Contra Costa Lawyer Contra Costa Lawyer Volume 22

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Contra Costa Lawyer Contra Costa Lawyer Volume 22 Powered By Docstoc
					Contra Costa Lawyer
Volume 22, Number 12 • December 2009
                                       The official publication of the
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             Contra Costa County
               Bar Association
      Annual CCCBA Officer Installation

                                            Sunne McPeak
        President & CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund
                                         Friday, January 29, 2010
                                           Contra Costa Country Club
                                         801 Golf Club Road  Pleasant Hill
                          Social 11:30am  Lunch and program 12:00 – 1:30pm
   CCCBA Membership Directory photos may be taken from 11:00am to noon ~and~ 1:30 to 2:30pm

                                        $40 CCCBA members  $50 non members
                                                1 hour MCLE Credit
Menu Choices: Grilled, Herb Marinated Chicken Breast served over Roasted Mushrooms and Sweet Garlic Herb Jus
     ~or~ Poached Salmon Filet with Kettle One and Green Olive Beurre Blanc (vegetarian option available)

To register: Phone in your credit card (925.370.2548) or send check, payable to CCCBA to Michele Vasta, c/o CCCBA,
704 Main Street, Martinez 94553. Please indicate your menu selection. Call Michele, 925.370.2548, for further information.

Pictorial MeMbershiP Directory Photos
Photography sessions for the directory are free. No appointment is necessary; simply show up during one of the following scheduled photo shoots:

      Friday, January 29, 11:00am – noon; 1:30 – 2:30pm: (in conjunction with the annual Installation Luncheon above)
      Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill
      tuesday, February 2, 8am – 5pm: Morgan Miller Blair, 1331 N. California Blvd., 2nd floor, Walnut Creek (925.937.3600)
      thursday, February 4, 8am – 2pm: Contra Costa County Bar Association, 704 Main Street, Martinez (925.686.6900)

Alternatively, you may forward a camera-ready photo for inclusion in the directory (head and shoulders, plain background) to Young Design,
821 Escobar Street #124, Martinez, CA 94553 or email a photo (minimum of 300dpi) to no later than February 19, 2010.

             reMinDer: You must be a current member by March 1, 2010 to be included in the annual pictorial Membership Directory.

restricteD access court security carDs
how to obtain a card for the First time (or for those wishing to have their photo retaken): The Contra Costa County Superior Court provides,
at its discretion, restricted access court security cards to CCCBA members for a $50 fee. These photo ID cards are valid for two years and allow our
members to bypass the court’s perimeter security system, which is particularly beneficial to attorneys who make frequent court appearances. Cardholders
may enter through public access entrances, Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm. Purchase of a restricted access court security card is entirely optional.
If you would like to obtain one, you will be required to sign a contract, which you can obtain from Jenny Comages at 925.370.2543 or via email at You must present a form of picture identification and your State Bar card at the time your photo is taken. Current membership in
the CCCBA will be verified by the Court’s Executive Office. Interested members must call in advance to have their photo taken by Lisa Frades at Superior
Court’s Executive Offices, located at 649 Main Street, Suite #101, in Martinez. She can be reached directly at 925.957.5600. Payment will be accepted
by cash or check. The access card must be picked up in person by appointment by calling 925.957.5600. (For current cardholders who would like
to obtain a replacement card but do not wish to have their photo retaken): call Jenny Comages, 925.370.2543.

                                   Note: Cards obtained in 2009 and 2010 will be valid until December 31, 2010.
                             Contra Costa Lawyer
                                           Volume 22, Number 12 • December 2009

                                                                                               A           S    O    I    T    O  
                                                                                            B    R      A    S    C    A    I    N


    features                                                            departments
	   8	   early	hIstory	of	the	contra	costa                          	   4	    InsIde
	    	   county	Bar	assocIatIon	                                    	    	    	 Richard Breitwieser
	    	     Judge Wayne Westover (Ret.)
                                                                    	   6	    PresIdent's	message
	 12	                   	a
         the	county	Bar		 vERy pERsonaL mEmoRy                      	    	    	 Larry E. Cook
	   	       Ken Larson
                                                                    	 18	     QuestIon	man
	 15	    Way	Back	When                                              	   	     What is youR favoRitE LEgaL stoRy
           Judge John C. minney (Ret.)                                        fRom thE good oL‘ days?

	 16	    trIvIa	BoWl	for	access	to	justIce                          	 24	     ethIcs	corner
	   	    RECap and photos                                           	   	     	 Carol m. Langford

	 20	    PresIdentIal	Past-tImes                                    	 26	     Pro	Bono	sPotlIght
            Contributions from Judge William o‘malley (Ret.),       	   	     mauRiCE E. huguEt, JR.
            Bill gagen, suzanne Chapot, palmer madden,
            Bob slattery, dick frankel, tammy-lyn gallerani,        	 28	     local	cIvIl	jury	verdIcts
            and Robin pearson                                       	   	     	 matt guichard

	 27	    the	roBert	g.	mcgrath                                      	 30	     classIfIeds
	   	    amerIcan	Inn	of	court	
	   	    	 matt guichard

                                                       about	the	cover
                     Officially established in 1934, the CCCBA has come a long way.
                     See Judge Westover’s article on page 8 for the detailed history.
                                                                                                        by Richard Breitwieser

              2009 BOARD of DIRECTORS
                  Larry Cook President
                Ron Mullin President-Elect
                Kathy Schofield Secretary
                  Audrey Gee Treasurer
                Robin Pearson Ex Officio
      Christopher Bowen          Leigh Johnson
      Oliver Bray                Kristen Thall Peters
      Mike Brewer                Ron Rives
      Jay Chafetz                Dana Santos
      Virginia George            Stephen Steinberg
      Peter Hass                 Candice Stoddard
          CCCBA   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR                                                                             circa 1978
       Lisa Reep: 925.288-2555 •
     CCCBA main office: 925.686-6900 •
      Jennifer Comages                      Maria Navarrete
                                                                           1934 was a momentous year — for at least           It wasn’t until 1977 that a serious
      Membership Coordinator                LRIS Coordinator               two reasons. First, my mother gave birth       attempt was made to solve the problem
      Emily Day                             Barbara Tillson                to a bouncing baby boy. Second, after          and a joint committee of the three bar
      Systems Administrator and             Moderate Means Program
      Fee Arbitration Coordinator           Coordinator                    several false starts, the formation of the     associations was formed. Mark Peppard
      Manny Gutierrez                       Michele Vasta                  Contra Costa County Bar Association            and Norm Lundgren represented the
      Administrative Assistant              Section Liaison / Education
      and Legal Interviewer                 & Programs Coordinator         was formalized by the execution of its         Richmond Bar Association; Dick Groff
                                                                           “Constitution.”                                represented the Contra Costa County
                CONTRA COSTA LAwyER
      EDITOR                               EDITORIAL BOARD                     Even after the formation of our bar        Bar Association; and Steve Hallert, Mike
      Candice Stoddard                     Mark Ericsson                   association in 1934, its continued existence   Oliver and yours truly represented the
      925.942-5100                         925.930-6000
      ASSOCIATE EDITOR                     Matthew P. Guichard             was not assured. At one time, the West         Mt. Diablo Bar Association. The main
                                           Local Civil Jury Verdicts
      Nancy J. Young
                                                                           County Bar Association (also known as          area of disagreement was representation
                                           Patricia Kelly                  the Richmond Bar Association) and the          on the board of directors on the surviving
      BENCH LIAISON                        925.258-9300
      Hon. Mary Ann O'Malley
                                           Nicole Mills
                                                                           Mt. Diablo Bar Association were also active    bar association. After many meetings, the
                                           925.351-3171                    bars in our county. In those days, the         committee worked out an agreement to
      BOARD LIAISON                        Craig Nevin
      Candice Stoddard                     925.930-6016                    lawyer referral program was the financial      merge the three bars into one. The agree-
      925.942-5100                         David Pearson                   life’s blood of a bar association. Since the   ment guaranteed representation on the
      COURT LIAISON                        925.287-0051
      Kiri Torre                           Erika Portillo
                                                                           Mt. Diablo Bar Association represented         board of directors of all areas of the county
      925.957-5607                         925.459-8440                    the area of Contra Costa County from           for a limited period of time, after which
                                           Andy Ross
                                           925.296-6000                    Concord south (which included ever             all directors would serve at large.
      Young Design & Production
      925.229-2929                         Kathy Schofield                 expanding Walnut Creek, Danville, San              Although the Mt. Diablo Bar Associa-
      PRINTING                             Audrey Smith, JFK Liaison       Ramon, Lafayette, and Orinda), it was the      tion was the strongest of the three, it was
      Excel Graphics
                                           925.969-3561                    strongest of the three bars. However, it       decided that the Contra Costa County Bar
                                           Harvey Sohnen
      PHOTOGRAPHER                         925.258-9300                    was recognized that the continued exis-        Association would be the surviving bar.
      Moya Fotografx                       Marlene Weinstein               tence of three bar associations was not in     The reasons were simple: no one outside
      510.847-8523                         925.942-5100
                                                                           the best interests of its members, nor of      of the Bay area knew where Mt. Diablo
         The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published
    monthly by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA),
                                                                           the public in general. Certainly, members      was, and the Contra Costa County Bar
    704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Annual subscription of $25        of the public did not know which attorneys’    Association board had the good sense to
    is included in the membership dues. Second-class postage paid
    at Martinez, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the
                                                                           reference panel to call for service, so they   formally incorporate their association. The
    Contra Costa Lawyer, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553.              had no interest in the continuation of the     incorporation was worked out in 1977 and
         The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters
    from readers. Please send them to: Nancy J. Young, Associate           three bars. Attorneys had to follow the        1978, and 1979 was the first year of the
    Editor, Contra Costa Lawyer, 821 Escobar Street #124, Martinez,        reference panel that controlled the location   operation of the merged bar associations.
    CA 94553; or email to:
         The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters         of their office and therefore were forced          In this issue, Judge Wayne Westover
    sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial   into one bar association or another merely     (retired), the informal historian of all
    comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respec-
    tive authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of         because of the address of his or her office.   things legal in Contra Costa County, gives
    the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication         Nevertheless, minor jealousies prevented       a fine review of the pain local attorneys
    of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement
    of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated     any constructive action during the early       suffered, first from the creation of the
    in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.                  and mid 1970s.                                 State Bar Association, and then with the

4                                                                                                                                                      December 2009
organization of the local Contra Costa            Finally, several other past presidents     Sometimes we must pay a small price for
County Bar Association.                        comment on some of the events and issues      progress.
    There are many attorneys who helped        that were hot button items during their          Our bar has blossomed under the
shape our bar association and the conduct      tenure.                                       leadership of many devoted attorneys
of the practice of law in our county. Ken         In preparing for this edition, I came      and especially under the remarkable
Larson discusses some of them, as well as      across many interesting facts. First, of      management of Lisa Reep and the dedica-
some of the significant events in our past.    those attorneys who served as president       tion of one of the finest staffs of any bar
    Our bar has always enjoyed a cordial       of one of the three bar associations, two     association in the state. In addition to the
relationship with the bench, and Judge         became presidents of the State Bar, (Dave     many section activities, our bar hosts an
John Minney (retired) adds some interest-      Levy and Palmer Madden); two more have        MCLE Spectacular, has a professional
ing perspectives of the history of our bar     served on the State Bar Board of Governors    lawyer referral program and is constantly
association from the bench’s point of view.    (Ken Larson and Dick Frankel); 16 others      searching for ways to improve diversity
    Two of our former bar presidents, Palmer   became judges, and one served on the          in our profession. As a result, our bar
Madden and Dick Frankel, show that his-        District Court of Appeal (Judge Wakefield     received the Diversity Award from the
tory is being made at the State Bar level      Taylor). Until 1984, only two women           State Bar in 2003 for its excellent contri-
as well. In years past, the representation     served as president of any of the three bar   bution in promoting diversity in the
of the East Bay on the Board of Governors      associations and since then, five women       profession; and the Cindy Raisch award
was arbitrary at best. Now, as a result of     have served as president, with Suzanne        from the American Bar Association in
the gentle persuasion of Palmer Madden         Chapot serving two terms.                     2004 for its originality in establishing a
(2000/01 State Bar President), that repre-        The Contra Costa County Bar Asso-          limited subject representation (commonly
sentation has been formalized. Likewise,       ciation now has over 1700 members, and        called unbundling) lawyer referral panel.
Dick Frankel (former member of the State       a whopping 21 sections! In years past,           It has been a great 75 years. u
Bar Board of governors) also shows history     attorneys enjoyed the bar meetings,
is being made now. The issue of malpractice    which included all of the members of the      — Richard Breitwieser was the last president
insurance has long been a hot button item.     bar. More recently, the bar has become        of the Mt. Diablo Bar Association before its
Should it be mandatory or is mere disclo-      sectionalized and most meetings are           merger with the Richmond and Contra Costa
sure sufficient? The State Bar has spoken      hosted by a particular section. The general   County Bar Associations. He closed his office in
and has selected disclosure, but I doubt       bar meetings were fun, but specialization     downtown Martinez after more than 35 years
this is the last we will hear of this issue.   has made the sections more relevant.          of practice.

