Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Wrap Up Free For All

Trutanich's Porcupine Defense Fails Again - Another Shocking Loss For LA Taxpayers

Trutanich claims to have saved "millions" by protecting the City Coffers with his schoolyard "Porcupine Defense,"
 however, it appears to some to be an expensive and seemingly ineffective strategy. (Photo Credit: LA Times)
The LA Times reports that Carmen Trutanich's schoolyard "Porcupine Defense" strategy failed, yet again. This time with a rather spectacular failure that will cost Los Angelenos $1M plus attorney fees for a case that could have been settled for $100k.

In response to his latest disaster, Trutanich decided to keep his mouth shut over his failure and declined to repeat his previous blame-shifting accusations that his lawyers are "inexperienced" or made "blunders." Neither did Trutanich restate his opinion that no one in his office is capable of performing his job.

Rather, Trutanich deferred to his spokesman, John Franklin, who simply said "office is reviewing its legal options."

Perhaps it's time for the office to review the efficacy of the Porcupine Defense strategy given its alarming failure rate and the fact that this is the second case in a row that attorney Gregory Smith has won against Trutanich.

Trutanich might also want to reconsider his motivational techniques as berating his staff is rarely a formula for success.

ADDA Starts Secret Email Campaign To Force Affiliation Vote

ADDA President Hyatt Seligman has begun a series of "Question of the Day" emails to dues-paying members of the ADDA, urging them to vote in favor of "affiliation" with AFSCME.

The majority of Deputy District Attorneys who the ADDA claims to represent, are not to be included in the emails, nor will they be allowed to vote. That is because, according to Seligman's answer to his first Question of the Day; "It is simply fair. Your Board majority believes that this is by definition an internal membership matter, and should be open to all members to vote on. Why should those who have voluntarily paid regular membership dues for up to three years suddenly be forced to defer to others who have chosen not to pay a penny for their representation?"

Seligman's explanation appears to reflect some of the anonymous comments previously posted on the Dragnet to the effect of "pay up or shut up" whenever ADDA matters are discussed.

It is also somewhat telling that Seligman has started to refer to the "Board Majority," perhaps an indication that there are some on the ADDA Board who do not believe that "affiliation" with AFSCME is either:
  • appropriate at all, 
  • appropriate for a decision by only due-paying members when the ADDA routinely claims to represent all DDAs regardless of their fee-paying status, or,
  • appropriate before the Agency Shop vote takes place.
Perhaps even dues-paying members are puzzled and confused by Seligman's use of organized labor jargon. Two, perhaps fundamental "Questions of the Day" that Seligman might have chosen to answer, but declined to, are; "What is AFSCME?" and, "What is 'affiliation?'"

A third question might "What is an Agency Shop?" but maybe the more troubling unanswered questions are:
"Why all the secrecy?"
"Why hide behind jargon?" 
"Why don't you explain that 'affiliation' means the sacrifice of independence and the political allegiance to a bigger union who may not represent the views of DDAs?"

Perhaps those with some insight and understanding of the wondrous ways of organized labor would care to offer their answers by way of comments that can be posted anonymously here.

Of course, Seligman has offered to accept email questions from members only, and perhaps those brave enough to identify themselves as troublemakers questioning the views of the "Board Majority" will submit questions.

However, given the often venomous disdain that the "Board Majority" has displayed towards those who exercise their fundamental right to dissent, Selgiman's new email address is unlikely to be flooded with questions. (Note: We respectfully decline to publish Seligman's new email address without his permission.)

Let the comments begin, and please keep it clean and relevant.



Anonymous said...

I don't think it's fair to blame the City Attorney for the poor oversight at the LAPD. If cops do bad things, no one will be able to defend that.

Besides, the DA's office couldn't even get a simple case like the Lyndsey Lohan matter right. They can't even bring Richard Alarcon to justice. What a bunch of weasels.

Anonymous said...

You were right about Carmen Douche Trutanich claiming credit for a sweep of gang members in LA yesterday. The LA Times reports that a ton of gangmembers were taken in to custody and will be prosecuted for FELONIES by the US Attorney and the District Attorney - Trutanich only prosecutes misdemeanors so he was there because?

Douche Trutanich just loves a press conference. Pity he wasn't asked about his porcupine defense failure.

Anonymous said...

Hyatt's secret emails are so typical of the way the ABM does things. Oh please do not even try to justify why the ABM is excluding the majority of DDAs from deciding the issue, it is so obvious that the rank and file does not want anything to do with the ABM (ADDA Board Majority).

The biggest question that Hyatt and the rest of the ABM will not answer is precisely how much of our paycheck will be taken? I hear that affiliation with AFSCME will mean $110 a month from every DDA in grades I through IV, and it's not optional, it's taken out of your paycheck at source.

And it's not as if that $110 a month will go to the ADDA, it gets divided up and given to AFSCME who will decide how much we have to pay.

This is a disaster and must be stopped. Vote NO on affiliation, NO on Agency Shop and NO on ABM as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

You are being a little unfair on Trutanich, as 9:28am says, it's not his fault if LAPD behaves badly towards employees. But it is his fault to think he can win a case like that. If he had settled for $100k he would have done the right thing by the cop who was discriminated against, and he would have "saved" us nearly a million dollars.

That is his fault.

Anonymous said...

Cherry-picking the cases Trutanich has lost and using those to discredit his "Porcupine" defense strategy is intellectually dishonest. His strategy was conceived to discourage the frivolous lawsuits that his predecessor was settling.

