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Girardi & Keese

This category contains 317 posts

Beverly Hills Bar Association to Honor Controversial Attorney Thomas V. Girardi

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
2nd Annual Litigation Awards Dinner
Honoring Justice Norman L. Epstein & Thomas V. Girardi
5:30 pm – Beverly Wilshire Hotel

Drinking Water: Scientists Call Report About Chromium-6 Alarmist

ABC’s Cynthia McFadden Loses Credibility in Expose of “Erin Brockovich Still Fighting for Neighbors Over Contaminated Drinking Water

Media_httpaabcnewscom_rckqc

In the movie, the victims in the celebrated lawsuit won big. In reality, many are wondering where the money went — and they’re mad at their lawyers. See Salon article @: http://www.salon.com/2000/04/14/sharp/

Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese was found recently to have engaged in grave misconduct by a federal court.. Some of the findings included that Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and that “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation. Girardi is highly unethical and efforts are underway to seek his disbarment. See
http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/11/15/united-states-court-of-appeals-for-…

See ABC’s coverage @:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/erin-brockovich-fighting-neighbors-toxic-drinking-wa…

Conveniently Intertwined : CaliforniaALL,Pierce O’Donnell, El Paso/Sempra, State Bar of California, Howard Rice, Copple v. Estrella,California Bar Foundation, Joe Dunn, Voice of OC, Morrison & Foerster

Voice of OC's Joe Dunn . El Paso Sempra Litigation . Morrison & Foerster CaliforniaALL . California Bar Foundation/Cal Bar

Jerome B. Falk of Howard Rice — State Bar of California Special Prosecutor in Ninth Circuit Matter of In Re Girardi (adjudicated by N. Randy Smith, Marsha Berzon, William Fletcher) Lashes Out – Claims Girardi & Keese Client of Howard Rice – Not His


Source

In the interest of ethical journalism, and as public service to the community, The Leslie Brodie Report publishes* communication from Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk to Complainant, below: (end hair-splitting, see above)

I received your November 13 email concerning my participation in the State Bar’s investigation of Walter J. Lack, Thomas V. Girardi and other attorneys. It is filled with disparaging characterizations, all of which seem to stem from your allegations that I or my firm have represented Mr. Lack and Mr. Girardi.

Your allegations are false.

I have never represented either person, or their firms. Neither has Douglas Winthrop. Nor has my firm ever represented Mr. Lack or Mr. Girardi.

From 2006-2008, my firm represented several law firms, including Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack and Girardi & Keese, in a litigation matter. The public records of that litigation show that neither Mr. Winthrop nor I had nothing to do with that representation; in fact, I was unaware of it. The public records also show that my firm represented the law firms, but did not represent Mr. Girardi or Mr. Lack. The attorney responsible for that representation had left Howard Rice and taken the files with him before I was asked to serve as Special Deputy Trial Counsel in the State Bar matter.

You are on notice that your allegations are false. The falsity of those allegations can be determined from the public records of the litigation in question.

Jerome B. Falk, Jr.

————————————————————————————————————–
Letter from Jerome Falk to Walter Lack, Below:

FIRST AMENDED AND RESTATED CREDIT AGREEMENT – Loan Agreement – Free Search.

itle: FIRST AMENDED AND RESTATED CREDIT AGREEMENT
Governing Law: Nevada     Date: 8/9/2007
Industry: Casinos and Gaming     Law Firm: McGlinchey Stafford;Ice Miller;Morrison Foerster;Mayer Brown;Greenberg Traurig     Sector: Services

50 of the Top 250 law firms use our Products every day

Exhibit 10.2


 

Published CUSIP Numbers :
Deal:
Revolver Facility:

FIRST AMENDED AND RESTATED CREDIT AGREEMENT

Dated as of May 24, 2007

among

BOYD GAMING CORPORATION,
as the Borrower,

BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.,
as Administrative Agent and L/C Issuer,

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.,
as Syndication Agent and Swing Line Lender

CITIBANK, N.A.,
DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES INC.,
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.,
MERRILL LYNCH BANK USA
and
WACHOVIA BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION,
as Co-Documentation Agents

 

and

The Other Lenders Party Hereto

BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES LLC,
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC.,
DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES INC.,
MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED,
J.P. MORGAN SECURITIES INC.
WACHOVIA BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
and
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.,
as Joint Lead Arrangers and Joint Book Managers

Meet Annette Carnegie — Former Partner at Morrison & Foerster and Cal Bar Foundation BOD Memebr in 2007 (TLR Note: Former Colleague of James Brosnahan and Susan Mac Cormac)

Media_httpwwwcaliforn_qfsew

Annette P. Carnegie Former Partner Morrison and Foerster, LLP Ms. Carnegie has a diverse commercial litigation practice which includes healthcare, insurance, consumer fraud and intellectual property. Ms. Carnegie has successfully represented healthcare providers including public and not for profit hospitals in arbitration and in court. She recently served as trial counsel in a multi-defendant insurance coverage action with over $500 million in dispute. Ms Carnegie has also represented individual and institutional clients in constitutional litigation in state and federal courts.

Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin’s Jerome Falk (allegedly) Offers Explanation as to Allegation of Misconduct in Matter of In Re Girardi (TLR Note: Split Hairs — Oy Vey)

More Merger Madness: Arnold & Porter Ties up With Howard Rice

    • Leslie Brodie has his facts wrong. I have never represented Thomas Girardi, Walter Lack or their firms. As for my law firm, it has never represented Mr. Girardi or Walter Lack. I therefore did not fail to disclose to the State Bar anything that should have been disclosed.

      Jerome B. Falk, Jr.

  • O’Donnell & Schaeffer (and by extension Pierce O’Donnell) Listed as Clients of Howard Rice in Copple v. Astrella (TLR Note — Underlying Cases El Paso/Sempra; Howard Rice Second Point of Contact In Re CaliforniaALL; First Point is Operative Winthrop at Ca

    Ernest M. Thayer, Joseph Wood, San Francisco, CA, for Plaintiff.
    Ethan P. Schulman, Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk, San Francisco, CA, for Defendants.

     

     

    ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS
    WHITE, District Judge.

    INTRODUCTION
    This matter comes before the Court upon consideration of the motion to dismiss
    [ 442 F.Supp.2d 832 ]


    the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) filed by Astrella & Rice, P.C., Baker, Burton & Lundy, P.C., Engstrom, Lipscomp & Lack, Girardi & Keese, J. Tynan Kelly, Kiesel, Boucher & Larson, LLP, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, M. Brian McMahon, O’Donnell & Schaeffer, LLP, Michael J. Ponce, Francis 0. Scarpulla, and Douglas A. Stacey (collectively “Attorney Defendants”) (1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (2) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Also before the Court are requests for judicial notice filed by both parties.

    BREAKING — Pierce O’Donnell Under Extreme Scrutiny in Connection with Sham Charity CaliforniaALL

    * The Leslie Brodie Report (TLR) urges the readers to exercise caution and not jump to conclusions regarding misconduct by anyone. We are carefully following a major developing story out of California, and will provide around-the-clock coverage and post updates as they become available.

    Pierce O’Donnell — a former co-counsel in the El Paso Natural Gas/Sempra litigation, is under extreme scrutiny in matters relating to sham charity CaliforniaALL, The Leslie Brodie Report has learned.

    Sources with knowledge of the examination, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain a red flag has been raised over O’Donnell due to the overall circumstances surrounding California Bar Foundation, CaliforniaALL, CPUC, and utility companies; and specifically due to O’Donnell’s involvment in the El Paso/Sempra Litigation alongside James Brosnahan and Thomas Girardi.

    As we reported earlier, a red flag has been previsuly raised over James Brosnahan, Thomas Girardi, Voice of OC’s Joe Dunn, and Geoffrey Brown.

    See@

    http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/11/23/voice-of-oc-orange-county-s-nonprof…

    And @:

    http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/08/01/californiaall-part-17-the-voice-of-…

    And @:

    http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/02/28/californiaall-part-4-ex-cpuc-commis…

     

    State Bar of California Laura Chick Scandal Part 3: Craig Holden — from MGA to Lewis Brisbois ; Endorsement by Breakfast Club ; Use and Abuse of OCTC- Default Judgement

    The Leslie Brodie Report (TLR) is carefully following a major developing story out of California relating to State Bar of California Board of Governor member Laura Chick.

    Sources with knowledge of the probe, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain the multi-prong probe is rapidly expanding and encompasses broader inquiries than had been acknowledged up to now.

    In addition, a red flag continue to fly over Sheldon Sloan, Ronald George, Laura Chick, and Robert Chick — CEO of a Burbank-based legal malpractice insurance carrier known as Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Company.


    MGA Team — Counsels Who Represented Defendant MGA (“Bratz Dolls”.) From Left: Skadden Arps’ Raoul Kennedy and Thomas Nolan ; Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk And Douglas Winthrop; Keker & Van Nest’s John Keker and Former MGA’S In-House Counsel and Present Partner with Lewis Brisbois, Mr. Craig Holden.

    These sources maintain that the inquiry involves personnel at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, the State Bar of California, as well as a close examination of the relationship between Laura Chick and Edith Matthai of Robie & Matthai.

    A source maintains that one aspect of the inquiry involves 3 sub-parts concerning the alleged:

    1) Circumstances surrounding events relating to the State Bar of California/California Supreme Court and its enmeshment with Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Company vis-à-vis Laura Chick, Sheldon Sloan, Ronald George, and operative Beth Jay.

    2) circumstances surrounding the removal of Craig Holden from MGA (a client of Girardi & Keese) to Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, as well as the subsequent positioning of Holden as member of the BOG, and thanks to an endorsement by the Breakfast Club — A Los Angeles-based entity which the recruiting of candidates for the State Bar of California Board of Governors is its primary function.

    3) Circumstances surrounding actions taken (or, most likely, lack thereof) by the State Bar of California against clients of the Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Company.

    3) Circumstances surrounding actions taken by the OCTC/State Bar Court/California Supreme Court in “fixing” cases against errant clients of Lawyer’s Mutual (at times via State Bar Court “Default Judgement”), as to allow Lawyer’s Mutual an opportunity to potentially argue the misconduct was “intentional”, and hence to reject coverage. Here, particular attention is given to the examining transactions surrounding Sheldon Sloan, Ronald George, Judith Epstein, Ronald Stovitz, and former-crack-addict Mike Nisperos.