       2010 Membership Renewal Drive Begins
       CCCBA needs your continued membership support!

       To renew your CCCBA membership, use the temporary password emailed to you on
       December 1 and visit Click on “Renew your membership today” and you’ll be
       taken to the site's log in screen of InTouchOnDemand. (If you haven't received your password,
       please call us at 925.686.6900 x2.)

       Simply log in, review, update and pay. It’s that simple. Don’t let your membership expire.

       CCCBA’s new InTouchOnDemand member benefit allows you to review your personal profile,
       membership information and your dues, while signing up for sections and our LRIS program.
       And pay easily by credit card — all online. (You may also pay by check if you prefer.)

       And we are also very excited about what’s in store for early 2010 – a new CCCBA website that
       includes resources to manage your professional career and practice. Stay tuned...

       Thank you for your membership support!

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                         5
president’s message
          by Larry E. Cook

                circa 1990

With the end of the year closing in, I stop     Huffaker and Green. The food and drinks       me assure everyone that I played no role
to wonder where the time has gone. As           were delicious and the introductions by       in the victory. I was embarrassed however,
lawyers, this is a question we ask ourselves    Andy Ross were amazing. Based on              when I won the drawing for the Wine
constantly. We are driven by deadlines          member participation and positive feed-       Country picnic. What’s a president to do?
and demands on our time, which too often        back, this event is one of our best social    Just lucky I guess.
exceed the number of hours in a day, a          functions. With new members joining the           I also felt very lucky indeed to present
week, a month or a year.                        bar, and new judges added to the bench        the President’s Award for pro bono service
    As President of the Bar, I have had the     each year, we hope to continue to make        to the JFK Elder Law Clinic. Accepting
pleasure and the time to take a front row       these opportunities available.                the award was Virginia George, the
seat at one of the busiest and most interest-       The Women’s Section Luncheon, also        clinic’s director, who spoke eloquently of
ing shows in town. Today, our membership        in September, featured State Bar President    the clinic’s tireless efforts to provide access
and leadership are as engaged and active        Holly Fujie as its keynote speaker. Holly’s   to justice for seniors.
as at any other time in the history of the      speech was energetic, impassioned and,            As this year winds down, so does my
bar. It shows in the organization and           above all, optimistic over the prospects      term as President of the Bar. I want to
preparation of activities on a weekly basis     for progress on women’s issues in the         thank all of my friends and colleagues
and in the level of member participation        law. She emphasized that there are many       who worked with me this year. Thanks
in programs across a wide range of legal        pathways for women and men to succeed         to Lisa Reep and her staff for doing most
issues and specialties. It also shows in the    in the profession while maintaining balance   of the heavy lifting, and the board mem-
support our members provide to pro bono         and sanity in the world outside the prac-     bers for their hard work and dedication.
projects and fundraising efforts.               tice of law. Congratulations to Katherine     I am grateful to my partners and staff at
    I have been on the CCCBA Board of           Wenger and the entire Women’s Section         Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook for
Directors for 11 years now and a member         for an excellent program.                     giving me the support and resources
of the association for well over 20. Before         October brought the Trivia Bowl at        necessary to succeed as president. My
my year as president, however, I never truly    the Blackhawk Auto Museum. A special          family also deserves my love and thanks
appreciated the awesome and dynamic             thanks to Lisa Reep and her staff for         for the many days and nights when bar
energy level this association creates and       organizing and putting on this fabulous       duties called.
recreates day in and day out. Our members       event. With Master of Ceremonies Tom              To all of the lawyers and judges in our
truly are a force of nature.                    Beatty, Game Show Host Brian Bonney           county, it has been an honor and a privi-
    A few highlights demonstrate this           and, the be-all, end-all, judge-of-all-       lege to serve as President of the Bar.
point. On September 24, we were treated         judges, Norman Spellberg, the night           Together we have had a great year. Our
to an incredible reception at Whiting,          was an outstanding success. Most of all,      association is strong and prepared for the
Fallon, Ross & Abel as part of the Bar’s        thanks to all members who attended and        challenges ahead.
Get to Know Your Local Judges get-together.     supported the fundraiser. We raised over          Best wishes to all and thank you. u
Many thanks to Bill Whiting, Ann                $15,000 for The BAR FUND! I humbly
Fallon, Andy Ross, Greg Abel and their          congratulate Andy Schwartz, Mike              — Larry Cook is a partner with Casper
entire firm for graciously hosting the          Meadows and Nick Casper of Casper,            Meadows Schwartz & Cook in Walnut Creek.
well-attended event featuring Judge             Meadows, Schwartz & Cook for captur-          The firm represents plaintiffs in personal injury
Fenstermacher and Commissioners                 ing the first place Trivia Bowl Trophy. Let   cases.

6                                                                                                                             December 2009
                                           CCCBA’s Annual

                                        Holiday Party
                                        Thursday, December 17, 2009
                                               4:30 – 6:30pm
                                         704 Main Street, Martinez

                         CCCBA members and Contra Costa Superior Court judges,
                                       clerks and administrative staff
                           are invited to join us for fun, food and holiday cheer.

                       To gain admittance to the party, simply bring a non-perishable
                        food item(s) for donation to the Contra Costa Food Bank and/or
                          toy(s) for donation to the 16th Annual Toy Drive for homeless
                          children, sponsored by the Juvenile Section of the CCCBA.

                      Please RSVP to Michele Vasta at 925.370-2548 by December 10
                                     (although drop-ins are welcome).

               new members
        Charles A. Burak                    David S. McDonough            Kathrin Reichberger
        Glenn & Dawson, LLP                 210.226.2900                  Matlock Law Group, PC
        925.945.7722                                                      925.944.7131
                                            James Mochizuki
        Jason T. Cale                       707.645.8809                  Jonathan M. Reymann
        Basham Parker, LLP                                                Greenan Peffer Sallander
        925.309.6110                        Kevin Montee                    & Lally LLP
                                            Horner & Singer, LLP          925.866.1000
        Leslie V. Freeman                   925.943.6570
        925.691.1186                                                      Gary Rinehart
                                            Ali Oromchian                 510.547.0695
        Ted Highland
                                            Dental Counsel, P.C.
                                            925.242.2511                  Matthew Shafae
        Sean A. Kersten                                                   650.766.6741
        707.548.1133                                   .
                                            Elizabeth P Peterson
                                            925.628.9324                  Jose Vergara
        Kwi Y. Lee                                                        The Smith Firm
        Acuña & Casas, P.C.                 Scott Edward Radcliffe        925.457.2090
        925.906.1880                        559.349.7577

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                  7
            Early History of the
    Contra Costa County Bar Association
                             by Judge Wayne Westover (Ret.)

                                          circa 1978

In 1934 Adolph Hitler gained total control of Germany by eliminating his major rivals,
Ernst Rohm and Karl Ernst. Benito Mussolini prepared his Army and Air Force for war against
the spear-armed citizens of Ethiopia. In this country, we were in our second year of
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and citizens were becoming familiar with the alphabetical
initials of the 26 Government Agencies it had created. Prohibition had been repealed
and John Dillinger was in the last months of bank withdrawals before his death in July.
Unemployment was estimated at nearly 11.5 million individuals in the United States.

                                        circa mid ’70s

8                                                                                December 2009
there was also exciting news in the             The 1934 Constitution (right) provided
                                                for an annual meeting in January of
legal community of contra costa county,         each year, and later for regular meet-
because in March of that year, its local
                                                ings in January, May and October.
bar association had obtained official rec-
                                                In order to accommodate all of the
ognition after many years of operation.
                                                lawyers of the county, meetings were
Actually, the local operation had been in
                                                alternated between the Hotel Don
existence under that name from about the
                                                in Richmond, Paul’s Restaurant in
time that the State Legislature created
                                                Martinez and the Los Medanos Hotel
the county court system. Written records
                                                in Pittsburg. While there was always
had been maintained over the years, but
                                                an agenda for these meetings, deco-
few have been located. A search through
                                                rum was usually tabled, and most of
the issues of the local newspapers has
                                                the members attended. Of interest
provided some evidence of the organiza-
                                                is the fact that — in those times —
tion’s history and activities. For example,
                                                members of the District Attorney’s
in the December 23, 1879 issue of the
                                                Office were active members of the
Gazette, it was reported that the Bar
                                                association. There was special excite-
Association honored the retirement of
                                                ment and discourse, to say the least,
Judge S. H. Dwinell.
                                                when it appeared that a new judge-
    The recognition of local associations
                                                ship was pending. In spite of some
followed the creation of the California State
                                                lapses of social graces, the association
Bar in 1927. The State Legislature created
                                                tackled serious issues of the time. The
this public corporation in order to provide
                                                constitution established four standing
some organization and control of the prac-
tice of law within the state, which was in
great disarray since the time that Mexican         1. Committee on Statutory Amendment
Law prevailed. This action was not met             2. Committee on Unlawful Practice
with great happiness and joy among the             3. Grievance Committee (complaints
lawyers then doing business in California,         against members)
who traditionally were a very independent          4. Judiciary Committee (the judicial
group. The major shock was the require-            system, information, changes, reform)
ment that, in order to practice law in the
state, a person had to be a member of the           In addition, there were usually
State Bar. To add insult to injury, the         committees working on such issues
membership would require an initial fee of      as: appointment of counsel in crimi-
$3.00 and annual dues of $2.50. The             nal cases; selection and length of
resulting hue and cry reverberated through-     service for jurors; selection of judges;
out the state, and the newspapers soon          rules of court; method of calendaring;
added to the uproar. Phrases such as            and establishing and locating court-
Lawyers Soviet, The Brahmans Bund, and          houses. During the World War II era,
The Trust Busters Trust were thrown about.      a committee was formed to provide
In a bit different vein, The Napa Register      legal services to members of the
added Shyster Lawyers Thing of the Past.        Armed Services in Contra Costa
Even after the flames of unhappiness died       County stationed at Camp Stoneman
down, it took several years to get the great    in Pittsburg where, sadly, a great
majority of lawyers enrolled and paid up.       number of young Americans saw their
    We do not know the actual reaction of       last days in this country. A committee
local practitioners, but at the time their      was formed to create a Minimum Fee
association became “official,” they were        Schedule and that issue continued to
under way with James Edward Rogers as           be raised over the years, causing a lot
president. In earlier times, the group often    of debate and heated controversy.
                                                                                             Constitution of the Contra Costa
held meetings in the county courthouse,             Up to the time of World War II,        County Bar Association (pages 1-3).
usually with the local judges attending.        the county bar was a close-knit group, u          Adopted March 28, 1934.

