CAL-ABOTA e-NEWS

| JULY 2019
CAL-ABOTA MEMBERS ATTEND TWO NATIONAL BOARD MEETINGS 
Since our last publication, CAL-ABOTA members have had the pleasure of attending two of National President Mike Maguire’s (OC chapter) board meetings. In April, a board meeting was held in the “Live Music Capitol of the US,” Austin, Texas followed by a more recent board meeting which was held on the Silver Whisper cruise ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. CAL-ABOTA had a strong presence at both meetings and continues to play a vital role in ABOTA. During those meetings, more than 100 trial lawyers were approved as new members with an average age in the low 50s, a positive and healthy trend for ABOTA. 

Diversity of membership continues to be a high priority for ABOTA with Diversity Committee chair John Sweeney (LA Chapter) providing vital updates in Austin, as well as a “high-seas” MCLE presentation during the International trip. Also, having been reinvigorated at the outset of the year, ABOTA’s Save Our Juries initiative continues to be an area of focus for the organization addressing four main pillars including: Forced Arbitration, Faster Jury Trials, Civics Education, and Importance of Jury Service. ABOTA is conferring with other like-minded organizations to both fund the initiative and to drive the pillars for more high profile support. President Mike Maguire has encouraged all ABOTA members to contact their Federal representatives to express support for the FAIR (Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal) Act of 2019 following the National Board’s vote to support the Act.

All members are encouraged to attend the National Board meetings which are always a great balance of work and play. 2020 President, Luther Battiste, has planned an extraordinary international trip to Africa next year which is sure to be fantastic. Refer to the ABOTA website for more details. 

Thank you for your membership and continued participation.
Bryan Reid
CAL-ABOTA President
ABOTA cruisers boarding water taxi to tour Monte Carlo
National President Mike Maguire
Diversity Committee chair John Sweeney
ABOTA President Mike Maguire and First Lady Cindy Maguire receiving well-deserved accolades aboard the Silver Whisper
Past CAL-ABOTA President Bill Smith and Past President Sacramento Valley Chapter, the Honorable David Brown, enjoying the board meeting in Austin
ABOTA members touring
Valencia, Spain by bike
Past CAL-ABOTA President Denise Taylor and Past San Bernardino/Riverside County President Andre Rekte enjoying a cocktail reception in downtown Austin
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY CHAPTER VISIT

In April, Sue and I were delighted to attend the annual dinner of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter which was held at the terrific and highly-rated Vintage Press restaurant in Visalia. With chartered shuttles running from both Bakersfield and Fresno, the event was well-attended by chapter members, guests and members of the local judiciary. President John Hall hosted a terrific event and we were impressed by the friendliness, camaraderie and energy of the group. The chapter’s Civility Award was presented to the well deserving Judge David Lampe who gave a very touching, meaningful and entertaining acceptance speech. We look forward to honoring Judge Lampe and all other Civility Award recipients when we meet in Hawaii this November!

In an act of ironic generosity, the chapter managed to randomly select my raffle ticket and we were delighted to receive a very fine bottle of wine. Well done!

Finally, many thanks to Dave and Debbie Cohn for opening their home to us and treating us to wonderful ABOTA hospitality!
An impressive poster at the SJV Chapter Annual dinner highlights and pays tribute to ABOTA
DENISE TAYLOR VISITS SEABOTA
On April 4-7, 2019, past CAL-ABOTA President Denise Taylor attended the Annual SEABOTA meeting, which was held this year in Durham, North Carolina. 
Don't forget to sign up for the 2019 Hawaii Conference which will be at the Grand Hyatt on the beautiful island of Kauai November 4-9.

