Puckett deposition set for mid-April in town’s eminent domain case (March 7, 2018)
SAN BERNARDINO — Marc Puckett will be questioned by Liberty Utilities attorneys after both sides in Apple Valley’s eminent domain case agreed to move forward with his deposition, for now, sans a protective order requested in a motion by town attorneys.
Filed by Kendall MacVey and Gregory Snarr of Best Best & Krieger (BB&K), the motion blocked the Feb. 7 deposition, and documents show it sought to prohibit Liberty’s attorneys from questioning Puckett on his separate felony hit-and-run case, as well as the reasons for and terms of the termination of his assistant town manager position.
In San Bernardino County Superior Court on Tuesday, MacVey said the town was willing to agree to the deposition because Puckett had retained an attorney since the filing.
“The main concern was not having counsel there, and by having counsel there, hopefully, we will avoid a lot of the issues and problems that we were worried about,” MacVey said. “I don’t think an order for the deposition to proceed is necessary.”
David Moran — with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips (MP&P) — indicated as much prior to MacVey’s statements; however, that didn’t deter the Liberty attorney from airing opposition to the motion.
“With respect to a request for some sort of a protective order or limiting order, that is really, frankly, a solution looking for a problem,” Moran said. “We haven’t asked a single deposition question yet. There’s no indication that we intend to delve into areas that are improper or to ask improper questions. So at this point, there’s absolutely no good cause to issue some sort of a protective order to limit us.”
The deposition — tentatively scheduled for mid-April, according to Moran — will likely result in discovery that could be used as evidence during a looming right-to-take trial wherein BB&K attorneys must prove municipal ownership of the Apple Valley water system is a more necessary use to the public as compared to Liberty’s private ownership.
With that said, Moran and his colleague George Soneff noted that both sides agree MP&P has a legal right to depose Puckett, whose former position inside Town Hall provided “a wealth of relevant information.”
But because he is no longer a town employee, an inability exists on BB&K’s part to instruct Puckett if questions delve into matters protected by attorney-client privilege. His attorney’s presence, then, appeared to allay concerns of the town’s legal team.
As a result, Judge Donald Alvarez continued the motion to May 11; BB&K can revisit the matter if necessary.
“The motion is really moot at this point, as we’ve been able to agree on the deposition,” Alvarez said, “and that’s without prejudice to anybody’s rights to interpose any objections or whatever legal issues that may arise during that.”
The agreement afforded small victories on both sides of the legal battle. MP&P got its day with Puckett and BB&K got time, which was among the motion’s desired effects, court documents show.
Had Alvarez granted the motion in full, the protective order would have come with a 30-day stay of the deposition and provided an interlude for discussions of Puckett’s “unique circumstances,” including the felony case against him, as well as the eliminated Town Hall position.
So — given the tentative April time frame and despite Alvarez’s continuance — BB&K still garnered an extra month for preparation, albeit without the parameters requested via the protective order that could have kept MP&P from seeking “irrelevant, burdensome, embarrassing and prejudicial” information.
Soneff, meanwhile, voiced frustration after MacVey requested an hour-long conference in May with Alvarez to discuss other disagreements, including handling of the administrative record and how to have “an orderly discovery process.”
“I’ve never quite understood what it is we’re supposed to do in an hour,” Soneff said. “This case has been pending for two years. There’s been one deposition taken, and there’s no outstanding written discovery … The idea of coming in at this juncture for an hour with the court, I don’t understand.”
For his part, MacVey said the case had already brought disagreements, thus hampering progress and fostering a need, in his opinion, for the meet-and-confer scenario with the judge.
“I’ve already had to file another motion yesterday, your honor, which I reluctantly did,” MacVey said. “Just having that protective order motion today illustrates, I think, some of the issues that can come up.”
Still, Soneff’s comments highlighted a laborious path to trial that — if additional motions are any indication — will likely remain on rough terrain in the months ahead.
Both parties are due back in court April 5 for a hearing on a motion regarding the alleged benefits of the town’s acquisition of the water system, court records show. A trial-setting hearing, as well as the meeting with Alvarez, are scheduled for May 11.
