Kary Lynch, a psychiatric technician and steward for the hospital's chapter of the SEIU-UHW union, said that none of the defendants in an El Camino-initiated lawsuit against Measure M plan to put up a fight.
Lynch said he'd like to stand up to the hospital, but that no one he reached out to — including the SEIU and the ACLU — would represent him pro bono. With no one contesting the hospital's legal action, he said it is his understanding that the Measure M case will be set aside by a judge, which will effectively kill it.
A hospital spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to speculate on the future of the measure until the court had issued a firm ruling.
Lynch said he was disappointed about the way Measure M played out. After the initiative was approved by voters in November, the hospital — represented by six of the organization's highest paid officials — sued Lynch and Laura Huston, another hospital employee who co-sponsored the initiative with Lynch. The plaintiffs named in the suit were Kenneth King, Michael King, Dr. Eric Pifer, Tomi Ryba, Gregory Walton and Michael Zdeblick.
Although the official complaint identified Lynch and Huston as having "a legally recognized interest in defending Measure M's validity," Lynch suspects that he and his colleague were targeted because the hospital's lawyers knew neither of them had the means to mount a legal defense.
It is not clear whether the hospital's lawyers could have taken another path toward overturning Measure M. "This is the way we chose to do it," said Steve Mayer, a partner with Arnold & Porter LLP and one of the lawyers representing El Camino in the case. "It seemed to be the most logical and efficient way to do it."
Officials from the SEIU-UHW said they said they could not represent Lynch as they were not named in the suit. Two lawyers who work for the SEIU-UHW did meet with Lynch, making sure to say they were not speaking as union lawyers. According to him, Bruce A. Harland and Emily P. Rich, both of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, advised Lynch to take no action, saying that as long as he did nothing, he would not be required to pay legal fees.
Lawyers from the ACLU, along with Harland and Rich, could not be reached for comment, but Lynch believes that Measure M has been extinguished for good. Unless the judge decides not to set the case aside, even if someone came forward now and offered free legal assistance, they would not be able to revive the case, he said.