California’s legal bills have come due, and today the state Senate voted to appropriate $12.9 million to cover settlement costs in five cases:
- Environmental Protection Information Center v. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Steelworkers of America v. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. EPIC and the Steelworkers challenged the state’s approval of a Pacific Lumber Co. timber harvest plan in 11-year-long litigation tied to the so-called Headwaters Agreement. As part of two settlements addressing attorneys’ fees, the state will pay EPIC $3.5 million plus interest. Steelworkers of America will receive $2 million plus interest.
- Mather Development Partners IV v. EdFund. EdFund, a loan-managing auxiliary of the California Student Aid Commission, effectively went out of business in 2010 when its duties were shifted elsewhere. At the time, EdFund was only four years into a 10-year lease at a commercial property. A $4.2 million payment will settle breach of lease litigation.
- Ciccotti v. State of California. The state will pay Aaron Cicotti and his family $1.5 million after he was severely injured by a falling tree at Los Banos Creek Reservoir in 2009.
- Entertainment Merchants Association v. Brown. EMA successfully challenged California’s ban on violent video games to minors all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state will pay the association $950,000 to settle fee requests stemming from the Supreme Court argument.
- California School Boards Association v. State of California. The state will pay $312,000 to settle CSBA’s costs and attorneys fees in litigation over unfunded mandates.
The appropriation bill must still be approved by the state Assembly before it can be sent to the governor’s desk.