Injunction at Oak Grove Could Be Extended 20 Days Following Appeal

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Saturday July 26, 2008 - 10:39:00 AM

The injunction preventing UC Berkeley from cutting down the Memorial Stadium oak grove to build an athletic training facility, set to expire Tuesday, could be extended for 20 days, following a notice of appeal filed Thursday by the California Oaks Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association, according to UC’s press-spokesperson Dan Mogulof. Plaintiffs’ attorney Stephan Volker was not available for comment to confirm Mogulof’s opinion, but on Friday Volker’s office filed a petition asking the California appeals court for an immediate stay of project implementation until the appeal could be heard. 

The two groups,along with the city, sued the university to stop the project and appealed Judge Barbara Miller’s decision this week to allow UC to build the training facility. 

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, after a special closed council meeting on Thursday, announced that the Berkeley City Council had not yet decided whether to join in filing an appeal. Votes taken by councilmembers at the meeting were not disclosed.  

The city has 57 more days to decide whether or not it wants to file an appeal. 

Mogulof said Friday that the university had expected the extension, but no appellate court ruling has as yet confirmed his belief that an automatic injunction will be in force after Tuesday. 

“The minute they filed their appeal, the 20-day injunction automatically happened,” he said. “This is nothing unexpected. We assumed it will happen all along. Obviously we are not going to do anything. They have 20 days to get their act together, get all their documents together to present the case.” 

Plaintiffs' attorneys are seeking a writ of supersedeas and an immediate stay from the Court of Appeal, in addition to confirmation that the 20-day stay is indeed applicable in this case.  

The immediate stay should be easy to get, according to UC Berkeley law school lecturer Antonio Rossmann. He said it would preserve the status quo while the court evaluates the claims for the writ (the equivalent of a preliminary injunction).  

The university, Mogulof said, was holding “a variety of conversations with a variety of parties to find a way to peacefully resolve the issue.” 

He added that he didn’t know if the stay would be extended beyond 20 days. 

Doug Buckwald, one of the plaintiffs, who is director of Save the Oaks at the Stadium, and has been supporting the tree-sitters perched in the oaks and redwoods to protest UC’s plan to cut them, said that he hoped the injunction would be officially extended. 

“I think the court would be choosing a responsible course of action in allowing adequate time for this legal process to move forward in an orderly fashion,” he said. “This delay would give our attorneys adequate time to prepare for the appeal.”