After more than two years of litigation, and consecutive victories for YES! and EUSD, the battle to preserve the District yoga program is over. The kids have won!
Plaintiffs had until last week to petition the California Supreme Court for review of the appellate court decision in our favor. They did not meet the deadline, apparently deciding it was time to cut their losses and move on. The yoga program is thus safe and will remain a key component of EUSD’s health and wellness curriculum for years to come.
Coast Law Group has been honored to serve our community in this matter. We are not just “yoga lawyers” however. CLG is a full service civil law firm with a focus on business, real estate, injury and environmental matters. We invite you to contact us should any legal needs arise.
For the final time, we thank you for all your support these past two years. We wish your families a fantastic summer!
2013 Encinitas Arts Alive Banner
Artist: Monika Whisenhunt
Dear YES! Families:
Victory, at last…. Again!! Today the Court of Appeal released its opinion in Sedlock v. Baird. As expected, the opinion fully affirms the 2013 trial court ruling in favor of YES! and EUSD. Simply put, the court confirmed that the EUSD yoga program is not religious and does not violate the Constitution.
The full Court ruling is available here.
Coast Law Group continues to represent YES! on a pro bono basis. Lead trial attorney Dave Peck commented “This ruling is exactly what we expected. The EUSD yoga program has never been religious. Those who claim otherwise have a warped perspective and their own religious agenda. 99% of the community loves the program and students, teachers, parents and administrators consistently rave about it. I’m pleased the Court again got it right and hope this is the end of the controversy.”
While the yoga opponents will have an opportunity to petition the California Supreme Court for a review of today’s decision, two strong rulings in our favor make further judicial review unlikely.
We hope you and your families are enjoying spring break – your students’ yoga program will be waiting when they return to school.
Thank you, as always, for your warm wishes and continual support. Coast Law Group has been honored to represent you in this fight.
~ ~ ~
Here’s a favorite post from California Appellate Report on the ruling: “I can think of a plethora of religiously-backed — but presently “secular” — parts of public schools that have a much deeper connection with religion than the challenged yoga program here.”
NBC 7 San Diego: New in Yoga Legal Battle: Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Encinitas School District
KPBS: Ruling: Yoga Can Continue In Encinitas Schools
10 News San Diego: Ruling: Yoga can continue in Encinitas schools
Fox 5 San Diego: Appeals court rules yoga can continue in Encinitas schools
U-T San Diego: Appeals court upholds school yoga
A brief excerpt summarizing the 37-page ruling is below:
Dear YES! Families –
Today was a big day for the EUSD yoga program. Nearly two years after our victory in the trial court, this morning Sedlock v. Baird, et al. was called for argument in the Court of Appeal. As expected, the debate was passionate.
Dean Broyles, the attorney for the yoga opponents, was first up. He had the burden of showing the trial court erred in finding the yoga program Constitutional. And the appellate justices made very clear that he was fighting an uphill battle. Mr. Broyles offered up his tired rhetoric about the school district picking “religious winners and losers”. The justices largely ignored such bloated proclamations and instead peppered him with pointed questions about the activity taking place in the yoga classroom. Since his clients had never even observed, let alone participated, in the yoga classes, Mr. Broyles was left to rely upon his expert’s opinion that religion was “pervasive” in those classes based on video evidence. The justices seemed unimpressed.
Next up was the school district’s attorney, followed by CLG partner Dave Peck on behalf of YES!. Mr. Peck reminded the justices that the trial judge found the opinions of Mr. Broyles’ religious expert to be highly biased and “not credible.” The trial court also found that the EUSD curriculum was completely devoid of religion and that there was absolutely no evidence of religious or spiritual instruction in the yoga classrooms. With respect to the video evidence relied upon by the opposing expert, Mr. Peck cited the trial court’s finding that the videos simply depicted children engaged in exercise and nothing more. Mr. Peck urged the court to reject Mr. Broyles’ conspiracy theories and to allow the highly successful yoga program to continue.
