U.S.-District-Court

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 05/08/15 – 1:36 AM PDT |

A U.S. District Court judge on Thursday slapped down what he called “a trilogy of merit-less appeals” that the San Bernardino firefighters union had made seeking reversals of bankruptcy court decisions against them.

The three opinions by Judge Otis D. Wright II affirm rulings that favored the city at firefighters’ expense — and they do so in language highly critical of the union.

“The city’s willingness to meet and compromise, and the union’s stubbornness, is quite apparent from the wealth of e-mail traffic between the parties,” Wright says in one of three decisions filed Thursday. “The union’s claim that the evidence regarding reasonable efforts is ‘scant’ is a misrepresentation of the evidence.”

At other points in the 47 pages of opinion, he describes the arguments in favor of appeal as “vapid,” “surprisingly merit-less,” “befuddled,” and “legally unsupported and lazy.”

Fire union attorney Corey Glave and union President Jeff English did not immediately return phone calls.

All three appeals were filed in February.

The first decision appealed by the union was bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury’s decision in September to reject the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the union. The City Council followed that by imposing a new contract that reduced firefighter compensation, among other changes.

The second decision denied the fire union’s attempt to lift the stay that prevents lawsuits against bankrupt entities, so they could argue that the city hadn’t followed state law in its negotiations. Jury made that decision the same day.

Finally, the union sought to appeal another of its motions for reliefs from stay, arguing that the bankruptcy court lacked the authority to “reinstate” a stay they argue lapsed because the court waited longer than 30 days to rule on the union’s stay motion.

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