A judge rejected several motions Friday in a lawsuit filed by former
Glendale Humane Society board members, but allowed them a little more
time to amend their request to place a temporary restraining order on
the board president.
Burbank Superior Court Judge Michael S. Mink ordered the
plaintiffs in the case to amend their challenge against Wilhelm
Vargas, who is the Glendale Humane Society's board president, within
10 days, or the case will be thrown out.
"The court, by its ruling, has given us a chance to file an
amendment to our complaint. It's no major victory for anybody. The
complaint is not dead," said Paulette Ramsay Wood, a former board
secretary and plaintiff in the lawsuit. "It's not over, but it could
A ruling issued by the court stated the plaintiffs did not show
any facts that would lead to a favorable judgment for them. The
lawsuit alleges the current board refused to meet with those
nominated to the board at a special election March 10, and that the current board does not have the authority to govern the society
because of that election.
The lawsuit also alleges that Vargas did not fulfill his duties to
the members of the society regarding membership and that he acted
with conscious disregard for the rights of the plaintiffs. The
lawsuit claims Vargas was not a member of the Glendale Humane Society
when he was elected president, that he inappropriately published a
letter in the News-Press, that he met with the mayor of Glendale
without board approval, and that he engaged in negotiations with a
company to film on the society's property without the board's
"They failed to show their claim was valid," Vargas said of
The lawsuit was filed May 30 against Vargas and the Glendale
Humane Society by Wood and other former board members Greg Elmore,
Bill Evans, Lisa Gladstone and Kimberly Stanton, all of whom resigned
due to philosophical differences.
On March 10, the plaintiffs conducted a special election recalling
Vargas and board members Steve Levin and Alyce Russell. In a 77-8
decision, rank-and-file GHS members voted to replace sitting board
members with Wood, Elmore, Evans, Gladstone and Stanton.
However, the sitting board claimed not all members were notified
of the election and that it was not an election endorsed by the
official board, rendering it invalid.
"The complaint had suffered from a number of defects," said Robert
Miller, who represents Vargas and the society. "It failed to [state]
enough facts to support any cause of action. [The allegations] in the
complaint were largely directed at conduct by Vargas that were
claimed to be contrary to the board's decision. Virtually everything
in the complaint is something involving his 1st Amendment rights."
Wood confirmed the plaintiffs would continue to pursue their
complaint. Vargas said he will file a motion for attorney's fees in