Due Process Violation

Due Process Violation

Daily Journal
Verdicts & Settlements
November 7, 2008

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
Due Process Violation
School State Fund

BENCH DECISION: Injunctive Relief.

CASE/NUMBER: Today’s Fresh Start Inc. v. Los Angeles Office of Education, Los Angeles County Board of Education / BS112656

COURT/DATE: Los Angeles Superior Central / October 21, 2008

JUDGE: Hon. James C. Chalfant.

Attorneys:
Plaintiff – Michael M. Amir, Mary Glarum (Doll Amir & Eley LLP, Los Angeles)

Defendant – Eileen Gray (California Department of Education, Sacramento); Joseph L. Stark (Law Offices of Joseph L. Stark, Santa Clarita).

FACTS: Petitioner Today’s Fresh Start is a charter school that serves under-privileged children in Los Angeles, In October 2007, Los Angeles County Office of Education recommended to Los Angeles County Board of Education (“LACBOE”) that it revoke Today’s Fresh Start’s charter because of certain purported violations of law and the charter agreement.

On Nov. 6, 2007, LACBOE held a public hearing on the revocation pursuant to Education code section 47607. Approximately a month later, on Dec. 11, 2007, LACBOE board members met to vote on the revocation. Over Today’s Fresh Start’s objection that the hearing did not comport with basic due process, LACBOE voted 4-3 to revoke the charter.

On Dec. 27, 2007, Today’s Fresh Start filed an action in Los Angeles Superior Court challenging LACBOE’s decision on, among other grounds, due process violations. In that regard, Today’s Fresh Start argued that a board member who was not present during the public hearing issued the “swing vote.” Today’s Fresh Start also argued that LACBOE had not been impartial.

On Jan. 4, 2007, Today’s Fresh Start filed an emergency motion to continue the school’s state funding pending resolution of the lawsuit. The court granted the motion and ordered California Department of Education to continue the school’s funding.

The court subsequently set trial for Oct. 29, 2009. However, prior to trial, Today’s Fresh Start filed a motion for judgment pursuant to Cal. Code Civil Proc. Section 1094 arguing that, as a matter of law, LACBOE had deprived the school of its due process rights. The court agreed with Today’s Fresh Start and granted the motion and the writ. On Oct. 21, 2008, the court entered judgment in favor of Today’s Fresh Start.

RESULT: Reversal of the revocation and reinstatement of charter. Today’s Fresh Start will recover attorneys’ fees and costs.

FILING DATE: Dec. 27, 2007.