    TLR is closely monitoring the situation, and will continue to keep readers apprised of any developments as they become available.

    State Bar of California President Sheldon Sloan: ” I Could Use You on the Board of Governors.” — Laura Chick Scandal Part 2((tags:Ronald George, Thomas Girardi, State Bar of California, Girardi & Keese, Diane Karpman, Bet Tzedek, Eric George, Beth Jay,

    Laura Chick — Member of State Bar of California Board of Governor and Robert Chick — CEO of Lawyers’ Mutual Insurance Company — Under Extreme Scrutiny

    The Leslie Brodie Report (TLR) is carefully following a major developing story out of California relating to State Bar of California Board of Governor member — Ms Laura Chick.

    Sources with knowledge of the probe, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain a red flag has been raised over Chick due to the overall circumstances surrounding Laura Chick, the State Bar of California, and Robert Chick — CEO of a Burbank-based legal malpractice insurance carrier known as Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Comany.

    According to the sources, the recently launched multi-prong inquiry is continuing, with “major breakthroughs” the sources describe as “alarming.”  The sources declined to provide specific details other than to mention that involved are Laura Chick, Robert Chick, Sheldon Sloan, and Ronald George.

    Beverly Hills Justice Team

    A source maintains that one aspect of the inquiry involves 3 subparts:

    1) Circumstances surrounding events relating to the State Bar of California/California Supreme Court and its enmeshment with Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Comany vis-à-vis Laura Chick, Sheldon Sloan, Ronald George, and operative Beth Jay.

    2) Circumstances surrounding actions taken by the State Bar of California in connection with attorney misconduct in the cases of Fogel v. Farmers, Dole Food Company/In Re Girardi, and in the State Bar Court matter of Pierce O’Donnell.

    3) Circumstances surrounding actions taken (or, most likely, lack thereof) by the State Bar of California against clients of the Lawyer’s Mutual Insurance Comany.

    Additionally, and somewhat unrelated, under scrutiny are financial transactions between the State Bar of California and Los Angeles-based Bet Tzedek vis-à-vis Ronald George, Eric George, Holly Fujie, Rex Heinke, Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller, and operative Mike Feuer, as well as a highly suspicious past financial transaction between Bet Tzedek and Laura Chick, per the sources.

    TLR is closely monitoring the situation, and will continue to keep readers apprised of any developments as they become available.

    Dateline 2000 — Laura Chick, Erin Brockovich, and Girardi & Keese’s Tom Girardi in the Plot of CHROMIUM 6

    Saturday September, 2000

    Safety Of City Drinking Water Questioned

    Erin Brockovich Says Level Of Chemical Agent Could Pose Threat

    At the urging of well-known legal activist Erin Brockovich, the Los Angeles City Council gave unanimous backing Friday to a state bill in favor of more stringent testing of San Fernando Valley aquifers.

    The Council voted 10-0 for the measure, but retreated from a related proposal that called for the Department of Water and Power to intensify research on the amount of chromium 6 in ground water wells.

    The reportedly cancer-causing chemical is not considered dangerous by state standards if it does not exceed concentrations of 50 parts per billion. Federal law says drinking water is safe even at double that level.

    But Brockovich, who addressed the Council at an open session Friday, said even minute quantities of the carcinogen can be perilous to a person’s health.

    “I question why you have hexavalent chromium at any level in the San Fernando drinking water,” she said. “You use that very water to shower in. You use that very water to bathe in. You use that very water — that is contaminated with chromium 6 — in your swamp coolers, and that is generating an inhalation risk to the people. Just because you find chromium 6 based at a low level in your drinking water, don’t dismiss it.”

    Brockovich’s partner, attorney Ed Masry, was even more blunt.

    “If it’s a choice that I’m going to have to drink chromium-laced water to water my lawn – the lawn dies,” he told CBS 2 News.

    Masry and Brockovich were profiled in the 1999 film “Erin Brockovich,” starring Julia Roberts. Their case against Pacific Gas and Electric ended up costing the company $333 million.

    DWP officials assert that the city’s drinking water is nowhere near unsafe.

    DWP General Manager David Freeman told the Council that most wells don’t register more than 10 parts per billion of chromium 6. He said that does not justify shutting them down.

    “We do not recommend doing so when there is no evidence that chromium in these very tiny quantities in our water warrant drastic action,” Freeman said.

    He added that a single PPB amounts to an eye-drop in two average swimming pools.

    But Councilwoman Laura Chick, a city controller candidate, and colleague Joel Wachs, a mayoral candidate, believe that the mere presence of the chemical is cause for concern — and that it should be addressed at any financial cost.

    “You’ve got to err on the side of safety, not economics,” Wachs concluded.

    See @:
    http://www.greatdreams.com/chrm6.htm

    Girardi & Keese Listed as Top Contributor to Joe Dunn — Now Executive Director of State Bar of California

    Girardi & Keese — Casino Gambling — Beer Wine Industries Amongst top Political Donor to “Sordid Sexual Harraser” John Burton of California Democratic Party

    2009 — Pierce O’Donnell’s Attitude Re USA v. O’Donnell : “I have my life back. ” I’ve always been larger than life But I’ve been quiet for a couple of years, on the advice of my attorneys.” (TLR Note: Notice the Ethical Egoism)

    Pierce O’Donnell wants you to know he’s back in business.

    “I’ve always been larger than life,” he told me the other day in his downtown Los Angeles law office. “But I’ve been quiet for a couple of years, on the advice of my attorneys.”

    That would mean the attorneys who defended O’Donnell, 62, one of Southern California’s most prominent business litigators, on charges of violating federal campaign law. The three-count indictment filed last summer alleged that he illegally funneled $26,000 to John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign by reimbursing employees and other people for contributions they had made in their own names.

    Two of the counts were dismissed by a Los Angeles federal judge in early June, on grounds that the election law prosecutors cited doesn’t actually prohibit what O’Donnell did. The third was dropped by mutual agreement June 29.

    In O’Donnell’s view, that means “I have my life back.”

    2006 — Pierce O’Donnell’s Attitude on Criminal Prosecution: “I needed to put this behind me and move forward now with my life” (TLR Note: Notice the Ethical Egoism)

    O’Donnell, 58, is still facing potential fines and sanctions by the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the State Bar of California, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Ricardo Ocampo of the district attorney’s Public Integrity Division.

    The district attorney’s office said an investigation is also pending by the Federal Election Commission into contributions made by O’Donnell employees and associates to the campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina who later became the party’s 2004 vice presidential candidate.

    O’Donnell, a Montecito resident, was not in court Thursday and his plea was entered on his behalf by his attorney, George L. O’Connell.

    O’Donnell issued a statement Thursday explaining why he decided not to contest the charges.

    “My objective has always been to resolve this matter quickly and amicably, in the best interest of everyone involved. I needed to put this behind me and move forward now with my life,” he said.

    Norway mass killer insane, may avoid prison (TLR Note: This article Has No Connection to Series of Articles Re Pierce O’Donnell and Judge James Otero)

    Operative Mike Feuer — Ronald George — State Bar of California — Bet Tzedek Connection Series — Financial Transaction Between Bet Tzedek and (now BOG member) Laura Chick (TLR Note: Was it Kosher for Bet Tzedek to Engage in Such Tranaction?)

    [Print| Excel | Close ] [Page: 1   2   3   4   5   >> All ]
    Date Sort 'Date' Ascending Sort 'Date' Descending
    Payee Sort 'Payee' Ascending Sort 'Payee' Descending
    Candidate/
    Officeholder
    Sort 'Candidate/Officeholder' Ascending Sort 'Candidate/Officeholder' Descending
    Schedule
    (Type)
    Sort 'Schedule' Ascending Sort 'Schedule' Descending
    Amount Sort 'Amount' Ascending Sort 'Amount' Descending
    04/05/01* Bank of America 
    Los Angeles, CA 90017
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (OFC – Office Expenses)

    [Period: 04/05/01 to 06/30/01]

    $201.45
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    04/05/01* Barnes & Noble 
    Encino, CA 91436
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (OFC – Office Expenses)

    [Period: 04/05/01 to 06/30/01]

    $3,825.00
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    01/01/00* Bet Tzedek-The House of Justice 
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (CVC – Civic Donation)

    [Period: 01/01/00 to 06/30/00]

    $300.00
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    01/01/00* Bill Scott & Asscociates Inc 
    Los Angeles, CA 90078
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    F – Debt
    (LIT – campaign communications)

    [Period: 01/01/00 to 06/30/00]

    $2,465.83
    ($2,195.83)
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    07/01/00* Bill Scott & Associates 
    Los Angeles, CA 90078
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    F – Debt
    (LIT – campaign communications)

    [Period: 07/01/00 to 12/31/00]

    $0.00
    ($270.00)
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    07/01/00* Bill Scott & Associates 
    Los Angeles, CA 90078
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (LIT – campaign communications)

    [Period: 07/01/00 to 12/31/00]

    $270.00
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    01/01/00* Bill Scott & Associates Inc 
    Los Angeles, CA 90078
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (LIT – campaign communications)

    [Period: 01/01/00 to 06/30/00]

    $2,195.83
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    04/05/01* Biltmore 
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (CMP – Campaign Paraphernalia)

    [Period: 04/05/01 to 06/30/01]

    $1,637.67
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    01/01/99* Brian Rix & Assoc 
    Los Angeles, CA 90004
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (FND – Fundraising Event)

    [Period: 01/01/99 to 12/31/99]

    $9,015.00
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    01/01/00* Brian Rix & Associates 
    Los Angeles, CA 90004
    Laura Chick
    Controller

    991786 – Laura Chick for Controller

    E – Payment
    (FND – Fundraising Event)

    [Period: 01/01/00 to 06/30/00]

    $29,930.98
    [Election: 04/10/01]
    * Date was not reported, therefore the Period Beginning Date of the filing was used for the purposes of this search. State Form 460 does not require committees to report expenditure dates.
    Total Non-Monetary Contributions (C): $5,265.06
    Total Payments Made (E): $680,445.51
    (includes $1,440.81 unitemized)
    Total Unpaid Bills (F):
    (Amount Incurred less Amount Paid)
    ($0.86)
    (includes $82.10 unitemized)
    Total Amount Paid : $685,709.71
     
    [Print | Excel | Close] [Page: 1   2   3   4   5   >> All ]

    Disclaimer: EFS data is input by candidate committees. The Commission does not amend information to edit variations in spelling, punctuation, use of abbreviations or inaccuracies. Therefore, search results may not be 100% accurate or inclusive.

