Third Furlough Lawsuit Victory for UAPD

Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has again sided with UAPD, this morning (March 24) issuing a tentative ruling that orders the State to allow all workers paid from special funds to return to their regular work schedules next month. In its original motion, UAPD listed the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and Medical Board of California as examples of agencies where a substantial portion of funding comes from federal or special funds. Judge Roesch is expected to release his final ruling by day’s end, when it will be reviewed by UAPD attorneys to evaluate its impact on our members.

This is the third time Judge Roesch has ruled against furloughs; so far appeals filed by the Schwarzenegger administration have prevented the implementation of his orders. Today’s tentative ruling removes the stay on his order to end furloughs, but not the stay on his order to pay backpay. In other words, as a result of this ruling, furloughs will end immediately for special fund workers, but backpay will not be distributed while the case is under appeal. All of this must be confirmed by UAPD attorneys once the final ruling is issued. Also, we do not know whether Schwarzenegger will try to file for an additional stay on this ruling — the DPA is reportedly considering its options.

This latest ruling comes out of a lawsuit filed last year by UAPD, which challenged furloughs as beyond the Governor’s authority with respect to agencies funded by federal funds and special funds, including licensing fees. On December 31, 2009 Judge Frank Roesch issued rulings in favor of UAPD, ordering the state to end furloughs for doctors in the above-mentioned agencies. The State stalled implementation of that order by filing an appeal. On February 25th, 2010 Judge Frank Roesch ruled in favor of UAPD in our case requesting back pay for furloughed state workers who are paid from sources other than the State’s general fund. Again, the state stalled implementation with an appeal.