Less than 3 months after Shouse v. County of Riverside (2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 1080, the California Court of Appeal handed down another ruling concerning the one-year statute of limitations found in the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, a.k.a. “POBR”. On January 26, 2023, the California Court of Appeal, Third District, ruled that the one-year statute of limitations under Government Code section 3304(d) (POBR), “begins to run on the date of the discovery of each act of misconduct, not the date an investigation is initiated for any one act…” (Garcia v. State Dep’t of Developmental Servs., (“Garcia”) 88 Cal. App. 5th 460, 304 Cal. Rptr. 3d 687 (2023).)
In Garcia, police officer Luis Garcia was demoted for misconduct and appealed the discipline through the State Personnel Board (“SPB”). The SPB upheld the demotion, determining that consideration of only some, but not all, of Garcia’s misconduct underlying the demotion was time-barred. Garcia then petitioned for writ of mandate challenging the SPB’s decision. The Superior Court, Sacramento County, denied Garcia’s petition and Garcia appealed. The Court explained that not only is the language in Government Code section 3304(d)(1) plain and clear, but case precedent also confirms that “the date of discovery, not the date any investigation is initiated, is the guiding consideration. As our Supreme Court explained in a prior case involving section 3304(d)(1), “[t]he one-year period runs from the time the misconduct is discovered”, referring to Mays v. City of Los Angeles (2008) 43 Cal.4th 313, 322, 74 Cal.Rptr.3d 891, 180 P.3d 935. (Garcia v. State Dep’t of Developmental Servs., 88 Cal. App. 5th 460, 304 Cal. Rptr. 3d 687, 692 (2023).)
This case is yet another example of the importance of utilizing experienced counsel that are well versed in POBR. In addition to our regular blog posts concerning legal updates affecting public safety, we are also presenting a 3-part Intro to POBR series via webinar for your convenience. Click here to learn more and register for this important training.