Plaintiffs, a labor organization and one of its employees, appealed a summary judgment from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which ruled that they could not enforce provisions in government contracts requiring defendant contractor to comply with the Ralph M. Brown Open Meetings Act, Gov. Code, §§ 54950-54963, in meetings of its board of directors to the extent that the meetings involved publicly funded programs.

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Overview

The complaint alleged that the contractor’s board of directors had held a meeting that did not comply with Gov. Code, §§ 54954.2, subd. (a)(1), 54954.3, subd. (a), 54957.5, subd. (a), 54957.7, subd. (a). The court stated that the Brown Act imposed obligations on legislative bodies expressly for the benefit of the general public, as indicated in Gov. Code, § 54950. The employee of the labor organization, as a member of the public, was a member of the class for whose benefit the contracts had been made. He was therefore a third party beneficiary of the contracts and was entitled under Civ. Code, § 1559, to enforce the provisions requiring compliance with the Brown Act. The contractor did not argue or show that the labor organization lacked standing to sue on behalf of its members to enforce a public right. Therefore, the contractor was not entitled to summary judgment on a breach of contract claim. Because the contractor was not a local agency as defined in Gov. Code, § 54951, or a legislative body as defined in Gov. Code, § 54952, the labor organization and its employee did not have standing under Gov. Code, § 54960, subd. (a), to sue directly under the Brown Act.

Outcome

The court reversed and remanded with directions to the trial court to vacate the order that had granted the motion for summary judgment and to enter a new order denying summary judgment, granting summary adjudication on the count for violation of the Brown Act, and denying summary adjudication on the count for breach of contract.