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Ardon v. City of Los Angeles

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division

December 10, 2014

ESTUARDO ARDON, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, Defendant and Appellant.

[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]

Superior Court County of Los No. BC363959 Angeles Lee Smalley Edmon, Judge

Page 176

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 177

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 178

COUNSEL

Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, Holly O. Whatley, Amy C. Sparrow, Tiana J. Murillo; Noreen S. Vincent and Beverly A. Cook, Assistant City Attorneys, for Defendant and Appellant.

Dennis J. Herrera, City Attorney (San Francisco), Christine Van Aken, Chief of Appellate Litigation and Warren Metlitzky, Deputy City Attorney for League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Appellant.

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, Francis M. Gregorek, Rachele R. Rickert, Marisa C. Livesay; Chimicles & Tikellis, Timothy N. Mathews; Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, Sandra W. Cuneo; Tostrud Law Group, Jon A. Tostrud for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

BURKE, J. [*]

The City of Los Angeles (City) appeals the trial court's order denying its motion to compel Estuardo Ardon to return privileged documents it turned over to his counsel pursuant to a California Public Records Act (PRA; Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.) request and to disqualify his counsel. Ardon contends that by producing the documents, the City waived statutory privileges that would have permitted it to refuse the request. He also contends that refusing to accede to the City's demands is not a basis for disqualification. We affirm.

BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Judge Edmon's ruling denying the City's motions includes the following summary of the nature of this class action: "Ardon [claims] that [the] City of Los Angeles improperly collected a Telephone Users Tax ('TUT'). According to [Ardon, ] the City's TUT excluded from taxation all services not subject to taxation under a similar Federal Excise Tax ('FET'). In 2006, after several federal courts had held that the FET only applied to [charges for] long distance service [that were based upon both the] duration... and the distance of the call, the IRS ceased collecting the excise tax on long distance calls [that were] billed only [on] the duration of the call. [Ardon] ...


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