Program Chair and CAL-ABOTA President-Elect, Chris Wesierski has planned a terrific event!
Thank you 2019 sponsors...
FEATURE STORY
Justice Bedsworth Authors Revolutionary Opinion Demanding Civility

Justice Bill Bedsworth, a dedicated friend and supporter of CAL-ABOTA, a regular panelist on Civility Matters programs throughout the State and a long-time champion for civility, recently authored the groundbreaking, published opinion in the matter of Lasalle v. Vogel. Lamenting the fading of civility from the practice of law, drawing attention to past president Doug DeGrave’s, CAL-ABOTA-driven 2014 amendment to the State’s new attorney oath requiring that lawyers practice with “dignity, courtesy, and integrity," and calling upon all lawyers to restore professionalism in the practice of law. Justice Bedsworth has provided us with an artful, thoughtful and powerful tool to support our ongoing efforts to teach, train and insist upon civility and professionalism in litigation.   A copy of this opinion is available by clicking HERE on CAL-ABOTA’s website, and it is suggested that it become required reading for attorneys, paralegals and law students across the nation.

Notably, at the Hawaii Conference in 2018, Justice Bedsworth became the first recipient (and namesake) of the CAL-ABOTA William Bedsworth Judicial Civility Award which was presented to him by then president Bill Smith. This opinion by Justice Bedsworth emphasizes the appropriateness of that recognition and places an exclamation mark on the most well-deserved award. 

Below is a summary of the Lasalle opinion as written by Wendy Dowse, an appellate practice partner with the law firm of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.

Ghost Ships, Greek Sea Monsters, and a Legal Standard for Civility With Teeth

The court of appeal has had enough of incivility in the legal profession. In Lasalle v. Vogel (June 11, 2019) No. G055381, __Cal.App.5th__, Division Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that “[t]he policy of this state is that the parties to a lawsuit ‘shall cooperate.’ Period. Full stop.” (Slip opn., p. 2, quoting Code Civ. Proc., § 583.130.) Attorneys who do not cooperate with one another “are practicing in contravention of the policy of the state and menacing the future of the profession.” (Id. at p. 16.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 583.130 says: “It is the policy of this state that a plaintiff shall proceed with reasonable diligence in the
prosecution of an action but that all parties shall cooperate in bringing the action to trial or other disposition.” “That is not complicated language. No jury instruction defining any of its terms would be necessary if we were submitting it to a panel of non-lawyers.” (Id. at p. 2.) “Yet the principle the section dictates has somehow become the Marie Celeste of California law – a ghost ship reported by a few hardy souls but doubted by most people familiar with the area in which it’s been reported.” (Ibid.) Attorneys today are forced “to sail between Scylla and Charybdis” – torn between the civility taught in law schools and required in the oath new attorneys have had to take since 2014, “and their obligation to represent their client as effectively as possible.” (Id. at pp. 10-11.) “We ask too much of people with families and mortgages … when we ask them to choose ‘dignity, courtesy, and integrity’ over easy ‘fish in a barrel’ victories that are perceived to have statutory support.” (Ibid.) “We owe ourselves an easier choice, and the legislature has given it to us in section 583.130.” (Ibid.)

Based on the standard in section 583.130, the court of appeal concluded that the trial court abused its discretion in not setting aside a default judgment. While several factors combined to convince the court of that, first on the court’s list was counsel’s “use of email to give ‘warning.’” (Id. at p. 11.) “Email has many things to recommend it; reliability is not one of them.” (Ibid.) “While some emails seem to live on for years despite efforts to bleach them out, others have the half-life of a neutrino.” (Id. at p. 12.) “The choice of email to announce an impending default” seemed to the court “hardly distinguishable from stealth. And since the other course adopted by respondent’s trial attorney was mailing a letter on Thursday in which he demanded a response by Friday,” it was difficult for the court “to see this as a genuine warning – especially when 19th century technology – the telephone – was easily available and orders of magnitude more certain.” (Ibid.)

