Lawsuit Abuse Report Misses Easy Target

gavelToday the OCRegister Watchdog reports on the release of a study from Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse regarding the impact of frivolous litigation on the taxpayers.

The group complains that people see cities and counties as deep pockets the can be sued and that costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year that cold be used to fund important programs that have lost their funding due to budget shortfalls.

In Orange County, the $7.6 million spent on litigation could have more than paid for both the county’s Domestic Violence program and Emergency Medical Services.

In Anaheim, the $2.4 million spent on litigation could have covered the operating costs for the Workforce Development Division whose programs are designed to match employer needs with qualified local job seekers.

The report only briefly covers the costs that counties such as Orange County could easily avoid or eliminate.

Unfortunately, the very entities that are so often victims of excessive litigation sometimes perpetrate it as well. Particularly in these economic times, cities, counties and other public agencies are sometimes resorting to suing each other to try to make ends meet.

When public entities sue each other, litigation is even more damaging to taxpayers as they bear the costs of both prosecuting and defending the lawsuit.

moorlachfinger

Supervisor John Moorlach

The County of Orange has spent more than $2 million on their frivolous court challenge to overturn the pension benefits awarded to police and fire personnel across the state. While the chief proponent of this suit Supervisor John Moorlach claims that he is only pushing the matter because of the impact of Deputy Sheriff pension costs on Orange County and the potential $160 million plus savings to taxpayers, the fact is, he hopes to propel his own personal profile across the state, for the potential gain of future higher elected office. Moorlach of course forgets to point out that there is zero legal standing for his lawsuit and that it represents the biggest abuse of taxpayer dollars to fund frivolous lawsuits.

In addition, much of the outside litigation costs Orange Couty spends is to defend against their own brazen violations of employment law. This type of waste is unfortunately not highlighted in the report. In fact, the authors conveniently ignore it completely.

Moorlach the Pirate2This could have something to do with their political bias, and the fact that they have featured Supervisor Moorlach as one of their champions.

While it is true that sometimes litigants see the County and city governments as a deep pockets, more often than not our elected officials use our money to fund frivolous lawsuits and abuse our legal system for nothing more than their own political gain.

Whether it is trying to overturn fairly negotiated pension benefits for Sheriff’s deputies, or to keep medical marijuana away from a patient in violation of state law (City of Garden Grove), Citizen’s Against Lawsuit Abuse seem to be willing to give elected officials a free pass when they abuse the legal system.