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9TH CIRCUIT JUDGES GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL If the inmates on death row had only known, they could have made a direct appeal — a very direct appeal. Recently, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Alex Kozinski and Marsha Berzon took a walking tour of San Quentin State Prison, including its 600-inmate Death Row. They were escorted by Warden Jeanne Woodford. “We’ve been meaning to do it for a while,” Kozinski said. “It’s quite an enterprise.” “I think it’s nice to see what we’re dealing with,” Reinhardt said. “We hear cases involving prisons quite often.” But Reinhardt said the tour, which took the better part of a Friday morning, “was not a very cheery experience.” The inmates “seemed quite friendly to the warden,” Reinhardt said. “I don’t know if they knew who we were.” Like Reinhardt, Kozinski said it was a learning experience. “We deal with these kinds of cases all the time. We thought it was time to take a look.” Kozinski, who has written about the awesome responsibility of passing judgment in a case that is literally a matter of life and death described death row with one word: “daunting.” – Jason Hoppin BURNING QUESTION What was one of the first things the high school kids wanted to know when the Third District Court of Appeal took a field trip to Stockton last week? The same thing they always want to know. “They always ask us how much we make,” said Justice Connie Callahan, who presided when the court took over the auditorium at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Stockton on Wednesday and Thursday. The trip was the seventh time in two years that the Third District traveled from its home in Sacramento to set up temporary digs for oral arguments. All of the outreach trips have been at schools, and they’re intended to educate as well as demystify. On the Stockton trip, justices and the lawyers who argued the cases made themselves available to answer questions about how the appellate process works, how the justices reach consensus and even how the human beings underneath the robes or business suits balance their family and work lives. “I want them to know what we do so they can make informed decisions in their lives,” Callahan said. The panel, Callahan and justices Daniel Kolkey and Ronald Robie, heard two criminal and two civil cases. They were joined by Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland for discussions with the high schoolers. As part of the trip, all 11 justices traveled to San Joaquin County for dinner with the local bar association. Callahan said she always loves doing outreach, but said the trip was even more meaningful for her because she lives in Stockton and was appointed to the Third District after serving as a San Joaquin County judge — the first appointment to the district from that county in 73 years, she said. Better even than the question-and-answer sessions were when the teen-agers came up to her and spoke individually, Callahan said. Achieving that comfort level means the court met its goal, she added. So what about that question? For the record, it’s about $156,000 a year, Callahan said. “We also point out that lawyers have the capability to make much more than us,” she said. – Jeff Chorney DOG FIGHT Paula Terifaj knew pets weren’t allowed at the Villa De Las Palmas apartment complex in Riverside County when she was house hunting in 1995, but she bought a unit anyway and moved in with her dog. That incensed the homeowners association, which repeatedly fined Terifaj. But since the no-pets rule was verbal only, and not in writing, Terifaj, a veterinarian, simply paid the fines and kept her dog. Finally, however, the association put the rule in writing and took Terifaj to court, where it won $15,000 in attorneys fees and a declaration that the no-pets rule was enforceable. Riverside’s Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the decision in June, disagreeing with Terifaj’s argument that the rule is unreasonable. On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court, by unanimous vote, decided to weigh in on the issue by agreeing to review the case. In his successful petition for review, Brea solo practitioner Russell Nowell argued that the Fourth District ruling conflicts with the law of equitable servitudes, which, he said, requires that a restriction be set forth in a title document given to the prospective property owner. Nowell also said the ruling denies the 6.7 million California households with pets the basic right to own a pet. “[Terifaj] believes no one should be denied the right to befriend and share his or her life with an animal,” he wrote. “Such association benefits the physical and mental health of people and should be considered a basic human right.” The