California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards for 2003
The CLAY Awards
By The Editors of CALIFORNIA LAWYER
Although much of law practice is collaborative, and any given project can span years, there are some achievements made by California lawyers that have such far-reaching impact that they cannot go unrecognized. The lawyers selected as Attorneys of the Year for 2003 substantially influenced public policy or a particular industry, brought about a significant development in their field of practice or in law-firm management, or achieved a notable victory for a client or for the public in a difficult, high-stakes matter.
Charles A. Bird
Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps; San Diego
In September, Bird won an en banc Ninth Circuit decision holding that employers may require, as a condition of employment, that employees agree to arbitrate any future disputes that arise under federal law. The decision overturned contrary precedent set in 1998. (EEOC v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps 345 F.3d 742.) Bird also argued twice before the state Supreme Court in May, winning both cases in decisions that were handed down in August. In Lantzy v. Centex Homes Corp. (31 Cal. 4th 363), the court resolved a conflict among appellate decisions when it held that the ten-year statute of limitations on actions for latent construction defects was not tolled during periods of attempted repair. And in Sharon S. v. Superior Court (31 Cal. 4th 417), the court found that parties can waive the statutory termination of the birth parents' parental duties to an adopted child, which would otherwise occur upon adoption. The holding, which reversed an appellate decision, safeguarded an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 second-parent adoptions completed in the past ten years, most of which involved same-sex couples.
Robert P. Feyer
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; San Francisco
Feyer completed two multibillion-dollar note issuances that raised enough cash for the state of California to cover billions of dollars in expenses. In June, Feyer crafted a deal with a consortium of financial institutions that involved a unique credit structure: The state sold $11 billion of revenue-anticipation warrants, a form of short-term cash-flow financing, in order to pay its bills and avert defaulting on maturing loans called revenue-anticipation notes. Because of the state's poor credit rating, it needed bank support for its entire issuance for the first time in history. In October, Feyer closed a $3 billion debt-financing deal on behalf of the state of California with a syndicate of bank financiers, who were represented by White & Case attorney Neil Rust.
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker; Orange County
Tennyson was the lead attorney on one of the biggest acquisitions of 2003. Last March he closed a $2.5 billion deal on behalf of his client, David H. Murdock, chairman and CEO of Dole Food Company. To facilitate the deal, Tennyson negotiated a merger agreement, arranged secured credit of $1.15 billion, issued offering memoranda associated with $459 million of subordinate debt, amended existing senior notes, overcame shareholder objections, and pushed the deal through the SEC review process. Tennyson's work resulted in Murdock acquiring the 70 percent of Dole that was publicly held, giving Murdock control of one of the largest private companies in the country, with revenues of $4.4 billion in 2002.
Frank W. Chen
Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Pearson; Alhambra
After Trevor Law Group attorneys filed 28 lawsuits alleging unfair business practices (Cal Bus. & Prof. Code §17200) against thousands of small, primarily minority-owned businesses in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Chen took one of the cases pro bono and coordinated a unique and sweeping defense to the allegations. He recruited other attorneys to work pro bono and coordinated with other defense counsel to share research and work product. At the same time, Chen worked extensively with mainstream and Chinese-language media, educating the public and ethnic communities about the section 17200 cases in particular and the litigation process in general. He also worked with state and local prosecutors, local elected officials, legislators, and the State Bar to curb the litigation and help safeguard the justice system and small business owners against such abusive tactics. By year's end all of the lawsuits had been dismissed, the State Bar had prevented lawyers (who later resigned) from practicing, the state attorney general had filed a civil lawsuit against them, and the state Legislature had begun efforts to reform section 17200 to prevent such abuse in the future.
Elliot R. Peters
Keker & Van Nest, San Francisco
When Peters learned about John J. Tennison, wrongfully convicted of murdering a San Francisco teen in a neighborhood known for turf fights among drug dealers, Tennison had already been locked up for eleven years, and four courts had turned down his requests for a new trial. Peters took the habeas petition pro bono, enlisting the help of fellow Keker attorney Ethan A. Balogh. The two persuaded a federal judge to grant them access to the police and prosecutor's files. Through meticulous examination of documents, Balogh's depositions of the four key police officers, and retention of a top-notch investigator, Peters and Balogh determined that prosecutors and police officers, including some who had become top brass in their departments, had suppressed exculpatory evidence, including a memo showing that police had paid a witness $2,500 from a secret fund and that prosecutors had talked to a key witness who confessed to the crime and exonerated Tennison. Under Peters's supervision, the Keker firm put an estimated $800,000 worth of work into Tennison's case before the judge overturned his sentence in late August. (Tennison v. Henry.) Three days later Tennison walked out of prison a free man.
