Author Archives: Chad Morgan

Update on Ex Parte Request for Early Discovery

This morning we were in Court to get a ruling from the judge on my
“ex parte” request for permission to to obtain early discovery from CDFA. This would have given us information and evidence faster than we are normally permitted to receive it.

Under normal rules, CDFA would be required to respond to my requests in about 45 days (frequently longer with routine extensions). I wanted the judge to order CDFA to respond in just 10 days. The judge did not grant my request, for now.

While I am disappointed that we will not be able to move as fast as we would like, some good came from this, and I expect that we will still get much of what need in less than 45 days.

In her ruling, the judge stated that she was denying the request, “at this time,” and she denied it, at least in part, due to concerns about its scope. I think she thought we were asking for too much. I don’t agree or I wouldn’t have asked for it, but that is not the important point. More important is the fact that the judge wants me and the CDFA lawyer to try and work this out. She even suggested that we immediately go upstairs to the cafeteria to get some coffee and talk about it. That didn’t happen, but I expect to talk to CDFA’s lawyer tomorrow. If we can’t work something out, and I present a narrower request next week, I think there is a good chance that the smaller request will be granted.

So we will press on and will work to hold CDFA accountable as fast as the court will allow. This has been made possible with contributions to the GoFundMe page, which has already passed the initial goal of $10,000.

The initial goal was to cover the complaint and a TRO application. For reasons that probably should not be explained to everyone on the Internet, we changed our approach and given today’s ruling, I think that was a good idea. Unfortunately, this will increase our costs.

Cost increases are not entirely unexpected. It’s hard to predict what is going to happen. A case like this could be resolved for as little as $20,000 if everything goes our way but it could also take more than $100,000 for a full-blown trial with dueling scientists as expert witnesses (someone will have to testify about the best means of combating Newcastle disease).

We have not yet used all of the initial budget, but I estimate that we will need an additional $7,500 for the discovery I have planned. This is expensive in part because each deposition will cost close to $2,000 just in out-of-pocket costs. Also, even though CDFA has yet to release records about their actions, when they finally do, we should expect them to bury us with more than 10,000 pages documents, making it hard to find what we are looking for.

That will just get us information. Then we will have to use it. I have some ideas about what comes next, but since anyone could be reading this, I hope you will have some faith that we will do what is right. Also, whatever ideas I have are subject to change based on what is learned during discovery. Ultimately, we should expect another $5,000 to complete or get started on whatever follows the information gathering phase.

To get to that point, additional fundraising is necessary. Please continue to support this case by contributing to the GoFundMe page and I will continue providing updates when I can.

Save Our Birds Requests Early Discovery in Lawsuit Against CDFA

Save our Birds has filed an ex parte request to the Court for an order allowing it to conduct discovery earlier than is otherwise permitted by the Rules of Court. (Discovery is the process of obtaining information and evidence from opposing parties.) The Save Our Birds ex parte application should be decided at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2019 and is accessible here.

To help prepare or request for a restraining order to stop inhumane euthanizations we are requesting documents from CDFA to justify the quarantine and killings, testimony from Dr. Annette Jones, the State Veterinarian who issued the quarantine order, and documents and testimony relating to CDFA’s quarantine and depopulation plans.

Help with expenses is still needed. The state will have an army of lawyers and scientists to defend Dr. Jones’s orders. Save Our Birds’ needs your help. To help with expenses, please contribute through their GoFundMe page.

Save Our Birds files lawsuit against State Veterinarian and CDFA

On May 28, 2019, I filed a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief on behalf of Save Our Birds against State Veterinarian, Dr. Annette Jones, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

The complaint relates to the state’s quarantine and destruction of backyard poultry in Southern California. To try and stop a described outbreak of virulent Newcastle Disease,┬áthe State is destroying all domestic and captive birds in certain parts of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties, regardless of whether they show signs of disease.

In the lawsuit, Save Our Birds is seeking to obtain an injunction to prevent inhumane euthanizations and to improve transparency in the process.

A copy of the Complaint that was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court is available here.

Please Help!

Save Our Birds needs help with the costs of litigation. One example is the need to take sworn deposition testimony from the State Veterinarian, Dr. Annette Jones, and/or other CDFA officials about the justification for the quarantine and destruction orders. Besides attorneys’ fees, there will be hard costs associated with the depositions as well as court costs and expert witness expenses. If you can help, please donate through the Save Our Birds GoFundMe page.