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Bar Soap - March 2012

Mar
6
2012
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Goodness! After years of begging for jury verdicts for my column, I have finally found out how to get people’s attention: Report that someone has moved and taken a new job. I think the strategy will be to say: “John Doe has just joined a new firm and has been nominated for ABODA, so if you want me to talk about you, send a jury verdict”.

I am certain that will work. I cannot tell you the number of calls and messages I have recently received, complaining that I didn’t post some announcement in Bar Soap. I am thinking of telling my partners I have no time to contribute to firm business, as I must run down rumors of law firm changes in our local legal community. I am sure they will understand. (I am smiling as I write this, you know.)

Scott Jenny goes to trial a lot, and he always reports his verdicts. So Scott, I wasn’t talking about you. Scott of Jenny, Jenny & Jenny LLP, Martinez, California tried a case in Sacramento County Superior Court. Case No. 34200900066316, The Honorable Robert C. Hight presided at trial. County Counsel Keith Floyd represented the Sacramento Area Flood Control District SAFCA. Scott represented Patricia Hewitt, who owned 33 acres on the Garden Highway. On that property was an equestrian facility and her home. Ms. Hewitt is an author, a retired lawyer, a lobbyist, a teacher and a horse trainer. The SAFCA took Ms. Hewitt’s property and offered her $1,100,000. The property had been appraised at $2,500,000. The jury awarded Ms. Hewitt $2,500,000. Fancy that!

On another Scott Jenny note, he was named as a Super Lawyer this year in eminent domain. Congratulations, Scott! Well deserved. And speaking of the devil, Matt Guichard made it again this year. But not in eminent domain.

Very, very happy to see The Governor appointed Terri Mockler to our Superior Court. Congratulations, Judge Mockler! She is already a member of the Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court, so we can safely draft her to head a pupilage group when we have a judge opening. Certainly, that must have been her motivation in applying for a judgeship.

Speaking of local Judges, Judge Harlan Grossman and Judge Peter Berger retired. Makes me feel a bit odd, as Harlan was on my hiring panel when I applied for a job in the District Attorney’s Office, and Peter and I opposed each other in cases while he was a Public Defender. No, I am not retiring anytime soon. Remember, I have a ten-year-old and a nine-year-old. I am retiring from coaching their baseball teams this year however. Does that count?

I was sad to hear that Judge Arnason was stepping down after 49 incredible years of service. Certainly no one can ever fill that role in our legal community. He mentored lawyers, fellow judges and staff in such a professional, kind and thoughtful manner. I recall well his statement to those he had just sentenced. Remember, he said “Bye, Bye”? It was always meant as a good-will gesture. It was always taken as a good-will gesture, too. When I was the Calendar Deputy in Department 2, he advised me to be kind to those from whom I took pleas. They were after all going off to State Prison.

Speaking of judges, The Honorable Diana Becton is to receive the California Women Lawyers’ 2012 Rose Bird Memorial Award. That is wonderful news and a very nice honor. I am told a reception is planned for March 23.

Robert Field, formerly of Field, Richardson & Wilhelmy, has announced his retirement after 51 years of law practice. Wow! Quite an accomplishment!

Kristen Thall Peters was elected as the managing partner of the Walnut Creek Office of Cooper White & Cooper. In that role she will also be on the firm’s managing committee. Congratulations, Kristen!

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