    See @:
    http://ethics2.lacity.org/disclosure/campaign/search/public_search_results.cf…

    Pierce O’Donnell Fined $147,000 for Political Money Laundering by Los Angeles City Ethics Commission

    2010 — Pierce O’Donnell — as a result of therapy sessions mandated by State Bar of California diagnosed with bipolar disorder (TLR Note: No Mention in Article O’Donnell Was Dropped From Program by State Bar).

    Texas Lawyer
    ALM Properties, Inc.
    Page printed from: Texas Lawyer

    Back to Article

    Select ‘Print‘ in your browser menu to print this document.
    Print Options: With Ads | Without Ads

    Mr. O’Donnell did not respond to calls seeking comment on last week’s plea, but in a 2010 interview with The American Lawyer, a Law Journal affiliate, he referred to the cases against him as a “shattering experience.”

    At the time Mr. O’Donnell also revealed that as a result of therapy sessions mandated by a California Bar Association disciplinary action, he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He said that treatment had helped him bring the illness under control. “I am living proof that you can overcome this disease,” he said during the interview.

    Brian O’Neill and Frederick Friedman of Jones Day represented Mr. O’Donnell in the federal campaign contribution case.

    “We are pleased we were able to resolve this case on this basis,” Mr. O’Neill said in an interview.

    U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero will decide whether to accept the plea and the recommendation that Mr. O’Donnell serve six months in prison at a sentencing hearing scheduled for November.

    Copyright 2011. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.

    Copyright. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.

    TLR Note — O’Donnell was unable to complete the program, and was dropped. See:
    http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/11/27/pierce-o-donnell-state-bar-of-calif…

    Pierce O’Donnell in Suit Against Sempra — Value of Sempra Agreement Doubted; State officials complain that the antitrust pact is worth far less than the $2 billion claimed.

    Sempra, which owns San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co., had said Jan. 4 that it would pay $375 million in cash as well as change some business practices, give energy price discounts and provide other noncash benefits to settle claims brought by class-action attorneys, the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the state of Nevada.

    The settlement halted a jury trial in San Diego Superior Court over allegations that Sempra conspired with El Paso Corp. to restrict natural gas supplies — and thus raise prices — during the state’s 2000-01 energy crisis. Attorneys in the class-action antitrust case had sought as much as $23 billion in damages. Houston- based El Paso settled the suit and other energy-crisis complaints for $1.6 billion.

    [Pierce O'Donnell], the lead plaintiffs’ attorney during the trial, had said the $1.7-billion settlement valuation comprised the $375 million in cash, $300 million in electricity cost savings, $270 million in savings from changing electricity delivery locations, $73 million in natural gas price discounts from a Sempra facility in Mexico, $745 million in consumer benefits from changes to Sempra’s natural gas operations and other savings.

    Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

    2008 — Pierce O’Donnell claims he is being targeted for political reasons. (TLR Note: Notice No Claim of Mental Illness )

    To support the notion that O’Donnell is being singled out , his lawyers have presented prosecutors with nearly two dozen illegal campaign contribution cases that they say were handled administratively by the Federal Elections Commission, even though most involved larger amounts of money and more egregious conduct than is alleged in O’Donnell’s case.

    Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

    Pierce O’Donnell Order from LA City Ethics Commision Re Contributions to James Hahn and Bet Tzedek Operative – Mike Feuer (TLR Note– Notice No Claim of Mental Illness by Pierce O’Donnell)

    Judge James Otero Concedes Pierce O’Donnell Had Suffered Mental Illness in 2004 as Well as in 2011

    Media_httpdata7blogde_cdbge

    See complete article @:
    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118046112

    Pierce O’Donnell and Mike Feuer Connection

    Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, Girardi & Keese, and Pierce O’Donnell Connection in Katrina Litigation

    “Dawn O’Donnell” (Distinguished Spouse of Pierce O’Donnell) Redacted Bio. (TLR Note: No Records for “Dawn O’Donnell” with California Bar)

    Dawn Donley O’Donnell is a native Californian who is a lawyer and has been a mortgage banker and legal recruiter. Dawn graduated with honors from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor Degrees. After being admitted to the bar, she worked with M.J. Raynes Development and Proskauer Rose, a major New York law firm. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Dawn served as the legal recruiter for two national law firms before marrying her husband, Pierce, and “retiring”

    Dawn has served on the Board of Directors of the Richstone Family Center, Armory Center for the Arts, Pacific Oaks College, Crestview School, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Council, among others. For the past nine years, she has worked for Laguna Blanca School, serving as room parent, member of the Strategic Planning Committee, head of Lower School parents’ organization, class captain, and silent auction co-chair. Dawn is currently on the Executive Committee of Laguna and Chair of the Committee on Trustees. Dawn and Pierce actively support programs for children, education, sports, literature, and the arts. They are benefactors for the Emmons Arts Center, the new gymnasium, and student scholarships.

    TLR’s Sources Will Neither Confirm Nor Deny Story Published on September 10, 2011 Relate to Pierce O’Donnell

    See @:

    http://lesliebrodie.posterous.com/sources-investigation-in-southern-part-of-san

     

    “The inquiry into a wrongdoer who reside in the southern part of Santa Barbara County has intensified, The Leslie Brodie Report has learned

    According to sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, they have found “major evidence of corruption” involving a resident of Goleta, California. Goleta is a city in southern Santa Barbara County. 

    The sources decline to comment as to the nature of the findings.

    The Leslie Brodie Report is carefully following the developments, and will post updates as they become available.”

    Pierce O’Donnell Member Page with State Bar of California

    Pierce Henry O’Donnell – #81298

    Current Status:  Active

    This member is active and may practice law in California.

    See below for more details.

    Profile Information

    The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.

    Bar Number: 81298    
    Address: O’Donnell & Associates
    800 Wilshire Blvd Ste 500
    Los Angeles, CA 90017
    Map it
    Phone Number: (213) 347-0290
    Fax Number: (213) 347-0298
    e-mail: mrjebep@tkjjyyt.govrjeuilo@unwstqbc.orgtngpwk@kim.edupod@oslaw.comnmpecjy@fbkqpg.netlhnjmjmar@ndt.govssapt@soyw.eduwack@feckw.eduohwddofh@plbinn.netmcti@pstdqo.orgrarqs@lso.netuetliywgb@ngaq.orgyjwgwyi@mgjutac.edunwci@ucpmhp.govlqancu@ebhsfk.nettjnlhrpkp@myhjdmo.netwopgtrb@dpimdqru.orgoqihq@ilu.govllgmdc@akytnenc.comjherndlm@yayiglrc.net 
    County: Los Angeles
    Undergraduate School: Georgetown Univ; Washington DC
    District: District 7    
    Sections: None Law School: Georgetown Univ Law Ctr; Washington DC

    Status History

    Effective Date Status Change
    Present Active
    6/26/2011 Active  
    2/23/2011 Not Eligible To Practice Law  
    10/12/1978 Admitted to The State Bar of California

    Explanation of member status

    Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law

    Effective Date Description Case Number Resulting Status

    Disciplinary and Related Actions

    Overview of the attorney discipline system.

    2/23/2011 Discipline w/actual suspension 09-O1-07211 Not Eligible To Practice Law 
    2/23/2011 Discipline w/actual suspension 04-C-12303 Not Eligible To Practice Law 
    1/5/2011 Stipulated disposition filed in SBCt 09-O-17211  

    Administrative Actions

    This member has no public record of administrative actions.

    Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.

    Explanation of common actions

    State Bar Court Cases

    NOTE: The State Bar Court began posting public discipline documents online in 2005. The format and pagination of documents posted on this site may vary from the originals in the case file as a result of their translation from the original format into Word and PDF. Copies of additional related documents in a case are available upon request. Only Opinions designated for publication in the State Bar Court Reporter may be cited or relied on as precedent in State Bar Court proceedings. For further information about a case that is displayed here, please refer to the State Bar Court’s online docket, which can be found at: http://apps.statebarcourt.ca.gov/dockets/dockets.aspx

    DISCLAIMER: Any posted Notice of Disciplinary Charges, Conviction Transmittal or other initiating document, contains only allegations of professional misconduct. The attorney is presumed to be innocent of any misconduct warranting discipline until the charges have been proven.

    Effective Date Case Number Description
    2/23/2011 04-C-12303 Decision [PDF] [WORD]
    2/23/2011 04-C-12303 Stipulation [PDF]
    2/23/2011 09-O-17211 Stipulation [PDF]
    Pending 08-C-12900 Initiating Document [PDF]

    Pierce O’Donnell’s Records from State Bar of California — Copy of New Initiating Document

    Pierce O’Donnell’s Records from State Bar of California — Copy of Stipulation in Case 09-O-17211

    Pierce O’Donnell’s Records from State Bar of California — Copy of Stipulation

    Pierce O’Donnell’s Records from State Bar of California — Copy of Decision

    Pierce O’Donnell: Trust the Public With the Dodgers (TLR Note: Is that a genuine article? Or, is it propaganda on behalf of Girardi & Keese?)

    Pierce O’Donnell — State Bar of California 60 Days Scandal #2 — Part 1

    In this, and future articles, TLR will offer extensive coverage of the troubling circumstances surrounding Mr. Pierce Henry O’Donnell.

    O’Donnell is an attorney and former named-partner in O’Donnell & Shaeffer. He is purportedly both well-known and well-respected, and is a current partner at O’Donnell & Associates.


    Mr Pierce O’Donnell (Image: source)

    Unfortunately, O’Donnell also suffers from a mental illness which allegedly contributed to his inability to comply with laws and regulations pertaining to political contributions – specifically, manic-depressive disorder.

    He has been involved in multiple court proceedings, described briefly below:

    1. Criminal proceedings in the Los Angeles County Superior Court relating to unlawful contributions to James Hahn. O’Donnell was convicted of these crimes, and sentenced to probation.

    2. Criminal proceedings in federal court. These proceedings are ongoing and relate to alleged unlawful contributions to John Edwards.


