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Bar Soap: Judge Arnason Celebration Tops them All Every time I report on an interesting local event, I keep thinking nothing can top it. Recall my mention of the MCLE Spectacular, the Annual Installation Luncheon, Contra Costa County Mock Trial Competition and other Bar Association events. Well, I do believe the Celebration to Honor the Life of the Honorable Richard E. Arnason topped them all. The ceremony took place in the Supervisors’ Chambers, with a reception afterwards at the Classic Courthouse. I must say it was a truly wonderful event. Unknown to many, Judge Arnason was a private man, and his funeral was a very private invitation-only ceremony. Because he was such a remarkable, respected and beloved man in our legal community many thought there should be a public ceremony to celebrate the life of Judge Arnason. Many thanks to … Continue reading
Inside: Guest Editor’s Column, May 2016 Erika Portillo | May 01, 2016 | Comments 0 How beneficial and realistic would building a border wall and removing millions of undocumented immigrants really be? Immigration has been a top issue in the 2016 presidential race. In particular, the top contender for the Republican Party nomination, Donald Trump, has been very outspoken about illegal immigration. He has proposed the creation of a “Great Wall” that he plans to build between the United States and Mexico, and the removal of the approximately 11.3 million undocumented people living in the U.S. Trump’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants during his June 16, 2015, campaign announcement caused outrage among the Hispanic community, and many corporations decided to end their business relationships with him. In that speech, Trump said Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems” … Continue reading
As I recall, I have regularly mentioned the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s MCLE Spectacular as the social and legally substantive event of the year. It is a “Do Not Miss it Event.” Now I have rediscovered another: the CCCBA Annual Officer Installation Luncheon. I must confess, I have missed going the past few years. I did not make that mistake this year. It is truly an important and extremely valuable event. Elva Harding is our new President, and her remarks, as well as the remarks of our outgoing President Nick Casper, were worth the price of admission on their own. Our Presiding Judge Steve Austin gave a very informative “State of the Court” chat, then we were treated to a presentation by Elizabeth Parker, Executive Director of the State Bar. And finally, a presentation by Jessica Therkelsen. It was … Continue reading
It has been a bit too long since I penned a Bar Soap column, but no shortage of information to round out 2015, and move into 2016. The annual MCLE Spectacular was once again the event of the year. Hard to believe it has been 21 years for that great event. Dick Frankel was on the board back when the event was conceived and the worry was, “What if we sponsor such an event, rent the hotel space and no one shows up?” Well, we all know it continues to be a resounding success each year. So a pretty good gamble, don’t you think? It is, of course, a great way to get those needed continuing legal education credits. But it is also a great way to see old friends, do your own legal marketing and have some fun. At one … Continue reading
The number of jury trials going out in our state trial courts continues to drop each year, and the trials-to-actual-verdict ratio seems to experience an even greater percentage drop. The experience in our local Bay Area courts follows the downward trend. Of course, the reasons are many and varied and open to wild speculation. Anecdotally, we are told civil filings are down, thus fewer cases are in the system. There is also speculation that successful mediations have led to settlements in most cases. The incredible cost of experts is another reason we see cases resolving before trial. Certainly the courts are under severe budget constraints and our judges simply do not have the time to conduct trials given the number of cases each civil trial judge is saddled with. That, perhaps, helps to explain the pressure brought to bear by our … Continue reading
Okay, you noticed this column is both a Bar Soap and a Civil Jury Verdicts column. I have been sitting on a couple of trial reports while waiting for more, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. So, this will be a combined column. Let’s start with the verdicts. I received a “Client Alert” stating “Allan Isbell and Craig Jones Net a Victory in Placer County Jury Trial.” Special Counsel Allan Isbell and Special Counsel Craig Jones, both of Archer Norris, represented the defendant general contractor. Randy Paul and Jordan Rojas of Berding & Weil represented the plaintiffs. The case involved a 850-unit self-storage facility constructed by the defendant in Auburn, California. A significant water intrusion problem arose, knocking approximately 30 percent of the units offline, as they were not rentable. The plaintiffs demanded $5.2 million at trial. The defendant offered … Continue reading