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September 16 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 16, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Berkeley law school ex-dean sues over sex harassment probe

The University of California, Berkeley law school's former dean has filed a lawsuit accusing school officials of singling him out because of his race for a second investigation of sexual harassment allegations. Sujit Choudhry says in a federal discrimination lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco that the University of California has treated white faculty members and administrators found to have committed sexual misconduct more leniently while threatening him with a campus ban and loss of tenure. — The Associated Press

 

Senate committee approves nomination of California judge to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-7 Thursday to send to the Senate the nomination of U.S. District Judge Lucy Haeran Koh for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. “This is a nominee with very strong, impeccable credentials, a distinguished track record as a prosecutor, private practitioner and a judge,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said before the vote.By Sarah D. Wire — Los Angeles Times


Former Marin lawyer pleads guilty to $2.5 million investor fraud

A former lawyer from Marin County has pleaded guilty to defrauding investors out of more than $2.5 million. James Seltzer, 67, of Belvedere, who specialized in securities law, admitted victimizing more than 10 investors between October 2007 and May 2011. By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle


Sex scandal victim’s attorneys charge ‘obstruction at highest levels’

They arrived with security guards, as if to convey the tenuous plight of their client, a sexually exploited 19-year-old woman at the center of a sex scandal involving at least 28 law enforcement officers from seven Northern California agencies. They spoke with conviction for 30 minutes in front of sun-splashed Oakland City Hall on Thursday, asking obvious questions and tossing conspiracy theories to the wind. By Gary Peterson — East Bay Times

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MEET THE CANDIDATES: SCCBA 2017 Officer Elections

Posted By Paula Collis, Thursday, September 15, 2016

The electronic ballots will be distributed to all active SCCBA members on Wednesday, September 21, and must be submitted to the Bar Association office by Friday, September 30.  Because Kate Wilson, current President-Elect, was appointed by the Board of Trustees to complete the year after the position was left vacant, the President will be one of the positions on the ballot for 2017.  

 

PRESIDENT

 

Eugene Flemate

 


LAW SCHOOL: University of San Francisco School of Law

Admitted to the California State Bar December 1973

Law Offices of Eugene Flemate, San Jose, CA 

 

MY PLATFORM:

I pledge to increase membership.  There are currently 10,448 active attorneys in Santa Clara County registered with the State Bar.  However, our Bar Association membership is only about 2,000 members.  I pledge to increase that number by personally recruiting 50 new members and asking the individual members of our Board of Trustees to recruit at least 20 new members each.

I pledge to be your ambassador with the courts, the State Bar, specialty and regional bar associations and with the Association's own sections and committees.  I will, along with our new Board of Trustees, provide the opportunity to voice our concerns on attorney professionalism and the delivery of legal services to our County residents.

I will promote professionalism and collegiality among our members by seeking that all our members pledge to adhere to our Code of Professionalism.

I will promote more social interaction among our members.  I will seek additional opportunities for our members to get to know each other and each other’s respective fields of practice.  I believe in frequent social events at low or no cost to encourage the gathering of our members where litigation or negotiation is not the required interaction.

LEGAL PRACTICE EXPERIENCE:

  • 43 years as a practicing attorney  
  • 37 years of practice in Santa Clara County
  • Former legal aid lawyer with five years experience as Directing Attorney of the Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County
  • Three years practice with Littler Mendelson in San Francisco
  • 31 years small firm experience with the Law Offices of Eugene Flemate

COUNTY BAR EXPERIENCE:

  • Long time member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Current trustee of the Santa Clara Count Bar Association Board of Trustees.
  • Current member of SCCBA Finance Committee
  • Current member of the SCCBA ad hoc Subcommittee on Governance.
  • Former member of the SCCBA Judiciary Committee
  • Former member of the California State Bar=s Judicial Nomination Evaluation (JNE) Commission
  • Current President and founding member of the Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyers Association
  • Current member of the La Raza Lawyers Charitable Foundation Board of Trustees (Provides Scholarships to Deserving Law Students)
  • Volunteer for many years with the Volunteers in Parole Program in Santa Clara County (Awarded Outstanding Attorney Volunteer for 1998)

 

Kate Wilson

 


LAW SCHOOL: Santa Clara University School of Law

Admitted to the California State Bar April 2007

Extreme Networks, San Jose, CA 

 

2016 Santa Clara County Bar Association (“SCCBA”) President Elect. I am currently seeking election as the 2017 SCCBA President because I would like to continue to serve our legal community through the SCCBA and I believe my extensive experience will be a valuable asset to our association as we celebrate our centennial anniversary and implement our new strategic plan. 