    Mr Tom O’Brien,  former U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, advanced the original criminal charges against O’Donnell.   Previously, TLR made mention of O’Brien’s stellar career and unparalleled contribution to the community.

    3. State Bar of California Court proceedings relating to his attempt to mislead a Nevada state court.

    4. State Bar of California alternative proceedings relating to his mental illness (O’Donnell failed to comply with the conditions of the program and his participation was terminated).

    5. State Bar of California Court proceedings relating to his conviction of crimes involving moral turpitude in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

    6. Ongoing criminal proceedings in federal court advanced by the U.S. government.

    Events surrounding O’Donnell repeat a familiar pattern, as well as fall squarely within TLR’s originally-stated purpose, which is to expose corruption in connection with the “60 Days Suspension Scandal,” wherein an attorney with a prior criminal history engaged in a pogrom in a San Francisco synagogue, yet was only suspended for 60 days due to his political connections within the Democratic party, courtesy of Judy Johnson, JoAnn Remke, and former-crack-addict Mike Nisperos – for whom Thomas Girardi served as “mentor.”

    O’Donnell’s participation (alongside Thomas Girardi , Walter Lack, and James Brosnahan) in the El Paso Natural Gas and Sempra Energy litigation is a source of grave concern, particularly due to his purported mental illness which may have affected the outcome of litigation involving millions of Californians.

    In this, Part 1, we will cover O’Donnell , who – while suffering from mental illness – unlawfully participated in a scheme to raise money for James Hahn, as well as related State Bar of California Court proceedings.

    JAMES HAHN:

    In 2000, O’Donnell promised to raise $50,000 in political contributions for then-Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn.
    O’Donnell made several attempts to raise the money by engaging in a mass mailing effort to friends/colleagues, making personal appeals to potential donors, and arranging a luncheon for individuals to meet personally with Hahn. However, despite these efforts, he was unable to raise the promised $50,000.

    As such, O’Donnell told his assistant that he would reimburse staff members at his law firm for contributions to the Hahn campaign. Subsequently, from May 22, 2000 through March 1, 2001, O’Donnell advised others that he would reimburse them for their political contributions to Hahn’s campaign.

    As a result, 26 individuals contributed a total of $25,500 to Hahn’s campaign, each of them with the understanding that O’Donnell would reimburse them for their contributions. 23 of the 26 donors were employees or spouses of employees at O’Donnell’s firm.

    On May 20, 2004, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed 26 misdemeanor charges of Government Code section 84301 (using a false name in making political contributions) against O’Donnell.

    On February 2, 2006, as part of a plea agreement, O’Donnell was convicted of five misdemeanor counts of Government Code section 84301, and the remaining counts dismissed; he was sentenced to probation.


    STATE BAR COURT PROCEEDINGS RE JAMES HAHN

    Due to his alleged mental illness, O’Donnell sought to participate in the State Bar Court’s Alternative Discipline Program (“ADP”), alleging a nexus between his mental illness and his misconduct. See below.

    Pierce ODonell State Bar Court

    At the August 2, 2010 hearing, which O’Donnell attended with counsel, a State Bar Court judge found that O’Donnell was not in compliance with the conditions of the court’s ADP, and his participation in that program was terminated. See below.

    ADP PO

    Subsequently, after his termination from the ADP, proceedings took place in which it was determined that O’Donnell had engaged in crimes involving moral turpitude. See below.

    Pierce O'Donnell Moral Turpitude

    On 2/23/2011, and Despite O’Donnell’s conviction of crimes involving moral turpitude, and his inability to complete the ADP, O’Donnell was suspended from the State Bar for a period of only 60 days.

    To be continued.

    Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley’s office was alerted in 2009 Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, about an audit indicating $57,000 had been embezzled — Steve Cooley Did Very Little, If Anything.

    United States Senate Judiciary Committee Members (TLR Note-Sources: Members to Be Notified RE 1- Aspirant Rory Little 2-Aspirant Jon Streeter 3- In Re Girardi 4-Jerome Falk of Howard Rice 5- CaliforniaALL 6 – Prior 2007 Actions by Kinde Durkee and Suit by

    Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vermont

    LeahyThumbPatrick J. Leahy (D) of Vermont was elected to the Senate in 1974.  Leahy is the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a position he has held since January 2007.  He also served as Chairman from June 2001 through January 2003.  A graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964).  He served for eight years as State’s Attorney in Chittenden County, Vermont.  He gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States (1974).  Leahy has been a longtime advocate for government transparency, and he has authored and advocated a wide range of anti-crime and anti-drug initiatives.  Leahy is also a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

    Top

    Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

    GrassleyThumbChuck Grassley (R) of Iowa was elected to the Senate in 1980.  He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa (B.A., 1955; M.A. 1956) and has been a longtime farmer in Iowa.  Since coming to the Senate in 1980, Grassley has worked to bring oversight to government spending, and has championed whistleblowers in government and in the private sector.  He has also been an advocate for protecting consumers.  Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.  He also serves on the Finance Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Budget Committee.

    Top

    Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin

    KohlThumbHerb Kohl (D) of Wisconsin was elected to the Senate in 1988.  Kohl earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1956) and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University (1958).  He is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.  Kohl has been recognized as a strong advocate for children’s issues, and has focused on anti-crime legislation, especially crimes related to kids.  He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Budget Committee, and chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

    Top

    Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah

    HatchThumbOrrin G. Hatch (R) of Utah was elected to the Senate in 1976.  He is a graduate of Brigham Young University, and of the University of Pittsburgh Law School.  He practiced law in Pittsburgh for several years before moving to Utah.  Since his election to the Senate, Hatch has worked to provide tools for the military to combat terrorism, advocated for resources to protect our children, and championed intellectual property protections and enforcement.  He serves as the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, and is also a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

    Top

    Dianne Feinstein, D-California

    FeinsteinThumbDianne Feinstein (D) of California was elected to the Senate in 1992.  She is a former two-time mayor of San Francisco.  During her years in the Senate, Feinstein has worked to help strengthen national security, combat crime and violence, battle cancer and protect natural resources across the country.  Feinstein is the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

    Top

    Jon Kyl, R-Arizona

    KylThumbJon Kyl of Arizona was elected to the Senate in 1994.  He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Kyl is the second-ranking member of the Senate Republican leadership.  He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where he received both his bachelor’s and law degrees.  His work in the Senate includes efforts related to immigration enforcement, protecting the environment, and legislative initiatives to protect crime victims’ rights.  Kyl is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.  He is also a member of the Finance Committee.

    Top

    Chuck Schumer, D-New York

    SchumerThumbChuck Schumer (D) of New York was elected to the Senate in 1998.  A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he first served in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate.  Schumer chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.  He has a long legislative record in combating crime and advocating for women’s rights.  Schumer is the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Administration.  He also serves on the Finance Committee and the Banking Committee.

    Top

    Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama

    SessionsThumbJeff Sessions (R) of Alabama was elected to the Senate in 1996.  He is a graduate of Huntingdon College (1969) and received his law degree from the University of Alabama (1973).  Sessions served in the Army Reserve for 13 years, and was a United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama for 12 years.  In the Senate, Sessions has focused on maintaining a strong military and working to improve and stimulate the nation’s economy.  Sessions is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.  He is the Ranking Member on the Senate Budget Committee, and is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee.

    Top

    Dick Durbin, D-Illinois

    DurbinThumbDick Durbin of Illinois was elected to the Senate in 1996.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University (1966) and Georgetown University Law Center (1969).  Prior to his election to the Senate, Durbin served in the House of Representatives for 14 years.  Durbin has championed many issues, including gun safety, improving health care, protecting consumers, fighting for farmers, and working for a fair tax code.  Durbin chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.  He is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, and Committee on Rules and Administration.  Durbin is the second-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership.

    Top

    Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina

    GrahamThumbLindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina was elected to the Senate in 2002.  He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.  He served for six and one half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer.  He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994.  Since his election to Congress, Graham has worked to adequately fund and prepare the military, and has been active in education policy.  Graham is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.  He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Aging, and the Budget Committee.

    Top

    Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island

    WhitehouseThumbSheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island was elected to the Senate in 2006.  Whitehouse chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.  He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law.  He is a former United States Attorney for Rhode Island.  Whitehouse has been an advocate for environmental protection, health and conservation throughout his career.  Whitehouse is the Chairman of the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee.  He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Special Committee on Aging, and the Budget Committee.

    Top

    John Cornyn, R-Texas

    CornynThumbJohn Cornyn (R) of Texas was elected to the Senate in 2002.  He is a graduate of Trinity University and St. Mary’s School of Law, both in San Antonio.  He also earned a Masters of Law from the University of Virginia Law School (1995).  Since his election to the Senate, Cornyn has worked on issues related to border security, accessible health care, and improving educational opportunities.  Cornyn is a member of the Senate Republican leadership.  He is the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.  He is also a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Budget Committee.

    Top

    Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota

    KlobucharThumbAmy Klobuchar (D) of Minnesota was elected to the Senate in 2006.  She is the first woman elected to the Senate from Minnesota.  She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1982 and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985.  In the Senate, Klobuchar has worked to protect consumers, strengthen veterans’ health and education benefits, create a strong safety net for farmers, and invest in the energy technologies that will create new jobs.  Before her election to the Senate, Klobuchar served as a partner on two of Minnesota’s leading law firms, and led Minnesota’s largest prosecutor’s office for eight years.  Klobuchar is the chair of the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.  She is also a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Commerce Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee.

    Top

    Michael S. Lee, R-Utah

    LeeThumbMichael S. Lee (R) of Utah was elected to the Senate in 2010.  Lee graduated from Bringham Young University, and earned a law degree from BYU’s Law School in 1997.  He clerked for Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, and for then-Judge Samuel Alito on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  He worked in private practice and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.  He also served as Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s General Counsel.  Lee is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.  Lee also serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. 

    Top

    Al Franken, D-Minnesota

    FrankenThumbAl Franken of Minnesota was elected to the Senate in 2008.  He graduated from Harvard in 1973.  Before running for the Senate, Franken spent 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host, and participated in seven USO tours, visiting troops overseas in German, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan, as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times.  Since his election to the Senate, Franken has advocated for affordable, accessible health care and affordable education.  He is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.  Franken is also a member of the Energy Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Indian Affairs Committee.

