Archive for July, 2006

BASF Food Drive Yields $255K

July 21, 2006

The San Francisco Food Bank is $255,623 richer thanks to some Bay Area law firms and the Bar Association of San Francisco.

BASF raised the money through its annual Food for the Bar drive earlier this year. The contributing law firms were honored last week. BASF identified Munger, Tolles & Olson as the top contributor, with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; The Fremont Group; Baker & McKenzie, McKenna Long & Aldridge; Bingham McCutchen; Shartsis Friese and Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy the other top givers.

— Scott Graham


Just Name Prosecutors Who Commit Misconduct

July 20, 2006

[Update: This blog item inspired a front-page story in The Recorder, available at]

What is it about California’s appellate courts omitting the names of prosecutors from their rulings, particularly if they stand accused of committing misconduct?

It happened once again on Tuesday, when San Jose’s Sixth District Court of Appeal left the name of a former Santa Cruz County deputy district attorney out of a 27-page ruling that found he had acted irresponsibly during closing arguments of a DUI and drug possession case.


Bonds Question Upstages Backdating Charges

July 20, 2006

At today’s packed press conference, reporters ostensibly flocked to see U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan announce the first charges in the stock options backdating scandal. But it didn’t take long to realize that many in attendance — particularly those accompanied by TV cameras — had a potential defendant in mind who was sexier (or at least more muscular) than any former Silicon Valley executive.

They all wanted to know about Barry Bonds, who’s being looked at for possibly lying to a grand jury investigating steroid use. The grand jury investigating Bonds, we know, was set to expire today. So many thought an indictment was in the works.

Alas, any such charge will have to come later, if at all, and from another grand jury, probably months down the road. When Ryan explained that in a brief prepared statement after the backdating announcement, he said any such decision will be have to wait for “another day.” Yet there was some doubt — he spoke quickly, and at least a couple of reporters heard “a day.” On the way out the door, Ryan’s spokesman could be seen trying to put the issue to rest ASAP.

Justin Scheck

Court Buries McCoy Feud (not that McCoy feud)

July 20, 2006

San Francisco attorney Waukeen McCoy’s long and winding feud with Angela Alioto over $2 million in fees may have come to a whimpering conclusion.

After losing most every step of the way through the courts, McCoy’s last-ditch appeal to the California Supreme Court was met Wednesday with a blunt “petition for review denied.”


Plaintiff Lawyer Didn’t Think Big in Rollover Case

July 19, 2006

When Ford Motor Co. took a $150 million hit in San Diego County Superior Court two years ago in a Ford Explorer rollover case, defense lawyer Anthony Sonnett drew a lot of the blame for appearing to have conceded during argument that Ford “knowingly put a defective product on the market.”

On Wednesday, the Fourth District Court of Appeal sliced the award to $82 million. And now it’s plaintiff attorney Dennis Schoville’s turn for second-guessing.


Carr Picks Up Momentum — Sinunu Slows?

July 18, 2006

Things have been sort of quiet on the Santa Clara DA election front lately. But then Dolores Carr’s people sent out an e-mail: the superior court judge managed to pick up a few key endorsements last week — including from one of her former opponents in the campaign.


The Straight Dope on Grand Juries

July 18, 2006

Cecil Adams’ Straight Dope column has been mandatory reading for years for any curious individual who’d like to know, say, whether poppyseed bagels will make you flunk a drug test or what the real lyrics are to “Louie Louie.” But if you’re not into the science (why pigeons bob their heads; what happens if you turn on the headlights while driving at light speed) or the philosophy (what’s the sound of one hand clapping?), today there’s a short but detailed examination of the origins and evolution of the grand jury. The piece runs from 12th-century England to modern-day San Francisco, with some nice twists along the way.

And, no, reading it doesn’t give you continuing education credit.

Brian McDonough


Breyer, Kozinski Rule: Cabaret’s No Musical

July 17, 2006

After all the speeches, seminars, dining and dancing, the most substantive opinion to come out of last week’s Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference was the result of a brief cocktail hour discussion between Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer over the characteristics of the musical.


Timing May Be Everything on Gay Marriage Appeal

July 14, 2006

There’s no way of knowing for certain how the three appellate judges presiding over the gay marriage case will vote. If all goes to script, though, the two Republican appointees — William McGuiness and Joanne Parrilli — will outvote Democratic appointee J. Anthony Kline and rule that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

If they rule as expected — and when expected — they actually could be doing Democrats a huge favor.


Where’s SEC in Ryan’s Backdating Task Force?

July 14, 2006

It looks like the San Francisco U.S. attorney will be first to indict in the stock options backdating bonanza (the story is up free at But one quick question for Kevin Ryan’s new stock options task force: Where’s the SEC?