The only honest way to evaluate the strategy is to compare the total payout per year due to lawsuits during Delgadillo's tenure and during Trutanich's tenure and see which strategy has resulted in lower OVERALL cost to the City. Throw in the total budget for the office in each year, to account for the expense of defending the lawsuits.

Anything less than that is just propaganda, either pro or against Trutanich.

Anonymous said...

Cooley says he isn't running so that DDAs will think the retaliation is over. He will kick Lacey to the curb and get back in the race if she doesn't look like the favorite. Anything less will be astonishing.

Anonymous said...

10:57am - you forget that it was Trutanich who has consistently failed to provide an accurate accounting showing that, in fact, he has done anything substantially differently to the way that Rocky ran the office. In fact, it looks like not settling cases has resulted in higher costs to the city.

Ever since that unfortunate "high five for a dead baby" photograph, Trutanich has played the numbers game insisting that HE has changed the way the city attorney's office defends cases. But he only did that to deflect the horrible imagery of a grown-up man behaving like the worst type of schoolyard bully celebrating the tragic loss of a baby's life as it were a SuperBowl touchdown.

As a trial attorney of 20 years practice, it is deeply insulting and disingenuous to Trutanich belittling the difficult task of defending liability by the use of schoolyard games. The so-called 'Porcupine Defense" is a trick, an illusion, a political ploy to make things appear to be different. The reality, as the LA Times reports, is very different.

There really is no excuse for Trutanich wasting a million dollars on a case that could and should have settled for $100k.

It really looks like Trutanich did not want to stand up to LAPD and tell them, as a good lawyer should, that the case is a bad one and that LAPD will lose at trial.

No, Trutanich wanted to be the 'Cop's Lawyer' and part of the team so that he gets to stand alongside LAPD at press conferences where he really has no place - DNA, Gangs and whatever makes him look good. But it is all as empty and phony as Rocky's games. No wonder morale is so low.

You should look up the definition of 'intellectually dishonest,' the name 'Trutanich' fits like a glove.

Anonymous said...

@1:33 You should look up the definition of intellectually dishonest, the name Trutanich fits like a glove. Classic!

Anonymous said...

Please, all this Trutanich stuff is a distraction. The bigger story is the ADDA secret email campaign.

It is disgusting that the ADDA Board Majority is behaving like a some sort of Soviet era committee, secretly deciding what is in the interests of the majority.

I hope that other DDAs are taking note of this and will not allow this outrage to continue.

Anonymous said...

Trutanich is an unethical politician that improperly used the good offices of the City Attorney to cover up corruption within the Los Angeles County Health Department and to cover up the continuous EXTORTION of people by this corrupt organization. When he announces that he is running for DA, I plan to publicly expose and ridicule this corrupt individual that has no business anywhere near the DA's office.

Anonymous said...

Here are two REALLY SIMPLE questions for Hyatt to answer:

1) How much money will DDAs have to pay each month if agency shop passes? Please break it down per grade?

2) How is the response to Question #1 affected by affiliation with ASCME? Will we have to pay an additional $110 a month to AFSCME or is AFSCME going to cut this out of our agency shop contribution (thereby assuring that this money supports a national, and not our local union)?

Hyatt, you have been asked these questions for months by other posters. You have refused to answer. The questions are simple, and your lack of candor is troubling. What are you covering up?

Anonymous said...

2:20 Makes a good point, but keep in mind numbers are hard data as long as you ask for the right numbers. We've all watched defense attorneys spin hypos into eternity by plugging BS numbers into a testifying expert. What we all need to know is the exact dollar amount taken from EACH deputy as per rank, per EACH pay period, and then the amount broken down as to dollar amount going to AFSCME and amount kept by ADDA. But you are right, they got us drowning in details but starved for information: HYATT's HYPE HIDES!

Walter Moore said...

What's a "porcupine defense?"

Anonymous said...

Mr. Moore. The Trutanich Porcupine Defense is just the nasty spiteful way that Dragnet keeps on ridiculing Carmen Douch Trutanich.

At a recent Rotary Club luncheon, Douch was bragging about his great accomplishments and explained his legal theory of liability defense as being something which "he learned in school," explaining that "You may eat me, but I won’t taste good going down."

Trutanich later berated his deputy city attorneys for failing to effectively utilize this schoolyard tactic, resulting in string of expensive losses for the City of LA.

In this, the latest loss, Trutanich's legal strategy cost us $1M for a case that could have settled for $100k.

Anonymous said...

To continue. Exactly what Douch Trutanich means by "You may eat me, but I won’t taste good going down" is not clear, but we think he means that we're supposed to behave badly towards plaintiff's attorneys, and that way, when they win, it will not be a pleasant experience for them. We can glare at them, turn our noses up at them, and say things like "I hope you and your goddamn client choke on the check the city will now give you."

It was one of Douch's best revisions to the office when he took over.

Anonymous said...

I would be very, very careful in contacting any of the ADDA's so-called Board Majority unless you can do so anonymously.

There are some very spiteful people who will vilify anyone who doesn't see things their way - look at what happened to Peter Burke who tried to make the ADDA stick to their own bylaws. It cost him thousands of dollars to clear his name, and now the ADDA are playing games over his legal fees, when they were the ones that that the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals ruled were at fault.

It may be coincidence, but if you do reveal your email address to the ABM, don't be surprised at the tone of the response, and if you find you email address suddenly gets tons of spam email.

These people are a disgrace to the vast majority of DDAs who just want to do their job and be represented by people we can be proud of, not ashamed of.

Anonymous said...

May 22, 2011 1:42 PM: Too funny.