Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday. August 29, 2018


Page 3


Ribons Files Opposition to Writ Action Claiming Court Lacks Jurisdiction


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Attorney/real estate broker Michael Ribons yesterday filed opposition to a writ petition seeking an order to the registrar-recorder to disallow the word “Arbitrator” in his ballot designation as a candidate for a Los Angeles Superior Court judgeship, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction.

A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 23 in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant, whose tentative ruling was to grant the petition by Ribons’s opponent for Office No. 113 on the Nov. 6 ballot, Deputy District Attorney Javier Perez. However, Corona attorney Chad D. Morgan specially appeared that day to contest jurisdiction, noting that his client had not been personally served, asking that Chalfant order a dismissal of the action.

Instead, the judge shortened time, order that proof of personal service be filed by Aug. 27, that opposition be filed no later than yesterday afternoon, and that the matter be heard this morning in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff.

10-Day Requirement

In yesterday’s opposition, Morgan, Citing Code of Civil Procedure §1088, said:

“It is fundamental writ procedure that a peremptory writ of mandate in the first instance may not issue on less than 10 days’ notice.”

He contended that Elections Code §13314, which gives election cases priority, “does not change this,” arguing:

“While priority might make it possible for an otherwise busy court to hear such a matter on just 10 days’ notice, the court may not use priority to dispense with a jurisdictional notice requirement solely because of an upcoming election.”

He also insisted that Perez is too late in launching a challenge to his ballot designation, having failed to do so in the primary.

‘Principal’ Pursuit

Perez’s challenge is based on the stance that Ribons’ occasional handling of an arbitration as part of a San Fernando Valley Bar Association’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration (“MFA”) program does not meet the statutory criterion for a ballot designation under Elections Code §131078 of being a “principal profession, vocation, or occupation.”

Ribons yesterday filed a declaration from the bar association’s executive director, Elizabeth Post, saying:

“In the twelve months ending March 2018, Mr. Ribons served on three arbitrations, Mr. Ribons also received compensation for his services in accordance with the San Fernando Valley Bar Association Rules of Procedure for Fee Arbitrations.”

Under the rules, a volunteer arbitrator may receive pay of a session exceeds four hours.

(In response to an inquiry from the MetNews as to the number of arbitrations Ribons had handled in the past year that exceeded four hours, she responded: “Our Program doesn’t keep track of the length of each arbitration.”)

‘Importance’ of Role

The opposition  declares that “[t]he importance of Ribons’s role as an Arbitrator in the MFA Program, by itself, dictates that arbitrator is a ‘principal’ profession as used in the code.

“The MFA Program further relieves an already overburdened court system by requiring arbitration, if requested by the client, as a prerequisite to filing a fee case. The result is that countless matters are resolved and kept of the busy court dockets.”

Beckloff will also hear a challenge by Redondo Beach Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sydne Jane Michel to a bid by Patricia Hunter to change her designation from “Deputy City Attorney, City of Los Angeles” to “Prosecuting Attorney, City of Los Angeles.” Michel contends this violates a new requirement of §13107 that any reference to service as a government attorney be in terms of the “actual office title.”

Hunter has declined to respond to an inquiry as to what office title is stated on her business cards and what title appears on papers she files in court.


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