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                         9
and efforts were always made to accom­         in the mid 50s, a group of Walnut Creek          districts, sent lawyers to the county seat.
modate the interests of all its members        attorneys felt that there were goals not         Senator Tony DeLap, with great political
without consideration of geographical          met by the county bar that could be              connections, also opened an office there.
location. A glance at the list of the          accomplished by a bar association of their       Tsar N. Calfee, who said that he “took
presidents of the association will show        own. So the Central Contra Costa Bar             care of the poor” set up shops in Martinez
that the office was generally alternated       Association was formed.                          and Concord. It was in Martinez that this
between members from the west end of               The issues that caused the formation         writer, still with a Navy haircut, sat in
the county and those from the east (includ­    of this new organization were not the only       the front office of the City Hall Building
ing Martinez). Another interesting and         matters that irked the lawyers in the            with an unobstructed view of DiMaggios
unusual factor: as far as local input was      central and east parts of the county. How­       Restaurant across the street (ironically,
concerned, the same consideration was          ever, it was not because of action, or lack      the Bar Association is now located in that
given to the naming of judicial officers.      thereof, on the part of the Contra Costa         structure). Later, in 1960, he was elected
This, with rare exception, presented a         Bar that caused the upset. Richmond              president of the Contra Costa County Bar
bench consisting of local practitioners who    sought to obtain the county’s first              Association.
were well known and familiar to the            Municipal Court and set the machinery                The year 1960 was a relatively quiet
members of the bar.                            in motion to obtain it. The political            time for the association, although there
    World War II brought great changes         activity needed was successful and the           was some friction with the Central County
to our county, lives, and organizations,       city obtained its “Muni” Court with not          organization. Established programs like
including the Contra Costa County Bar          only one department but three. This              Law Day were successful, as was the bar­
Association. When the population in West       situation caused attorneys with business         sponsored welcoming reception for new
County exploded, Richmond alone grew           in a court with appropriate jurisdiction to      citizens when past president David Levy,
from a population of about 20,000 to well      travel some distance but they were not           a Bataan Death March Survivor, would
over 100,000. It was already the county’s      able to obtain similar courts in their own       give a stirring address. The monthly
leader in industry and political influence,    areas via legislation. Four jurisdictions in     meetings continued to be well attended
and the unbelievable growth only               the county did, however, have sufficient         and rip roaring as ever, and the never­
expanded its clout. It had already created     population under existing law to obtain          ending controversy over suggested or
its own bar association and had the great­     their courts by litigation. In later years,      minimum fee schedules provided vocal
est population of lawyers in the entire        the Richmond Bar Association was phased          entertainment. The May execution of
county. The dominance of the west con­         out and the two remaining associations           Caryl Chessman, Los Angeles’ Red Light
tinued for a period after the war, but         were consolidated.                               Bandit, renewed a statewide controversy
growth in the central and eastern regions          In the early 1950s, the three largest law    about capital punishment, which had been
of the county brought more legal practi­       firms in Richmond, recognizing the poten­        raging throughout the state since his
tioners into those communities. A number       tial in other parts of the county, established   conviction in 1948. This was an issue
of animosities developed between the           branch offices. Thomas Carlson, who              discussed in bar meetings until the end
practitioners of the east and west. In fact,   represented industry, labor and special          of the year. Committees were also formed
                                                                                                in regard to creating a public defender’s
                                                                                                office and legal specialization, and much
                                                                                                interest was generated in efforts to obtain
                                                                                                new Departments 8 and 9. I am amazed
                                                                                                to this day that — in spite of friction
                                                                                                between associations, long and vocal
                                                                                                arguments at meetings, and representing
                                                                                                opposing sides in litigation — members
                                                                                                across the entire county formed relation­
                                                                                                ships beyond that of an acquaintance and
                                                                                                became true friends… and to this I can
                                                                                                attest. u

              The CCCBA thanks Micheal Nourot and Ann Corcoran                                  — 1960 CCCBA President Wayne Westover
            for their generous support of The BAR FUND since 2005                               (later to become Judge Westover) is well known
                                                                                                for his historical knowledge of our county, which
                                                                                                is reflected in his book, “The Bench and Bar
     675 East H Street, Benicia • 707.745.1463 •
                                                                                                of Contra Costa County.”

10                                                                                                                              December 2009
                                               BARR & BARR

                    We are pleased to announce that we have moved
                to a newly renovated office in Danville to accommodate
                   the addition of the following attorneys to our firm:
                                Williem J. Bard, Esq.
                                Janet M. Li, Esq.
                                Christopher M. Moore, Esq.
                       Our new address and contact information:
          318-C Diablo Road                                                              Phone: (925) 314-9999
          Danville, CA 94526-3443                                                          Fax: (925) 314-9960

                                         Will & Trust Litigation
          Elder Abuse Litigation                                                •         Conservatorships

                                               BARR & BARR
                             318-C Diablo Road • Danville, CA 94526-3443 • (925) 314-9999

          Edward E. Barr (retired)                                                                               Janet M. Li
          Loren L. Barr*                                                                              Christopher M. Moore
          Joseph M. Morrill                                                                        John Milgate, Of Counsel
          Williem J. Bard                                                                        Tracey McDonald, Paralegal
         *Certified Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                 11
                              The County Bar –
                           A Very Personal Memory
                                                          by Ken Larson

                                                              circa 1978

as a new lawyer, the first bar association     (Fred Bold was thought by some to be a           legal profession in these three areas had
meeting I ever attended was in 1962. The       little imperious at times); and Tzar Calfee      a profound effect on the organized bar of
Richmond Bar Association meeting was           and his stable of partners, which included       this county.
held at Kirby’s Restaurant in El Cerrito,      Bill Moses and judges-to-be Norman                  Meetings of the county bar were for-
and the program that night was special.        Gregg, Roy Ranahan, David Calfee and             merly held at Paul’s in Martinez. One of
The uninsured motorist statute had             Wayne Westover. The saying at that time          the last county bar meetings at Paul’s
recently been enacted, and a Richmond          was that Senator DeLap controlled the            involved one of the defining moments of
attorney had tried one of the first arbi-      county, Tom Carlson owned it, and Tzar           local bar history — the debate over the
trations under the new law. The sealed         Calfee represented the resulting poor.           establishment of a legal services founda-
decision was to be opened during the               Since Tzar’s father was a                            tion as part of the War on Poverty
meeting, followed by a discussion on the       minister, Tzar was fond of                               of the Johnson administration.
UM arbitration procedure. As the arbitra-      quoting the bible in his jury                            Government funding for a legal
tor was about to open the sealed decision,     arguments. He sometimes                                  services program was dependent
one of the attorneys in the audience threw     found it necessary to change                             upon the sponsorship of a local
a packet of fire crackers under the arbi-      the text to fit the case. One                            bar association. Without a bar
trator’s table, and all hell broke loose! It   day, in a case before another                            association sponsor, there would
was not just the sound of the firecrackers     biblical scholar, Judge Jacoby,                          be no government funds and no
that disrupted the meeting — it was the        Tzar went too far. The judge Tsar N. Calfee              program. The lawyer community
                                                                                      circa 1930
uproarious laughter and congratulatory         told him that what he stated                             was seriously divided. The Rich-
banter that followed and finished whatever     was not in the bible. Tzar simply replied,       mond Bar Association formally rejected
was left of the meeting.                       “Well if it isn’t in there, it should be.”       sponsorship and campaigned against it.
    At the end of every Richmond Bar               These were the days when the bench           The issue for the county bar was to be
Association meeting thereafter, Joe Genser     and bar were very close. Appointments            decided at a dinner meeting at Paul’s.
(later Judge Genser) would make a motion       of out-of-county lawyers were rare, and             The meeting was well
to dissolve the association. Even after        most judges were formerly county lawyers         attended and more raucous
Judge Genser had passed away, the county       in private practice, some from the DA’s          than usual. Speeches went
bar meetings always ended by a motion,         office, who were well known to the com-          well into the night. Dana
in his memory, to dissolve the association,    munity of lawyers before they were               Murdock (Tinning and
which was treated as a motion to adjourn       appointed. These were the days of no             DeLap), who was speaking
sine die.                                      “foreign” judges, and no dehumanizing            in support of the motion
    In the first half of the 20th Century,     fast track. And virtually no women lawyers       to sponsor the legal ser-
Richmond was the most populous city in         — a fact which I believe had a profound          vices program, was booed
the county and its lawyers dominated the       effect on the bar and its activities. The        so loudly that he had to        Tony DeLap
                                                                                                                                  circa 1940
local legal scene. There were three major      women attorneys in the county could be           give up the mike, and
firms: Tinning and DeLap, a business           counted on one hand, and Judge Betsy             departed by giving his tormentors the
firm; Carlson, Collins, Gordon and God         Rhan was one of them. The change of the          peace sign — or half of it at least. Rich-

12                                                                                                                        December 2009
mond attorney Lee Reeves and Henry                At the Velvet Turtle meeting, after
Ramsey, later Alameda County Superior         each of the judges was duly humiliated,
Court Judge, got into a serious physical      they were called to the microphone to
confrontation. Coley Fannin, not yet a        respond, and to receive their special gift
judge, tried to intervene but finally sug-    — a necktie with scroll-type squiggly
gested that if they wanted to fight, they     writing, almost undecipherable, but
had to take it to the parking lot. Coley      conveying to the discerning eye an
asked me to come along for a reason I did     obscene message. As each tie was given,
not understand until later. When we got       co-host Steve Harper pulled out the
to the parking lot, Coley told the combat-    judge’s tie and I cut it off with a pair
ants to take off their coats and give them    of large scissors. Who could have known
to him to hold. Henry said “I’m not tak-      that after we cut off Judge McBride’s
ing off my ‘damn coat’.” Lee then replied,    tie (which was a set up, as we secretly
“If he’s not taking off his coat, I’m not     gave him a substitute tie), each judge
taking off mine.” Coley remarked, “Well       dutifully came to the microphone with
if you’re not going to take off your coats,   his tie still on. We cut off some expen-
there can’t be a fight. So let’s go back      sive ties that night, and from every
inside and the drinks are on Larson.”         judge — except for Max Wilcox. He
    When the vote was finally taken that      came to the mike without a tie. So we
night, it was 50 votes against sponsorship    cut the buttons off his shirt.
and 49 votes for it. President Dave Dolgin        By the time we honored David Levy
cast his vote for sponsorship, making the     for his life-long devotion to the bar,
final count 50 to 50. Exhausted by too        and his election as president of the
much wine and way too much shouting,          State Bar of California, the roll of
no one at the meeting realized that the       Contra Costa attorneys was starting to
motion did not receive a majority vote,       reflect the strong influx of women into
and had been defeated. Instead they           the legal profession. The affair was a
thought it was a tie, which required          sincere and dignified tribute to a truly
another vote, this time by mail. The          outstanding county attorney. Dave
Contra Costa County Legal Services            began his professional career as a CHP
Foundation was established by virtue of       motorcycle patrolman. He was also a
a parliamentary mistake, and by a narrow      survivor of the Bataan Death March
margin of mailed-in affirmative votes.        and, in later years, wore a campaign
    After Paul’s burned down, the county      hat similar to the one he wore as a
bar meetings were held in the better          member of the United States forces in
restaurants of the county, such as the        the Philippines. I had occasion to intro-
meeting at the Velvet Turtle in conjunction   duce David many times, and I always
with the Alameda County Lawyers Club.         introduced him as the illegitimate son
Every year, the Lawyers Club would hold       of General Douglas McArthur.
a Contra Costa County Judges’ Night               I remember the days when an attor-
because we had way better judges than         ney could walk into a judge’s chambers
Alameda County. The object of the             and be able to talk to the judge about
Contra Costa County Judges’ Night was         almost anything, except for the obvious
to subject our judges to the merciless        ex parte communications about a
roasting and obscene ridicule, while          case. One of my favorites was Judge
awarding each judge an unusable               Arnason. He came to the bench from
memento of the event. The mystery of          the Pittsburg law firm of Ham,
why our judges always attended has never      Arnason, Waldie and Rockwell, and
been solved, but they all came. I think       was elected to the Board of Governors
they regarded it as some kind of honor.       of the State Bar just before he was            Constitution of the Contra Costa
In any event, it was regarded as one of       appointed to the bench. He remains on        County Bar Association (pages 4-5).
the great traditions of the bar.              the court today, an ageless connection u            Adopted March 28, 1934.

