California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Bd., No. S041269

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtBAXTER; LUCAS; ARABIAN; Contrary to the majority, I would hold that the Court of Appeal correctly interpreted the governing statute to conclude that the statutory time frame is mandatory and jurisdictional. Unless the employee waives time, the approp
Citation899 P.2d 79,43 Cal.Rptr.2d 693,10 Cal.4th 1133
Parties, 899 P.2d 79, 95 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 6523, 95 Daily Journal D.A.R. 11,119 CALIFORNIA CORRECTIONAL PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. STATE PERSONNEL BOARD et al., Defendants and Respondents; Department of Corrections et al., Real Parties in Interest and Respondents.
Decision Date17 August 1995
Docket NumberNo. S041269

Page 693

43 Cal.Rptr.2d 693
10 Cal.4th 1133, 899 P.2d 79, 95 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 6523,
95 Daily Journal D.A.R. 11,119
CALIFORNIA CORRECTIONAL PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
STATE PERSONNEL BOARD et al., Defendants and Respondents;
Department of Corrections et al., Real Parties in Interest and Respondents.
No. S041269.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Aug. 17, 1995.

Page 696

[10 Cal.4th 1137] [899 P.2d 82] Gerrit Jan Buddingh', Benjamin C. Sybesma, West Sacramento, Christine Albertine, Rudy E. Jansen, Rancho Cucamonga, Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, Ronald Yank (argued), John R. Tennant, Christopher D. Burdick, Gary M. Messing and Martin R. Gran, San Francisco, for plaintiff and appellant.

Elise S. Rose (argued) and Elizabeth S. Stein, Sacramento, for defendants and respondents.

Daniel E. Lungren, Atty. Gen., Henry G. Ullerich, Asst. Atty. Gen., Martin H. Milas and Silvia M. Diaz, Deputy Attys. Gen., for real parties in interest and respondents.

Christopher W. Waddell, K. William Curtis, Carol A. McConnell and Michael E. Gash (argued), Sacramento, for real parties in interest and respondents and as amici curiae, on behalf of real parties in interest and respondents.

BAXTER, Justice.

Government Code section 18671.1 1 specifies the time within which the California State Personnel Board (the Board) must render a [10 Cal.4th 1138] decision following a hearing or investigation of a state employee's appeal from a departmental disciplinary action. For most investigations and hearings the decision must be rendered in no more than six months from the date the petition is filed or ninety days from the time the matter is submitted following investigation or hearing, whichever is less. The statute provides neither a sanction to be imposed on the Board nor a remedy for failure to comply with the statutory deadlines, however. Instead, it provides that if the Board does not render a decision within the time limits, the employee will be deemed to have exhausted all available administrative remedies.

This court must decide if the Court of Appeal was correct in its conclusion that the Board loses jurisdiction over an employee's appeal if the time limit is not met, making the aggrieved employee's only remedy for the unfavorable agency action a petition for writ of mandate against the employing authority to compel that agency or department to set aside its action. If so, we must also decide whether the employee bears the burden in the mandate proceeding to establish that the departmental action is unjustified.

After considering the probable legislative intent underlying section 18671.1, we conclude that the requirement that a decision be rendered within the statutory time is directory, not mandatory. The Board retains jurisdiction over the employee's appeal notwithstanding its failure to render a decision

Page 697

within[899 P.2d 83] the statutory time limits. However, because the statute directs that the Board render a timely decision, an employee who has not waived the time limit may seek a writ of mandate against the Board to compel the Board to decide the appeal by a date certain. Alternatively, because the statute also provides that the employee is deemed to have exhausted all available administrative remedies, he or she may seek a writ of mandate against the appointing authority to set aside the adverse action. In such a mandate proceeding the employee bears the burden of establishing that the adverse [10 Cal.4th 1139] action was not supported by good cause. If the Board renders a decision while the mandate proceeding against the employing authority is pending, the employee may, but is not required to, dismiss the mandate proceeding and seek review of the Board's decision by a petition for writ of mandamus filed pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5.

The Court of Appeal reversed the superior court and remanded this matter to the superior court for further proceedings. For reasons other than those of the Court of Appeal we agree that some further proceedings in the superior court may be necessary, and therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal remanding the matter to the superior court.

I

Procedural Background

The Department of Corrections and the Department of the Youth Authority (the departments) initiated disciplinary actions against approximately 50 civil service employees under procedures established in the Civil Service Act. (§§ 19570-19589). After each received a "notice of adverse action" (§ 19574) 2 and unsuccessfully sought a "Skelly hearing" (see Skelly v. State Personnel Bd. (1975) 15 Cal.3d 194, 124 Cal.Rptr. 14, 539 P.2d 774), the employees appealed to the Board by filing an answer to the notice. (§ 19575.) Because the departmental hearing is informal, an appeal to the Board results in the only formal adjudicatory hearing available to an employee.

The appeals were filed between December 5, 1988, and October 30, 1990. As of May 16 and 23, 1991, when motions to dismiss the adverse actions were made on behalf of the employees by plaintiff on the ground that the Board had failed to hold a timely hearing and/or to render a timely decision, no decision had been rendered in any of the appeals. After individual motions to dismiss had been denied by administrative law judges before whom the appeals were pending, the chief administrative law judge denied all of the motions to dismiss on July 11, 1991. By that date, proposed decisions on many of the appeals had been rendered by administrative law judges and adopted by the Board.

