has 
the authority terminate payment these unlawful benefits. Defendant Molina being sued her official capacity. Defendant Mark Ridley-Thomas member the Los this action and has the authority terminate payment these unlawful benefits. Defendant Ridley-Thomas being sued his official capacity. Defendant Zev Yaroslavsky member the Los Angeles 
County Board Supervisors. member the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors, Defendant Yaroslavsky authorized and approved Defendant County Los Angeles' payment the supplemental 
judicial benefits" challenged Plaintiff this action and has 
the authority terminate payment these unlawful benefits. 
Defendant Yaroslavsky being sued his official capacity. 
10. Defendant Don Knabe member the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors. member the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors, Defendant Knabe authorized and approved Defendant County Los Angeles' payment the "supplemental judicial 
benefits" challenged Plaintiff this action and has the 
authority terminate payment these unlawful benefits. 
Defendant Knabe being sued his official capacity. 
11. Defendant Michael Antonovich member the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors. member the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors, Defendant Antonovich 
authorized and approved Defendant County Los Angeles' payment 
the "supplemental judicial benefits" challenged Plaintiff 
this action and has the authority terminate payment these 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 
unlawful benefits. Defendant Antonovich being sued his official capacity. 

12. Defendant William Fujioka the Chief Executive 

Officer Defendant County Los Angeles. Chief Executive 
Officer, Defendant Fujioka responsible for implementing the lawful policy decisions the Los Angeles County Board Supervisors, including the decision pay the supplemental judicial benefitsn challenged Plaintiff this action. 

information and belief, Defendant Fujioka has the authority 

terminate payment these unlawful benefits. Defendant Fujioka 

being sued his official capacity. 

Defendant John Naimo the Auditor-Controller 
Defendant County Los Angeles. Auditor-Controller, Defendant Naimo responsible for administering Defendant County Los 

Angeles' payment the "supplemental judicial benefits" challenged Plaintiff this action. information and belief, Defendant 

Naimo has the authority terminate payment these unlawful 
benefits. Defendant Naimo being sued his official capacity. 

14. Defendant Gregg Iverson the Chief the Countywide Payroll Division the Auditor-Controller Department Defendant 

County Los Angeles. Chief the Countywide Payroll 
Division, Defendant Iverson directly responsible for Defendant 

County Los Angeles' payment the "supplemental judicial benefits" challenged Plaintiff this action. information 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF and belief, Defendant Iverson has the authority terminate payment these unlawful benefits. Defendant Iverson being 

sued her official capacity. 
STATEMENT FACTS 
15. The California Constitution vests the judicial power the State California the judges the superior courts each the counties, the Courts Appeal, and the Supreme Court. All judges are state officers even though, the case most superior court judges, they preside over cases single 
county and are subject election only one county. 
16. All California judges receive compensation from the 
state the form salary and full complement both retirement and non-retirement benefits. 17. addition, some superior court judges receive 
"supplemental judicial benefits" from the counties which they 
serve. Others receive "supplemental judicial benefits" from the 
courts which they serve. 18. According 2009 study the Judicial Council California ("Judicial Council"), "significant discrepancies and inconsistencies exist throughout the state" with regard the 
payment "supplemental judicial benefits." These discrepancies 
and inconsistences are "the result the individual history 
each court and county and [are] not based any rational consistent statewide plan formula." COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 

19. The Judicial Council study also found that superior court 
judges California's counties receive "supplemental 
judicial benefits" all. Nor appellate court judges. 
20. The Judicial Council study also found that, 2008, 
"[j]udges some courts receive[d] benefits that cost little 
$102 per year per judge, while judges the Superior Court Los Angeles County receive[d] benefits approximately $50,000." The 
result what the study called "hodgepodge" "patchwork quilt" varying benefits and compensation that disrupts the judicial 
compensation scheme created the Legislature: 
The variation supplemental benefits and their non 
existence many courts, including appellate courts, 
results other significant compensation differences. way example, the Legislature has specified 
uniform salary for all superior court judges statewide 
and salary for justices the Courts Appeals that higher for judges the superior courts. Yet the full value the supplemental benefits included 
the overall compensation paid judges, there are 
counties which superior court judges receive more valuable compensation packages than justice the 
Court Appeals who serves the same county. 
21. 2006, Plaintiff brought suit against Defendants, 
alleging that Defendant County Los Angeles' payment 
"supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior 
Court violated the California Constitution and was otherwise 
unlawful. 
22. October 10, 2008, the Court Appeal, Fourth 
Appellate District, found that Defendants' payment "supplemental 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF judicial benefitsn the judges the Superior Court violated 