I have been an active member of the SCCBA for a decade and for the entirety of my legal career.  Highlights of my involvement with the SCCBA include:

  • Appointed by the Board of Trustees and serving as the 2016 SCCBA President Elect
  • Elected and served as the 2016 SCCBA Treasurer from January 2016 through August 2016
  • Elected and served as the 2015 SCCBA Secretary
  • Served as a member of the Executive Committee in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016
  • Served as a Trustee for six (6) years 
  • Served as a member of the Finance Committee for six (6) years
  • Served as Chair of the Civil Practice Committee
  • Served as Chair of the Barristers’ Committee
  • Served as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee
  • Served as a member of the E-Discovery Task Force
  • Served as a member of the Professional Rules Revisions Task Force
  • Participated in and completed the SCCBA Barristers’ Leadership Program
  • Spoken at and moderated several CLE presentations sponsored by SCCBA committees and sections
  • Received the SCCBA Barrister of the Year Award in 2012

I am currently the Director and Associate General Counsel of Commercial Litigation and Global Employment Law for Extreme Networks, Inc. where my in-house practice focuses on commercial litigation, employment law and general corporate matters. Prior to joining Extreme, I maintained a solo law practice for approximately 1½ years and before that I was a litigation and employment law associate at Berliner Cohen for approximately 7 years.  

I believe that both my professional and SCCBA experience make me well qualified to serve as the 2017 SCCBA President.  Through my work with the bar, I have come to clearly understand all aspects of our association, its important role in our overall legal community and what is necessary to run this organization.  As an attorney I have experience as a solo practitioner, a member of a mid-sized law firm and in-house allowing me to personally understand the needs and issues facing a broad range of our membership.  

If elected by the membership as the 2017 SCCBA President, I plan for a year focused on Celebration and Implementation-- Celebration of our rich history, vast achievements and vibrant membership and Implementation of our Strategic Plan that has been carefully developed over the last few years to ensure that our association continues to thrive and serve our community for another 100 years.

I would appreciate your support of my candidacy for the 2017 SCCBA President position and I would be honored to serve our association and the legal community in this capacity.

Currently endorsed by 5 past SCCBA Presidents.

John Mlnarik, Dianne Sweeney, Steve Haley, Mindy Morton, Shannon Stein 

 


  

PRESIDENT-ELECT

 

Kevin Hammon

 


LAW SCHOOL: UCLA School of Law

Admitted to the California State Bar November 2004

Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, San Jose, CA 

 

Kevin Hammon has enjoyed serving as the SCCBA Secretary in 2016, a Member of the Board of Trustees since 2011, Chair of the Lawyer Referral Service Committee in 2014, Member of the SCCBA’s Executive Committee in 2011, 2012, and 2016, and the Chair of the Law Related Education Committee in 2010.  Through the years, Kevin has had the pleasure of working with SCCBA C.E.O. Chris Burdick, SCCBA staff, and a variety of current and former SCCBA Officers and Trustees.    

Since 2004, Kevin has been involved in Santa Clara County’s annual High School Mock Trial Tournament.  Kevin has served as the Tournament Administrator for the past four years.  The Tournament represents a partnership between the SCCBA, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Over 100 attorneys volunteer their time as scorers.  The Bench provides courtrooms and judges.  Over 400 students participate in the program, serving as attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs, and court clerks. The reviews from teachers, attorneys, students, and staff have been overwhelmingly positive.  

Since 2008, Kevin has been a lawyer in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Child Dependency Unit.  Kevin worked in the County Counsel’s Litigation Unit between 2007 and 2008.  Between 2004 and 2007, Kevin was a litigation attorney at McManis Faulkner.  

 

 

TREASURER

 

Gabriel Gregg

 


LAW SCHOOL: UCLA School of Law

Admitted to the California State Bar December 1996

Robinson & Wood, Inc., San Jose, CA 

 

I am running for SCCBA Treasurer. 