Daniel J. Callahan
Callahan & Blaine, Santa Ana
In a rare outcome for a business litigation matter, Callahan convinced a jury in September to award his client, a medical equipment maker, more than $931 million in punitive damages from a subcontractor that had defrauded his client in addition to breaching their contract. The total award of $934 million was one of the largest verdicts of the year nationwide and the largest verdict in Orange County history. (Beckman Coulter v. Flextronics.) As a further result of the litigation, the punitive damages phase of the trial revealed that the defendant company had failed to disclose the litigation to its shareholders, which sparked SEC involvement. In November the parties settled for $23 million.
Townsend and Townsend and Crew, San Francisco
In January, Crew successfully negotiated an unprecedented settlement, one of the largest in state history, on behalf of California consumers against Microsoft in a series of coordinated class action lawsuits that alleged the software giant had violated California's antitrust and unfair competition laws. Under the terms of the settlement, Microsoft will pay up to $1.1 billion in vouchers to California consumers and businesses that bought Microsoft products between 1995 and 2001. The bulk of any unclaimed funds will go to public schools that serve underprivileged students and can be used for the purchase of any brand of computer product. Fellow Townsend attorneys Richard Grossman and Daniel J. Furniss served as co-counsel. (Microsoft I-V Cases.)
Gregory A. Long
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Los Angeles
After seven years of litigation and a seven-month trial, Long and Puglisi successfully defended the State Compensation Insurance Fund against allegations by a class of 164,000 California employers that the fund, which was deregulated in 1995, had systematically overcharged them on every claim adjusted between July 1989 and October 1995. (A&J Liquor Co., Inc. v. State Compensation Ins. Fund.) The lawsuit claimed $1.1 billion in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages and interest, for an estimated total of $2 billion. In April, after a bench trial, a San Francisco judge ruled in favor of the defendant, finding that the State Fund had acted in good faith at all times. The case was closely watched for its potential to destroy the state workers compensation system.
Darren J. Robbins
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, San Diego
In May, Robbins reached a groundbreaking settlement in a securities fraud class action that he litigated on behalf of the shareholders of an oil equipment manufacturing company. In addition to payment of $95 million worth of cash, stock, and debt security, the settlement called for far-reaching corporate governance reforms, including granting shareholders the power to nominate two independent directors to the company's board, requiring the company to change its outside auditing firm every five years, prohibiting accelerated vesting of executive benefits in connection with a proposed merger and insider selling during the pendency of a stock buyback, and requiring executives who exercise their stock options to hold at least one-third of those shares for twelve months from the date they exercise the options. (Pirelli v. Hanover Compressor Co.) Since announcement of these reforms, the company's stock value has doubled. Experts say the reforms exceed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related SEC regulations in terms of the extent to which they regulate the corporate boardroom and serve as a model for corporate governance in the post-Enron era.
Law Offices of Natasha Roit, Malibu
Sole practitioner Roit won one of the largest legal malpractice compensatory damage awards in California history in August, when a San Mateo judge found that an intellectual property law firm had negligently missed a filing deadline to obtain foreign patents for her client, a company that develops scientific instruments. In defense of the law firm, Hinshaw & Culbertson's Ronald Mallen and Bradley Zamczyk admitted the blown deadline but argued that the invention in question, a scientific tool designed to screen enzymes, was essentially worthless. Roit garnered a $30 million award by convincing the court that her client would have earned millions of dollars in foreign markets if it had acquired the foreign patents. (Kairos Scientific v. Fish & Richardson.)