Article VI, Section the California Constitution. Sturgeon 
County Los Angeles, 167 Cal. App. 4th 630 (2008) ("Sturgeon I"). 
More specifically, the Court Appeals found Sturgeon that 
the benefits paid Defendants the judges the Superior Court were compensation within the meaning the constitution, but had not been "prescribedn the Legislature, required Article 

VI, Section 19. The California Supreme Court denied review 
December 23, 2008. 
23. February 14, 2009, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 
No. (2009-2010 Ex. Sess.) ("Senate Bill lln) response 
the Court Appeal's ruling Sturgeon public hearings were held the bill. was inserted into the Budget Act 2008 the last minute and passed the same day. was signed 
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger February 20, 2009. 
24. Enacted interim measure, Senate Bill 
purported authorize counties' payment "supplemental judicial 
benefitsn for purposes Article VI, Section until such time the Legislature could adopt comprehensive response Sturgeon 
25. Section Senate Bill states: 
(a) the intent the Legislature address the 
decision the Court Appeal Sturgeon County Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630 [84 Cal. Rptr. 
242], regarding county-provided benefits for judges. COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 

(b) These county-provided benefits were considered the Legislature enacting the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial 
Court Funding Act 1997, which counties could receive reduction the county's maintenance effort 
obligations counties elected provide benefits 
pursuant paragraph (1) subdivision (c) Section 77201 the Government Code for trial court judges 
that county. 
(c) Numerous counties and courts established local court supplemental benefits retain qualified 
applicants for judicial office, and trial court judges 
relied upon the existence these longstanding supplemental benefits provided the counties the 
court. 
26. Section Senate Bill added section 68220 the 
Government Code. Section 68220 provides: 
(a) Judges court whose judges received supplemental 
judicial benefits provided the county court, both, July 2008, shall continue receive 
supplemental benefits from the county court then 
paying the benefits the same terms and conditions were effect that date. 
(b) county may terminate its obligation provide benefits under this section upon providing the 
Administrative Director the Courts and the impacted judges with 180 days' written notice. The termination 
shall not effective any judge during his her current term while that judge continues serve 
judge that court or, the election the county, when that judge leaves office. The county also 
authorized elect provide benefits for all judges 
the county. 
27. Section Senate Bill purported immunize all 
state judges who had received unauthorized "supplemental judicial 
benefits,n provision that the Commission Judicial Performance 
subsequently determined was "invalid and unconstitutional" separation powers grounds because, under Article VI, Section 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF the Constitution, "the [C]ommission and the California Supreme 
Court have exclusive authority over judicial discipline." 
28. Section Senate Bill required that the Judicial 
Council analyze and report the Legislature statewide benefits 
inconsistencies before December 31, 2009. The study 
referenced paragraphs 18-20 herein was prepared the Judicial 
Council pursuant Section Senate Bill 11. 
29. Plaintiff subsequently challenged whether Senate Bill sufficiently "prescribed" Defendant County Los Angeles' 
payment "supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the 
superior court for purposes Article VI, Section 19. Sturgeon 
County Los Angeles, 191 Cal. App. 4th 344 (2010) ("Sturgeon 
II"). ruling the Court Appeals upheld Senate Bill 11, 
but only temporary measure that preserved the status quo until permanent, comprehensive judicial compensation scheme could 
enacted: the parties have recognized, Senate Bill both 
preserved the status quo ante Sturgeon and commenced 
process which the Legislature looks adoption comprehensive judicial compensation scheme. have 
explained, this response Sturgeon meets the 
requirements the Constitution and wholly sensible 
under the circumstances 
However, its face Senate Bill not permanent response either the constitutional issues identified Sturgeon the difficult problems adopting compensation scheme that deals with varying economic circumstances equitable and efficient manner. Thus, would remiss discharging our duties did not state that the Legislature's interim 
-10 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 

