Feb 08, 2018
The February Scoop
The Gossip According to Matthew
Feb 08, 2018
By Matt White
Changes are coming to the District Attorney’s office. Last year, DA Ed Berberian announced that he will not run for re-election in 2018. Now Ed’s second-in-command, Barry Borden, has announced his retirement, effective at the end of January. As reported here last month, immediate past MCBA President Dorothy Proudfoot recently left the Marin DA’s office to become an administrative law judge in San Francisco.
On the other hand, Marin County Public Defender Jose Varela has been on a lateral hiring tear. Kristie Lee Morris, who recently lateraled in from the Los Angeles PD’s office, cut her teeth back in 2013-14 as a certified law clerk for the Marin PD’s office. Tam grad (and accomplished boxer) Tyler Hicks comes onboard after a stint with the Sonoma County public defender’s office. U Tex grad Nadia Iqbal, all the way from the Tulare County PD’s office, now handles a felony caseload.
Population explosion at the County Counsel’s office! Deputy Valorie Boughey gave birth to her second child, Luke, on July 30; for reasons unknown to your correspondent, he is known as “El Duke” around the house. Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Deputy County Counsel Brian Case became a proud father as Wesley Sullivan Case (6.5 pounds, 19 inches) left the womb and entered the world over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend—just in time to qualify for a 2017 tax deduction. Way to go, Wes!
Those of you who attended Tom Brown’s installation dinner on January 20 know how very attractive and elegant everyone looked that night. But did you know that the MCBA photo crew documented the entire event? Check out the stunning photographs on the MCBA Facebook page here. The event lasted only an evening, but the photographs of you on the dance floor will last forever!
Monster appellate victory for San Rafael appellate counsel Elliot Bien, who led a team of lawyers to a $100 million win in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the City of Modesto and against (boo!) Dow Chemical. Short version: “Many years of casual disposal of a dry cleaning solvent had caused heavy accumulations of the carcinogen in soil and groundwater at dozens of sites.” Long version can be found in this link.
San Rafael family lawyer Ayanna Jenkins-Toney has gone bicoastal! While the rest of us are watching football games, Ayanna is opening up a second shop in Washington, D.C., across from Union Station, walking distance to the Capitol. Pundits predict a political career; stay tuned for news as it happens.
Confused about which judge does what these days? It can be hard to keep track. As of this writing, here’s the lineup: Judges Chernus, Freccero, and Haakenson hold down the civil fort. Judges Chou, Howard, Simmons, and Sweet run criminal departments. (Judge Sweet also sits in Adult Drug Court, and Judge Chou in STAR court; newly ex-presiding Judge Simmons assigned herself probate, conservatorship, guardianship, and mental health calendars on top of her criminal duties.) Judges Adams, Talamantes, and Wood comprise the family law bench; Judge Wood also handles juvenile cases and presides over the Community Court. Judges Lichtblau and Jordan are in all-purpose (overflow) trial departments, helping to ensure that criminal and civil trials go out when scheduled. For extra credit, note that we have two commissioners: Frank Drago in traffic, and Christopher Longaker in Family Support. Got it? Good.
Paul Cohen, formerly Executive Director of Legal Aid of Marin, has set up a private law practice in Novato, emphasizing bilingual landlord-tenant law.
Good news! Your correspondent reported last month that Karen Howard, our membership and events coordinator, was leaving the MCBA. This turns out to be only partly true. Ms. Howard will remain, at least for now, to coordinate publication of this newsletter. Apologies all around.
You too can see your name in lights, or at least bold face font. Let me know if you (or someone you know) wins an award, takes a new job, performs in a play or concert, or does anything else worth noting. To the extent I’ve missed comings and goings at the courthouse (see above), I’m happy to set the record straight. This column doesn’t write itself, you know!
Matt White, a principal of Monty White LLP, is a personal injury attorney and mediator.