In a tentative ruling posted on the court's website, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge James Brown has indicated that he will deny Ampersand Publishing's (owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press) motion to vacate an arbitration award in which former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts, won over $900,000 in attorneys fees and costs from his former employer.
The motion to vacate the award will come before the court for an actual hearing tomorrow morning (Wednesday) but the opportunity for the lawyers to argue the merits of the motion will in all likelihood be a mere formality. The motion has already been extensively argued in written briefs and Judge Brown has a reputation for seldom deviating from his written tentative decisions.
So, assuming the ruling sticks (and there's no reason to think that it won't) Roberts will be rounding third and heading to home plate in his protracted legal battle with News-Press owner Wendy McCaw. And this ain't no spring training game.
Updated 12 pm March 24. As expected, the judge stuck to his tentative decision and ruled in favor of Roberts on Wednesday morning.
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