Hearing scheduled Jan. 19, 2022

The City of Lancaster filed a motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit seeking to remove Antelope Valley Healthcare District 2nd Vice Chair Michael Rives from his elected position on the Board.

The case is scheduled for a hearing, on Jan. 19, in Department 53 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, at 111 North Hill St., Los Angeles.

A summary judgment is a judgment issued by the court for one party against another without a full trial. Such a judgment can be granted “if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law,” according to the motion.

Rives was elected to the AV Hospital Board and the Antelope Valley Community College District Board of Trustees in November 2020. The city subsequently sent Rives a letter dated Dec. 14, and signed by Mayor R. Rex Parris, asking him to resign or face legal action to remove him.

The motion, filed on Oct. 29, says that these offices are incompatible and that Rives’ simultaneous holding of both offices violates Government Code section 1099.

“Mr. Rives, by Jan. 19, will have been in office over a year already, and obviously I’ve seen no reason why there’s a problem other than the ones that are being implied on paper here,” said Steve Fox, Rives’s attorney. “I see no conflict. I think it is up for a jury and I don’t know that they will make it through the gauntlet.”

Fox, who coincidentally served on both Boards, though not at the same time, said Rives is doing a good job.

“We’re all proud of what he’s doing for both Boards and the community,” Fox said.

Government Code section 1099 mandates that in the event an individual holds incompatible offices, “the mere acceptance of the second incompatible office per se terminates the first office as effectively as a resignation.”

Because Rives was sworn in to the AV Hospital Board before he was sworn in to the AV College Board, he must be ousted from his position on the Healthcare District Board, according to the law.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta granted Lancaster’s request for a quo warranto suit against Rives as a result of the incompatible offices. Bonta issued an opinion on July 15, finding that the public interest would be served by allowing Lancaster to sue in quo warranto to remove Rives from his seat on the Board.

According to the city’s motion, in a quo warranto action, “(T)he state is not required to prove the usurpation or unlawful holding,’ rather, the burden of proof is on the defendant to establish that the offices that he or she is holding are compatible.”

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