Steven J. Carroll
Public Defender, San Diego County
Carroll dedicated the necessary resources-including $2 million and the effort and skill of Chief Deputy Public Defender Robert Stall, serving as project manager-to create what's widely considered to be the most sophisticated case- management database system ever developed for a public defender office. In 2003 the Justice Case Activity Tracking System, or JCATS, designed by database developer Canyon Solutions, was linked to databases of the San Diego Superior Court and the district attorney's office, extending the reach of the program launched in 2002. The system revolutionized case management by automating many daily tasks and giving users the ability to instantly access, through an office intranet, information that was previously buried or unavailable. Other public defenders say the system is amazing in its ability to centralize work product and thereby increase staff efficiency and improve the quality of defense.
San Diego County District Attorney's Office, San Diego
Last November Deputy District Attorney Clabby successfully convinced two separate juries that a sometime landscaper named Michael Flinner offered to pay an employee to execute Flinner's fiancée so he could collect on a $500,000 life insurance policy. Clabby persevered on the murder-for-hire case even as Flinner, who was imprisoned on an unrelated parole violation, mailed him progressively more violent and graphic letters indicating he knew Clabby's home address and threatening to kill him and his family-even mentioning his wife by name and threatening to sexually assault her. Despite these dangers, Clabby was able after two years of work to navigate a labyrinth of evidence and win convictions of both men.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Los Angeles
After Deputy District Attorney Kahn determined that thousands of rape kits in Los Angeles County had been destroyed-probably due to poor evidence management or lack of storage-Kahn, the DA's point person on DNA evidence, drafted state legislation that for the first time gives sexual assault victims the right to know about the status of the DNA testing of their rape kits. The law also requires police to inform victims in writing before their kits can be destroyed if the statute of limitations on their cases has not expired. The bill, Sexual Assault Victims' DNA Bill of Rights (AB 898), was sponsored by Assemblymember Judy Chu and passed in September.
Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office, Martinez
A 14-year deputy public defender who as the son of migrant farmworkers picked peas as a child, Najera never planned to argue and win the controversial case Stogner v. California (537 U.S. 1231) before the U.S. Supreme Court. He merely intended to build and present the best defense he could for his client. In the case of 77-year-old Marion Stogner, who was alleged to have sexually abused his daughters throughout their youth, Najera decided the best strategy was to argue that California's 1993 law retroactively extending the statute of limitations for prosecution of sex crimes was unconstitutional. Over weekends, at night, and in addition to his regular caseload, Najera researched and wrote the brief petitioning for certiorari, then took on both the state of California and-when the solicitor general intervened to defend federal legislation that similarly extended statutes of limitation for terrorism crimes-the federal government. Described as a humble and private man, Najera diplomatically defended against attempts by the private criminal defense bar to usurp the case. Then, despite discovering he had colon cancer and undergoing emergency surgery and chemotherapy in February, Najera presented a powerful argument before the high court in March, prevailing in a decision handed down in June that invalidated the retroactive extension of the statute of limitations.
Peter J. Belton
Judicial Council of California, San Francisco
As chair of the Appellate Rules Revision Project Task Force, which operates under the auspices of a committee run by California Supreme Court Justice Joyce L. Kennard, Belton leads the Judicial Council's efforts to substantially overhaul the rules governing writs and appeals for the first time since legal guru Bernard E. Witkin drafted them 60 years ago. In 2003 the task force completed the second and third installments, which included the rules pertaining to criminal appeals, death penalty appeals, and appeals to the state appellate courts and the California Supreme Court. In addition to being reorganized and clarified, the revised rules are one-third shorter. Others on the task force include Paul D. Fogel of Reed Smith Crosby Heafey, David S. Ettinger of Horvitz & Levy, Justice Kennard's chief-of-staff Terry M. Mead, court of appeals staff attorney Peter J. Beckwith, and California Supreme Court attorney Edward W. Jessen, who serves as reporter of decisions.
Oakland City Attorney
As lead defense counsel for the city of Oakland, Russo settled a civil suit alleging widespread police misconduct for $10.8 million, only $2.2 million of which came from taxpayers, with the rest paid by excess insurers. Despite this payout, he managed to reduce city spending on lawyers and lawsuits by $3.5 million compared with the previous fiscal year. In addition, while serving as its president, Russo persuaded the League of California Cities to cosponsor a constitutional amendment to strengthen the Brown Act, which calls for open government, and a constitutional amendment aimed at keeping local revenue within the cities and out of state coffers. Both are expected to appear on the November ballot.