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                        13
                                                                                                                 with the past legal history and a represen-
          Standards • Strategies • Strength • Solutions                                                          tative of the “better angles” of our bar.
                                                                                                                    Martin Rothenberg (pictured
                                                                                                                 right, circa 1978), Dept. 7, was
                                                                                                                 another favorite of mine. It was
                                                                                                                 said that if he walked down the
                                                                                                                 street and saw two persons argu-
                                                                                                                 ing, he would introduce himself
                                                                                                                 and offer his services. There were
                                                                                                                 those who called him Rotten Marthenberg,
                                                                                                                 but I certainly cannot comment on that.
                                  W ELL P REPARED                                                                I remember part of the prayer someone
                 to handle your complex business transactions                                                    wrote when he became presiding judge.
         Doug Maggi, SVP            Bob Kouba, VP              Colleen Benatar, VP        Rick Wise, EVP         It went something like this:
          925.944.0180 ext. 209     925.944.0180 ext. 212        925.944.0180 ext. 215   925.944.0180 ext. 216
                                                                                                                                 “Our father,
                                                                                 California’s Oldest
                                                                                 Independent Bank                             who art in Seven,
                                                                                                                           Rothenberg by thy name.
                                                                                                                           Thy kingdom has come,
       WALNUT CREEK 1500 N. California Blvd. • 925.944.0180                                                              thy will be done in all courts
       Oakland , 1111 Broadway, 510.625.7850 • Santa Clara • 5201 Great America Pkwy., 408.653.1200
                                                                                                                              as it is in Seven.”
                                                                                                                     I do remember the prayer verbatim
                                                                                                                 written when Coley Fannin (pictured below,
                                                                                                                 circa 1978) became presiding judge:

                                                             Northern California
                                                            Mediator / Arbitrator
                                                                                  14 years as Mediator
                                                                                 23 years as Arbitrator
                                                                              31 years in Civil Practice

                                                                                                                          “Hail Fannin, full of s….
                                                            •	Training	includes	Mediation	Course	at	                         The law is with thee.
                                                            	 Pepperdine	University	1995                                Blessed art thou among judges,
                Roger F. Allen                                                                                     and blessed is the fruit of thy loom suits.
                                                            •	Serving	on	Kaiser	Medical	Malpractice		
                510.832-7770                                	 Neutral	Arbitrators	Panel                           Holey Coley, son of Rothenberg, pray for us
                                                            •	Settlement	Commissioner,	Alameda	and	
                                                                                                                  lawyers now and at the hour of our trials,
     Ericksen, Arbuthnot, Kilduff,
                                                            	 Contra	Costa	Counties                               for yours is the power and the glory for one
            Day & Lindstrom, Inc.
                                                                                                                            year only. Thank God.”
                                                            •	Pro	Tem	Judge,	Small	Claims,	Alameda	County
     155 Grand Avenue, Suite 1050
                                                            •	Experienced	in	all	areas	of	Tort	Litigation,		        Our bar has come a long way from the
              Oakland, CA 94612
                                                            	 including	injury,	property	damage,	fire	loss,		    days of wine and firecrackers, and I cannot
                                  	 malpractice,	construction	defect                   help but believe that our female colleagues
                                                                                                                 have been a civilizing force and influence
                                                                                                                 on the bar. Finally, the Boys of the Bar
     Take advantage of one of the many                                                                           had to grow up and — in the words of
                                                                                                                 the judge in the movie, My Cousin Vinnie
        CCCBA membership benefits!
                                                                                                                 — be more lawyer-like. u
      To schedule an appointment with
         a CCCBA notary, please call                                                                             — Kenneth Larson is an experienced litigation
       Barbara Tillson, (925) 370-2544                                                                           attorney at Larson, Vandersloot & Rivers. He
         704 Main Street • Martinez
                                                                Free Notary Services                             was the 1967 CCCBA President and a former
                                                                                                                 Governor of the California State Bar.

14                                                                                                                                             December 2009
                       Back When
                          Judge John   

                                          circa 1978

When I became the Juvenile Court Judge in 1987, there was a civil law committee
and a criminal law committee of the Contra Costa County Bar Association. It became
clear that the bench could profit from a juvenile law committee as well. Several bar
members volunteered to get it started, and soon we had a good group doing both
dependency and delinquency. We met periodically to exchange ideas and at least once
a year for training with representatives from Social Services and Probation.

                   Friends Outside was used by lawyers to help families of their clients in
                   custody in order to get services for them as well as clothing for their inmate
                   clients. Some time in the early 1990s, Judge James J. Marchiano (pictured
                   left, circa 1978) — who now serves as Presiding Justice of Division One,
                   First District Court of Appeal — suggested to the Bar that we solicit
                   funds to establish scholarships for youth (emerging from dependency
                   or delinquency cases) who were old enough to take community college
                   or vocational training. Friends Outside offered to
use their 401k status to hold the donations, and a committee of the
Bar solicited its members for funds. Judge Marchiano suggested the
fund be named after Judge Richard Arnason (pictured right, circa 1978),
who agreed. Every year, Probation and Social Services suggested
names for the Bar to review, resulting in two or three awards that
were presented during a ceremony in Judge Arnason’s court over
which he presided. It continues to this day. u

   By order of the Presiding Judge of the Contra Costa County Superior Court: 
   The passage of Proposition 220 accomplished the amendment of Articles I and VI
   of the California Constitution. By unanimous consent of all superior and
   municipal judges of this county, the municipal courts are abolished and the
   superior and municipal courts of Contra Costa County are united as one superior
   court. These courts now comprise the Contra Costa County Superior Court.

    On June 4, 1998 (from left),
    Judges Van Voorhis, Belleci,
    Coleman, Sepulveda, Brown and
    Minney gather ed around Pre­
    siding Judge Peter Spinetta as
    he signed the unification order,                                                                  Constitution of the Contra Costa
    which became effective on June 8.                                                               County Bar Association (pages 6-9).
                                                                                                           Adopted March 28, 1934.

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                               15

                                                                                                                              Trivia Bowl for A                     in supp
                                                                                                                                                         The BAR
                                                                                                                  October’s fourth “never annual” Trivia Bowl for A
                                                                                                                  Thirteen teams of Contra Costa attorneys and
John Halpin (second from left) catches up with Trivia Bowl                                                        competition, with “Diminished Capacity” — the
Planning Committee members, Geoffrey Steele (far left),                                                           Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook — emer
             Lynne Yerkes and Wally Smith
                                                                                                                  the Friday event at the beautiful Behring Auto
                                                                     Game show host extraordinaire
                                                               Brian Bonney reviews the Trivia Bowl rules         Master of Ceremonies, Hon. Norm Spellberg (Re
                                                                                                                  Great Gatsby-attired game-show host. CCCBA Pres
                                                                                                                  this year’s “President’s Award” honoring JFK Un
                                                                                                                  providing exceptional pro bono service to low-incom
                                                                                                                  trivia team sponsorships, the dinner, and opportun
                                                                                                                  for The BAR FUND this year. We are indebted to
                                                             Nevin, Ramos & Steele’s
                                                             “Litigious Liberal Lefties”
                                                             team members Jeff Grohs,                             Maserati Sponsors          Rolls Royce Sponsors
                                                             Josh Cohen, and captain                              JAMS                       Casper, Meadows, Schwartz
                                                             Geoffrey Steele                                      Miller Starr Regalia         & Cook
                                                                                                                  Nevin, Ramos & Steele      Frankel & Goldware, LLP

                                                                                                                                      Contributors to The BAR FUND
                                                                                                                                           Hon. Charles B. Burch
                                                                                                                                            Colin & Mila Coffey
                                                                                                                                          Justice James Marchiano
                                                                  Justice Jim                                                                    Terry Leoni
                                                              Marchiano and                                                                       Ron Rives
                                                              his wife, Claire

                                                                                                                  CCCBA’s Charitable Contributions Committee w
                                                                                                                    legal services providers in early 2010. We invi
                                                                                                                  encourage you to make The BAR FUND part of
                                                                                                                       An annual commitment from you, of any siz
  Brian Bigelow, CCCBA’s Board Treasurer, Audrey Gee,
                and Ann and Gil Berkeley                                                                              Donations are accepted by phone via Visa, M
                                                                                                                                   (contact Lisa Reep at 925.288.
                                                                                                                      The BAR FUND, c/o CCCBA, 704 Main St

                                                                                                                     The BAR FUND was established to provide
                                                                                                                           for grants and monetary support in
                                                                                                                            Promote and support pro bono legal ad
                                                                                                                                                    County’s poo
                                                                                                                                                Maintain equal a
                                                                                                                                       Support and improve the
                                                                  President’s Award recipient, Virginia George,                Contribute to wider understanding
       “The Adjudicators” team members Judges                       expresses her gratitude on behalf of JFK
       Steve Austin, Joyce Cram and Bruce Mills                   University School of Law’s Elder Law Clinic
                                                                                                                                           Preserve American he
                                                                                                                                Encourage elevated standards of l

  16                                                                                                                                           December 2009
 2, 2009

Access to Justice
port of
 Access to Justice was once again a great success.
d judges participated in the automobile-themed                                                                     The winning team, Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook’s
e team fielded by our very own president’s firm,                        Master of ceremonies Tom Beatty            “Diminished Capacity,” poses with their Trivia Bowl trophy:
                                                                              welcomes the crowd                   team captain Andy Schwartz, Nick Casper, and Mike Meadows
 rging as the winner. Nearly 200 people attended
o Museum in Blackhawk. Tom Beatty served as
Ret.) as the event judge, and Brian Bonney as our
 sident Larry Cook presented Virginia George with
niversity School of Law’s Elder Law Clinic for
me elderly victims of financial abuse. Proceeds from
nity drawing ticket sales raised more than $15,000
  all of those who supported this effort, including:

  Ferrari Sponsors                      Cadillac Sponsors      The JAMS Hotrods team members Mike Timpane,
  Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, LLP     Gizzi & Reep, LLP            Joyce Florence and Nicolas Machado
  Certified Reporting Services
  The Recorder                                                                                                                          CCCBA President Larry Cook
                                                                                                Carroll, Burdick                       congratulates President’s Award
                                                                                                & McDonough’s                             recipient Virginia George
       Trivia Bowl Planning Committee                                                           “Tres Triviots”
                                                                                                Jim Henderson,
         Brian Bonney, Larry Cook,
                                                                                                captain Wally
          Wendy Graves Corcoran,                                                                Smith, and
          Lisa Reep, Scott Reep,                                                                Larry Panek
        Wally Smith, Geoffrey Steele,
               Lynne Yerkes

will be reviewing annual grant requests from local
 ite your year-end tax-deductible donations and
 f your regular charitable contributions portfolio.
 ze, can add up if the support is widespread.
 MasterCard, Discover, or American Express                                                                          Captain Nick Casper accepts the perpetual trophy from
                                                                                                                    event judge Norm Spellberg and MC Tom Beatty on his
 .2555) or by check, payable to:
                                                                                                                                    winning team’s behalf
 treet, Martinez, CA 94553, Attn. Lisa Reep

  a permanent and growing source of income
n furtherance of the following goals:
dvice, counsel and representation to the                    Event judge Norm Spellberg
or and needy;                                               rules on a contested answer
access to justice;
  administration of justice;
 g of the law and the legal system;
                                                                JFK University’s “Pennoying vs. Inept”
eritage of rule by law;                                     team members Paul Lufkin, Jim Glassford,
 legal education and performance.                                          and captain Bridgit Lawley

              Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                     17
Question man
                                  What	is	your	favorite	legal	story	
                                     from	the	good	ol’	days?
     To paraphrase Winston Churchill when        My favorite was Martin Rothenberg asking            We once had a divorce case that
     asked to speak about the Royal Navy:        me whether I thought I was ahead in the             involved four attorneys, three
      the “good old days” were not so great.     motion, and asking what law school I went           of them representing the hus-
      Bias, alcoholism, and chauvinism were      to, whether I learned anything in law school,       band and his family, one for the
       common, if not universal.                 and then asking me what they taught me              wife. Petition was filed in 1980
       Pieter Williams                           in law school to do when I was ahead…               or ’81...
Law Offices of Peter K. Williams                             And then his telling me. Loudly.            It eventually came to trial, with Bill
                                                             “You shut up when you’re ahead,         O’Malley as the judge, only because he had
A real estate story told to me by a bank                      Mr. Brown, you shut up!!”              just been appointed and somehow became
client in the 1980s. A condo in West LA                       David A. Brown                         the only available judge. The case was set
was foreclosed on when the owner did not                       Solo, Richmond                        for several weeks of trial, and involved
pay a loan. The bank became the owner.                                                               everything from a handwriting expert to
The old owner knew he was going to lose          In the early ’80s, I defended an individual         State of California Water Dept. police and
the condo and rented it a day or so after the    in a homicide trial against Dale Miller, in         Alameda sheriffs as witnesses (total of 24
foreclosure sale to a UCLA coed who had a        front of Judge Sam Hall, in the ceremonial          by the end of the trial).
roommate. The coeds moved in and a day           courtroom on the main floor of the Old                  After several weeks of trial — in the
or so later, and the bank rep served an evic-    Courthouse. This was a pretty gruesome              Richmond court — Judge O’Malley (the
tion notice on the coeds. The roommate           case, as the victim, after being shot and           senior Bill O’Malley) lost it after the 999th
called her daddy for help. Her daddy was         killed, was evidently run over by one of            objection for hearsay. He pounded the desk
Governor Duekmejian. He placed a phone           Richmond’s finest fire trucks responding to         and yelled at one of the attorneys (Dave
call to local police. A criminal case               the night time call of a body in a roadway.      Levy) because he had just joined in with the
was filed and the old owner who                     During closing argument, Dale Miller was         latest hearsay objection by one other attor-
scammed the coeds was tried,                        marching up and back in front of the jury,       ney. Judge O’Malley then retreated quickly
convicted and jailed.                              all 6'4" of him, forcefully arguing for convic-   to his chambers, and called us all in to
Kevin S. Eikenberry                                tion, all the while totally perplexed by the      discuss the situation. He readily admitted
Law Office of Kevin S. Eikenberry                 snickers and grins coming from the jury box.       he was really angry at the other attorney,
                                                  Upon concluding, the jury filed out for the        not Dave Levy.
When I was a public defender, I was doing        lunch break, howls of laughter could be heard           That case is still ongoing, after a total
a motion to suppress based upon an illegal       in the hallway. As we stood waiting for the         of 12 different courts, including a quiet
search. The police officer claimed that he was   jury to complete their exit from the court-         title … filed by the girlfriend for some of
fluent in Spanish (the defendant’s language)     room, Judge Hall’s long-time clerk pointed          the community property (Would you believe
and that he had been given consent to search     at Dale’s crotch, which upon first glance           the husband defaulted!?). And yes, the
the car. I asked him to state in Spanish the     clearly showed a fully open zipper with a           husband and girlfriend have since moved
exact words he used to ask to search the         white shirt tail sticking out in the open air.      in together.
          vehicle. The interpreter then trans-       Dale still was able to secure a conviction,         We’re still thinking about writing a
          lated what he said, which translated   but it was overturned on appeal based                   screenplay. Far too many sub-plots for
          as, “I want to search your car, I am   in part on my evidentiary objections                    this column.
           going to search your car.”            and Judge Hall’s erroneous rulings,                   Joe Bechelli
                                                 again over my objections.                             Boatwright, Adams & Bechelli
          Marnie Jubelirer
          Law Offices of Marnie Jubelirer        Brian Stern
                                                 Law Offices of Brian S. Stern

18                                                                                                                                December 2009
      A few years ago, many to be exact, I         Law and motion with Judge                       As a relatively new attorney, I walked into
      was defending a pool maintenance             Rothenberg. If you showed up                    court (in a conservatorship hearing). I
       company in a property damage claim.         to law and motion and wanted                    represented the conservator. I had the clas-
       It seemed that a Lafayette family sold      to “late file” and argue a motion              sic blue suit, with white shirt, red tie, shined
        their older home to a young couple.        on the same day of the hearing,                wing tips, and my briefcase. The judge
        The home had a pool built in the early     if your excuse was “I forgot” or               (who was not a Contra Costa judge) peered
50s and had supposedly developed a leak, so        “my dog ate it,” you could if only you         down over his reading glasses, directly at
the couple sued the previous owners and the        knew the correct cite. The correct cite was    me, and asked “     Are you the
pool maintenance company. In the process           473. This was when there were no tentative     proposed conservatee?” (I heard
of discovery, we found a videotape of the pool     rulings. Law and motion was the time for       through the grapevine later
that showed the condition of the pool as well      all civil attorneys to meet in person almost   that the judge had a drinking
as the new owners and friends enjoying the         every week. What fun!                          problem, but that was never
pool. This videotape, however, had a reputa-       David M. Sternberg                             confirmed.)
tion all its own. It was called “Chopstix, or      David M. Sternberg & Associates                G. Scott Haislet
Changing the Eating Habits of Americans.”                                                         Law Offices of G. Scott Haislet
It was a porno film starring the young                        I remember when you could show
couple. To say the least, their attorneys were                up in any of the four general       I appeared for trial call back in 1991 in front
quite upset and went on a rampage to try                       assignment courts at 4:30 pm       of Judge David Dolgin, who had a very dry
and keep this videotape out of evidence at                     and solve a problem with the       sense of humor. The three plaintiffs in the
any trial. However, before trial, the young                     judge’s help. I remember when     case were each represented respectively by
couple disappeared. It seemed that the Wife,                    the probate calendar was done     John May, Ron Rives and Jim Scott, all of
who worked for an airline as a flight attendant,   by 9:05 am. I remember a judge arraigning      whom at one time in the past practiced in
and her husband were involved with a               and taking pleas on up to 10 deuces — at       the same firm in Pittsburg. As counsel
nefarious group and were smuggling drugs           the same time. Mostly I remember the           assembled at the counsel table and reported
and other contraband into this country and,        simpler times. I must be old. My grandkids     their appearances, the judge’s
according to police investigation, tried to        think so.                                      first comment, delivered com-
skim some of the goods for themselves and          Wayne Smith                                    pletely straight faced, was
were found floating in S.F. Bay. That’s my         Solo, Martinez                                 “Good to see the old firm back
story and I’m sticking to it.                                                                     together.” The courtroom
Dan G. Ryan                                        There was a Halloween party                    erupted in laughter.
Law Office Of Dan G. Ryan                          at a bar — Superman got into                   David J. Samuelsen
                                                   a fight with Wolfman. I can                    Bennett, Samuelsen, Reynolds & Allard
Back in 1980, I was told by the                    not remember which one I
judge not to wear a red dress to                   defended in the civil matter,                  The Devil & Daniel Webster.
her court again.                                   but it was a fun case.                         Kurtiss Jacobs
Diane Michelsen                                    Marc Bouret                                    Solo, Concord
Law Offices of Diane Michelsen                     Bouret ADR & Mediation Firm

                                                                                                             Self-Helf Workshops
                                                                                                          Volunteers Needed!
                                                                                                      Self-Help Workshops — formerly Attorney
                                                                                                      Counseling Evenings (ACE) — are only two
                                                                                                      hours in length. They have been an invaluable
                                                                                                      service to the community — and the
                                                                                                      feedback received has been fantastic!

                                                                                                      If you’re interested in volunteering for an
                                                                                                      upcoming workshop, contact Michele Vasta
                                                                                                      at 925.370-2548 or

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                   19
                Traditionally, the county bar    What was the Bar’s best                          This was also the year our longtime
                association was dominated        year? 1982, of course . . .                  executive director, Lillian Galvin (pictured
                by a few old-line law firms      when peace and prosperity                    below), retired. At least 150 of us gathered
                in Richmond and Martinez.        prevailed. The regional                      at a dinner honoring our “Lil” who raised
                As the population shifted to     divisions between West,                      and nurtured so many of us in the pro-
                the central county, it brought   East and Mt. Diablo tribes                   fession. Yes, 1982 was a very good year!
                an influx of newer and           were over and all county
circa 1979                                                                                                                      Bill Gagen
                younger lawyers who wanted       lawyers practiced with one circa 1978
                                                                                                                  1982 CCCBA President
  their voices heard. Hence the Mt. Diablo       enlightened board. Subject matter sections
  Bar Association was born. Its board            did not exist; the monthly luncheons were
  decided to run the new bar on a more           sold out as lawyers journeyed from around
  business-like basis: it established a more     the county to Paul’s of Martinez, the
  consistent dues structure, permitting it       Concord Inn, and the Velvet Turtle. The
  to hire a part-time secretary. They then       Bar publication was the President’s Report
  set up regular monthly board dinner            and consisted of two pages. It was printed
  meetings and several committees. The           by John and Fosca Zandonella and con-
  role of one such committee was to review       tained news only deemed necessary for
  and propose resolutions to the State Bar       attorneys to know. The publication of the
  House of Delegates, including what posi-       annual judicial evaluation poll both
  tions its delegates would take at the          angered and thrilled judges — all of whom
  convention. Several other committees           claimed “it wasn’t that important.”
  were established — some were successful            Trials of whatever kind were assigned
                                                                                              As president of the Contra Costa County
  and some were not.                                      .J.
                                                 by the P on Monday morning with civil
                                                                                              Bar Association for the years 1985 and
      While the membership was growing,          litigators anxiously waiting for the judge
                                                                                              1986, and being the only woman attorney
  a few years later, Mt. Diablo Bar voted        who was left after the criminal attorneys
                                                                                              on the bar board, it was truly a great expe-
  to fold into the Contra Costa County Bar       exercised their challenges. Attorneys —
                                                                                              rience. I loved working with my colleagues
  Association, which had also grown and          family law, civil, criminal — knew each
                                                                                              on the board. Invaluable was the support
  become more active. The CCCBA then             other and performed their adversarial
                                                                                              of our executive secretary, the saintly Lillian
  hired our secretary on a full-time basis,      magic in the same building referred to
                                                                                              Galvin, with whom I could share eye rolls
  and the Mt. Diablo Bar became history.         only as “The Courthouse.” Martinez Creek
                                                                                              and knowing looks. My only regret is that
                                                 was a bucolic stream, unclogged by tires,
       Judge William “Bill” O’Malley (Ret.)                                                   I did not take better advantage of my
                                                 beavers, and muskrats.
        1968 Mt. Diablo Association President                                                 opportunity to write the monthly presi-
                                                                                              dent’s column. My presidency was unusual
                                                                                              for two reasons: in addition to serving as
                                                                                              the first woman president, I was only the
                                                                                              second president to serve two consecutive
                                                                                              terms. My presidency came shortly after
                                                                Two of the                    the consolidation of what had been three
                                                                county’s finest —             separate bar associations within
                                                                John Zandonella
                                                                                              the county. It was always a chal-
                                                                and Dave Levy —
                                                                are spoken of
                                                                                              lenge to address the competing
                                                                often and truly               interests of the old guard, the new
                                                                missed by all who             guard and — unique unto itself
                                                                knew and loved                — the West County guard.
                                                                                                                  Suzanne Chapot
                                                                                                    1985-1986 CCCBA President            circa 1978

