Jul 07, 2018
Goings on About Town, Legally
Jul 07, 2018
By Thomas Brown
At press time, the week’s top legal highlights include President Trump’s next possible Supreme Court nominee, the challenges with migrant family reunification, and the escalating trade war between the United States and China. Closer to home, and on the eve of the County Fair, County employees settled a labor dispute with the County, Judge Haakenson issued a preliminary injunction against the sale of the San Geronimo Golf Course to the County, and the District Attorney’s race was headed for a run-off in November between Lori Frugoli and Anna Pletcher.
Even closer to home at the MCBA, we are pleased to welcome Scott Buell as our newest member of the Board of Directors. Scott replaces Toussaint Bailey, who stepped down to head a wealth management firm. Scott is a mediator and trial attorney with prior experience as a public defender in New York City and as in-house counsel for several large insurance carriers. Scott describes himself as someone who has “fought the man” and also “represented the man.” We are thrilled to welcome Scott to the Board and look forward to his input on behalf of the membership.
The MCBA Outreach Committee headed by Anna Pletcher and Eva Bennett recently organized a debate at Davidson Middle School. The debate topic was whether the electoral college should be abolished, perhaps a timely topic among Marin’s constituents. Special thanks to our three volunteer lawyers who served as judges -- Neusha Ghaedi, Vince DeMartini, and Geoffrey Rotwein. Pocket Constitutions were awarded to the best debaters. Davidson's debate club is new this year, and the MCBA plans to return next year and expand this program to other middle and high schools throughout the County. Thank you all for supporting this project!
On the practical side, one of our local employment class action experts, Edward J. Wynne of Wynne Law Firm, reports that the recent amendments to CCP § 384 require class action practitioners to make sure cy pres beneficiaries satisfy new standards and adds that Legal Aid of Marin should be kept in mind as such a beneficiary. Wage and hour and class action practitioners should be aware that this will likely not be the only amendment to this statute. Additionally, settlements invoking the statute will need to be vetted by the Judicial Council. This additional administrative layer may very well impact both plaintiff and defense practitioners of the class action and trial attorney bars.
A special shout out to Professor Rory Little who entertained the membership at the June meeting with his annual overview of the Supreme Court’s docket and extemporaneous musings on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement, triggered by Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement about two hours earlier. We are very fortunate to have Professor Little address the membership and look forward to his contributions every year.
In closing, we move into the second half of 2018 with a full plate of exciting and informative events for the membership. The 4th Annual MCBA CalCPA and CFA Society Midsummer Mixer is scheduled for July 18 at the patio on 999 Fifth Street, San Rafael. The July membership meeting will feature a panel discussion about Legal Puzzles for Lawyers and Courts from the Gig Economy, to be moderated by Program Co-Chair, Tom McInerney. Please place both events on your calendars.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to recognize Yvette Martinez, who is leaving the Marin County District Attorney’s Office after 14 years to pursue a career with the California Attorney General. Yvette handled some of the most significant criminal cases brought by the DA’s office over the past years, is a great friend, and an excellent prosecutor and trial attorney. She will be missed by the entire District Attorney’s Office, myself, and many in Marin’s legal community.
As always, please let us know any ways we can help with your practice or respond to any questions about the Marin County Bar Association.
See you around the Courts.
Thomas S. Brown is Of Counsel at Foley and Lardner LLP where he is a member of the Firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice Group. He is President of the Marin County Bar Association and earned his B.A. from UC Berkeley and J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.