On the local level, Russo's innovative, privately funded Neighborhood Law Corps helped overcome blight by, among other things, entering an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to clean up illegally dumped trash along railroad tracks, which will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in cleanup costs over the ten-year period of the agreement. The corps also recruited more than 100 liquor stores to pledge to restrict their hours and stop selling fortified wine and drug paraphernalia. Also in 2003, Russo won an appellate ruling upholding a mortgage-lending ordinance aimed at stopping predatory lending. He also petitioned the state insurance commissioner to investigate zip-code profiling by automobile insurers-the practice of charging higher premiums based on where people live instead of how they drive, in violation of Proposition 103.
REAL ESTATE/LAND & WATER USE
John Penn Carter III
Horton, Knox, Carter & Foote; El Centro
As chief counsel for the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), Carter served as chief strategist and negotiator in the largest conserved water transfer in the nation's history-a transfer that also brings about the largest ever shift of water from farms to cities. Under the agreements, IID will transfer 200,000 acre-feet of conserved water a year (one acre-foot satisfies the needs of two families for a year) to the San Diego County Water Authority. It will also transfer 100,000 acre-feet to the Coachella Valley Water District for between 45 and 75 years and will curb California's overuse of Colorado River water.
To craft the agreements, Carter-with the help of San Diego litigator David Osias of Allen, Matkins, Leck, Gamble & Mallory; water rights attorney William H. Swann; economist Rodney T. Smith; and many others-navigated complex state and federal water rights law; balanced the competing interests of California farmers and metropolitan districts, as well as the rights and needs of Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado; obtained state legislation to support the transfers; and conducted the necessary environmental compliance.
The deal reached in October also settles a lawsuit brought by IID against the United States last January. After more than a century of California using more than its apportioned share of Colorado River water, the Department of the Interior decided to curb the state's supply and invalidate the state's water rights system, which gives farmers priority over metropolitan areas. The change would have taken away IID's right to transfer the water. Before the intended change could take effect, though, Carter and Osias filed suit, obtaining a preliminary injunction in March.
Mark J. Dillon
Gatzke Dillon & Ballance, Carlsbad
Dillon overcame regulatory and litigation obstacles and public opposition so that his client, The Newhall Land and Farming Company, could embark on one of the largest single-owner developments in the state. Newhall Ranch, a comprehensive master-planned community to be built in Los Angeles County, will take an estimated 30 years to develop, generate approximately 19,000 jobs, and ultimately house more than 60,000 residents. It will also include acres of mixed-use and commercial development, parks, a lake, an 18-hole golf course, two fire stations, a sheriff station, a public library, an electrical station and water-reclamation plant, and seven schools.
To get the plan approved, Dillon had to meet development regulations, devise an acceptable resource-management plan, and design guidelines and an implementation program necessary to guide the long-term development according to "smart growth" principles. In May the board of supervisors approved the revised Specific Plan, and in October, after nine years of planning and four years of litigation, the Kern County Superior Court ruled that the environmental analysis was adequate under the California Environmental Quality Act, clearing the way for development to begin.
LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Franklin Brockway Gowdy
Stephen R. Finn
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; San Francisco
After the shocking collapse of one of California's largest and most venerable law firms, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, attorneys and staff alike-who by all accounts found themselves in a state of chaos and despair-were sent scrambling for new jobs, some after spending their entire careers at Brobeck. Within 48 hours of the law firm's closure in February, Gowdy and Finn brought 250 partners, associates, and staff to four California offices of Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis. Once there, Gowdy and Finn joined the firm's advisory board and helped lead its strategic planning efforts in California. By year's end, Morgan Lewis had hired an additional 50 California lawyers, including attorneys from Zevnik Horton and the Palo Alto office of Pennie & Edmonds, further expanding its West Coast presence and its global strength in the areas of insurance recovery and intellectual property.