response Sturgeon defeats the particular challenges asserted Sturgeon this litigation, that interim 
remedy, not supplanted the more comprehensive 
response Senate Bill plainly contemplates, most 
likely will give rise further challenges taxpayers members the bench themselves. noted the 
outset, the issue judicial compensation state, 
not county, responsibility. are confident that the Legislature within reasonable period time will act adopt uniform statewide system judicial 
compensation. Sturgeon II, 191 Cal. App. 4th 355-56. 
30. Although more than years have passed since Senate Bill was enacted February 2009, the Legislature has failed 
establish the permanent, comprehensive judicial compensation scheme 
contemplated Senate Bill 11. 
31. Despite the Legislature's failure enact the permanent, comprehensive judicial compensation scheme contemplated Senate Bill 11, Defendant County Los Angeles has continued pay 
"supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior 
Court since 2009, and both the dollar value these benefits and 
the cost the benefits County Los Angeles taxpayers have 
increased. 
32. 2013, Defendants paid approximately $57,487 "supplemental judicial benefits" each the approximately 429 
judges the Superior Court. This included approximately $33,970 "cafeteria plan" benefits, approximately $15,600 retirement 
benefits, and $7,917 "professional devlopment allowance." These "supplemental judicial benefits" were addition the $181,292 
-11 
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY ANO INJUNCTIVE RELIEF salary and the full complement benefits paid each superior court judge the state. 2013 alone, the cost these 
benefits County Los Angeles taxpayers was least 
approximately $24,661,923. 
FIRST CAUSE ACTION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF 
33. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs reference fully set forth herein and further alleges follows: 
34. actual and justiciable controversy has arisen and now exists between Plaintiff, the one hand, and Defendants, the 
other hand, whether Defendant County Los Angeles' 
continued payment "supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior Court lawful the absence the adoption, 
the Legislature, permanent, statewide, comprehensive judicial 
compensation scheme contemplated Senate Bill 11. 
Plaintiff contends that the continued payment these benefits 
violates Article VI, Section the California Constitution and otherwise unlawful. information and belief, Defendants contend that the continued payment the benefits does not violate Article VI, Section the California Constitution and not 
otherwise unlawful. 
35. Pursuant California Code Civil Procedure  1060, Plaintiff seeks judicial determination whether the 
continued payment "supplemental judicial benefits" the judges 
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COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF the Superior Court violates Article VI, Section the 
California Constitution otherwise unlawful 
36. Such udicial determination necessary and 
appropriate that the parties may ascertain their respective 
legal rights and duties Defendants have continued expend substantial taxpayer funds and taxpayer-financed resources paying upplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior Court, and will continue expend substantial taxpayer funds and 
taxpayer-financed resources the payment these benefits. 
37. There are effective administrative remedies available Plaintiff compel the relief sought herein. 
SECOND CAUSE ACTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 38. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs reference fully set forth herein and further alleges follows: 
39. Defendant County Los Angeles' continued payment 
"supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior 
Court the absence the adoption, the Legislature, 
permanent, statewide, comprehensive judicial compensation scheme contemplated Senate Bill violates Article VI, Section the California Constitution and otherwise unlawful. 
40. Plaintiff being irreparably harmed Defendants' 
continued expenditure substantial taxpayer funds and taxpayer 
financed resources the unlawful payment "supplemental udicial benefits" the judges the Superior Court. 
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COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY ANO INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 

41. Unless and until enjoined this Court, Defendants will 
continue expend substantial taxpayer funds and taxpayer-financed 
resources the unlawful payment "supplemental judicial 
benefits" the judges the Superior Court. 
42. Plaintiff has adequate remedy law. 
PRAYER FOR RELIEF 
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays follows: 
FIRST CAUSE ACTION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF declaration that Defendant County Los Angeles' 
continued payment "supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior Court violates Article VI, Section the California Constitution and otherwise unlawful; Costs suit herein; Reasonable attorney's fees under the Private Attorney 
General Statute, Code Civil Procedure  1021.5, the Common Fund 
Doctrine, and the Substantial Benefit Doctrine; and 
Such other relief the Court deems just and proper. 
SECOND CAUSE ACTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF The Court issue permanent injunctive relief prohibiting 
Defendants from expending additional taxpayer funds taxpayer 
financed resources the payment "supplemental judicial benefits" the judges the Superior Court authorizing, 
approving, implementing, administering any such expenditures; Costs suit herein; 
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COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF Reasonable att6rney's fees under the Private Attorney 

General Statute, Code Civil Procedure  1021.5, the Common Fund 

Doctrine, and the Substantial Benefit Doctrine; and Such other relief the Court deems just and roper. 

DATED: April 2014 By: Norris (SBN 040993) WATCH, INC. 

2540 Huntington Drive, Suite 201 

San Marino, 91108 

Tel.: (626) 287-4540 

Fax: (626) 237-2003 

JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. 
425 Third Street, Suite 800 
Washington, 20024 

Tel.: (202) 646-5172 

Fax: (202) 646-5199 

Attorneys for Plaintiff 

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COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF



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