The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) has spent at least $281,350 in litigation in five cases against a Fresno County fruit packing company.

Gerawan Farming provided GV Wire with at least 25 cases in which its company or one of its employees has engaged with the ALRB. Each has been filed in various courtrooms and is in various stages of litigation.

Much of the litigation revolves around Gerawan dealings with the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Gerawan is accused of negotiation in bad faith. Its employees’ 2013 vote on whether to decertify the union is in limbo after complaints were made against Gerawan for illegally manipulating the vote. The ballots have yet to be counted and sit at an undisclosed ALRB location.

Through a public records act request to the ALRB and California Department of Justice (DOJ), GV Wire inquired how much money is being spent on litigation, and if the Department of Justice is involved as well. Of the 25 cases, information was provided for five. The information reveals in those five cases, 20 attorneys provided 1,658 hours of work at a cost of $281,350. That averages to $169.69  an hour. (Note: there is no indication if the same DOJ staff worked multiple cases).

GV Wire asked five questions about each case:

  1. The number of hours spent by attorneys either representing the ALRB, or other state agencies or the State of California
  2. The number of staff used by ALRB, other state agencies or the State of California
  3. The cost of staff and/or attorneys used by the ALRB, other state agencies or the State of California
  4. Any request made by the ALRB or other state agency to the Attorney General to represent the agency (or anyone within the agency)
  5. The decision of the Attorney General to represent, to refuse to represent, or to withdraw from representing, the agency (or anyone within the agency)

Here are the responses of the 25 cases:

ALRB/DOJ does not have records: 11 cases

ALRB/DOJ claim exemption because of attorney-client privilege: 9 cases

ALRB/DOJ provided results: 5 cases

Note: in some cases, ALRB/DOJ responded both that they do not have records and/or attorney-client privilege. They are just listed as attorney-client privilege for the sake of the above list.

Here are the responses made about the five cases they did respond to:

Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd., et al., Case No. 13-CECG-03374 (Fresno Superior Court)

  1. Number of DOJ Attorney Hours= 659.25
  2. Number of DOJ Staff= 5
  3. Cost of DOJ Staff= $111,562.50
  4. The department has no responsive records.
  5. Enclosed is a copy of the decision letter sent to the client.

 Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd., et al., Case No. F069896 (Fifth District Court of Appeal)

  1. Number of DOJ Attorney Hours= 415.75
  2. Number of DOJ Staff= 6
  3. Cost of DOJ Staff= $70,677.50
  4. The department has no responsive records.
  5. The department has no responsive records.

Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Bd., et al., Case No. F070287 (Fifth District Court of Appeal)

  1. Number of DOJ Attorney Hours = 78
  2. Number of DOJ Staff= 5
  3. Cost of DOJ Staff= $13,260
  4. The department has no responsive records.
  5. The department has no responsive records.

Lopez v. Shiroma, et al., Case No. 1:14-CV-00236-LJO-GSA (E.D. Cal.) & Lopez v. Shiroma, et al., Case No. 14-16640 (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal) (both cases are combined into one matter)

  1. Number of DOJ Attorney Hours = 505
  2. Number of DOJ Staff= 4
  3. Cost of DOJ Staff= $85,850
  4. The department has no responsive records.
  5. The department has no responsive records.
[This story has been corrected to update the total spent. The initial story reported a lower number because of a math error]

 What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.

Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

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2 Responses

  1. Mike

    Pretty cheap, actually, considering the duration and noise of the fight, I thought the cost would be multiples of these figures.
    Question, though: If Gerawan is ultimately found responsible for bad faith bargaining, cheating its employees, etc. Can the State Recoup these costs?

    Reply
  2. Greg

    These numbers are bogus. ALRB budget is up multi millions of dollars. Sounds like they need an accountant.

    Reply

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