    Top

    Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma

    CoburnThumbTom Coburn (R) or Oklahoma was elected to the Senate in 2004.  He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University (1970) and the University of Oklahoma Medical School (1983).  Coburn was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, where he served until his election to the Senate.  He has been an advocate for balancing the federal budget and improving health care access and affordability.  Coburn is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.  He is also a member of the Finance Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

    Top

    Christopher A. Coons, D-Delaware

    CoonsThumbChristopher A. Coons (D) of Delaware was elected to the Senate in 2010.  He graduated from Amherst College in 1985, and received his Juris Doctor from Yale University Law School in 1992.  He also received a Master’s degree in Ethics from Yale Divinity School in 1992.  He has worked in the non-profit sector and as an attorney.  From 2001-2004, Coons served as the President of the New Castle County Council, and from 2005-2010, he served as the County Executive of New Castle County.  Coons also serves on the Energy Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Budget Committee.

    Top

    Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut

    BlumenthalThumbRichard Blumenthal (D) of Connecticut was elected to the Senate in 2010.  Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School.  He is a former five-term state Attorney General in Connecticut.  he served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984-1987, and in the Connecticut Senate from 1987-1990.  He is also a former U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.  Blumenthal also serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

     

    Harry W.R. Chamberlain II of Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger Defends Farmers Insurance Exchange (State Bar and Holly Fujie MIA in Fogel v. Farmers Group)


    FOOD PRO INTERNATIONAL INC v. FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE

    FOOD PRO INTERNATIONAL, INC., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE, Defendant and Respondent.

    No. H031178.

    — December 30, 2008

     

    Frank T. Zumwalt, The Zumwalt Law Firm, APC, Modesto, Daniel B. McCarthy, Austin & Cannon, for Appellant.

    Harry W.R. Chamberlain II, Robert M. Dato, Efrat M. Cogan, Buchalter Nemer, Los Angeles, Lee J. Danforth, Lisa A. Costello, Coddington, Hicks & Danforth, Redwood City, for Respondent  Farmers Insurance Exchange.

    An injured construction worker brought a tort action against appellant Food Pro International, Inc. (Food Pro), relating to an injury at a food processing plant.   Food Pro tendered defense of both the worker’s action and a related action to its insurance carrier, respondent Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers).   Farmers denied coverage, and this action against Farmers for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing followed.   The trial court entered judgment for Farmers following a court trial on Farmers’ duty to defend.   On appeal, Food Pro contends the trial court erred in finding that Farmers did not have a duty to defend Food Pro pursuant to a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy.   Food Pro also appeals from the trial court’s earlier summary adjudication of Food Pro’s claim for punitive damages.   We find no merit to Food Pro’s punitive damages argument, but conclude that the trial court erred in finding that Farmers had no duty to defend Food Pro. We therefore reverse the judgment.

    Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi Draws from Cinema to Teach Six Ways to Persuade — By Orit Arfa

    Administrative Office of the Courts — AOC’s Ronald Overholt and William Vickery Under Extreme Scrutiny For Spending Tax Dollars on Steaks, Lobsters, Expensive Wine ,

    SAN DIEGO — The officials running California’s courts have been spending tax dollars on steaks, martinis and hotel stays, the 10News I-Team learned.

    Since 2009, two men — Ronald Overholt and William Vickery — have spent thousands of dollars traveling to Vail, Colo.; Charlotte; Boston; Santa Fe, N.M.; Denver; and Indian Wells, Calif. They also took three trips to Washington, D.C.

    According to information obtained by the I-Team, every time and on every trip, the men charged state taxpayers for rooms, flights, drinks and dinners.

    Overholt is currently in charge of the state’s courts, while Vickery was his predecessor.

    “Spending hundreds of dollars on steak and lobster and alcoholic beverages is just wrong and it’s out of touch and it’s got to stop,” Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher said.

    Continue @: http://www.10news.com/investigations/29800040/detail.html?taf=sand

    Voice of OC — Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency — Subject of Formal Complaint (Referral) to IRS for Alleged Noncompliance with Tax Laws

    As public service to the community, The Leslie Brodie Report publishes* a complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) against Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency DBA Voice of OC, below:

    Internal Revenue Service
    Exempt Organizations Unit
    1100 Commerce St.
    Dallas, TX 75242-1198

    Re: A referral for noncompliance with tax laws against exempt organization “Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency” (dba “Voice of OC”):

    PRELIMINARY STATEMENT:

    In lieu of using IRS Form 13909 (Tax-Exempt Organization Referral Form), please consider this communication a formal complaint (referral) against an Orange County, California not-for-profit entity known as “Orange County Nonprofit Investigative News Agency,” which operates an online publication under the name “Voice of OC” (located at www.voiceofoc.org).

    On September 1, 2011, Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency and Voice of OC (collectively, “Voice of OC”) were duly served with a request for production of IRS Form 990, Form 990 Schedule A, and Form 1023. (See Exhibit 1.) To date, this request to produce Voice of OC’s tax returns has been ignored, despite the clear mandate by the Internal Revenue Service to fully comply with such requests within 30 days. As such, reluctantly, the undersigned makes this referral.

    INTRODUCTION OF ACTORS:

    1. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as the creator of online publication “Voice of OC” – Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency.

    2. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as Trustee of the UCI Foundation (an entity which obtained funds from a separate charitable entity known as CaliforniaALL (FEIN Number 51-0656213).

    3. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as Executive Director of the State Bar of California – an entity which also controls and maintains a foundation known as the California Bar Foundation. The California Bar Foundation very quietly transferred close to $780,000 to CaliforniaALL.

    4. Mr. Joe Dunn in his role as a politician and business partner of Martha Escutia, who was involved in matters relating to utility companies operating in California.

    5. Ms. Gwen Moore – a former Assembly member in the California legislature. Ms. Moore has “clout” over the CPUC and utility companies. Ms. Moore presently serves as a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors; she has previously been the subject of an FBI sting operation.

    6. Mr. Geoffrey Brown – a former commissioner with the CPUC and former board member of the California Bar Foundation. During his tenure as a board member of the California Bar Foundation, a hush-hush transfer of $780,000 was made to CaliforniaALL. Subsequent to this transfer, Mr. Brown abruptly quit his position as board member.

    7. Mr. Thomas Girardi of Los Angeles-based law firm Girardi & Keese. Mr. Girardi helped Joe Dunn to establish the Voice of OC, and was a member of its board of directors. Recently, he abruptly quit that position. Mr. Girardi is a well-known donor to the Democratic Party and, in particular, to California Senator Barbara Boxer.

    8. Mr. Howard Miller of Los Angeles-based law firm Girardi & Keese. Mr. Miller was a member of both the State Bar of California Board of Governors and the California Bar Foundation board of directors when the “hush-hush” transfer of $780,000 from California Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL took place.

    9. Mr. James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster – Mr. Brosnahan represents utility companies. He – along with Thomas Girardi – helped Mr. Joe Dunn create the Voice of OC, the subject of this complaint. Like Mr. Girardi, Mr. Brosnahan also served as member of Voice of OC’s board of directors, and recently also abruptly quit his position.

    10. Ms. Susan Mac Cormac of Morrison & Foerster – Ms. Mac Cormac was part of the legal team that created the legal entity known as CaliforniaALL.

    11. Mr. Victor Miramontes – a resident of San Antonio, TX and business partner of former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Mr. Miramontes was the chairman of CaliforniaALL.

    12. Ms. Ruthe Catolico Ashley – a former employee of McGeorge School of Law who later served as a “Diversity Officer” at CalPERS. Ms. Ashley also served as member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors, and came up with the idea to create CaliforniaALL during a meeting with Sarah Redfield and Peter Arth, Jr. (the assistant to CPUC President Michael Peevey). After CaliforniaALL came into existence, Ms. Ashley, after a simulated search, was selected to serve as CaliforniaALL’s executive director.

    13. Ms. Sarah Redfield – a visiting professor at McGeorge School of Law and a member of the State Bar of California Committee. Ms. Redfield was chosen to serve as the “interim executive director” for CaliforniaALL, and later also allegedly served as a consultant to CaliforniaALL. For her services, Ms. Redfield was paid for the year of 2008 close to $160,000 as an “independent contractor.” Even though CaliforniaALL was housed pro bono at the law offices of DLA Piper in Sacramento, there is an entry on CaliforniaALL’s tax return for close to $16,000 for “occupancy.”

    14. Ms. Judy Johnson – the former Executive Director of the State Bar of California. For the past 8 years, she has been secretly serving as the president of an entity with a misleading name (“California Consumer Protection Foundation”). This entity absorbed close to $30 million in class action cy pres awards, as well as fines and settlements imposed by the CPUC on utility companies. This entity forwarded those funds to mostly questionable ACORN-like entities. On its website, CCPF claims that it has available information on all grantees going back 10 years. Not so. The information is scattered and extremely difficult to ascertain. In fact, a whole year is missing (2002). During that year, incidentally, CCPF awarded funds to the real ACORN as well as to Eric Moore of Educate LA, who is presumably related to Gwen Moore. Ms. Johnson used her position as executive director of the State Bar of California (which is supposed to supervise and discipline lawyers) as “clout” to obtain cy pres awards from the settlement of class actions prosecuted and defended by countless law firms.

    15. Mr. Jeffrey Bleich of Munger Tolles & Olson – presently the U.S. ambassador to Australia and a close friend of President Barack Obama. Mr. Bleich served as member of the BOG when CaliforniaALL was conceived. He is mentioned only in reference because Verizon Communications (which heavily contributed to CaliforniaALL) is a client of Munger Tules & Olson.

    FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

    In approximately 2007, Ruthe Catolico Ashley — an attorney from Sacramento and a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors — was employed by CalPERS as a “Diversity Officer.” Prior to her employment with CalPERS, Ms. Ashley was employed as a diversity officer at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. While at McGeorge, Ms. Ashley met diversity expert Sarah Redfield.

    In April 2007, Ashley, along with Sarah Redfield, met Peter Arth at a restaurant in San Francisco. During that meeting the idea to create CaliforniaALL was conceived. Eventually, CalPERS, CPUC, and the State Bar of California endorsed in principle the creation of CaliforniaALL – a Section 501(c)(3) entity that would raise funds to be used to support a more diverse workforce in California.

