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NO PATIENCE FOR WHISTLEBLOWER WHO SUED TOO FAST The California Supreme Court Monday stamped out any doubts about whether a public employee must exhaust administrative remedies before filing a whistle-blower suit. The unanimous decision in Campbell v. Regents, 05 C.D.O.S. 2016, upholds trial and appellate court rulings that Janet Campbell — a former engineer for the University of California at San Francisco — was required to file an administrative complaint before litigating a whistle-blower claim. “Obviously, we think they got it right,” said William Carroll, a partner with Morgenstein & Jubelirer who represented the UC Regents. “It strengthens the viability of the internal grievance procedures, and it underscores the importance of using those methods.” But, Carroll added, it’s unclear whether the ruling creates precedent for other state governmental bodies since the court focused on the Regents’ unusual structure as a constitutionally created public trust. The opinion ends an eight-year saga that began in 1997 when Campbell said she was demoted after FBI agents contacted her supervisors. The agents were investigating Campbell’s allegations that her superiors had rigged the competitive bidding process for construction contracts. The Regents terminated Campbell’s employment two years later, claiming they were downsizing. Campbell responded by filing an internal complaint, alleging that her supervisors fired her in retaliation for whistle-blowing. When a UCSF staffer responsible for handling such complaints told Campbell she had to take her claim to a different administrative board, Campbell abandoned the grievance process and sued in San Francisco Superior Court. Campbell’s attorneys, Leo Donahue, from Gold River, and Stephan Mandell, from Granite Bay, did not return calls seeking comment by press time. — Justin Scheck DUANE MORRIS GROWS ITS SAN DIEGO OFFICE PHILADELPHIA — Duane Morris has acquired three litigation partners from Buchanan Ingersoll’s San Diego office, the firm announced yesterday. Sources familiar with the situation said they expect the new Duane Morris partners to be followed by many of Buchanan Ingersoll’s other San Diego lawyers. Buchanan Ingersoll has eight lawyers left in San Diego, with seven being IP lawyers. The three defecting Buchanan Ingersoll partners are Karen Crawford, Patricia Hollenbeck and John Cooley, who formed a team specializing in products liability defense litigation. Crawford was managing partner of the San Diego office and chairwoman of its firmwide products liability practice. The group also handles a good deal of commercial litigation work. Sources say Duane Morris has reached an agreement with Buchanan Ingersoll IP partner Bradford Duft and that several other lawyers are considering job offers. With the additions of Crawford, Hollenbeck and Cooley, Duane Morris now has 20 lawyers in San Diego, an office it opened in August 2003, and 19 more in San Francisco, which opened in October 1998. — The Legal Intelligencer RULING SEEN AS STEP TO NO-FAULT DIVORCE MINEOLA, N.Y. — A lack of social, not just sexual, intercourse can be grounds for divorce, a Nassau Supreme Court judge has ruled. In its most-immediate application, Justice Anthony J. Falanga’s decision last week in C.P. v. G.P., No. 03-200810, preserves a wife’s case for divorce from her husband of 36 years. Despite living together, the husband allegedly has refused over the last 12 years to dine with his wife, talk to her or attend family functions with her, breaking the parties’ marital contract and constructively abandoning her, the judge said. Attorneys who have read the ruling said it is one of a kind. If applied by other courts, they said, the newly recognized cause of action could move the matrimonial bar another step closer to no-fault divorce. New York is the only state that has yet to adopt some form of no-fault relief for couples who no longer wish to be married. The New York State Bar Association is heading the drive to change the law, and its leaders are expected to meet with key legislators later this month on the matter. Since 1993, the husband had refused to take meals with his wife or even eat food prepared by her. He also refused to celebrate holidays with her, did not attend her father’s funeral in 1997 or the funeral of her nephew, who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the World Trade Center, the judge said. Except for sporadic instances, the husband also stopped talking to his wife, the judge wrote, adding that he has been unwilling to sleep in the marital bedroom for more than 12 years. A matrimonial lawyer, Gloria May Rosenblum of East Islip, N.Y., predicted that the impact of Justice Falanga’s decision on the matrimonial bar would be “significant.” “It’s moving us toward the point of recognizing that the spouse’s obligations aren’t just sexual,” she said. — New York Law Journal

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