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City Attorney Mike Aguirre said his office filed an appeal today with the Fourth District Court of Appeals in an attempt to receive an expedited ruling in his primary legal challenge to a decade’s worth of pension enhancements.

Aguirre sought the expedited ruling, known as a summary judgment, in Superior Court, but Judge Jeffrey Barton denied his request July 10. Barton’s ruling stated that disputes in the case needed to be resolved in a jury trial. The trial is slated to start in October.

If the appellate court denies the request, the city attorney will face two challenges to his lawsuit. Employee unions and a group of pensioners have also filed a motion for summary judgment in the hopes of having the judge uphold the benefits Aguirre is challenging. That motion, which Barton will hear in September, will also face the same burdens of proof as Aguirre’s attempts.

About a week later, Council President Scott Peters’ motion to disqualify Aguirre from the case will be weighed by Barton. Peters argues that the City Attorney’s Office is conflicted because the office – under Aguirre’s predecessor – negotiated, prepared and approved the legislation that orders the city to pay the benefits. The council president also argues that Aguirre cannot argue on behalf of the city because he was never authorized by the City Council, and he has taken positions that are opposite his client by asking for city officials’ depositions. If Peters succeeds, it could be up to the City Council to decide the city’s decision in the case.

Aguirre said the attorneys who handled a recent conflict-of-interest case that played a part in Barton’s decision involving the Carson Redevelopment Agency will be aiding the city in front of the appellate court.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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