While there are few certainties in the legal universe, the three appellate justices seemed unanimous in their rejection of the appeal. The formal opinion will be issued within 90 days and, as always, we will keep you updated. We again thank you for your ongoing support.
Dear YES! Families –
The yoga opponents are still at it. More than two years after it began, the battle to keep yoga as part of the EUSD health and wellness program continues. The next stop is the California Court of Appeal.
On March 11, the Court will hear oral arguments in Sedlock v. Baird, the case EUSD and YES! won at the trial court in June 2013. The parties have already submitted exhaustive legal briefs and the appellate justices will no doubt be ready to fire off questions. YES! will be represented by Dave Peck of Coast Law Group, who litigated the case in the trial court. M.C. Sungaila of Snell & Wilmer, who drafted our team’s brilliant brief, will also be on hand. It promises to be a lively debate.
Although seating is limited, the public is welcome to attend. The hearing is at 9 a.m. in Division One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, 750 B Street, Suite 300, San Diego. Please note: no mobile phones or recording equipment are allowed in the courtroom, but may be checked in and held at security screening.
As always, we appreciate your ongoing support.
Greetings YES! families –
“Locals’ Summer” is upon us – these sweet mid-September days when we ease back into the routines of the school year yet still enjoy fantastic beach weather.
Over the past few months the YES! legal team, including our rock star co-counsel M.C. Sungaila, has been hard at work responding to the appeal in the yoga lawsuit. As we updated you in June, Dean Broyles, the attorney for the plaintiffs, continues to spread his anti-yoga conspiracy theories at every opportunity. Not surprisingly, the appellate brief filed by Mr. Broyles contains numerous misstatements of both fact and law.
I encourage you to read YES!’s brief which was filed in the Court of Appeal today. Our arguments surgically dismantle plaintiffs’ theories and we look forward to having our victory affirmed.
The wheels of justice indeed turn slowly and the Court is not likely to schedule oral arguments until sometime in 2015. So for now let’s enjoy the sunshine, hug our kids and BREATHE!
As always, we will keep you posted.
Coast Law Group LLP
Dear YES! Families –
How time flies! School is nearly out, the county fair is underway and summer is once again around the corner.
This time last year we were wrapping up the yoga trial and preparing to give closing arguments. We now find ourselves responding to the appeal filed by the yoga opponents. Our brief is due mid-August so there is plenty of work to be done in the coming months.
While we remain confident our victory will be upheld by the appellate court, the battle has only intensified. Dean Broyles, the Sedlocks’ attorney, continues to solicit donations and spread his anti-yoga conspiracy theories at every opportunity. His original appellate brief, at a whopping 63 pages, was so bloated that the court refused to accept it without significant edits.
In addition to your ongoing support, YES! has been fortunate to receive several offers of assistance from legal professionals. After careful evaluation, we have elected to team up with appellate superstar M.C. Sungaila whose track record of success speaks for itself. Coast Law Group and Snell & Wilmer, Ms. Sungaila’s firm, will continue to represent YES! on a pro bono basis.
We wish you and your families a fun and safe summer. We’ll keep you posted.
Coast Law Group LLP
P.S. You may have heard how LeBron James recently credited yoga with improving his performance in the NBA Finals. The NFL also recently released a great video championing the benefits of yoga.
Greetings YES! families & friends:
We thought some of you might be interested in supporting an event on Saturday, March 15, from 1-4 p.m. at the Ashtanga Yoga Center, 1905 Calle Barcelona, Suite 218, Carlsbad.
Yoga Stops Traffick is a global event held in almost 200 locations to raise awareness and help prevent human trafficking and violence against women and children. 100% of the proceeds go directly to Odanadi International, an anti-trafficking organization.
The $20 suggested donation includes optional sun salutations led by local yoga instructors beginning at 1:00 p.m., with a reception following at around 2:00 p.m.
For more information, call the Ashtanga Yoga Center at 760-632-7093.
Here is a video with footage from the 2013 event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1DzmyL0cYc
Feel free to share with friends!