  20                                                                                                                         December 2009
                                                                                           from small quarters in Martinez to a mod-
                                                                                           ern office space in Concord. Lisa Reep came
                                                                                           on board as Executive Director in 1994
                                                                                           (pictured below on cover of the November 1994
                                                                                           Contra Costa Lawyer) and guided the orga-
                                                                                           nization in these transformative years.
                                                                                               Then, during my administration,
                                                                                           disaster struck when Lisa decided to leave
                                                                                           the Bar Association. Fortunately, within
                                                                                           three months she reversed her decision
                                                                                           and returned to the bar to guide it to the
                                                                                           outstanding organization it is today. Thus,
                                                                                           in a three-month period of
                                                                                           time, I went from presiding
                                                                                           over one of the potentially
                                                                                           worst events for the bar to
                                                                                           one of the best.
                                                                                                              Bob Slattery
     The CCCBA’s esteemed 1995 Board, led by their fearless leader,
                                                                                                 1997 CCCBA President
             Peter Loewenstein (the one in the choke-hold).                                                                    circa 1983

                                                                                           As reported in the November 2009
By law, all attorneys practicing regularly     agreement by putting it in writing. Now,    Contra Costa Lawyer, a new insurance
in California must belong to the State Bar.    being on the Board of Governors is not      disclosure rule — Rules of Professional
Our dues pay for the Bar’s activities, more    everyone’s ambition. But the fact that we   Conduct, Rule 3-410 — takes effect
than 80% of which are disciplinary.                   have a shot at it means that “we”    January 1, 2010. A significant part of the
Because it regulates our practice,                    are regulating ourselves…it is not   rule provides that attorneys who do not
attorneys are given extraordinary                     “them”….it is “us”. I encourage      carry malpractice insurance must advise
rights and powers that enhance the                    you to consider running. It is a     their clients in writing at the time a client
value of our work. At the heart of                    great education.                     hires the lawyer if it is “reasonably foresee-
this regulatory scheme is the oppor-                                    Palmer Madden      able” that the representation will exceed
tunity for attorneys to participate in                          1996 CCCBA President       four hours.
creating and amending this regula- circa       1983       2001-2002 State Bar President       This issue surfaced during my first year
tory system. All attorneys can run for                                                     on the Board of Governors (BOG). State
election to the Board of Governors, which      After serving on CCCBA’s Board of Direc-    Bar President Shelly Sloan (2006-2007)
is the legislative arm of the State Bar. The   tors for ten years, I became president in   broke a tie vote to kill the resolution that
elections are held by geographic districts,    1997. During that decade, I saw the orga-   would have made the obligation mandatory
and our district includes Contra Costa,        nization change from a casual individual-   without regard to a four-hour minimum.
San Mateo, San Jose and Alameda. Because       oriented organization to a well-organized   The following year, State Bar President Jeff
the vote is structured so that the candidate   section-driven organization. We moved       Bleich brokered a deal to resolve the
with the most votes wins, the two small                                                    impasse. The fifth and final version con-
counties in this district — San Mateo and                                                  sumed the entire duration of my BOG
Contra Costa — would have a very hard                                                      tenure until the Supreme Court approved
time electing anyone to the Board if a                                                                       the new rule in August
favored candidate from one of the larger                                                                     of 2009. As with most
counties were in the election. Fortunately,                                                                  divisive rule-making sit-
recognizing this risk and the unfairness of                                                                  uations, the result may
a structure that could freeze Contra Costa                                                                   not be an epitome of
and San Mateo, an informal agreement                                                                         drafting.
was created to rotate support so that each                                                                                 Dick Frankel
county’s favored candidate would have the                                                    circa 1990
                                                                                                             2002 CCCBA President
backing of the other counties. While I was                                                                2006 – 2009 Vice President,
on the Board of Governors, we were able                                                                          Board of Governors,
to reduce the uncertainties about this                                                                         State Bar of California u

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                   21
                                                family law practice. Over the course of my
                                                presidency, I was struck by the number of
                                                women lawyers who approached me to share
                                                their personal stories. Many of those stories
                                                were about their internal struggle to
                                                acknowledge their role as the “bread-win-
                                                ner” in their own household — sometimes
                                                it was to compare notes as to how much
                                                time they could realistically take off in order
                                                to spend more time with their children
                                                — but mostly it was to share the experience             Tammy-lyn Gallerani and Justice
                                                of being a woman, a mom, and wife in a                   Patricia Sepulveda, sharing a
First woman Court Executive Officer                                                                       moment after the Justice had
 of the Unified Courts, Kiri Torre
                                                traditionally male profession where those
                                                                                                           sworn in the new president
    took over for her husband,                  issues are not openly discussed.
  Ken Torre, in August of 2008.                     Highlights from my presidency                     judges and lawyers to converse and “get
                                                included accepting a State Bar Diversity              to know” each other. I was glad to see they
                                                Award for our County Bar Association,                 have started back up again. Judges today
When I took the helm as President of the        along with Robin Pearson, at the State Bar            are so isolated given the strict interpreta-
Bar Association in 2003, I was lucky            convention in Anaheim. Robin brought                  tion of the judicial canons of ethics and
enough to follow in the firmly laid footsteps   the Bay Area Minority Clerkship Program               these events provide a welcome outlet.
of Dick Frankel. It had been over 10 years      to us, aimed at increasing the representa-                The best part of my presidency was
since a woman had reigned, when Susanne         tion of minority students in the summer               getting to know and work with Lisa Reep,
Fenstermacher held the position in 1992.        law clerk programs of local law firms and             our Executive Director. She is the constant
I was excited and ready to take on the role.    government agencies.                                  fixture that keeps our bar association in
I was the third woman president since our           Following directly after Dick Frankel’s           a favorable light year after year. Presidents
organization started. Suzanne Chapot was        presidency provided order and structure               come and go, but Lisa has stayed and I
the first of the consolidated bar and stayed    to my presidency. Dick was the author of              have very fond memories of my term
for two terms.                                  the “action plan.” The board divided into             because of her. Lisa and I have daughters
    Justice Patricia Sepulveda agreed to be     three groups to address issues of practice            the same age and we shared much of
my keynote speaker for the installation         development, diversity, and corporate                                     the same “balancing”
luncheon. Like any good party, my presi-        governance. These goals, established at                                   issues that go with
dency had a theme. I chose “balancing           our annual board retreat, kept us focused                                 being a working mom.
work and family.” Justice Sepulveda shared      on our mission statement and vision.                                      I still struggle with the
candid and poignant moments from her                A continuing practice started during                                  balancing act, but
own personal experiences dealing with the       my tenure was a series of regular gather-                                 know I wouldn’t have
challenges of parenting while maintaining       ings at local law firms featuring a member                                it any other way.
a stressful and demanding career.               of the local bench. These informal and
    At the time, I had two small children       purely social events, Get to Know Your Local                               Tammy-lyn Gallerani
under the age of ten and ran a busy full-time   Judges, provide for a neutral setting for            circa mid ‘90s       2003 CCCBA President

                                                                                     Production                            e
                                                                                                                     e not
                                                                                                                Pleas ntact
                                                                            D E S I G N                         new c ation!
                                                                            W R I T I N G                       infor
                                                                            E D I T I N G                                       Nancy Young
                                                                                                                    821 Escobar Street, #124
                                                                            Young Design & Production                    Martinez, CA 94553
                                                                            is the designer for the Contra                    925.229.2929
     925.790-2600  •  •                      Costa County Bar Association      

22                                                                                                                                 December 2009
Serving as president of the bar association
was an honor and one of the highlights of
my legal career. When I first moved to this
county, I never imagined that I would hold
                                                           Putting your clients’ needs first.
this esteemed position, let alone be the first
person of color and only the fifth woman                   Customized Investment and Trust Services
to do so. My primary platform as president                 from Mechanics Bank
was to promote diversity. As a consequence,
I worked to turn the bar association into                                                        • Expert planning. Our integrated plans can combine the most up-to-date
a more inclusive organization that honors                                                          knowledge in trust, estate, tax, custody and banking services.

the differences of our members. During                                                           • Expert solutions. From building wealth and minimizing taxes to
                                                                                                   effectively implementing wealth transfers and philanthropic wishes.
my term we succeeded in meeting this goal
                                                                                                 • Expert service. We’re independent and locally owned with more than
by: working with the bench to establish a Judi-                                                    103 years of experience. And with the only trust department headquartered
cial Mentoring Program to guide attorneys who                                                      in the East Bay, you have convenient access to all of our trust professionals.

are contemplating a career on the bench; forming
a Diversity Section (with the assistance of Judges
                                                                                                   1333 N. California Boulevard, Suite 600
Zuniga and Smith) to provide support and                   IRA HILLYER                             Walnut Creek, CA 94596
guidance to attorneys from diverse backgrounds;            SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
                                                           INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
                                                           & TRUST SERVICES              
recruiting members of the legal profession to serve
as mentors for children whose parents are incar-
cerated; and increasing diversity on the board
of directors.
    2008 was a special year for me and the                   Investment       Trust &           Private       Financial
                                                             Management       Estate Services   Banking       Planning
bar association as well. For the first time
in its history, the presidency was passed
from one woman (Helen Peters) to another.
Also, my being sworn in on Martin Luther                MEC 2718 Contra Costa Lawyer Mag 4.6875x4.5625_v5.indd 1                                              8/15/08 3:22:36 PM

King Jr.’s birthday made the occasion
particularly poignant. I was able to become           VALUE-ADDED DISPUTE RESOLUTION
a bar association president in large part
because of the people who gave me support
and opportunities throughout my legal
career. The guidance I received from law-
yers and judges encouraged me to pursue
                                                             Hon.                   Hon.             Hon.                   Hon.                 Hon.                  Hon.
a position that seemed unattainable when
                                                          Alfred                  Richard         Stephen                 Richard              Joanne               Bonnie
I began practicing here many years ago.
                                                         Chiantelli                Flier        Foland, Comm.             Hodge                Parrilli             Sabraw
When there’s a lack of opportunity, people                  (Ret.)                  (Ret.)          (Ret.)                  (Ret.)              (Ret.)                (Ret.)
won’t be invested in themselves or their                  $450/hour               $385/hour       $350/hour               $425/hour           $425/hour             $425/hour
community. I strongly believe that in an
era where diversity makes good business
sense, we have to do everything we can to
encourage a new demographic to enter
the legal profession and not just survive,
but excel. The answer to the diversity                       Hon.                   Hon.             Hon.
                                                                                                                          Michael                Eric               Michael
challenges that we face has to come from                   M.O.               Douglas              James
                                                                                                                          Carbone,              Ivary,              McCabe,
                a sincere change in attitude              Sabraw              Swager             Trembath                   Esq.                  Esq.                 Esq.
                                                            (Ret.)                  (Ret.)          (Ret.)
                that embraces inclusion and
                                                          $400/hour               $425/hour       $425/hour               $425/hour           $350/hour             $350/hour
                eliminates exclusion. As a bar
                association, we are well on               QUALITY PANELISTS.                                                             COMPETITIVE RATES.
                our way to addressing this                EXCELLENT SERVICE.                                                          LOW ADMINISTRATIVE FEES.
                challenge.                            Dorene Kanoh, VP                                                                                       tel 415.772.0900
                            Robin M. Pearson          50 Fremont St., Ste. 2110                                                                             fax 415.772.0960
1989                  2008 CCCBA President            San Francisco, CA 94105                                     email