    Papers were filed with both state and federal agencies to allow CaliforniaALL to operate as a tax exempt entity. Victor Miramontes listed himself as Chairman of the Board, and Sarah E. Redfield served as CaliforniaAll’s interim-executive director for a period of 6 months. Serving as CaliforniaALL’s legal counsel was Susan Mac Cormac of Morrison & Foerster.

    California Attorney General RCT reflects that CaliforniaALL obtained its “Charity” status on March 14, 2008 (FEIN Number 510656213). The address for CaliforniaALL is listed as 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 2400, Sacramento, California. This is actually the address of DLA Piper, where CaliforniaALL resided pro bono.
    In June 2008, after a “nationwide search” and aided by a pro bono head-hunting firm in its search for a permanent CEO, CaliforniaALL, not surprisingly, hired Ruthe Catolico Ashley as its chief executive officer.

    Also not surprisingly, Ruthe Catolico Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL in September 2009 – the same month Joe Dunn launched his non-profit online publication “Voice of OC.”

    CaliforniaALL was abruptly dissolved in June 2010.

    CaliforniaALL’s 990 returns for 2008 list Sarah Redfield of Orono, Maine as an “independent contractor.” Her job description is listed as “Program Director.” and she was paid $157,763. It is unknown to the undersigned whether Redfield paid self-employment taxes or any other applicable state income taxes, either in California or Maine. (Incidentally, Redfield falsely states on her resume that she was part of a “curriculum committee” with SAL-UCI, an entity associated with UCI and the UCI Foundation where CaliforniaALL forwarded funds. In addition, Redfield falsely stated that she “launched” SAL-UCI, an entity that was already in existence from 2005.)

    In its brief existence from 2008 to 2010, CaliforniaALL collected close to $2 million from utility companies (AT&T, PG&E, Verizon, Sempra), including a sub rosa “hush-hush” contribution of $769,247 from the State Bar of California Foundation.

    To date, data collected by the undersigned shows that CaliforniaALL (which was supposed to forward most of those funds) transferred between $300,000 to $400,000 to the UCI Foundation (where Joe Dunn serves as trustee), spent an unknown amount to honor Gwen Moore at a lavish dinner held at a luxury hotel in Sacramento, paid for other incidental expenses such as salaries, and subsequent to moving out from the offices of DLA Piper to a more modest location , paid for a UPS Store mail box slot in Citrus Heights. (Later, CaliforniaALL relocated its base to the loft of one Larrisa Parecki in Sacramento.)

    Between 2001 and 2007, Geoffrey Brown served as a Commissioner with the CPUC. From 2006 to 2009, Brown served as a director of the State Bar of California Foundation. In 2008, California Bar Foundation quietly transferred $769,247.00 to CaliforniaALL. CaliforniaALL never acknowledged receipt of the $769,247.00 from the Cal Bar Foundation in any of its publications, although it did acknowledge the transfer on its IRS tax returns. Likewise, California Bar Foundation never acknowledged the largest grant it ever bestowed in its newsroom, the California Bar Journal, or similar publications; it did, however, recognize the transfer on its IRS returns, and in a 2 by 2 inch blurb in its annual report.

    Several months ago, the undersigned asked the State Bar of California Board of Governors to examine the suspicious circumstances surrounding CaliforniaALL (i.e. the hush hush transfer, etc.). While simply presenting facts similar to the above, Geoffrey Brown immediately, as though bitten by a snake, threatened to file legal action against the undersigned even though the communication with the BOG was absolutely privileged and justified, and only made mention of Brown in passing.

    The undersigned has met Brown casually once or twice, and was highly impressed with his modest and genteel nature. A group conversation transpired and Brown immediately, without even being asked, volunteered to help and assist. This however, can and will not serve to bar the mentioning of his name as part of the overall description of events (such as in this communication). Such tactics would be unfair to the other individuals and the proper administration of justice. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the undersigned possesses not even a scintilla of evidence that demonstrating that Brown somehow pocketed any money unlawfully or engaged in any other unlawful activities, other than the convenient circumstances described above.

    Due to unsettling circumstances involving the State Bar of California (such as the highly secretive control of CCPF by Judy Johnson, the refusal of the State Bar of California to disclose amounts it transfers to Bet Tzedek, a Los Angeles-based entity, the amounts it obtains from “voluntary contributions,” and, in particular, circumstances surrounding CaliforniaALL, Joe Dunn, and the Voice of OC), the undersigned asked Voice of OC to produce its tax returns for the past 3 years.

    Specifically, the following circumstances surrounding Voice of OC have caused concerns:

    1. Senator Martha Escutia, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications (EU&C) also participated in meetings with the CPUC concerning diversity. She is a founding member of The Senators (Ret.) firm, LLP, as is Joe Dunn.

    2. The fact that some individuals and entities involved in the creation of CaliforniaALL and the subsequent transfer of $769,247.00 from the Cal Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL, were also involved in assisting Joe Dunn with the creation of “Voice of OC” to wit – on one hand Morrison & Foerster’s Susan Mac Cormac as legal counsel for CaliforniaALL; Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller in his capacity as BOD member of Cal Bar Foundation, as well as BOG members who voted to endorse CaliforniaALL and consider it to have been a partner of the State Bar of California. On the other hand Morrison &Foerster’s James Brosnahan and Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi as part of helping Joe Dunn with the establishment of Voice of OC.

    3. CaliforniaALL was to transfer funds forward. It did so by awarding approximately $300,000 in grants to the UCI Foundation, where Joe Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee. It appears that CaliforniaALL preselected UCI Foundation, making a prior simulated request for proposal (RFP) by Sarah Redfield that led to the grant – a sham process.

    4. In September 2009, Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL. That same month, Joe Dunn publicly launched his online publication, “Voice of OC.” (as though Ashley’s mission had been completed).

    5. The recent abrupt departure of Thomas Girardi and James Brosnahan from ‘Voice of OC” (as though they were fleeing the scene with guilty consciences).

    As such, several months ago, on September 1, 2011, the Voice of OC was duly served with a request for production of IRS Form 990, Form 990 Schedule A, and Form 1023. (See Exhibit 1 attached) Additionally, said request was delivered to Joe Dunn.

    To date, this request to produce Voice of OC’s tax returns has been ignored, despite the clear mandate by the Internal Revenue Service to fully comply with such requests. As such, reluctantly, the undersigned filed this complaint.

    As such, I urge you to investigate this matter to determine whether Voice of OC who ignored the request to produce said tax returns violated IRS rules and regulations. I ask that you impose appropriate sanctions against any and all involved, if supported by the results of your investigation.

    I look forward to your response. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

    *Links and photos inserted by The Leslie Brodie Report.

    Girardi & Keese’s Tom Girardi: “Shell is the most miserable, rotten defendants we’ve ever sued”

    “How much more does anyone think we can take?” Barbara Post, president of the Carousel Homeowners Association, wrote in an email. “Our lives have been turned upside down, we are between a rock and a hard place, we are trapped in here. We are stressed and so frustrated.” Residents are involved in an ongoing lawsuit against Shell Oil Co., which operated an oil tank farm on the property from the 1920s to the 1960s and caused the existing problems. That suit is being litigated by Girardi & Keese. “We have benzene coming up in the cement grooves of patios,” Girardi said. “This is an abandoned oil field with nothing but benzene and other products harmful to people. I think that the water board has their rules and the people have theirs. “Shell is the most miserable, rotten defendants we’ve ever sued. The law says you can’t pollute or expose people to benzene and arsenic. That’s what the law says.”

    See story @:
    http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_19386157

    Voice of OC’s Henry Weinstein — Professor at UC Irvine School of Law — Subject of Ethics Complaint

    Utter and complete indifference to the law of the land, and despite the clear mandate by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has led to a complaint being filed against Henry Weinstein — a UC Irvine School of Law professor and member of Voice of OC’s Board of Directlors. Also names were Joe Dunn, John Cruz, and Jess Araujo.

    The ethics complaint — filed with the State Bar of California — alleges Orange County’s Nonprofit Investigative News Agency (DBA “Voice of OC) failed to comply with a September 1, 2011 request for production of IRS Form 990, Form 990 Schedule A, and Form 1023.


    Professor Henry Weinstein, a former prize-winning legal affairs reporter with the Los Angeles Times, is now a professor at UCI law school teaching legal writing and developing clinical programs. As a journalist, Weinstein was known for his work on death penalty cases – freeing one man after 24 years in prison – as well as investigations into consumer fraud and white-collar crime. (photo:courtesy of literaryorange.org ; nerrative from Voice of OC)

    Specifically, the request to produce Voice of OC’s tax returns has been ignored, despite the clear mandate by the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service to fully comply with such requests within 30 days. As such, the failure of respondents (who all serve on Voice of OC’s Board of Directlors) to comply with the law, as well as the utter and complete indifference to the law of the land, mandates that discipline be imposed.

    The fact that Senator Dunn is the Executive Director of the State Bar of California should only serve as a factor for enhanced discipline, as his conduct should be beyond reproach and he should fully comply with all laws and regulations. This is particularly true because those documents were sought as part of an inquiry into circumstances involving a charity known as CaliforniaALL, in the context of events surrounding Voice of OC.

    The State Bar of California, which controls and operates the California Bar Foundation, quietly transferred $780,000 to CaliforniaALL, a charitable entity created by former BOG member Ruthe Catolico Ashley. CaliforniaALL never acknowledged receipt of the approximate $780,000 from the Cal Bar Foundation in any of its publications, although it did acknowledge the transfer on its IRS tax returns.

    Likewise, the Foundation never acknowledged this transfer to CaliforniaALL — the largest grant it ever bestowed — via publications issued by its newsroom, the California Bar Journal, or similar publications; it did, however, recognize the transfer on its IRS returns, and in a 2 by 2 inch blurb in its annual report.

    During its brief existence, CaliforniaALL obtained additional funding of close to $1.5 million from utility companies such as Verizon Wireless, Sempra, PG&E, and others. (My suspicion, thus far unconfirmed, is that Girardi, Dunn, and Brosnahan became closer with each other while involved in proceedings relating to a class action against Sempra, as well as proceedings involving Enron and El Paso.)

    As the purpose of CaliforniaALL was to transfer those funds forward, it did so by awarding approximately $300,000 in grants to the UCI Foundation, where Senator Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee.

