By: Kyle D. Kring
Posted: December 5, 2016
Please be advised the court in the Nisei Farmers League v. California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (State of California), the case pending in the superior court for the County of Fresno, issued its final ruling on plaintiff’s request for a Stay of AB 1513, which was part of plaintiff Nisei Farmer’s prior Motion for Declaratory Relief. The court denied the plaintiff’s request for a stay and granted the state’s demurrer to the complaint without leave to amend effectively ending the case at the trial court level, but for plaintiffs filing a Writ or an Appeal of the ruling (depending on whether the plaintiffs are able to amend as discussed further below). A copy of the court’s Minute Order can be viewed here with the Modified Tentative Ruling on the State’s Demurrer and the Tentative Ruling on the Plaintiff’s Motion for Partial Declaratory Relief.
As you may recall, the Plaintiff Nisei Farmers League and CBIA recently filed a Motion for Declaratory Relief, following the denial of its motion for a Preliminary Injunction. The plaintiffs argued that AB 1513 and specifically, “actual sums due” and “non-productive time” were ambiguous as a matter of law. The court disagreed finding “in this legal context, ‘actual sums due’ and ‘non-productive time’ are defined with ‘reasonable specificity’ and are not vague and ambiguous as a matter of law.”
As far as the State’s demurrer to the complaint based on whether Section 226.2 is facially unconstitutional, the court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend, holding that the statute was not vague and ambiguous and that the statute as written did not apply retroactively.
Regarding whether the plaintiff will be entitled to any leave to further amend the complaint, the court ruled that as to the determination that Labor Code section 226.2 (AB 1513) is facially unconstitutional, the demurrer was sustained without leave to amend. This means that the plaintiffs will have to file either a writ or an appeal to overturn the court’s ruling. However, the court stated that “the parties have not addressed whether the Amended Complaint could be interpreted in whole or in part as an “as applied” challenge to the interpretation of the statute. The court ordered further briefing on this issue. However, this issue will most likely not be decided until after December 15, 2016 (the deadline to make payments under AB 1513), likely making this issue effectively moot for those that signed up for the AB 1513 affirmative defense.