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County of Orange Spending Over $1.7 Million Of Your Money to Cut Sheriff Pensions


Outside Legal Counsel Rings Up $383,000 In Bills For January & February, Bringing County’s Total Legal Costs For Tossed Out Lawsuit To $1,727,320.57

SANTA ANA – The County of Orange’s legal bills for County Supervisor John Moorlach’s failing legal effort to significantly cut deputy sheriff pensions in Orange County have exceeded the $1.7 million mark, county records show.  The County’s lawsuit was recently tossed out of court before even going to trial.

Kirkland & Ellis, the fourth outside law firm hired by the County to assist their 2 ½ year effort to declare Deputy Sheriff 3% at 50 pension benefits in Orange County unconstitutional, rang up $383,000 in legal bills during January and February of this year, bringing the County’s total legal costs through February 28 to $1,727,320.57.

“I feel bad for the county taxpayers,” said Wayne Quint, President of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs.  “Three highly paid law firms hired by the county to give them expert outside legal advice, all told the County Board of Supervisors that they had no chance whatsoever to win litigation on this subject.  At the insistence of Supervisor John Moorlach and his Chief of Staff Mario Mainero, the board ignored their paid legal advice and proceeded forward anyway with a frivolous lawsuit.  Now, over $1.7 million later, the court quickly throws their case out — before it even makes it to trial.”

“All this at time when County Supervisors are publicly saying the county is broke and they have to layoff probation officers and other county employees,” continued Quint.

“At some point, common sense must kick in and prevail.  To quote County Supervisor John Moorlach — who has been driving this effort to try to get the courts to ignore the U.S. Constitution in order to break a formal contract and make new law — in a speech he made in 2000 to the Orange County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, ‘County agencies should become more accountable to taxpayers for the lawsuits they file.  …every time you hire an attorney, the only person who wins is the attorney.’”



As of February 28, 2009, the County of Orange has spent a total of $1,727,320.57 in legal costs associated with the Board of Supervisors’ litigation effort regarding Orange County Deputy Sheriffs’ pensions (the county has not yet released billings for March 2009).

Law Firm                                                                                                 Amount Paid

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP                                                  $  99,598.40

(Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen                                                    $125,561.04

(Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Snell & Wilmer LLP                                                                               $  57,713.00

(June 30, 2007 to Dec. 1, 2007)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP                                                                           $1,444,430.13

(June 1, 2007 to February 28, 2009)


TOTAL LITIGATION COSTS BY COUNTY                                    $1,727,302.57

Kirkland & Ellis Billings

$   138,461.10 (October 2007)

$     82,753.25 (November 2007)

$     60,004.56 (December 2007)

$   106,538.09 (January 2008)

$     38,202.72 (February 2008)

$   133,317.84 (March & April 2008)

$     65,123.57 (May 2008)

$     95,405.18 (June 2008)

$     61,424.67 (July 2008)

$     21,231.07 (August 2008)

$     52,559.88 (September 2008)

$     51,877.56 (October 2008)

$     72,609.49 (November 2008)

$     80,938.84 (December 2008)

$   228,109.14 (January 2009)

$   155,873.17 (February 2009)

(*Not Yet Released* (March 2009)

$1,444,430.13 (October 2007 – February 2009)

* As per records provided by the County of Orange County Counsel’s office.


  1. junior junior April 23, 2009

    How do you know that the County’s lawsuit will not ultimately be successful? The appeal process has yet to run it’s course.

    If successful, this legal challenge could save County taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

    You sound like US Sen. Harry Reid stating: “the Iraq war is lost.”

  2. Misha Houser Misha Houser Post author | April 23, 2009

    Just to clarify, I posted this press release when it arrived this morning when I was in a hurry and forgot to clarify that this was not written by me.

    And yes Junior, I do agree with the writer that our county is wasting money that could be better used elsewhwere in these tough financial times.

  3. tim adams tim adams May 26, 2009

    The legal theory underlaying the lawsuit is without merit— I have read EVERY case on the subject and there is NO legal way for th plaintiff’s to go—- such a waste seeing the county waste money like this all for ego—- the bos hate the employees– period…

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