Barry S. Levin
Chairman, Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, San Francisco
Last year, Levin succeeded where several other major law firms failed: He attracted Silicon Valley's esteemed Venture Law Group into a merger that became effective in October. The move was part of a firmwide expansion that included growth in the Seattle, New York, Washington, D.C., and Hong Kong offices, as well as the hiring of 19 former Brobeck attorneys, including its entire San Diego-based business and technology group. The additions raised the firm's global profile, as well as its competitive advantage in high-tech and emerging company markets. Under Levin's leadership, Heller Ehrman's per-partner profits rose from $710,000 in 2002 to $836,000 in 2003; the firm also contributed more than 47,000 hours of pro bono service last year.
Debra L. Hurst
Hurst & Hurst, San Diego
In one of the first wage-and-hour cases brought on behalf of part-time employees, Hurst, who works with her father in a small San Diego civil practice, took on United Parcel Service of America in a class action lawsuit involving almost 6,000 workers. (Archie v. United Parcel Serv. of America, Inc.) At issue was whether the company's classification of its part-time managers as exempt violated California Labor Code section 515, which sets a minimum-wage threshold for the exempt classification, regardless of whether the employees performed managerial duties. Hurst obtained an $18 million settlement, for which the court granted final approval last January.
David F. Offen-Brown
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, San Francisco
In what is believed to be the largest recovery under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Offen-Brown, along with sole practitioner Steven R. Pingel and EEOC attorney Raymond T. Cheung, secured a final settlement in January with the California Public Employees' Retirement System of $250 million to compensate 1,700 retired state and local public safety officers. (Arnett and EEOC v. California Pub. Employees' Retirement Sys.) The lawsuit challenged a 1980 state law that reduced disability pensions for public safety officers who were more than 30 years old when they were hired. The EEOC intervened on behalf of the workers after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kimel v. Florida Bd. of Regents (528 U.S. 62 (2000)), that private individuals cannot sue state employers under ADEA. The comprehensive settlement, which follows a partial settlement reached by now retired EEOC attorney Peter A. Janiak, effectively invalidates the 1980 law.
Courtney Ann Coyle
Law Offices of Courtney Ann Coyle, La Jolla
Coyle represented the Quechan Indians of Imperial County, who opposed development of an open-pit gold mine on land they consider sacred. Initially, Coyle succeeded in convincing then secretary of the interior Bruce Babbitt to deny a permit for the mine-the first such denial ever issued under the Mining Law of 1872. Then Babbitt's successor, Gayle Norton, rescinded his denial, so Coyle turned to the state Legislature. In 2003, in a bipartisan effort, she secured passage of SB 22, which amends the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 to require backfilling and recontouring of new open-pit, metallic mines in protected areas of the desert containing sacred places. She also helped get regulations passed by the State Mining and Geology Board that reinforced the statutory backfilling requirements-the first such administrative regulations in U.S. history.
Joel R. Reynolds
Natural Resources Defense Council, Santa Monica
After the U.S. Navy started developing a submarine-detection system based on low-frequency active (LFA) sonar, a coalition of environmental groups, led by Reynolds and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), opposed deployment of the system based on its demonstrated adverse effects on whales. After the navy secured a permit to test and deploy the system in 75 percent of the world's oceans, Reynolds filed suit. With pro bono assistance from Morrison & Foerster litigator Andrew B. Sabey, Reynolds won a summary judgment in the plaintiffs' favor in August, which limited the testing to a single area in the Pacific Ocean, constituting about 1 percent of the world's oceans. In October the parties agreed that the navy would restrict its use of LFA sonar to the western Pacific off the coast of China and North Korea; a permanent injunction was issued later that month. (NRDC v. Evans.)
James I. Cohen
Law Offices of James I. Cohen, Corte Madera
In August, Cohen won an appellate court ruling that resolved a conflict between statutory presumptions set forth in the Evidence and Family codes regarding the legal character of property transferred between spouses during a marriage. Historically, family lawyers treated interspousal transfers of property as valid unless specific facts of coercion existed in the individual case. In In re Marriage of Delaney (111 Cal. App. 4th 9991), the court held that the fiduciary relationship between spouses created a presumption of undue influence with regard to intrafamily transactions. Thus, the spouse who benefited from the transfer must prove that no undue influence occurred. The issue arises in most dissolution cases.
