Never Know Who You’ll Meet in the Buffet Line

South Bay lawyers packed the offices of McManis, Faulkner & Morgan Thursday night for the firm’s 35th anniversary shindig (free buffet included). As the assorted legal luminaries (California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin, local civil guru Allen Ruby) got their groove on, Legal Pad was more interested in an elderly couple who seemed out of place among the zippy Valley types.

Turns out the petite woman in the gray slacks and blue blazer — with a flourishing silver “G” pin on the lapel — was none other than former San Jose Mayor Janet Gray Hayes. Her 1974 election marked the first time a major American city chose a female mayor, and at the time, she represented a liberal break from San Jose’s old political guard.

She was accompanied Thursday by her husband Kenneth, a trim gentleman with short gray hair. What were they doing at the party?

“My case is the longest running litigation Jim McManis has,” Hayes said. After she left office, the mayor said a historical publication falsely described her as an avowed homosexual. As she recounted this to Legal Pad while waiting in the food line, Hayes’ husband slowly shook his head. “You can imagine how I took this,” Kenneth said.

Hayes said she is still fighting the insurance companies for damages. McManis confirmed her claim is his longest active case, having started in 1991.

Dan Levine

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