California Courts of Appeal

By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 03/12/15, 8:12 PM PDT

RIVERSIDE >>A judge will have to reconsider her decision requiring Los Angeles to release 399 documents sought by Ontario in its suit to gain control of L.A./Ontario International Airport.

Attorneys for Los Angeles had withheld the documents, claiming they fall under attorney-client privilege, and appealed the December ruling by Riverside Superior Court Judge Gloria Connor Trask.

The 4th state Court of Appeals in Riverside ruled Tuesday that Trask should reconsider her decision.

In December, Trask ordered Los Angeles to hand over 2,000 documents related to the case. Los Angeles appealed the ruling in January after deciding that 399 of the documents should be withheld.

Ontario’s attorneys asked the appeals court to deny L.A.’s request, arguing that the reasons that city cited “are wholly disingenuous.”

“No explanation was provided by Los Angeles’ counsel then or at any other time how Los Angeles’ multiple ‘thorough’ reviews and re-reviews somehow failed to identify 399 purportedly attorney-client privileged documents,” wrote Catherine La Tempa, an attorney for Ontario.

In January, L.A.’s attorney, Joshua Stambaugh, argued in court that the self-evaluation and personnel files of a person who is not a defendant in the case are protected by the attorney-client privilege and the state Constitution’s right to privacy. Stambaugh said L.A. discovered in December the documents contained attorney-client information.

Stambaugh could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

Andre Cronthall, lead attorney for Ontario, characterized Los Angeles’ assertions about the documents being privileged as improper.

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