-RBB United States of America v. Fallbrook Public Utility District

Filing 5902

ORDER Denying Ex Parte Application to Release Proposed Settlement Agreement to Michael J. Machado, Pamela M. Machado, and the General Public and Denying Request for Further Relief [ECF No. 5898 ]. Signed by Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks on 6/23/2022. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(axc)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Case No.: 51cv1247-JO(RBB) ORDER DENYING EX PARTE APPLICATION TO RELEASE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT TO MICHAEL J. MACHADO, PAMELA M. MACHADO, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND DENYING REQUEST FOR FURTHER RELIEF [ECF NO. 5898] RAMONA BAND OF CAHUILLA, CAHUILLA BAND OF INDIANS, v. Plaintiffs-Intervenors, FALLBROOK PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT, et al., Defendants. 19 20 On May 19, 2022, Defendants Michael J. Machado and Pamela M. Machado aka 21 Pamela M. Bartholomew (hereafter “Machado Defendants”), in pro se, filed an Ex Parte 22 Application Regarding Proposed Settlement, in which they request that the Court set 23 aside the attorney-client privilege and issue an order requiring the settlement parties to 24 release the proposed settlement agreement to them and the general public [ECF No. 25 5898]. Plaintiffs-Intervenors Ramona Band of Cahuilla and Cahuilla Band of Indians 26 filed an opposition on June 21, 2022 [ECF No. 5901]. For the reasons discussed below, 27 the Ex Parte Application is DENIED. 28 /// 1 51cv1247-JO(RBB) 1 This Court has overseen the settlement process since 2010 and has held numerous 2 settlement conferences. To facilitate settlement discussions, the negotiations have 3 proceeded with a representative group of stakeholders including Cahuilla Band of 4 Indians; Ramona Band of Cahuilla; United States of America; Hemet Unified School 5 District; State of California; County of Riverside; Michael J. Preszler, Watermaster; 6 Greenwald Estate; individual landowners represented by James Markman of Richards, 7 Watson & Gershon; and Agri-Empire, Inc. (See, e.g., Mins., Apr. 19, 2022, ECF No. 8 5891.) The litigation in this case has been stayed through the duration of these settlement 9 conferences to facilitate settlement negotiations and is presently stayed until July 6, 2022. 10 (See Order Granting Joint Motion to Extend Stay, ECF No. 5854.) The Ramona Band of 11 Cahuilla and Cahuilla Band of Indians represent that the proposed settlement agreement 12 is nearly complete. (Opp’n 3, ECF No. 5901.) The attorneys for the settlement parties 13 plan to present the settlement agreement to their respective clients for review and 14 approval following completion of the draft agreement. (Id.) Thereafter, the settlement 15 parties anticipate making the settlement agreement available upon request to parties, such 16 as the Machado Defendants, to participate in the settlement discussions. (Id.) On behalf 17 of themselves and the other negotiating parties, the Ramona Band of Cahuilla and 18 Cahuilla Band of Indians represent that “[t]he Defendants who have not participated in 19 the settlement discussions . . . will have many opportunities to express their views about 20 the reasonableness of the settlement.” (Id. at 4.) Additionally, the process for obtaining 21 court approval of the settlement “will include a hearing at which any Party may present 22 its views about the reasonableness of the settlement and the final decree.” (Id.) 23 Considering the status of settlement negotiations and the current stay of the 24 litigation, the Machado Defendants’ request is premature. Disclosing the draft settlement 25 agreement may impede the substantial progress made by the settlement parties to 26 effectuate a settlement of this longstanding litigation. Based on the representations made 27 by Ramona Band of Cahuilla and Cahuilla Band of Indians on behalf of the negotiating 28 parties, as well as this Court’s familiarity with this matter, the Machado Defendants will 2 51cv1247-JO(RBB) 1 have ample opportunity to present their views of the settlement agreement. Defendants’ 2 ex parte application to release the draft settlement agreement and set aside the attorney- 3 client privilege is accordingly DENIED. 4 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: June 23, 2022 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 51cv1247-JO(RBB)

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