Good Morning, California. Judicial Council Watcher was informed yesterday that the Paula Negley v. AOC matter in the 9th circuit court of appeals has been set for oral arguments on October 14th. JCW contacted Ms. Negley yesterday to get her reaction to this new development. Ms. Negley was elated, yet cautiously optimistic that the matter before the 9th circuit was proceeding to oral arguments and that her case against the AOC remains viable for now.
In the Michael Paul v. AOC cases, Mr. Paul has contacted JCW and has been posting his case files up and making them accessible to Judicial Council Watcher since retrieving his files from his former counsel. It appears that these files paint a different picture than what his attorneys were disclosing to him and what he subsequently disclosed to us. He said he apologizes to JCW readers and the San Francisco courts because he passed on bad information he assumed to be reliable: after all, it was coming from his attorneys. An example of this was that in December of 2010, Mr. Paul informed us that he was informed by his counsel that the courts would not entertain discovery upon the AOC with regards to the taxpayer lawsuit and that his counsel advised him to get other counsel to take on the taxpayer lawsuit. He stated at the time that the information was conflicting because as they were suggesting that Mr. Paul find other counsel for the taxpayer matter, they were also indicating to him that he would likely not prevail in the taxpayer matter and be liable for AOC’s attorneys fees and costs.Mr. Paul chose to drop the taxpayer matter based on his counselors advice and immediately thereafter, they terminated their representation of him in all matters.
What the documentation indicates is that in November, seven months after the taxpayer lawsuit was filed, the AOC and AG’s office demurred to relating the taxpayer case to the AG’s unlicensed contractors cases because among other things, there was a statute of limitations of fifteen days following the filing of the case to relate the taxpayer case to the unlicensed contractors cases. Not only was this statute of limitations breached, it was breached by over six months. Mr. Paul indicated at the time that he was told that the AOC demurred on providing discovery that would be required to prove his case. He described his counsels action as an effort to stop the use of unlicensed contractors continuing to be steered the work and a “back door qui tam” to the tens of millions of dollars in unclaimed funds. Apparently, the only possibility of this taxpayer lawsuit ever becoming a back door qui tam was that the cases needed to be related and they needed to be related within 15 days of his filing.
It appears to JCW that money for supporting all litigation for his attorneys appears to be in transforming the taxpayer lawsuit into a qui tam case, seeking the big money of treble damages on the funds paid to unlicensed contractors that remained unclaimed to this day by the state. The demurrer of relating the taxpayer case to the unlicensed contractors was sustained and the decision was mailed on December 21, 2010. It was on this same day that Michael Paul was scheduled by his former counsel to come in their office where they subsequently abruptly terminated their representation in all matters. Instead of riding their discovery on the back of the unlicensed contractors lawsuits by relating them, Mr. Paul’s counsel would have to dig into their own pockets to fund the taxpayer case and his whistleblower retaliation case. Simply stated, they did not wish to make a long term investment in either case. The big money of a qui tam was taken off the table leaving a taxpayer suit the AOC was feverishly working to resolve by placing contracts back out to bid.
Recently, Mr. Paul paid another attorney to produce a pro-per complaint on his behalf so that what he understood to be the statute of limitations wouldn’t expire. He requested this attorney lodge two causes of action. One, being labor code 1102.5 for whistleblower retaliation and the other being the California whistleblower protection act for judicial branch employees. The attorney producing the pro-per complaint omitted labor code 1102.5 indicating that the statute of limitations on that cause of action was six months: a mere 21 days, during the Christmas holiday season no less, for Mr. Paul to find another lawyer to represent him and file that complaint. The real challenge was that after being represented by former counsel for over a year in the taxpayer matter and for about 5.25 months in the whistleblower retaliation matter, his former counsel lodged a complaint with the state personnel board for the California whistleblower retaliation act but not with the department of industrial relations over labor code 1102.5, whistleblower retaliation, making no effort to inform him that his statute of limitations on Labor Code 1102.5 with respect to the department of industrial relations would expire in 21 days – immediately proceeding the Christmas holiday period.
You might be able to imagine how difficult it would be to find an attorney to represent you between Christmas and New Years. As he explained to us, nobody wanted to return calls until after January 2nd leaving him a mere 10 days to meet a statute of limitations he had no idea existed. After all, he had been represented for the previous 5.25 months by people who shouldn’t have been waiting until the last minute (or for that matter, waiting six months past the statute of limitations) to make a pertinent filing protecting his rights.
Today, Mr. Paul describes his search for other legal counsel to pick up the ball on his employment matter as ‘rejection after rejection’ but he remains optimistic in his search for legal representation. He indicates he has nearly exhausted his search at cela.org for northern California lawyers. He has also explained that employment attorneys looking at his paperwork are mentioning another type of legal case having no relation to his employment but continue to encourage him to press the existing cause of action and find an(other) attorney to represent him. After all, no one likes cleaning up someone else’s mess.
We at Judicial Council Watcher believe that effective prosecution of the Paul whistleblower case is essential to the overall health and welfare of the judicial branch so as we’ve done before, if you happen to know a hardcore whistleblower attorney that would be willing to look at this matter, kindly post it in-thread, drop Michael an email ( email@example.com ) or drop us an email. ( JudicialCouncilWatcher@hushmail.com )
He shouldn’t have to represent himself given that his disclosures resulted in 42+ million dollars being claimed by the state or 428+ years of his salary. Comparing this matter to other recent litigation and settlements against the state in other whistleblower matters, this matter is the only recent whistleblower case where the state is looking at making a substantial financial recovery as a result of the whistleblowers’ disclosures.