    In September 2009, Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL. That month, Senator Dunn publicly launched his online publication, ” Voice of OC.” Public sources have stated that the Voice of OC was financed by various foundations, unions, and the like.

    Events surrounding the State Bar of California, California Bar Foundation, CPUC, Geoffrey Brown, CaliforniaALL, Voice of OC, and UCI Foundation, as well as the fact that those who were involved (directly or indirectly, such as by arranging to funnel money ) with CaliforniaALL (i.e. Morrison & Foerster’s Susan Mac Cormac and Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller in his capacity as BOD member of Cal Bar Foundation, as well as BOG members who voted to endorse CaliforniaALL and consider it to have been a partner of the State Bar of California) were also involved with the creation of Voice of OC (Morrison &Foerster’s James Brosnahan and Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi ) created the appearance of suspicious activities that funds were misappropriated by Voice of OC, vis-a-vis CaliforniaALL.

    The appearance of suspicious activities is heightened given the proximity in time of various events. As noted above, Ruthe Catolico Ashley abruptly left CaliforniaALL in the same month Senator Dunn (aided by Brosnahan and Girardi) launched “Voice of OC,” as though her mission had been completed. Moreover, the recent abrupt departure of Thomas Girardi and James Brosnahan from “Voice of OC” (as though they were fleeing the scene with guilty consciences) and CaliforniaALL’s pre-selection of the UCI Foundation as a recipient of funds only reinforces this belief.

    This is heightened by Mr. Thomas Girardi’s utter lack of credibility (per findings by the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In Re Girardi), as well as the scheme to appoint as special prosecutor on behalf of the State Bar an attorney from a law firm of which Girardi & Keese is a client. (Jerome falk of Howard Rice)

    As such, the State Bar of California was urged to investigate this matter to determine whether any of the attorneys from Voice of OC who ignored the request to produce said tax returns violated California Rules of Professional Conduct and/or the State Bar Act.

    Fogel v. Farmers Group Sellement Update — Zurich Financial Group: Claim of Collusion “Outrageous” ; Walter Lack: “A Little Disappointed”

    Los Angeles, CA — A $455 million settlement in a long-running insurance class action was approved Wednesday, but the judge overseeing the case tentatively cut the requested attorney fees by 25 percent – and at least one objector to the settlement indicated an appeal could be on the way.

    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger ruled that the settlement provided a “substantial benefit” to the 12.5 million class members who are current or former members of insurance exchanges connected with Farmers Group Inc.

    The judge drew charts on his courtroom’s dry erase board to show the risks attached to further litigating the case, stating there was “a real possibility of an all-or-nothing outcome.”

    Highberger set a Dec. 20th hearing to determine whether plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case — led by the law firms of Girardi Keese and Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack — were entitled to more than the $67.9 million in fees he awarded them. The proposed settlement, first announced in October 2010, called for plaintiffs’ lawyers to net $90 million in fees. Any unclaimed money will go back to the exchanges, uner the terms of the deal.

    The underlying lawsuit alleges Farmers unlawfully tacked on unnecessary and unfair management fees to the cost of various types of insurance policies. Fogel v. Farmers Group Inc., BC300142 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Aug. 1, 2003).

    Jerry Flanagan of Consumer Watchdog, who represents a class member who has objected to the settlement, said his group “will certainly be considering” an appeal of Highberger’s decision.

    Consumer Watchdog has expressed concern that simply returning the money to the exchanges rewards Farmers for its alleged bad behavior. Flanagan argued in court Wednesday that the money should go back to the exchanges, but with more restrictive conditions.

    “The defendants won’t agree to that,” Highberger responded.

    Flanagan said prior to the settlement agreement plaintiffs’ lawyers had argued that Farmers controlled the exchanges. Now, in arguing the exchanges should get the unclaimed money, they “seem to be arguing that what they wrote… was wrong,” he said.

    So far, 2.5 million claims have been made as part of the settlement — a participation rate of more than 20 percent — with $150.3 million claimed at this point, Highberger said, calling it “an extraordinary take rate.”

    One member of the class who waived his claim in the settlement was Highberger’s research attorney, whom the judge said refused the 8 cents offered to him as part of the deal.

    The judge approved the settlement over the objections of several parties, including the state of Montana and the Center for Class Action Fairness, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group led by attorney Ted Frank.

    Ralph C. Ferrara of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, who represents Farmers Group, blasted as “outrageous” any insinuation that the attorneys in the case had colluded in a scheme to pad their own pockets.

    Speaking after the hearing, Walter J. Lack of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack said he was “a little disappointed” with Highberger’s view on the attorney’s fees, saying his firm had been awarded “far higher” fees in similar cases.

    Highberger rejected an earlier suggestion by Consumer Watchdog that any unclaimed money go to California’s cash-strapped court system, ruling it would be a conflict of interest. He also dismissed suggestions that the money go to charity.

    Contact the author at ciaran_mcevoy@dailyjournal.com

    Article from Consumer Watchdog. Originally published by Los Angeles Daily Journal.
    http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/story/455-million-farmers-group-settlement-ok…

    Erin Brockovich — Chronic Litigant — on Social Good

    Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese: We Have the Very Best Lawyers, Assails Los Angeles Dodgers (From A Special Advertising Section of LA Times)

    “We are very lucky to have the very best lawyers, and because of that we get the best cases and enjoy great credibility both with the courts and with other law firms,” Girardi says. Girardi is especially passionate about the case of a young man—a San Francisco Giants baseball fan—who suffered a fractured neck after being attacked at Dodger Stadium. The lawsuit, which is currently pending, claims the team’s owners cut security at the stadium to support their lavish lifestyle. “This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen,” Girardi says. “Ballparks are where you go to be with your family. Not a bank for an owner who cares nothing about his fans or his team.”

    http://www.latimes.com/custompublishing/bestlawyers2012/la-girardi-keese-2011…

    MGA Entertainment and Pugnacious Isaac Larian Issues New Press Release In Praise of Skadden Arps and Thomas Nolan

    VAN NUYS, Calif., Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — MGA Entertainment, Inc. scored another court victory today when a federal district court granted its motion for summary judgment on photographer Bernard Belair’s claims that the Bratz dolls infringed an advertisement he created for Steve Madden in Belair v. MGA Entertainment, Inc., Case No. 09-Civ-8870, in which he sought tens of millions of dollars from the Bratz sales. The Honorable Shira Scheindlin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York today found that “no reasonable trier of fact could find that any of the Bratz dolls are substantially similar to the figures depicted in Belair’s copyrighted image.”

    “Although the Bratz dolls may indeed bring to mind the image that Belair created, Belair cannot monopolize the abstract concept of an absurdly largeheaded, long limbed, attractive, fashionable woman,” Scheindlin stated in her opinion. “He has a copyright over the expressions of that idea as they are specifically articulated in [Belair's] image, but he may not prevent others from expressing the same idea in their different ways.”

    This holding echoes the Ninth Circuit’s July 22, 2010 opinion which overturned a jury finding for Mattel in the Mattel v. MGA trial by concluding that “[t]he concept of depicting a young, fashion-forward female with exaggerated features, including an oversized head and feet, is therefore unoriginal as well as an unprotectable idea. . . . Mattel can’t claim a monopoly over fashion dolls with a bratty look or attitude, or dolls sporting trendy clothing – these are all unprotectable ideas.” Mattel ended up losing its infringement claims in the second trial last spring and being hit with an over $300 million judgment for theft of trade secrets and punitive damages.

    Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, MGA’s trial counsel in 2008 and appellate counsel before the Ninth Circuit on the Mattel appeal, wrote the winning motion for MGA. Skadden replaced Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in June of this year. At the time, Isaac Larian, Founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment, was effusive in his praise of his trusted counsel, “Thomas Nolan and Jason Russell, partners at Skadden, Arps, are committed to excellence and focused on creative solutions for their clients. Skadden Arps, Tom, Jason and Hillary Hamilton are a few notches above some of the other law firms we have dealt with. They put their clients’ interest above that of their own. Tom and Jason have been with MGA every step of the way, from opening arguments in the first MGA trial to writing compelling briefs and making winning arguments on our behalf through the conclusion of the retrial with Mattel. We could not have prevailed without them.”

    That trust was obviously well-founded as Skadden quickly obtained a complete victory in the Belair action within scant months of replacing Orrick. As Mr. Larian noted, “Our trusted lawyers, Tom Nolan and Jason Russell of Skadden, got rid of this frivolous lawsuit with one summary judgment motion. As I said before, Skadden’s work is a few notches above some of the other law firms we have dealt with.”

    CONTACT: Susan Hale – shale@mgae.com

    SOURCE MGA Entertainment

    Copyright (C) 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

    Comtex

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mga-entertainment-scores-another-court-victo…

    Sempra Settlement Agreement : The Consus Group

    SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

    THIS SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT is made and entered into as of January 4, 2006, by and among, on the one hand, Sempra Energy, a California corporation (“SE”), Southern California Gas Company, a California corporation (“SoCalGas”), San Diego Gas & Electric Company, a California corporation (“SDG&E”), Sempra Generation (f/k/a Sempra Energy Resources), a California corporation (“Sempra Generation”), Sempra Energy Trading Corp., a Delaware corporation (“SET”), Sempra Energy Solutions, a California corporation (“SES”), Sempra Energy Power I, a California corporation (“SEP I”), and Sempra Energy Sales, L.L.C., a California limited liability company (“Sempra Energy Sales” and, collectively with SE, SoCalGas, SDG&E, Sempra Generation, SET, SES and SEP I, the “Sempra Parties”), and, on the other hand, Continental Forge Company, on its own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which it acts as a representative, Frank & Kathleen Stella, individually on their own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which they act as representatives, Douglas & Valerie Welch, individually on their own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which they act as representatives, Andrew & Andrea Berg, individually on their own behalf, doing business as Wavelength Hair Productions, and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which they act as representatives, Gerald J. Marcil, individually on his own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which he acts as a representative, John Clement Molony, individually on his own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which he acts as a representative, SierraPine, Limited, on its own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which it acts as a representative, City of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach, the City Attorney of Los Angeles and the City Attorney of Long Beach, each on behalf of the people of the State of California, United Church Retirement Homes of Long Beach, Inc., doing business as Plymouth West, on its own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which it acts as a representative, Long Beach Brethren Manor, on its own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which it acts as a representative, Robert Lamond, individually on his own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which he acts as a representative, THUMS Long Beach Company, on its own behalf, Mark & Susan Benscheidt, individually on their own behalf, doing business as Madera Wash Depot Countrywood Laundromat and on behalf of the plaintiff class which they act as representatives, Celina Martinez, individually on her own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which she acts as a representative, H & M Roses, Inc., on its own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which it acts as representative, Laurence Uyeda, individually on his own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which he acts as a representative, and Dan L. Older, individually on his own behalf and on behalf of the plaintiff class for which he acts as a representative (collectively the “Settling Claimants”).

