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News for, and by, our local legal community, curated and created by the Santa Clara County Bar. The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, its members, its employees, or its governing board.

 

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Lawyer Off Hook for Improperly Charged Fees

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

A suspended, bankrupt California lawyer need not pay the nearly $6,000 she improperly charged a client for residential mortgage modification services, the Ninth Circuit ruled.

When a client identified in court documents only as "Clark" retained Irvine, Calif.-based attorney Marilyn Scheer to help modify his home mortgage loan in 2010, he paid her $5,500 before any change occurred.

But Clark soon fired Scheer and tried to get his money back under California's mandatory attorney fee arbitration program.

The arbitrator found in 2011 that although Scheer had good intentions, she violated state law by receiving advanced fees for residential mortgage modification services, so she must return the improperly collected fees, plus the $275 arbitration filing fee, for a total of $5,775.

Read the whole story at Courthouse News Service

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California courts step up oversight of psychotropic medication use in foster care

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

California's judicial leaders on Friday took a major step toward reversing the foster care system's rampant use of psychiatric drugs, approving a slate of new safeguards to make juvenile courts here the country's most careful and inquisitive monitors of psychiatric care for abused and neglected children.

Beginning as soon as July, doctors will have to make a more convincing case to receive court approval to prescribe the powerful drugs too often used to control difficult behaviors in traumatized children. And for the first time, foster children will be offered greater opportunity to speak for themselves about how the medications make them feel.

"Why do these children need medication? Is there something else we can do?" Judge Jerilyn Borack of Sacramento's juvenile court, who helped craft the new rules, told the state's Judicial Council, which approved them Friday. "That's what we've tried to address."

Read the whole story at Mercury News

 

 

 

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Following legal malpractice trends helps to manage risk

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

Reviewing rules of professional conduct and advisory opinions is a good way for attorneys to ensure that they maintain an ethical practice. There are also steps that attorneys can take or best practices to follow to reduce their risk of legal malpractice claims. One factor that influences best practices for claim avoidance or risk reduction comes from the data surrounding legal malpractice claims filed in court. The most recent data from the ABA covers years 2008 through 2011, and was released by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability. The committee has expressed its intent to issue its next study of legal malpractice claims in fall 2016, covering the years 2012 through 2015.

While awaiting the new results for 2012 through 2015, it behooves attorneys to look back at the trends from the prior report, covering the worst years of the economic crisis. This helps prepare attorneys for potential malpractice claims and identify more ways to avoid them altogether.

 

Read the whole story at Daily Journal

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House candidate Dunn dealt setback in bar lawsuit, but battle continues

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

It’s probably not going to help Joe Dunn’s congressional bid that he was fired from his last big job, executive director of the State Bar of California. But it would neutralize the issue if a lawsuit proves he was let go in retaliation for blowing the whistle on fellow bar officials for alleged improprieties.

So far, not so good on that front, as Dunn was dealt a setback in his wrongful termination suit earlier this month.

But the fight isn’t over.

An arbitrator, retired U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Edward Infante, dismissed Dunn’s five claims – but said he could resubmit three if he provided more information to support the allegations. Dunn attorneyMark Geragos said he plans to file the amended claims by the May 1 deadline and expects a previously scheduled Aug. 10 arbitration hearing to proceed as planned.

Read the whole story at OC Register

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Panel recommends parole for ex-Manson follower Van Houten

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

Leslie Van Houten sat before the California panel that would soon recommend her parole as a slight woman with shoulder-length gray hair, a wrinkled face and glasses, a far cry to from the rebellious teen she was when she joined the cult of Charles Manson more than 40 years ago and helped kill a wealthy grocer and his wife.

At a five-hour hearing she described in detail how she descended from an idyllic childhood into psychedelic drug use and eventually found Manson, whom she described as a "Christ-like man that had all the answers" for a young woman whose parents' divorce had left her feeling abandoned and angry.

On Thursday she convinced the state panel that the murderous young woman she had been was a long-distant memory and that she was now fit to be paroled. She has completed college degrees and been a model inmate.