Source: Matthew Cabe, Daily Press
Files dealing with Marc Puckett
- 19920114 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920225 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920303 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920305 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920319 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19920623 Minutes of a special meeting of the city council for the City of East Detroit, Macomb County, Michigan
- 19960111 Retirement firm accuses official of favoritism
- 19960403 Folks soaked by water bills may get relief
- 19960920 Marc Puckett’s red light ticket
- 19990130 $9-million pension fund transfer raises questions
- 19990202 Retirement panel urges ‘immediate’ audit of plan
- 19990203 Retirement board splits over need for independent manager
- 19990203 Finance director resigns under fire of pension flap
- 19990210 Former finance director lashes back at critics, hints suit
- 19990224 Flint to boost pension fund
- 19990319 Flint sent tax funds to wrong units
- 19990326 Ex-finance director cashes in on $6,000 in unused vacation time
- 19990330 Flint could owe state millions some industrial facilities taxes have not been paid since 1996
- 19990408 Stanley acts on money woes, appoints new finance chief
- 19990411 Stanley must share blame as part of his plan to fix city’s financial woes
- 19990909 Audit details shortfalls in financial procedures
- 20100219 Personal injury complaint against Marc Puckett
- 20100408 Answer of defendant, Marc R. Puckett, to plaintiffs’ complaint
- 20101227 New finance director to step down
- 20101228 Marc Puckett out — Again
- 20101230 Leadership turmoil
- 20110104 The world according to John Moorlach
- 20110110 City faces $231,000 deficit
- 20110113 Interim finance director named
- 20110210 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 201102405 Marc Puckett’s ticket for stopping on a red signal
- 20110817 Marc Puckett’s ticket for no license plate
- 20120309 Marc Puckett’s Orange County accident case information
- 20120425 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 20120703 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 20140724 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- 20141124 Marc Puckett’s ticket for coasting out of gear
- 20141205 Marc Puckett’s ticket for speeding
- 20150529 Marc Puckett’s ticket for improper use of preferred lane
- Comments for tonight’s council meeting
- The innumerate Mr. Puckett
- Shill crazy after all these years
- Earth to Puckett!
- About those awards
- One PRR story: American Express (CC)
- 20160913 Documents link top Apple Valley official to #FlintWaterCrisis
- 20160913 Investigation: Flint / Apple Valley Connection
- 20160915 Economic Speech (Trump)
- 20161018 Will Apple Valley become California’s Flint, MI?
- 20170319 Trump EPA grants Michigan $100 million to fix Flint water system
- 20170320 Sinkhole: Effort to replace pipes to Flint homes off to slow start
- 20170806 Vehicle belonging to AV town manager involved in hit-and-run
- He’s gonna need a good lawyer
- 20170809 Apple Valley official believes Liberty could have followed him before crash
- Public trust destroyed (Carloni)
- 20170907 Hit-and-run investigation involving Marc Puckett’s Cadillac sent to DA
- 20171010 Marc Puckett’s speeding ticket
- A question of character
- 20171206 Apple Valley Finance Director Marc Puckett charged with felony hit-and-run
- 20171206 A long wait for crash victim
- 20171117 A history of infractions
- 20171207 Apple Valley Finance Director Marc Puckett on personal leave after felony hit-and-run charge filed
- 20171214 Apple Valley Finance Director Marc Puckett pleads not guilty to felony hit-and-run charge
- 20171214 I-15 crash victim seeks $2M in damages from Apple Valley
- 20171219 Editorial: Passing the Puck (Valles)
- 20171228 Town Hall position not a factor in Puckett’s custody status, attorney says
- 20180105 Puckett forced out as Apple Valley’s Assistant Manager & Finance Director
- 20180109 Tin Cup Men (Valles)
- 20180116 Puckett’s dismissal just what the town needed (Valles)
- 20180307 Puckett deposition set for mid-April in town’s eminent domain case
- 20180425 Pre-plea report ordered in Puckett’s felony case