The court acknowledged older authority for the proposition that “giving any warning at all” before seeking a default “is an ‘ethical’ obligation as distinct from a ‘legal’ one,” but held that “to the extent it was possible for a party seeking a default with unseemly haste to commit an ethical breach without creating a legal issue, that distinction was erased by section 583.130.” (Id. at pp. 8, 10.) “Quiet speed and unreasonable deadlines do not qualify as ‘cooperation’ and cannot be accepted by the courts” because they are “contrary to legislative policy and … destructive of the legal system and the people who work within it.” (Id. at 10.) Allowing conduct like this “to flourish has been counterproductive and corrosive” and has led to “an insidious decline in the standards of the profession that must be addressed.” (Id. at pp. 7, 10.)   
TEACHERS LAW SCHOOL
October 25-26 | Sacramento
CAL-ABOTA will be hosting this year's Teachers Law School® on October 25-26 at the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District where Dean Erwin Chemerinsky from Berkeley Law School has agreed to be our key note speaker. Please encourage your educator friends to check out the great program we have in store.
Congratulations to CAL-ABOTA as the recipient of the 2019 Scales of Justice Award from the California Judges Association – this is a tremendous honor!
Bryan Reid (L) and Frank Pitre (R), pictured with Judge Paul Bacigalupo (C) receive the CJA Scales of Justice Award on May 13, 2019
The Honorable Paul A. Bacigalupo, President of the California Judges Association, presented CAL-ABOTA with its Scales of Justice award on May 13, 2019 during a reception in Sacramento. 

"CAL-ABOTA is a consistent and committed supporter of a fair and impartial judiciary and judicial independence. CJA wants to recognize CAL-ABOTA’s unyielding allegiance and public resolve and support of these principles. We can not think of a better suited recipient of this award as an expression of our appreciation for all that CAL-ABOTA does for California bench officers and our judiciary,” says Bacigalupo.

CAL-ABOTA wishes to thank and acknowledge Civil Justice Committee Chairman, Frank Pitre, and his committee along with the Rapid Response Teams from each ABOTA California Chapter for their tremendous efforts and involvement in supporting the independence of the judiciary. 

Mr. Pitre also serves on the Judicial Fairness Coalition. The California Judges Association launched the Judicial Fairness Coalition (JFC) on August 1, 2018 as a result of the overwhelming support in the judicial and legal communities to promptly and strategically respond to unfair criticism and false and misleading information against justices, judges and the judiciary and stand together to affirm the independence of the judiciary. The JFC is a statewide coalition of active and retired justices and judges, bar associations and their leaders, and law school deans and professors.
SANTA FE: A PERFECT VENUE TO CELEBRATE A THRIVING TEX-ABOTA
By Bryan Reid
2019 TEX-ABOTA President Grace Weatherly and her energetic board hosted a terrific weekend of education, socialization and celebration at the Inn at Loretto in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. MCLE coordinator Dickie Grigg assembled an impressive and entertaining lineup of a dozen speakers who, over the course of two mornings, addressed topics as diverse as an American prosecuting human traffickers in Cambodia to litigation on behalf of a Seal Team Six hero who was shunned for publishing his account of the mission which took down Osama Bin Laden. 

Enhancing the impressive and entertaining line up of speakers was a guided walking tour of the city, multiple receptions under the perfect skies of Santa Fe and an impressive awards dinner honoring the TEX-ABOTA jurist and lawyer of the year. 

Vibrant discussion at the Sunday morning board meeting (attended by all of TEX-ABOTA’s chapters) reveals that our fellow regional organization is thriving and very busy in its efforts to carry out the ABOTA objectives. Many thanks and congratulations to President Grace, her active board and the many TEX-ABOTA members who so kindly welcomed us to their event.  
President Grace Weatherly
MCLE chair Dickie Grigg
Sue and me in front of a Kinetic
art exhibit in Santa Fe
SAN FRANCISCO CHAPTER VISIT: A SOGGY BUT ENERGETIC AFFAIR
By Bryan Reid
During my visit in April, I was warmly and graciously received by our distinguished colleagues of CAL-ABOTA’s San Francisco chapter even though it turned out to be a particularly stormy day and one which fell well in to the NBA playoffs. The Marine’s Memorial Club proved to be an ideal venue for the meeting of one of ABOTA’s oldest, largest and most distinguished chapters. Chapter President Joe McMonigle ran an excellent meeting honoring the chapter’s well-deserving Jurist of the Year and recognizing many visiting dignitaries while expertly maneuvering the meeting through highlight moments of the live Golden State Warriors playoff game. 

Congratulations to the vibrant and active SF Chapter, thanks much for the wonderful hospitality and my condolences for the Warriors who came up just a bit short in the finals.