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                                                 23
ethics corner
     by Carol M. Langford

            circa 1993

                                 Lawyers and Social Networking

The legal ethics issues posed by Facebook,    it or not, lawyers are now going on to the   serving as a juror. The appeals court
Twitter, YouTube and other forms of what      Second Life site and setting up law firms.   reversed and remanded a felony burglary
are known as “cloud computing” services       Questions arise like, “Is it deceptive for   case because of his blog.
are revolutionary, according to the Cyber-    a male lawyer/player to have a female            Plenty of lawyers get caught in lies by
space Law Committee of the ABA. Cloud         avatar?” “Can the virtual law firm be a      judges who now check their Facebook
computing services store a user’s data,       two-story building when the lawyer is a      page. One lawyer in Texas told a judge
like messages and pictures, on a computer     solo with a one-room office in his ‘real’    he wanted a trial delay because of a death
that is not under the user’s control. The     life?” And so on.                            in the family. The judge went to his blog
original advertising rules and standards          Some cases have popped up across the     and saw postings about his partying; one
that would apply to these services were       country in which lawyers have been dis-      night drinking wine and another imbibing
not drafted with these forms of commu-        ciplined using the basic state and ABA       mojitos with friends while appearing to
nication in mind. To make matters more        ethics standards. Sean Conway in Ft.         be quite upbeat. The judge disclosed her
confusing, there is no California ethics      Lauderdale was steamed at a judge and        online research to a senior partner of the
opinion on point for social networking,       called her an “unfair, evil witch” on his    lawyer’s firm.
although I have put in a formal request       blog. The Supreme Court asked for briefs         A word to the wise: Be very careful if
that the Bar do so.                           on the First Amendment issues that he        you are going to be a witness in a case.
    Here is an example of how confusing       raised, but he ultimately lost because his   Witnesses have been caught saying things
it can be. Let’s say a lawyer decides to go   posts were not uttered to expose a valid     like, “I am going to make a lot of money
on to the Second Life website. Second Life    problem. He was publicly reprimanded         from this case” and cross-examined on it.
is a type of game where the user can create   by the Bar.                                  Perhaps this is why the actor George
a dream life by using Linden dollars (pur-        A lawyer in Illinois lost her job as a
chased by your charge card). You first pick   public defender after 19 years of service.
an avatar to represent you — a cartoon-       She had written about her clients in pend-
like person that you can make look like       ing cases on Facebook by calling one, “a       Please send your ethics questions  to:
whoever you want it to look like. Always      stupid kid taking the rap for his dirtbag                    Carol Langford
wanted long, wavy hair? It is yours. You      brother.” She revealed that another client            100 Pringle Avenue, Suite 570
can also build a house, buy a car and have    had told the court she was drug free, but                Walnut Creek CA 94596
a date, and design them all however you       was “…actually on methadone and could            
want them to appear. Through your             not go five days without it.”                  (If your question is answered in a future column,
avatar, you can interact with thousands           In another case, a California lawyer            your name/firm name will be omitted.)
of other users. Sound weird? Well, believe    was suspended because of blogging while

24                                                                                                                            December 2009
Clooney has said “I would rather get a
                                                   The Law Offices of David M. Lederman
proctology exam by a doctor with cold
gloves on TV than have a Facebook page.
    The ethical conundrums don’t just come
up in discipline cases. Admissions issues
are the most interesting because the Bar
must make a determination as to whether
the lawyer has moral character before s/he
can be admitted. The meaning of “moral
character” can clash with the First Amend-
ment right to free speech. The Adrianna
                                                    DaviD M. LeDerMan                                      TOM SMiTh
Dominguez case out of New York is the              Certified Family Law Specialist                        Associate Attorney
most recent one on this issue. The Bar             State	Bar	Board	of	Legal	Specialization
found an online Playboy video of Ms.
Dominguez that was clearly soft-core porn.
Can the Bar question her moral character               Practicing exclusively in all aspects of Family Law
and/or judgment because of this?                                 in Walnut Creek and Antioch
    This moral character inquiry was raised
in a big way in the Matthew Hale matter              3432 Hillcrest Avenue • Suite 100 • Antioch, California 94531
out of Illinois. He had a website that said          309 Lennon Lane • Suite 102 • Walnut Creek, California 94598
words to the effect of, “White supremacy                         Phone 925.522-8889 • Fax 925.522-8877
rules over all not purebred.” He fought                         
denial of his admission all the way to the
Supreme Court, but eventually lost. His
admission was hotly debated, even by
ethicists, who were concerned with the
First Amendment issues. The Bar ulti-
mately was concerned about how he would           Elder Law is                               The average survival rate is eight years after being
                                                                                             diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — some live as few as
                                                                                             three years after diagnosis, while others live as long
handle minority judges and lawyers, and                                                      as 20. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die from
denied him admission. Soon thereafter he                                                     the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary
was jailed for conspiracy to shoot a judge.                                                  tract infection or complications from a fall.
    There are some ethics opinions that deal                                                 Until there’s a cure, people with the disease will
with discrete issues involving cyber ethics,                                                 need caregiving and legal advice. According to the
but only a few. The North Carolina Bar                                                       Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in ten
has Formal Op. 2005-10, allowing virtual                                                     families has a relative with this disease. Of the
                                                                                             four million people living in the U.S. with
practice for unbundled legal services. The                                                   Alzheimer’s disease, the majority live at home —
Philadelphia Bar has issued Op. 2009-02,                                                     often receiving care from family members.
stating a lawyer can’t use someone else to
approach someone online to gain cross-                                                              If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s,
examination information from them.                                                                       call elder law attorney
    The moral of this story? Control and                                                                   Michael J. Young
guard your online presence as much as                                                           Estate Planning, Disability, Medi-Cal,
you can. Assume the world will see your                                                            Long-term Care & VA Planning
posts. And, most importantly, be nice to                                                      Protect your loved ones, home and independence.
your judge in your post! u
— Carol M. Langford is a lawyer special-
izing in attorney conduct, State Bar defense      Alzheimer’s                                                925.256.0298
and legal malpractice matters. She practices in
Walnut Creek and is an adjunct professor of        Planning                                         1931 San Miguel Drive, Suite 220
                                                                                                     Walnut Creek, California 94596
ethics at Hastings College of the Law.

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                   25
Pro Bono
by Craig Nevin

                                                                     circa 1978

                                              Maurice E. Huguet, Jr.

This month we have the pleasure of thank-         Services at the Martinez Senior Center,                Maury is also co-chair of his Club’s Relay
ing and honoring another quiet leader,            while similar programs are ongoing at                  for Life team (an overnight nationwide
Maurice E. Huguet, Jr. of Turner, Huguet          other locations in the county.                         running and walking event designed to
& Adams. Many readers know Maury as                    With unfailing dedication, Maury                  celebrate survivorship and raise money
one of our county’s best wills, trusts, probate   meets monthly with modest, low and                     for research and programs of the Ameri-
and estate planning attorneys. Those who          very-low income seniors. He answers                    can Cancer Society). “I enjoy my work with
are better acquainted with Maury Huguet           questions about wills and probate, and                 the Wills Program and find satisfaction know-
know that he was raised in Martinez,              prepares simple wills. These services,                 ing that each client has achieved his/her objec-
graduated from UC Berkeley (go BEARS!),           provided at no cost, help seniors who                  tive--and at the conclusion of my services has
obtained his law degree from Hastings             otherwise could not obtain legal advice.               peace of mind.”
College of Law and has been practicing            One can only imagine how many “inher-                      Attorneys like Maury make us proud
law in the same Martinez office since             itance horror stories” have been prevented             to be attorneys. If you would like informa-
January of 1962. When not working or              by Maury’s expert and calm advice.                     tion about volunteering, or if you know
volunteering, Maury enjoys fishing, read-                                    As
                                                  According to Maury, “ in private practice,             someone to spotlight, please contact:
ing, bicycling, playing bocce and bridge,         each client has his or her own interesting
and is an active CCCBA member.                    family fact situation and testamentary wishes,                     Craig S. Nevin
   What most readers may not know is              which need attention in their estate plan.”                     Nevin, Ramos & Steele
that for the past several years, Maury has             Why does he do it? As Maury puts it,                      700 Ygnacio Valley Road
continually volunteered his time and              “I find my volunteer work very fulfilling. I believe                  Suite 300
expertise through the Consult-An-Attorney         in giving back to the community, and I am                        Walnut Creek 94596
Program for Seniors and the Senior Center         also able to do so in various projects through the                  925.280.1700
Wills Program. Both programs are spon-            Martinez Kiwanis Club, including delivering                      925.935.1642 (fax)
sored by the Contra Costa Senior Legal            Meals on Wheels.” And if this wasn’t enough,          

                                                                                                             —     Wanted —
                                     ARLENE SEgAL                                                                             think
                                      Law	Offices	of	Arlene	Segal                                                    Matt Toth
                                                                                                                           as in
                                           Litigation	-	Mediation	                                                  Pedder, Hesseltine,
                                Trust	and	Estate	Disputes	•	Financial	Abuse                                         Walker & Toth, LLP
                                                                                                             oldest	partnership	in	Contra	Costa	County
                                                                                                                              (52	years)
                                                                                                             p 925.283-6816 • f 925.283-3683
          100 Pringle Avenue, Suite 780 • Walnut Creek, CA 94596                                                                      .O.
                                                                                                               3445 Golden Gate Way, P Box 479
               telephone	(925) 937-4224 • fax (925) 937-4273                                                        Lafayette, CA 94549-0479
                                                                                                                    av Martindale-hubbell

26                                                                                                                                       December 2009
The Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court                                                                           Mark V. Murphy
                                       by Matt Guichard

As a board member of the Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court, I had the privilege of receiving an
invitation to The American Inns of Court 2009 Celebration of Excellence at the U.S. Supreme Court in
Washington DC. The black-tie event took place on October 17, and it was a spectacular celebration. Even
the rain that evening could not put a damper on the party.

The American Inns of Court was established during the time Warren Burger was our Chief Justice. There are
now nearly 400 Inns throughout the United States, and all strive to exemplify legal excellence, civility,
ethics and professionalism in the practice of law. Our local Inn is now in its tenth year of existence (one of
                                                                                                                        personal Injury
our first events is pictured below).                                                                                  referrals requested
The celebration started with a very nice reception in two rooms of the Supreme Court building. It was a                 Over 25 years experience
pleasure speaking with such luminaries as the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, U.S. and state              representing injury victims.
appellate justices from all over the country, state court judges, as well as many accomplished lawyers.
                                                                                                                       Practice dedicated solely to
We then went upstairs in a very old elevator. The operator allowed only a few occupants for each trip. She                   Personal Injury.
advised us it was an original elevator and thus could handle just a few occupants. I thought perhaps it was
because opinions some years ago took up less than ten pages or so, while now they run into the hundreds                 Each client given prompt,
of pages. And perhaps that elevator transported a tome or two over the years.                                             courteous attention.

