Civil procedure is a very arcane part of the law that can make your head hurt, and often makes no sense.

I have been working on a pro bono case for almost 5 years. I represent a group of farm workers who organized themselves to stop the state from forcing a union on them that they never chose. They organized, we did the legal work. We forced the state to conduct the largest workplace election in the history of California agriculture in November 2013. After the election, the state impounded the ballots and refused to count them because of claims of employer misconduct.

Appeals were filed, and the first of those appeals was just decided, with the court ordering the ballots to be counted. This is where the legal shit gets weird.


Labor law like this brings together a labor relations agency that has exclusive jurisdiction over labor relations (executive branch) with the court system, a different branch of government. In labor relations, some things get automatic review by the courts, some things are never reviewable, and some things are sometimes reviewable. This is particularly difficult with elections.

So our appeal was a particular type of writ. The union and the state argued that the election is not reviewable, and that even if it was, we filed the wrong kind of writ. The court did not want to go down that hole, so it held our case in abeyance while it heard the employer’s unfair labor practice appeal, one of those things that is always reviewable. In that case, they decided that it was illegal to refuse to count the votes. The state is still refusing to count them.


So I have to figure out how get our case reopened, and an order issued that they cannot defy. This is not as easy as you might think. So that's my day.