Read the whole story at News Channel 10

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Firms overcharged Californians $1.1 billion during energy crisis, judge says

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

An administrative law judge in Washington D.C. slammed two energy companies, saying they overcharged California consumers for long-term contracts during the state's energy crisis of 2000-2001, with a tab exceeding $1.1 billion, including interest.

"The public was clearly, palpably, seriously harmed by the energy crisis," said Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Judge Steven A. Glazer in a 219-page ruling released late Wednesday that charged Shell Energy North America and Iberdrola Renewables of gouging the state.

Glazer ruled the companies misled state officials over the negotiations of long-term electricity deals, with Shell charging $779 million more than it should have and Iberdrola charging $371 million more.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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California Court Hands Unions Victory, Reverses Judge Who Said Teacher Tenure Unconstitutional

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 18, 2016

A California appeals court handed teacher unions a big victory Thursday by reversing a trial judge's ruling that found tenure deprived students of a good education.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal said the plaintiffs failed to show tenure and other provisions of the education code were unconstitutional.

"The court's job is merely to determine whether the statutes are constitutional, not if they are 'a good idea,'" presiding Justice Roger Boren wrote.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge had ruled two years ago that five provisions of the state education code -- including policies allowing teachers to receive tenure within two years and be dismissed during layoffs based on seniority -- were unconstitutional because they deprived some of the state's 6.2 million students of a quality education by keeping more senior, but less effective, teachers on the job.


Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/California-Court-Hands-Unions-Victory-Reverses-Judge-Who-Said-Teacher-Tenure-Unconstitutional-375776301.html#ixzz46CzYKf7X 
Follow us: @nbcsandiego on Twitter | NBCSanDiego on Facebook

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JNE Recruitment for 2017 Commission; May 6th application deadline

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 14, 2016

The State Bar of California’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission (JNE) is recruiting State Bar lawyers and public members to apply to serve on the 2017 JNE Commission.     There will be 15 vacancies on the 2017 JNE Commission. If you are interested, please submit applications by May 6th, 2016.

 

The mission of JNE is to assist the Governor in the judicial selection process and, thereby, promote a California judiciary of quality and integrity.  Independent, comprehensive, accurate and fair evaluations of candidates for judicial appointment and nomination are critical.

 

As a lawyer member, you must be an active member of the State Bar and in practice at least 10 years.    We are also interested in non-lawyer members of the public who have the skills and experience to assess candidates for judicial appointment in a thorough, objective and professional manner.

 

The application form and information on the commission are available at the State Bar's website:  http://cc.calbar.ca.gov/CommitteesCommissions/OtherEntityAppointments/JudicialNomineesEvaluation.aspx, or from the Bar's Appointments Office, 415-538-2370; fax: 415-538-2305.   The email is appointments@calbar.ca.gov

 

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Sacramento prosecutors help force Goldman Sachs to pay $5 billion

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 14, 2016

The numbers alone are staggering: $13 billion paid out by JPMorgan Chase to atone for its role in the economic meltdown of 2008, and more than $5 billion to be doled out by Goldman Sachs.

Hundreds of millions of dollars from those banking giants will flow back to the pension funds of California’s state workers and teachers, with millions more directed to help distressed homeowners in Sacramento and 24 other Central Valley counties ravaged by the housing collapse.

Read the whole story at SacBee

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State attorney arrested in SLO courtroom gets lesser charge

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 14, 2016

The California Deputy Attorney General accused of resisting a police officer after a rough take-down by bailiffs in a San Luis Obispo courtroom in October pleaded no contest last Thursday to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace.

Jennie Mariah Kelly, 49, of Thousand Oaks, will pay a $1,000 fine and complete court-ordered anger management classes.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed the original misdemeanor charge.

Read the whole story at The Tribune

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more Calendar

4/24/2018
How to Draft a Custody Order

4/26/2018
Diversity Happy Hour

5/2/2018
Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

Recent Recognitions
Steven B. Haley2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year

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