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ONE ELEVATED AT WENDEL, ROSEN Oakland’s Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean promoted land use attorney Pamela Schock Mintzer to its partner ranks. Mintzer, 42, has been with Wendel, Rosen since 1999. She represents government agencies and cities in real estate litigation. Mintzer came to Wendel, Rosen after she worked for five years at Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May. “She is a great person and a great lawyer,” said Leslie “Les” Hausrath, a partner who has worked closely with Mintzer on complex condemnation cases, including Contra Costa County v. Taylor, C 01-02318. In that case a jury awarded the defendants only 5 percent more than what the county said the disputed property was worth, Hausrath said. On Wednesday, Mintzer said that she was “thrilled” to be promoted at such a highly regarded firm. — Jahna Berry CAL SUPREMES REJECT NORTHRIDGE CASE The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to review or depublish a lower court ruling that reinstated a suit accusing a major insurer of mishandling claims arising from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The court’s rejection of Gallimore v. State Farm, S111776, lets Ronald Gallimore proceed in a suit that claims State Farm Fire & Casualty Insurance Co. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. engaged in unfair business practices after the quake. Gallimore acted on his own as a private attorney general after then-Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush refused to follow the Department of Insurance’s recommendation that State Farm policyholders be reimbursed more than $114 million and that State Farm be fined more than $2.3 billion. Quackenbush was forced from office in 2000 based on allegations that he had conspired with insurers, including State Farm, to reduce payouts to Northridge victims. State Farm had fought Gallimore by claiming he had filed a SLAPP suit — or a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — and said it violated the insurer’s First Amendment rights. But Los Angeles’ Second District Court of Appeal in October completely rejected the insurer’s arguments and sent the suit back to the trial court for resolution. In ordering fines and restitution, the Department of Insurance had found violations in almost half of the claims handled by insurers after the quake. — Mike McKee MCGEORGE STUDYING BIOTERRORISM ISSUES SACRAMENTO — So far, the discussion about bioterrorism has mostly been confined to figuring out what to do with hospitals, emergency services and Middle Eastern despots. In March, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento hopes to help get the legal community in on the preparation. McGeorge will host a conference to explore the legal ramifications of the public response to the threat. Discussions will include the government’s role in public health, quarantine, restricted freedom of movement, patients’ privacy and even liability and tort issues, said McGeorge Professor Clark Kelso. “This is an area where there are quite a few legal issues that haven’t been thought about,” Kelso said. After the Sept. 11 attacks, lawyers across the country looked into the issues surrounding terrorism, civil rights and homeland security. Kelso sees the conference as a continuing part of that effort. Kelso said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is promoting the discussion within the legal community nationwide. The exact date for the conference will be announced soon. McGeorge won a $45,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to help pay conference expenses. — Jeff Chorney

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