More than year after Richard Mineards filed for summary judgment against Wendy McCaw in his 11-year lawsuit against the Santa Barbara News-Press for reinstatement and back pay, he heard on September 4 that he had won, Mineards said. A final hearing takes place in about three months, at which time a final reckoning will be held on what he is owed after being laid off in 2009.
The irony, Mineards observed, was that he was told he was being let go as a cost-cutting measure. “She’s had 10 law firms in 10 years,” he said of McCaw, but being represented by National Labor Relations Board attorneys “hasn’t cost me a penny.” Mineards had started working at the paper in 2007, after many editors and staffers quit in protest or were fired starting in 2006.
When word got around he’d been dismissed, Jim Buckley at the Montecito Journal offered him a column, “Montecito Miscellany.” Shortly before his new column was published, Mineards said, the News-Press editor at the time, Don Katich, asked him back at the same rate. Though McCaw did not appeal Mineards’ federal court win, she tried to argue the sum should be reduced because Mineards could have gotten a higher-paying job than the Montecito Journal.
In 2017, the Independent reported Mineards said he was owed at least $2 million in back pay since being laid off in 2009, with legal interest accumulating. The hearing in three months’ time allows McCaw no more delays, he said. Mineards recalled he’d just returned from Christmas when Katich dismissed him. “Well, Happy New Year to you,” he’d replied.
But “patience is a virtue,” Mineards said of his decade-long wait. This time around, it could be “Happy Christmas.”