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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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Two California Judges on Obama’s Short List for Supreme Court

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2016

Two California judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit are reportedly on the Obama administration’s short list to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Both Jacqueline H. Nguyen and Paul J. Watford are graduates of UCLA Law School, and if they were to be nominated and confirmed — decidedly uncertain on both counts — they would be the first from their law school to serve on the nation’s highest court. (Chief Justice Earl Warren attended UC Berkeley).

Nguyen and Watford were nominated to the 9th Circuit by President Obama and confirmed in 2012 after their nominations stalled amid partisan bickering over judges, which continues to this day.

Read the whole story at KQED

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Pension to pay widower in same-sex marriage case, lawyer says

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2016

A union pension fund has reversed course and will pay widower’s benefits to a San Francisco man whose late husband was a union member, the man’s lawyer says.

Robert Pritchard had sued the pension plan of Stationary Engineers Local 39 of the International Union of Operating Engineers in January for refusing to recognize his marriage to Thomas Conwell or pay him benefits after Conwell died of a brain disease in February 2012. The pension plan told Pritchard that Conwell had been “single at the time of his retirement and death.”

Pritchard’s lawsuit noted that the pension plan had defined a spouse as “a person to whom a participant is legally married,” without reference to gender. The two had wed in 2008 after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in California.

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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Disorder in the court: Defense attorney injured after courthouse argument with DA investigator

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a courthouse fight that broke out Wednesday between a District Attorney’s investigator and a defense attorney who triumphed over prosecutors in a recent case involving jailhouse informants.

The investigator and attorney got into an argument that turned physical around 10 a.m. in a hallway outside a 10th floor courtroom, Lt. Mark Stichter said. He didn’t know what prompted the argument.

But defense attorney James Crawford said he was attacked by a DA investigator he didn’t recognize.

“My back was to him and the next thing I know I find my head getting slammed into a bench.” Crawford said. “He then proceeded to punch me and pin me into the bench.”

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Trial against Thomas Jefferson kicks off in San Diego

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2016

Michael C. Sullivan, a partner at Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP, who represents Thomas Jefferson School of Law, told jurors that plaintiff Anna Alaburda suffered no damages. While working as an administrative assistant in the Los Angeles area in the early 2000s and making about $30,000, Anna Alaburda started weighing her options to attend law school so she could secure a more lucrative job. 

Read the whole story at Daily Journal (sub. req.)

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Berkeley Law Dean Put on Leave in Wake of Suit

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2016

UC-Berkeley School of Law Dean Sujit Choudhry will take an "indefinite" leave of absence in the wake of allegations, largely substantiated by a campus investigation, that he sexually harassed his executive assistant, the university announced Wednesday.

Choudhry also will step down to his faculty position and salary for an unknown period of time, according to a statement released by Claude Steele, UC-Berkeley's executive vice chancellor and provost.

Tyann Sorrell sued Choudhry and University of California regents in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday, alleging that the dean hugged, touched and kissed her and that law school administrators failed to intervene when she complained. In the suit, Sorrell said the unwanted contact began shortly before Choudhry was named dean in July 2014 and continued on a nearly daily basis until she took paid administrative leave from the school in March 2015. Sorrell is seeking general, special and punitive damages.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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AG Lynch Says She's Not Interested in Supreme Court Vacancy

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Attorney General Loretta Lynch has asked to not be considered for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Justice Department spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in a statement that Lynch was honored to serve as attorney general and was committed to serving in the position for the remainder of the term.

"Given the urgent issues before the Department of Justice, she asked not to be considered for the position," Newman said.

 

Read the whole story at AP

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Berkeley Law Dean Sued for Sexual Harassment by Former Assistant

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law has been sued for sexual harassment by his former executive assistant.

The suit, filed in California state court on Tuesday, claims that dean Sujit Choudhry inappropriately touched and kissed Tyann Sorrell, who had worked as his assistant from July 2014 until March 2015, when she took a leave from the school.

Sorrell alleges that several law school administrators knew about the harassment, but failed to intervene or report it. In addition to Choudhry, the suit names the University of California regents as defendants.

Requests for comment Wednesday from the law school and the university were not immediately returned.

Read the whole story at National Law Journal

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California leaders tell Supreme Court that undocumented workers are making the state stronger

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A cross section of California leaders in business, education, law enforcement and religion joined Tuesday in urging the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama's plan to offer temporary relief and work permits to as many as 5 million immigrants who have been living in the U.S. illegally.

They drew a sharp contrast with Texas, which has complained of the burden imposed by immigrants and led the legal fight to block Obama's executive action.

The California leaders told the court the undocumented immigrants who are working and raising families are making the state stronger, better and more prosperous. About one-fourth of the nation's undocumented immigrants live in California, they said.

Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times

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California Supreme Court will stream arguments online

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The California Supreme Court will begin streaming oral arguments online as the judiciary works to improve access and fairness in the court system, the state's top judge said Tuesday.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told a joint session of the Legislature that the streaming is part of the court system's effort to adapt following an economic downturn that brought a sharp drop in court funding.

A spokesman for the Judicial Council of CaliforniaCathal Conneely, said officials are planning to livestream the court's San Francisco arguments in May, but Los Angeles sessions will come later because of technological limitations.

Read the whole story at SF Gate 

 

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Flint Families Sue Michigan Governor, Other Officials Over Tainted Water

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mounting lawsuits force Gov. Snyder to hire outside counsel

Seven families in Flint, Mich., sued Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials on Monday, alleging that they failed to take measures to protect the city’s drinking water and then downplayed the severity of the lead contamination.

Lawsuits have been mounting in Flint, where tap water became tainted with lead after the city began getting its water from the Flint River in April 2014. State regulators have said they failed to...

Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal

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more Calendar

4/26/2018
Diversity Happy Hour

5/2/2018
Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

5/3/2018
How the DA Office's Real Estate Fraud Unit Prosecutes and Can Clear Title on Forged Instrument Cases

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year
Golnesa MonazamfarBarrister of the Year 2017

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