G. Hopkins Guy III
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Menlo Park
In January, Guy filed what is reportedly the first infringement case brought in a United States court against a China-based technology company. His client, Cisco Systems, alleged that China's largest telecommunications manufacturer, Huawei Technologies, infringed on Cisco's copyright and trade secrets by copying part of its source code and user manuals. In June, Guy obtained a worldwide trade-secret injunction against the defendant. (Cisco Sys. v. Huawei Tech.) Negotiations between Guy and Heller Ehrman attorney Robert T. Haslam, who represents Huawei, led to an agreement in October to stay the litigation to allow time to attempt a settlement. The case is expected ultimately to encourage both American and Chinese companies to defend or assert their IP rights in American courts as a way to compete in the global marketplace.
Fred Von Lohmann
Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco
Michael H. Page
Keker & Van Nest, San Francisco
Further delineating the lines of liability in cyberspace, von Lohmann and Page, along with Austin, Texas, attorney Charles Baker, successfully defended file-sharing network companies Streamcast Networks and Grokster in a federal copyright infringement lawsuit. (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, 259 F. Supp 2d. 1029). In April a district court judge ruled on summary judgment that this particular class of file-swapping technology, which does not have central control or assist users in downloading stolen music, was sufficiently different from Napster's and that the defendants could not be held legally responsible for the individual actions of the technology's users.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; Palo Alto
When ESS Technology discovered that the software on a silicon chip used in DVD players produced by a Taiwanese competitor was virtually identical to ESS's chip, the Fremont-based company turned to Pooley. To protect crucial business relationships and avoid damage to ESS's distribution chain in the United States, Pooley, with the help of associate L. Scott Oliver, sued only the chip designer, rather than the American retailers selling that company's product, alleging contributory copyright infringement. (ESS Technology, Inc. v. MediaTek, Inc.) After defeating a challenge to jurisdiction, Pooley negotiated one of the largest copyright settlements ever paid: In June, MediaTek agreed to pay ESS up to $90 million, a total composed of a one-time license fee plus future
royalties. In the weeks that followed the settlement, and with Pooley and Oliver handling the IP due diligence necessary to facilitate both deals, ESS was able to complete two $27 million acquisitions that pushed the company into a leading position in the global markets for digital cameras, DVD recorders, and digital camcorders.
Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Eva J. Paterson
Director, Equal Justice Society; San Francisco
Last year, Paterson and Blanco, then national senior counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, led a coalition of attorneys and community advocates to defeat Ward Connerly's Proposition 54, which would have prevented local, county, and state government agencies from collecting information about a citizen's race or ethnicity. Their opposition strategy, which included appealing to the California Republican Party and its contributors to withhold their support from the initiative drive in order to delay Connerly's signature-gathering, allowed the coalition time to work with a pollster and focus groups; develop Spanish-language ads; aggressively raise funds, bringing in more than $5 million; and build very broad-based opposition to the proposition, including the crucial opposition of the medical and public health communities.
Laurence W. Paradis
Disability Rights Advocates, Oakland
After spending four months in trial and three and a half years in litigation of a class action, all of which was complicated by the need to coordinate the testimony of the dozens of deaf plaintiffs nationwide, Paradis negotiated a partial settlement in December that brought about one of the first systemic efforts to address the barriers faced by deaf people in the workplace. The settlement calls for the United Parcel Service to establish a program for ensuring access and opportunities for its deaf employees and applicants, including providing interpreters and effective safety systems. The class also recovered $5.8 million in damages. (Bates v. United Parcel Serv. of America, Inc.). Also in December, Paradis settled a precedent-setting case with the City of Sacramento that calls on the city to render its sidewalks fully accessible to people with mobility and vision impairments. (Barden v. City of Sacramento.) The settlement followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to deny cert on a prior Ninth Circuit ruling, which held that the Americans with Disabilities Act imposed such a duty on the city. That decision is now precedent in the nine states within the Ninth Circuit. Earlier in 2003, Paradis obtained final court approval for a settlement with Macy's department store to remove all architectural barriers in stores across the state for people in wheelchairs, and he won preliminary approval for a settlement that would make all movable displays in Macy's stores across the state accessible to people in wheelchairs. (Camalo v. Macy's.)
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