It seems beneficial to the association and the membership to have direct member participation in the financial aspects of our bar association, including budgetary decision-making. To that end, I agreed to serve on the SCCBA finance committee this year. My developed opinion is that the SCCBA is prudently and efficiently financially-managed. As such, I see my role as Treasurer next year—frankly—as continuing the necessary, and effective, oversight work of previous treasurers, and to help coordinate responses to any unusual developments. 2017 will be SCCBA’s centenary year. It should be an unusually eventful time for the SCCBA and its members, including financially, and I’m looking forward to participating as an officer in many planned and anticipated celebrations and activities.

I am currently serving on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee, where I have also served in previous years. I also previously served as Chair of the Business Law/Litigation section and on the SCCBA Fair Elections Commission.

I am a litigation partner at Robinson & Wood, Inc. in San Jose. I previously practiced at other law firms, including Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles and San Francisco where I started my career after UCLA School of Law and a federal clerkship. It has been an honor and a personal pleasure to engage in SCCBA-related activities over the years, and especially to interact with the many fine local attorneys that also take the time to participate. If you’ve been considering getting more involved, you should make a move!

 

 

 

BOARD OF TRUSTEE POSITIONS ON BALLOT

(Two Year Term)

San Jose Trustees: Joshua Borger, Lori Costanzo, Kathryn Diemer

Morgan Hill Trustees: Sue Saign

Palo Alto Trustees: Hogene Choi, Golnesa Monazamfar



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September 15 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 15, 2016

New state law expands tenant privacy in eviction suits

Tenants who fight off their landlords’ attempts to evict them can keep their names sealed from other property owners, improving their prospects of renting a future residence or obtaining credit, under a new state law sponsored by a Bay Area legislator. AB2819 by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, expands confidentiality provisions in a current law that seals case records for 60 days when a landlord seeks to evict a tenant for such reasons as nonpayment of rent or damaging property.By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle

 

A new study by the Civil Justice Association of California details the volume of product liability cases that out-of-state plaintiffs filed in Los Angeles and San Francisco against pharmaceutical companies between January 2010 and May 2016. In the 64-month period, the study shows that there were a total of 2,919 cases, with 25,503 plaintiffs. By Seth Sandronsky — Northern California Record


San Diego Justice Alex C. McDonald, who served on the state 4th District Court of Appeal for more than two decades, died unexpectedly on Sept. 8, the court announced. McDonald had gone to work at the appeals court that day but died that night after leaving work. By Greg Moran — San Diego Union-Tribune

 

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September 14 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Supreme Court denies bid to expand early voting in Ohio

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a plea from Ohio Democrats to stay a lower court decision and add more early voting days in the presidential battleground state. Without noted dissent, the justices left intact a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that said the state already provided more early voting than the majority of states. By Robert Barnes — The Washington Post

 

As California moves to soften criminal penalties, sexual crimes are the exception

If you’ve sold your body, you deserve leniency. If your felony was low-level enough, you deserve to vote. By Jeremy B. White — The Sacramento Bee


No more immigration scams! LA county cracking down

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to license immigration consultants in an effort to crack down on unscrupulous non- lawyers who charge exorbitant fees and victimize immigrant families. Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl called for an ordinance that would require licenses, set a maximum fee for preparing immigration forms and spell out penalties for doling out legal advice without a law degree. By Stephanie Michaud — MyNewsLA.com


Georgia's voter-registration process violates the law, lawsuit charges

Georgia's voter-registration process violates the Voting Rights Act and has prevented tens of thousands of residents, mostly minorities, from registering to vote, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday. Under a policy implemented in 2010, people aren't added to the voter rolls if identifying information on their applications doesn't exactly match information in databases maintained by the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration, the lawsuit says. — The Associated Press

 

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September 12 Digest

Posted By Paula Collis, Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Yelp is not liable for bad 'star' ratings of businesses, court rules

Yelp Inc.'s star rating system does not make the San Francisco company liable for negative reviews posted on its site because it relies on material posted by users, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, dismissing a libel lawsuit filed against Yelp by the owner of a Washington state locksmith company. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the star rating system that Yelp features is based on users' input and is not content created by the company, whose site helps guide people to restaurants, plumbers and more.
The Associated Press