Hayward-based California Council of the Blind filed an amicus curiae letter with the court in support of Terifaj and opposing a blanket ban on pets. “The decision of the court of appeal fails to consider the rights of disabled Californians who require the help of guide dogs, signal dogs or service dogs,” President Catherine Skivers wrote. “That failure to reform the rule preventing any animal in a dwelling will have a devastating effect on the rights of these Californians to have the safety and security of their canine companions wherever they go.” In its decision, the Fourth District said a pet ban was enforceable under the dictates of Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Association, 8 Cal.4th 361, a 1994 California Supreme Court ruling that said pets bans are not unreasonable. “ Nahrstedt controls this case,” Justice Art McKinster wrote for the court. “Like the restriction at issue in Nahrstedt, the pet restriction in this case broadly prohibits the keeping of any animals, including dogs.” Justices Betty Ann Richli and Barton Gaut concurred. – Mike McKee HOME SWEET HOME The skies aren’t friendly if you live overseas and you try to sue a U.S. airline. The Warsaw Convention says plaintiffs can choose from four country venues when they file an accident lawsuit, and U.S. soil is the hands-down favorite. Here, litigants get higher damages and, unlike other countries, aren’t required to pay $8,000 in Pakistani filing fees; they’re not required to bankroll a bond in Great Britain to cover the opposing side’s attorneys fees if they lose, either. Federal judges, however, don’t see it that way. Often they grant forum non conveniens motions, which argue that it would be too complicated to try those cases. For example, defendants claim that the plaintiffs need extensive translation services or that medical records are overseas. This month, the 9th Circuit put the kibosh on that practice, noting that federal judges’ forum rulings wipe out plaintiffs’ right to choose, wrote 9th Circuit Judge Raymond Fisher in Hosaka v. United Airlines, 02 C.D.O.S. 9606. Judge Stephen Reinhardt and Montana federal judge Donald Molloy, who was sitting by assignment, agreed. Hosaka sprang from the 1997 journey of United Airlines Flight 826 from Tokyo to Hawaii. Severe turbulence killed one passenger and injured others. Japanese citizens sued, but Oakland federal Judge Martin Jenkins granted a forum non conveniens motion tossing Hosaka and related suits. United’s lawyers, Richard Grotch and Clifton Coddington at Redwood City’s Coddington, Hicks & Danforth, couldn’t be reached for comment. Before, “a judge could decide to hear a case or to not hear a case given what that judge considers convenient on a given day,” said Gerald Sterns, an aviation attorney with Oakland’s Sterns & Walker who represented 40 plaintiffs in Hosaka. “We said, ‘that’s bullshit.’” – Jahna Berry SMASHING INTRODUCTION Plowing your car into a senior partner’s treasured Porsche just weeks after starting work wouldn’t seem like a career-advancing move. But Fenwick & West associate Tanya Herrera was inundated with congratulations from high up in the days following her fender-bender with the shiny black Porsche owned by Fenwick partner Scott Spector. “I have gotten a lot of recognition for it,” Herrera said. “I’ve been congratulated by a number of people.” When Herrera accidentally gunned the engine of her new Subaru Forrester last month and jumped a 4-foot-wide grassy parking lot divider to slam into Spector’s Porsche, she became entangled in a long-running joke at the firm involving the car. During the filming of an internal firm video, Fenwick Chairman Gordon Davidson was caught on tape leaping into the air and landing butt-first on the car’s hood, leaving a bit of a dent. That was followed up by such antics as people sending innocent-seeming firmwide e-mails seeking the owner of a black Porsche, license place TOY4SPS, that was just crushed by a falling tree limb — even though such a catastrophe hadn’t actually occurred. Taunting Spector by threatening his car has become such a sport that Spector hides his car when he drives to firm functions and even golf outings with his partners. Herrera, who at first left a note on the windshield, figured out who owned the car by its license plate and approached Spector to tell him of the mishap. She said he was surprised and curious to know how it happened, but he didn’t get mad. “He would have preferred that it didn’t happen, but he was very gracious about it,” Herrera said. And for his part, Spector said there were no lasting problems with the car or for Herrera. “Normally, I’m obsessive about [the car],” admitted Spector, “but I haven’t even bothered to do anything about it.” – Renee Deger

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