On August 20, 1991, plaintiff filed the underlying petition for writ of mandate on behalf of its members and fair share fee payers who were the [10 Cal.4th 1140] subjects of the appeals. The Board and its executive officer were the named respondents, the departments were the real parties in interest. The petition initially sought to compel the Board to set aside the decision denying the motions to dismiss, and asked for back-pay with interest and restoration of all employee benefits lost by the appellants as a result of the adverse departmental actions. Plaintiffs argued that the statutory command that the Board "shall" resolve appeals within the time limits was mandatory, and that to simply compel the Board to hold hearings and render decisions in delayed cases would be inadequate as that would have the effect of extending the time. Many of the pending appeals had been resolved by the Board before the superior court hearing on the petition for writ of mandate. After ruling that "shall," as used in that part of section 18671.1 which mandates resolution of employee appeals within six months, was not mandatory or jurisdictional, but was directory, the court asked for additional briefing on the appropriate remedy for appeals in each dispositional category.

The departments argued that since the Board's authority to review disciplinary actions

Page 698

[899 P.2d 84] was constitutional in origin, 3 the only remedy available to the court was an order that the Board hold hearings and decide those appeals in which a ruling had not been made on or before a court-ordered date. The Board stated that if ordered to do so it would dismiss the two cases in which no hearing had been held on the basis that because the statutory time limit had been exceeded, the appellants were deemed to have exhausted their administrative remedy and could seek judicial review of the adverse action. With respect to those appeals that had been heard, the Board argued that no action should be taken. It reasoned that the employees had the same option of deeming their administrative remedy exhausted and seeking review of the adverse action in the court, but had instead elected to remain in the administrative review system and had thereby waived the six-month time limit. The Board also argued that no action should be taken on the cases in which the appeals had been resolved by the Board or by settlement.

Plaintiff again argued that dismissal of all the adverse actions and an award of back-pay was the preferred remedy for all appellants regardless of whether a hearing had been held. It asked alternatively that in those cases in which there were final decisions leading to a letter of reprimand, the notice of adverse action and related paper work, including the final decision, be expunged from all files, and that the Board and departments be estopped from considering the action in any subsequent adverse action proceeding.

[10 Cal.4th 1141] Where the final decision led to salary reduction or suspension, plaintiff requested back-pay, interest, and benefits pursuant to section 19584, and also asked that after three years the notice of adverse action be expunged and respondents be estopped from considering it. For those employees who had been demoted, reinstatement was also requested. The same request was made for employees who had been dismissed; or, in the alternative, a de novo hearing in the superior court was sought. Where hearings had been held, but no decision rendered, or where the hearing was underway, plaintiff sought revocation of the adverse action. In those cases in which no hearing had been held, plaintiff asked for a trial de novo in the superior court.

The superior court did not grant the relief requested by plaintiff. Instead, that court ordered only that the Board hold hearings on the two appeals for which no hearings had yet been held, and render decisions on fifteen in which hearing had been held.

II

The Court of Appeal Decision

At the time the Court of Appeal heard the matter, the Board had complied with the superior court order and had rendered its decision on the appeals of all of the employees represented by plaintiff. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the superior court and remanded the matter for further proceedings to determine which employees had waived the statutory time limit for decision of their appeal to the Board....

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    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
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    ...the exhaustion requirements of the IDEA. District Defendants cite California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Board, 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1148, 43 Cal.Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79 (1995): " `In brief, the rule is that where an administrative remedy is provided by statute, relief......
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    ...Court of Appeal (1941) 17 Cal.2d 280, 292, 109 P.2d 942; see California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Bd. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1148, 43 Cal. Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79.) Under this rule, an administrative remedy is exhausted only upon "termination of all available, n......
  • Personnel Bd. v. Deptt. of Personnel Admin., No. C032633.
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    • 27 Agosto 2003
    ...procedures by which employee appeals were to be resolved" (California Correctional Peace Officers Assoc. v. State Personnel Board (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1153, 43 Cal.Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79 (Cal. Correctional Peace Officers Assoc.)), and has a "`free hand' to fashion `laws relating to per......
  • People v. Tindall, No. S080078.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 28 Diciembre 2000
    ...which does not concern specific time limits. (See e.g., California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Bd. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1145, 43 Cal. Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79 ["`cases have suggested that a time limitation is deemed merely directory "unless a consequence or penal......
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215 cases
  • CB v. SONORA SCHOOL DIST., No. CV-F-09-285 OWW/DLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 22 Septiembre 2009
    ...the exhaustion requirements of the IDEA. District Defendants cite California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Board, 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1148, 43 Cal.Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79 (1995): " `In brief, the rule is that where an administrative remedy is provided by statute, relief......
  • COACHELLA VALLEY MOSQUITO CONTROL v. PERB, No. S122060.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 9 Junio 2005
    ...Court of Appeal (1941) 17 Cal.2d 280, 292, 109 P.2d 942; see California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Bd. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1148, 43 Cal. Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79.) Under this rule, an administrative remedy is exhausted only upon "termination of all available, n......
  • Personnel Bd. v. Deptt. of Personnel Admin., No. C032633.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 27 Agosto 2003
    ...procedures by which employee appeals were to be resolved" (California Correctional Peace Officers Assoc. v. State Personnel Board (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1153, 43 Cal.Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79 (Cal. Correctional Peace Officers Assoc.)), and has a "`free hand' to fashion `laws relating to per......
  • People v. Tindall, No. S080078.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 28 Diciembre 2000
    ...which does not concern specific time limits. (See e.g., California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. v. State Personnel Bd. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1133, 1145, 43 Cal. Rptr.2d 693, 899 P.2d 79 ["`cases have suggested that a time limitation is deemed merely directory "unless a consequence or penal......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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