In historic move, California expands overtime to farmworkers

Farmworkers in the nation's largest agricultural state will be entitled to the same overtime pay as most other hourly workers under a law that California Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that he had signed. The new law, which will be phased in beginning in 2019, is the first of its kind in the nation to end the 80-year-old practice of applying separate labor rules to agricultural laborers.
The Associated Press

 

California's Citizens United ballot measure: Who's for it, who's against it and what it could really do

California voters will get to weigh in on the flood of money in politics this November through a ballot proposition that supporters say sends a strong message and detractors say does nothing much at all. Proposition 59 is part of the uphill fight against the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision, which said money spent to influence voters that isn’t funneled through a candidate’s campaign is free speech, and the federal government cannot prohibit corporations and labor unions from spending money that way.
 -- Los Angeles Times

 

Obama to veto bill allowing 9/11 lawsuits against Saudi Arabia

The White House said on Monday that President Obama would veto legislation approved by Congress that would allow the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, escalating a bipartisan dispute with lawmakers over the measure. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Obama “does intend to veto this legislation,” and would work to persuade lawmakers in both parties to change course.
-- The New York Times

 

Chronicle recommends: Yes on Prop. 63

Proposition 63 would tighten a set of sensible gun-control laws recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and enact others that state legislators have failed to pass. “This closes all kinds of loopholes,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a chief promoter of the initiative.
San Francisco Chronicle

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September 9 Digest

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, September 9, 2016

Bill would require state courts to decide traffic amnesty claims within 90 days

A bill that would have allowed potentially millions of low-income Californians with traffic debt to regain or keep a valid driver’s license has been scaled back significantly to focus instead on expediting the state’s temporary traffic amnesty program. Gov. Jerry Brown has characterized the traffic court system as a “hellhole of desperation” for the poor.
 -- KQED

 

One of the few attorneys to force a gun maker out of business reflects on his case and the American firearms culture

For Californians, this has been a pretty good summer for gun control. In July, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills that put some common-sense restrictions on guns: background checks for ammunition purchases, outlawing the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, closing the “bullet button loophole” that allowed an end-run around California’s ban on assault rifles.
 -- Los Angeles Times

 

California court overturns death sentence over excused juror

The California Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence of a man convicted of murder in the slaying of three people during a 1994 robbery in Salinas. The court in a unanimous ruling Thursday said the judge presiding over Daniel Covarrubias' trial wrongly excused a prospective juror after the man indicated in a juror questionnaire that he opposed the death penalty.
The Associated Press

 

Prosecutors to announce results of criminal probe in Bay Area police sex scandal

A months-long investigation of a scandal that rocked the Oakland Police Department will come to a head Friday when the Alameda County district attorney's office is expected to announce whether criminal charges will be filed in connection with claims that officers had sex with a self-described teenage prostitute, in some instances when she was too young to consent. Alameda County Dist. Atty. Nancy E. O'Malley will make her announcement at noon in Oakland, completing the latest chapter in a controversy that has threatened the department's hopes of ending 13 years of federal oversight and caused a major shake-up in the agency’s command staff.
 -- Los Angeles Times

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September 7 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

State supreme court reinstates disbarred ex-prosecutor

In a rare action, the California Supreme Court voted 6-1 to reinstate the license of a disbarred former San Francisco prosecutor after his attorneys showed evidence he had recovered from the drug addiction that destroyed his career. Robert Roland, 45, who was disbarred in 2007 following his conviction on federal drug charges, was notified Tuesday that he can now practice law again, according to his attorney, Joanna Sheridan.
-- NBC Bay Area

 

On death row, condemned inmates offer surprising views on effort to end death penalty in California

California voters face two capital punishment choices on the November ballot: End the death penalty or speed the way for execution. On death row, inmates are conflicted on the prospects of one-shot appeals, mandated lawyer assignments and simplified execution rules meant to rekindle a capital punishment system that hasn’t executed anyone in a decade, or the simple alternative, throw out the death penalty in favor of life without parole.
 -- Los Angeles Times

 

After months behind bars, the face of the armed Oregon occupation goes on trial

For weeks in Oregon’s rugged backcountry, the two brothers were the face of the armed occupation of a wildlife refuge — two men dressed in flannel and cowboys hats with copies of the Constitution jammed in their breast pockets. Now Ammon and Ryan Bundy — behind bars since the occupation wound down after the shooting death of one protester and the systematic arrests of others — are headed to trial in Portland for their alleged leading role in taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
 -- Los Angeles Times