Dinner was held in a great hall, just outside the courtroom itself. After dinner, we adjourned to the courtroom               Antioch and
for the 2009 Program Award Presentations. The awards included The Warren Burger Prize, The Sandra Day                      San Ramon Offices
O’Connor Award, The A. Sherman Christensen Award, and The Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Award. (No, I did not
receive an award, but thank you for asking.)                                                                             925.552.9900
The award presentation was hosted by The Honorable Antonin Scalia. He did not stay long, as he had come
straight from the airport, having attended the dedication of the new Supreme Court Building in England. Did
you know it has taken England this long to establish its own Supreme Court and erect a building to house            Glenn & Dawson LLP
the court? (Up until now, the House of Lords has served as the Supreme Court in England.)                          Certified Public Accountants

If you’d like more information about our local Inn of Court, please contact me at              Donald A. glenn
Information about The American Inns of Court is available at u                                      CPA, ABV, CVA, CFE, CFF

                                                                                                                         Leslie O. Dawson
                                                                                                                           CPA, ABV, CVA, CFF

                                                                                                                            Specializing in
                                                                                                                   Litigation Support – family law
                                                                                                                         Business Valuations
                                                                                                                         Probate and Estates
                                                                                                                       Financial Investigations
                                                                                                                  Audit Tax and Accounting Services
                                                                                                                          for individuals and
                                                                                                                      privately owned companies.

                                                                                                                    323 Lennon Lane, First Floor
                                                                                                                     Walnut Creek, CA 94598

      The “Law Boat” 2000, featuring (clockwise, from top left):                                                    Telephone (925) 945-7722
Robert Anderson, Heidi Coad-Hermelin, Kelly Balamuth, John Warnlof,                                                  Facsimile (925) 932-1491
(now Judge) Barry Baskin, Andrea Cassidy, Judge John Minney, Ray Bergez

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                   27
local civil jury verdicts
                                                          by Matt Guichard


Alas, the budget crisis has hit our Civil         trial and settlement reports. I would hate     Scheer v. Mitchell, Case No. MSC 08-
Jury Verdicts Column directly in the              to see the end of our Jury Verdicts column,    00190, was tried before the Honorable
stomach. We will be unable to provide             so please help me on this one.                 Thomas Maddock. The plaintiff was
trial statistics from our local Superior                                                         represented by Edward Koons of Auburn,
Courts after this article. No one is to blame.        Our case reporting starts with Cambra      while the defendant was represented
It has just become a reality due to the           v. Chevron, tried before the Honorable         by Lawrence E. Smith of San Ramon.
fiscal constraints on our court system.           Barbara Zuniga. The plaintiff was rep-         Although the case was originally filed
    June 2009 had no reported civil jury          resented by Charles Bonner, Howard             in Placer County, it was transferred to
verdicts in our courts. July had six civil        Moore, Ernest Warren Jr., Cabral Bonner,       Contra Costa County.
jury verdicts, and three court trial verdicts.    Theo Lieu and Samuel Brown. The defen-            In this case, the defendant bought a
Defendants prevailed in four of those jury        dant was represented by Robert Eassa and       business from the plaintiff and her ex-
verdicts and all three of the court trial         Delia Isvoranu.                                husband for $300,000. The plaintiff and
verdicts, leaving the plaintiffs with two             The plaintiff, in a wrongful termination   her ex-husband forgave the $300,000,
civil jury verdicts.                              action against the defendant, alleged causes   but the defendant gave the ex-husband
    And now my plea: We need reports on           of action for wrongful termination, breach     a promissory note for $270,000 to be
all jury and court trials, and interesting        of contract, slander, invasion of privacy,     enforceable only if the plaintiff failed to
settlements. Not only am I seeing less            and intentional infliction of emotional        obtain the ex-husband’s release from a
reporting of case outcomes, but judges            distress. Specifically, the plaintiff — a 25   personal guarantee of the business’s
are asking me why their cases — which             year employee of the defendant — alleged       $600,000 line of credit. The plaintiff
have actually gone to verdict in their            he was terminated because of safety con-       did obtain the release, but the ex-husband
respective departments — are not appear-          cerns he raised regarding a project in         did not destroy the note. Instead, he
ing in this column. If I do not receive           England. Also, as a long-term foreign-         gave it to the plaintiff in a divorce settle-
trial reports, I cannot report on trials. If      service employee, he alleged he was not an     ment, and the plaintiff sued to collect
I do not receive settlement reports, I can-       “at will” employee, and therefore could        on the principal, interest and attorney
not report on settlements.                        only be terminated for cause. The defendant    fees, claiming she was a “holder in due
    Now it will be even more difficult to         alleged there were no safety issues and the    course.”
obtain reports on case outcomes, as I will        plaintiff was an “at will” employee.              The plaintiff demanded $150,000 to
not have the monthly statistics from which            The plaintiff asked the jury to award      settle. (Why not the entire $270,000?)
I can identify attorneys’ names. Our prac-        $14 million in damages, including emo-         The defendant offered $36,000.
tice was to contact the attorneys listed in       tional distress, lost wages and benefits,         The jury found the plaintiff was not a
the trial statistics and request trial reports.   and punitive damages.                          holder in due course, and the defendant
I welcome any thoughts you might have                 The jury returned a defense verdict on     had a valid defense based on the agree-
with respect to a new means of gathering          all claims.                                    ment with the ex-husband.

28                                                                                                                            December 2009
Freitas v. City of Pleasant Hill, et al, Case      Two defendants offered $100,000 by         formed plastic surgery and liposuction.
No. C07-02858, was tried before the             way of a CCP 998, and another defendant       Although the plaintiff had no follow-up
Honorable Barry Baskin. James J. Fishel         offered an additional $70,000 by way of       surgery to correct any problems, she did
of Martinez represented the plaintiff, while    a CCP 998.                                    consult other medical providers relating
Peter P Edrington of Walnut Creek rep-
        .                                          On the first day of trial, the plaintiff   to issues that allegedly resulted from the
resented the defendants.                        demanded $350,000 while the defendants        defendant’s work on her.
    The case arose out of an incident at        jointly offered $250,000. Since that didn’t       The plaintiff asked the jury to award
College Park High School in Pleasant Hill       get it done, the case proceeded to trial.     $300,000 in non-economic damages and
on January 4, 2007. A student was stabbed       The plaintiff asked the jury to award         $30,000 in economic damages. The
in a school restroom. Eyewitnesses saw the      $2,544,000 to $3,344,000, plus pain and       defendant asked for a defense verdict.
assailant flee the scene. The plaintiff was     suffering. The defendants asked for a             Interestingly, the jury found that the
identified by these eyewitnesses as the         defense verdict. The jury returned a          plaintiff did not give her informed consent
assailant, and based on their statements,       defense verdict.                              (9-3) but then found that a reasonable
the plaintiff was arrested. Ten days later,                                                   patient informed of all the risks, including
another individual, who looked very similar     Van Hoesen v. Anthony, Case No. CGC-06-       those that occurred in her case, would
to the plaintiff, confessed to the stabbing.    456359, was also tried in San Francisco.      have consented to the surgery (10-2), thus
    The plaintiff alleged that the Pleasant     The Honorable Tovar Mason presided.           rendering a defense verdict. u
Hill police officers wrongfully arrested        Allan Lerch of San Francisco represented
the plaintiff, falsely imprisoned him in the                                  .
                                                the plaintiff and Robert W Hodges of          — Matthew P. Guichard is a principal in
county jail for 10 days, and wrongfully         the McNamara Firm represented the             Guichard, Teng & Portello, APC. Please
disclosed his name to the media.                defendant doctor.                             send case information to: 1800 Sutter Street,
    The defendants argued that the strik-          The plaintiff in this case alleged that    Suite 730, Concord 94520 or contact him
ing resemblance of the plaintiff and the        the defendant doctor was negligent in his     at 925.459-8440, fax 925.459-8445 or
perpetrator justified the on-scene ID by        care and treatment of her when he per-
two eyewitnesses.
    The plaintiff demanded $150,000 and
the defendants offered $25,000.

   The jury concluded the officers acted
reasonably and returned a defense verdict.
Richard Nolan v. Lafayette Oaks Associates,
L.P., et al, Case No. CGC-07-463807,
                                                                            and     MEdiaTiOn CEnTEr
was tried in San Francisco Superior Court,
although the alleged incident occurred in
Lafayette. The Honorable John K.
Stewart presided. Steven R. Jacobsen
represented the plaintiff. Martin J.
                                                          Medi-Cal Planning / Eligibility
Ambacher and Wendy Wilcox represented
the defendants.
                                                                    Estate Planning
   The plaintiff, a 68-year-old orthopedic
surgeon, alleged he tripped and fell at a
                                                                      Elder Law
common staircase at a Lafayette apartment
complex, tumbling down 14 stairs. Con-                                                                        ron Mullin
struction work was apparently ongoing                     note
                                                     lease dress!
at the complex at the time of the fall. In          P Ad
his negligence and premises liability               new
                                                                 Willows Office Park p 1355 Willow Way, Suite 110
action, the plaintiff alleged, among other
                                                                            Concord, California 94520
things: uneven surface and poor lighting.
                                                              Telephone (925) 798-3413 p Facsimile (925) 798-3118
The plaintiff claimed injuries to his left
knee and lower back.

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                      29
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                                                                Large executive office available in             time – two hours per month for a two-year
 Law Offices of David M. Lederman . . . . . .25                                                                 term. We need your expertise in employ-
                                                                established family law firm. Has park-like
 Law Offices of Gary D. Sparks . . . . . . . . .19              view from wall to wall office windows.          ment law and contracts. Contact the Exec.
 Mechanics Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23         Located in a Class A building at 2700           Dir. at
 Mullin Law Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29        Ygnacio Valley Rd and includes secretarial           Walnut cReek - laRge coRneR office
 Mark V. Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
                                                                area, storage, conference room, and copier.     Large corner office immediately available
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 Nourot Glass Studio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15          925.943-1500.                                   in A-Class office building close to Walnut
 Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP . . 26,30                                                               Creek BART. $800 per month. Secretarial
 Scott Valley Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14        961 Ygnacio ValleY Road, Walnut cReek
                                                                                                                workstation and second office also avail-
                                                                Share building with 7 solos. One office
 Young Design & Production. . . . . . . . . . .22                                                               able, if needed, for additional charge. Call
                                                                available. All amenities. 925.938-2460.
                                                                                                                Tina, 925.933-5800.
 Michael J. Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
 Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP . . . . . . .30                       Walnut cReek office space to shaRe                      lafaYette - cReekside setting
                                                                700 Ygnacio. Large corner window office         Single office for rent. Creekside setting.
 Zandonella Reporting Service . . . . . . . . .31
                                                                plus secretarial station, smaller window        Free parking. Old established law firm.
                                                                office plus joint use of copier / file, lunch   All the amenities – library, conference rm,
                                                                and conference rooms. Parking included.         fax, etc. Call Janelle, 925.283-6816.
                                                                Call 925.472-8000.
     To place a either display or classified ad,
     please contact Young Design & Production                                            got office space?           professional announcements
     at 925.229-2929 or
                                                                We are looking for a small office to
                                                                sublet with receptionist and conference                  pRoBate paRalegal to attoRneYs
     Display ads start as low as $80 per month;
                                                                room availability. Please call Blackie or       Joanne C. McCarthy. 2204 Concord Blvd.
     classifieds run as little as $36 per ad.
                                                                Jane Burak at 925.933-4500.                     Concord, CA 94520. Call 925.689-9244.

                                                                    Youngman, ericsson & Low, LLP
                                                                    1981 North Broadway • Suite 300
                                                                    Walnut Creek, CA 94596

                                                                                            Tax Lawyers.

                                                                                                                             (925) 930-6000

30                                                                                                                                           December 2009
Contra Costa Lawyer   31

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