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FIRED S.F. DEPUTY PD WITHDRAWS SUIT Former Deputy Public Defender Robert Amparan recently dropped a wrongful termination suit against the city of San Francisco and former Public Defender Kimiko Burton-Cruz because he’d have a hard time proving monetary damages, said his attorney, San Francisco solo Lawrence Murray. “Basically, they did him a favor by firing him,” Murray said. The former deputy alleged in the suit, Amparan v. the City and County of San Francisco, 03-420393, that he was fired because he supported Burton-Cruz’s opponent in the March 2002 election. Amparan was terminated about two months after Jeff Adachi unseated Burton-Cruz, but before he took office. The solo practitioner was looking to get his old job back, plus monetary damages including lost wages, according to the complaint he filed in May in San Francisco Superior Court. Now Murray says it appeared Amparan would be making more money in his current job than in his old one, because his earnings in private practice keep increasing. “If you can’t show damages, you’re in trouble,” Murray said, adding that he didn’t have his client’s salary numbers readily available. Amparan could not be reached for comment. Murray requested dismissal without prejudice Aug. 19 and said Amparan can refile the suit until the statutes of limitations run out on five causes of action. The named defendants also included Deputy Public Defenders Randall Martin and Susan Kaplan, and private attorney Leland Davis III. They were chief attorney and co-supervisors of the felony unit, respectively, when Amparan was fired. Martin, Burton-Cruz and Kaplan said they were never served. Davis could not be reached by deadline, and a spokeswoman for the city attorney declined comment. — Pam Smith DAVIS APPROVES SLAPP MEASURE SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gray Davis has signed into law a trial lawyer-backed measure intended to make it more difficult for corporations to use California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In recent years, trial lawyers have argued that businesses were co-opting state law designed to protect plaintiffs, often community activists, from strategic lawsuits against public participation. The measure signed by Davis, SB 515, by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, makes it more difficult for businesses to file anti-SLAPP motions in class actions and cases filed in the public interest. The law also restricts the use of the motion in in lawsuits against businesses over commercial statements. Davis had vetoed a similar measure last year in part because it was introduced at the last minute. Kuehl’s bill faced opposition from businesses and tort reformers. — Jeff Chorney DAVIS NAMES TWO TO STATE BAR BOARD Gov. Gray Davis announced the appointment Wednesday of an orthopedic surgeon and a businessman to the State Bar Board of Governors. The two non-lawyers — Dr. Thomas Haider of Riverside and Melvin Lee of San Francisco — will join the lawyer-governing board as soon as they are confirmed by the state Senate, Davis said in a public statement. Haider, 49, is chief of the spine division at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. He is the founder of the Children’s Spine Foundation, which provides free spinal care for kids who have no health insurance. Lee, 67, is the founder of the Pacific Automatic Sprinkler Co. and helped found the Chinatown Savings and Loan. He also is president and founder of the San Francisco Care Center, established in 2000. The State Bar Board of Governors is comprised of 17 lawyers and six public members — four appointed by the governor and one each by the Assembly speaker and the Senate Committee on Rules. — Mike McKee

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