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September 6 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ex-Stanford swimmer registers as sex offender in Ohio after assault

Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner has registered as a sex offender in his home state of Ohio, following his conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015 and public outrage over his six-month jail sentence. The controversy over a sentence seen as too short and over the fact Turner, a one-time U.S. Olympic hopeful, was released early has stoked intense debate about sexual assault on U.S. college campuses and beyond.
Reuters


State Judicial Council: ‘We are out of money’ for court construction

State judicial officials voted last month to delay more than two dozen courthouse construction projects in 26 counties, saying budget shortfalls have drained the money needed to fund them. The plan that Judicial Council of California officials approved at their Aug. 26 meeting allows local courts to complete the project work already begun – construction, site acquisition, working drawings, or, as in Sacramento, preliminary design plans for its proposed $493 million project near the city’s railyard – before the council halts further work while it seeks funding.
 -- The Sacramento Bee

 

California wants to make it easier to prosecute old rape cases. But how much would a new law really help?

Dozens of women say that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them, but the entertainer faces criminal charges in only one case, largely because of legal deadlines. The deadlines, or statutes of limitation, are intended to ensure that cases are investigated promptly and defendants are tried when memories are still fresh and evidence available.
 -- Los Angeles Times

 

UC Berkeley law school dean accused of sexual harrassment returns

The return of a professor named Sujit Choudry who went on indefinite leave following allegations of sexual harassment has returned and that's stirring up questions with law school students. "Obviously someone like him shouldn't be able to come back here as if nothing happened, so I think that's definitely unfair," Berkeley law student Sadaf Tabatabai said.
ABC 7 News

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September 2 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 6, 2016

State Bar asks high court for authority to collect dues

With the Legislature deadlocked on the State Bar’s proper role, the legal organization turned to the California Supreme Court on Thursday, for the first time in nearly two decades, for authority to stay afloat by collecting dues from the state’s 243,000 lawyers. The Assembly and state Senate adjourned for the year Wednesday without agreeing on a bill that would provide the bar with its source of operating income for 2017.
 -- San Francisco Chronicle

 

Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner released from jail

Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a campus fraternity party, was released from a Santa Clara County jail early Friday after serving half of a six-month sentence. Turner, 21, walked out of the front doors of the Main Jail in San Jose at 6:07 a.m.
 -- San Francisco Chronicle

 

Chuck Grassley reassures Republicans he’s still against confirming Merrick Garland

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, insisted on Wednesday that he doesn’t plan on having a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland during Congress’ lame-duck session if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. During a question-and-answer session at the Sioux City Rotary Club on Monday, Grassley said he was personally opposed to having hearings if Clinton won the election, but added that he wouldn’t get in the way if a majority of senators disagreed with him.
 -- The Huffington Post

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August 31 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bill requiring 50 hours unpaid work from new lawyers vetoed

Legislation to require incoming lawyers in California to spend at least 50 hours in unpaid legal service to the poor has been vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who said it would add to the burdens of today’s debt-saddled law school graduates. Brown also vetoed a bill Monday that was intended to protect the privacy of prospective jurors in criminal cases by prohibiting judges and lawyers from using the jurors’ full names in open court.
 -- San Francisco Chronicle

  

SF files suit against Bernal Heights immigration consultant alleging fraud

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has filed suit against a Bernal Heights firm alleged to have misled clients into thinking they had hired an immigration attorney and collecting fees for work they had not performed, city officials said today. The lawsuit filed Aug. 15 against Lacayo Associates and its principals, Leonard and Ada Lacayo, alleges that the tax preparation and immigration consulting firm defrauded clients by falsely presenting Leonard Lacayo, a notary public, as an attorney and immigration consultant.
Bay City News

 

Court costs entrap nonwhite, poor juvenile offenders

When Dequan Jackson had his only brush with the law, at 13, he tried to do everything right. Charged with battery for barging into a teacher while horsing around in a hallway, he pleaded guilty with the promise that after one year of successful probation, the conviction would be reduced to a misdemeanor.
 -- The New York Times

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1/22/2018
IP Year in Review

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Erica R. Yew2016 Jurist of the Year
Mariel BlockBarrister of the Year 2016

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