KPFA activists are celebrating a legal victory: A judge ruled this week that they can move forward with the lawsuit filed in July by Oakland attorney Dan Siegel.
Plaintiffs are 22 members of Local Advisory Groups from four of the five community-sponsored Pacifica radio stations. The suit contends that Pacifica Foundation, which holds the licenses to KPFA and the four other stations, illegally changed the rules when it voted to bar the stations’ local advisory committee from selecting members of the national governing board. The national board failed to give proper public notice before it changed the rules, the lawsuit says.
In an attempt to get the lawsuit thrown out, Pacifica attorneys filed a motion to dismiss, saying that the plaintiffs had no standing in court to file the suit.
The ruling, written Monday by Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Richman and received by attorneys Thursday, said the plaintiffs can sue the foundation.
“For the plaintiffs, it’s a real relief,” said Hunter Pyle, an attorney with Siegel and Yee, speaking for Siegel, who is out of the country. “The lawsuit can move ahead.”
Pyle said the decision is significant.
“During this time (of fighting the motion to dismiss) discovery has been on hold,” he said.
Now attorneys can compel Board Chair Mary Frances Berry and former executive director Lynn Chadwick to respond to questions, in preparation for a trial.
“They will have to answer hard questions,” Pyle said, declining to detail exactly what the defendants will be asked.
Pyle said he expects the depositions – formal questioning with a court reporter and attorneys present – will take place some time in June.