    1. Definitions.

    The following terms, whether appearing with initial capital letters or not, which are in addition to other terms with initial capital letters defined in the body of this Agreement or by the context in which they appear in this Agreement, have the following meanings when used in this Agreement:

    1.1 “Actions” or “Civil Actions” means, collectively, the civil actions and class actions (the “Class Actions”) described in Attachment C of this Agreement.

    1.2 “Affiliate” means, with respect to a specified Person, any other Person that (a) directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries Controls, is Controlled by or is under common Control with the specified Person or (b) is a predecessor, successor or assign (including by merger or otherwise by operation of law) of such specified Person.

    1.3 “Agreement” means this Settlement Agreement, its Attachments A through D, and any written amendments or modifications to this Settlement Agreement that are approved in writing in accordance with the terms of Paragraph 12.2 hereof.

    1.4 “Allocation Agreement” means that certain agreement or agreements, by and among the Settling Claimants, pursuant to which the Settling Claimants, among other things, allocate the Consideration among the Settling Claimants.

    1.5 “Bankruptcy Code” means Title 11 of the United States Code, 11 U.S.C. Section 101, et seq., as now in effect and as hereafter amended.

    1.6 “Business Day” means any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday in the State of California in which state government is not generally open for business to the public.

    1.7 “Business Entity” means a partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, corporation (including a business trust), limited liability company, joint stock company, trust, unincorporated association, joint venture, business association, firm, governmental agency or authority or other entity or organization of any type, including, without limitation, the Settlement Fund.

    1.8 “CDWR” means the State of California Department of Water Resources, including, without limitation, the California Energy Resources Scheduling Division, and its successors and/or assigns.

    1.9 “Claim” means any (a) right to payment or value, whether or not such right is reduced to judgment, liquidated, unliquidated, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, legal, equitable, secured or unsecured, (b) right to a legal or equitable remedy for breach of performance, whether or not such right to a legal or equitable remedy is reduced to judgment, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, secured or unsecured, and/or (c) right granted by statute, regulation, common law or order of any agency or court not otherwise covered by clauses (a) or (b) above.

    1.10 “Class” or “Classes” collectively means the classes certified (either previously by the Class Action Court or for settlement purposes only) and the new classes contemplated to be certified by this Agreement. Without limiting the foregoing, the “Classes” will in any event include any class previously certified by the Class Action Court, plus all individuals and entities in California who purchased Gas and/or Electric Power for their own use and not for resale or generation of Electric Power at any time from September 1996 to the date of this Agreement.

    1.11 “Class Action Court” means the California Superior Court for the County of San Diego.

    1.12 “Class Counsel” means the law firms of Astrella & Rice, P.C.; Baker, Burton & Lundy, P.C.; Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, P.C.; Girardi & Keese; M. Brian McMahon; O’Donnell, Shaeffer & Mortimer LLP; Michael J. Ponce; J. Tynan Kelly; Douglas A. Stacey; Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette LLP; the Law Offices of Francis O. Scarpulla; Cooper & Kirkham, P.C.; the Furth Firm LLP; Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP; Krause & Kalfayan; the Mogin Law Firm P.C.; the Law Offices of Hoyt E. Hart; Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran; and each of them.

    1.13 “Class Plaintiffs” means the named plaintiffs in the Actions listed in Attachment C and the Class members and putative Class members they represent.

    1.14 “Consideration” means, collectively, the consideration agreed to be given by the Sempra Parties pursuant to the terms of Paragraph 4 of this Agreement.

    1.15 “Control” means the possession, directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of a Person, whether through the ability to exercise voting power, by contract or otherwise. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, for purposes of this Agreement, a specified Person shall be deemed to be Controlled by another Person if such other Person possesses, directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, (a) the power to elect, designate or otherwise cause the designation of a majority of the members of the board of directors or the equivalent governing body of such specified Person, or (b) legal or beneficial ownership of at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the Equity Interests of such Person. “Controlling” and “Controlled” have meanings correlative thereto. For purposes of this Agreement “beneficial ownership” shall have the meaning set forth in Rule 13d-3(a) as currently promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

    1.16 “CPUC” means the California Public Utilities Commission, or its successor and/or assigns.

    1.17 “Custodian” means any receiver, trustee, assignee, liquidator or similar official or Person under the Bankruptcy Code.

    1.18 “Designated Representative” means, collectively, (a) the Settling Claimants, and each of them, or any other person selected by the Settling Claimants to act in such capacity, and (b) in the event of a monetization of Deferred Payments, as defined in Paragraph 4.1(g), or any future payments or Consideration of any kind under the Agreement, any assignee(s) of the Settlement Fund’s rights in and to the Consideration, but only with respect to the rights, duties and obligations relating thereto.

    1.19 “Electric Power” means electric energy and related products, including, without limitation, generation, capacity, transmission, trading, sale, and ancillary services such as regulation, spinning reserve, non-spinning reserve and replacement reserve.

    1.20 “Equity Interest(s)” means (a) any capital stock, partnership interest, joint venture ownership interest, limited liability company membership interest, beneficial interest in a trust or similar Person, or any other equity, beneficial or ownership interest in another Person of whatever type or nature and (b) any securities, shares or rights representing, convertible into or exercisable for any of the foregoing described in clause (a) above, including, without limitation, any preemptive, subscription, acquisition or other outstanding right, option, warrant, conversion right, exercise right, stock appreciation right, redemption right, repurchase right, or similar right related to any of the foregoing described in clause (a) above.

    1.21 “FERC” means the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or an agency or authority of the United States from time to time succeeding to its authority.

    1.22 “Gas” means any natural gas or natural gas-related product or service.

    1.23 “Investment Grade” means, with respect to a Person’s non-credit enhanced, senior unsecured long-term debt, an investment grade credit rating by both Moody’s Investor Services (i.e., Baa3 or higher) and Standard & Poor’s Investment Advisor Services (i.e., BBB-or higher).

    1.24 “Letter of Credit” means one or more irrevocable, standby letters of credit, each substantially in the form appended hereto as Attachment D, presentable at an office of the issuer located in the State of California and otherwise in form and content mutually acceptable to the Sempra Parties and Class Counsel, issued by a bank organized and operating under the laws of the United States or the State of California, a “foreign (other state) bank” (as defined in Section 139.5(a) of the California Financial Code), or a duly licensed branch of a “foreign (other nation) bank” (as defined in Section 139.4(b) of the California Financial Code) authorized to conduct banking operations in the State of California, whose non-credit enhanced, senior unsecured long-term debt, after giving effect to the issuance of the Letter of Credit, has a credit rating of at least A- from Standard & Poor’s Investment Advisor Services or A3 from Moody’s Investor Services.

    1.25 “Liabilities” means any and all direct or indirect costs, expenses, actions, causes of actions, suits, judgments, controversies, damages, claims, indebtedness, obligations, commitments, deficiencies, guarantees, liabilities or demands of any nature, whether known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen, existing or hereafter arising, liquidated or unliquidated, matured or unmatured, contingent or direct, whether arising at common law, in equity, or under any statute, regulation or order, based in whole or in part upon any act or omission or other occurrence taking place on or prior to the date of this Agreement.

    1.26 “Nevada Settlement Agreement” means that certain Settlement Agreement, dated as of January 4, 2006, by and among the Sempra Parties and the settling claimants named therein, its Attachment A, and any written amendments or modifications to such agreement that are approved in writing in accordance with its terms.

    1.27 “Paragraph” means a numbered paragraph of this Agreement, unless otherwise noted, and all references to a Paragraph shall include all subparts or subparagraphs of that Paragraph.

    1.28 “Parties” means the Sempra Parties and the Settling Claimants, individually and collectively, and their successors and assigns. Each of the Parties may be individually referred to herein as a “Party.”

    1.29 “Person” or “Persons” means an individual, trustee or Business Entity.

    1.30 “Private Parties” means, collectively, the named plaintiffs in the Civil Actions, the named plaintiffs in their respective representative capacities in each of the Class Actions, and the members of the Classes.

    1.31 “Released Claims” means any and all of the Claims released or waived pursuant to the terms of Paragraph 5 of this Agreement.

    1.32 “Responsible Officer” means, with respect to any Person, the chief executive officer, the president, or the chief financial officer of such Person, or any other senior officer of such Person having substantially the same authority and responsibility.

    1.33 “Settlement Fund” means and refers to the settlement fund described in Paragraph

    8.4 and elsewhere within this Agreement into which Consideration shall be deposited by the Sempra Parties from time to time as provided in Paragraph 4.1 of this Agreement.

    1.34 “Subsidiary” means, as to any specified Person, (a) any Person the accounts of which are, or are required to be, consolidated with those of the specified Person’s consolidated financial statements or (b) any Person that is Controlled by such specified Person.

    2. RECITALS.

    2.1 On September 25, 2000, class representative Continental Forge Company filed a class action complaint against the Sempra Parties, and other defendants, in the California Superior Court for Los Angeles County (Case No. BC 237336), alleging that the Sempra Parties and others had committed antitrust violations and engaged in unfair competition in the California Gas markets (the “Continental Forge Action”). The Continental Forge Action seeks (a) monetary damages, (b) injunctive relief, and (c) restitution and disgorgement by the Sempra Parties to the Class and the general public.

    2.2 On December 13, 2000, class representative John Phillip filed a class action complaint against the Sempra Parties, and other defendants, in the California Superior Court for San Diego County (Case No. GIC 759425), alleging that the Sempra Parties and others had committed antitrust violations and engaged in unfair competition in the California Electric Power markets (the “John Phillip Action”). The John Phillip Action seeks (a) monetary damages, (b) injunctive relief, and (c) restitution and disgorgement by the Sempra Parties to the Class and the general public.

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