Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Former Sonoma County, Calif., Judge Patricia Gray has sued Lloyd’s of London, claiming it has breached its contract by limiting her choice of counsel and defense strategy in charges filed against her by the state Commission on Judicial Performance. Gray is charged with willful misconduct for circulating campaign literature in 2000 attacking her opponent for representing a “cop killer.” Lloyd’s, the company with which the Administrative Office of the Courts contracted to provide discipline insurance to nearly 2,000 judges and subordinate judicial officers in California, assigned sole practitioner Peter Gubbins, a former CJP staff attorney, to Gray’s case. But when Gubbins came back with the CJP’s proposal that she agree to a public admonishment, she moved for more “experienced trial counsel,” according to her suit. In particular, the suit says that Gray may want to challenge the CJP’s jurisdiction over election-related statements in federal court on First Amendment and other grounds. The insurance company didn’t bite, arguing that the policy that it issued covers commission proceedings only. “The main problem is Lloyd’s wants to tell the attorneys what they can do, where they can go,” said Douglas Provencher, a Santa Rosa, Calif., attorney and personal friend of Gray, who filed the suit Monday on her behalf. The breach of contract suit, filed in San Francisco, says the insurance policy provides $1 million in coverage for expenses “incurred in the defense of any claim first made to the California Commission on Judicial Performance.” The suit argues that should include legal battles that stem from the original complaint but land in other courts. Gray’s case represents one of the first in which the CJP has charged a judge with political campaign violations. Gray was defeated last March by Elliot Daum, then a deputy public defender in Sonoma. During the campaign, according to charges brought by the commission in December, Gray circulated a last-minute mailer describing one of Daum’s clients and emblazoned with the phrase “cop killer.” A second mailer said that Daum assisted a child molester. “Eliot Daum cares about the rights of violent criminals,” it said. “Patricia Gray cares about the rights of crime victims.” According to the commission, the mailers may have violated ethics requirements that judges uphold the integrity of the judiciary, avoid impropriety in all activities, abstain from making comments that could interfere with a fair proceeding, and refrain from inappropriate political activity. The commission has the power to permanently bar Gray from the state bench. After Gray complained about her first lawyer, Lloyd’s assigned another, San Francisco attorney William Chapman. Gray’s suit says she objects to Chapman because he sits on a Judicial Council committee, creating a potential conflict of interest. Chapman, of San Francisco-based Chapman, Popik & White, declined to comment on the situation. Meanwhile, Provencher said the insurance company’s insistence on dictating strategy and tactics is inappropriate, especially because no monetary damages are at stake. “The damage is the judge’s reputation,” said Provencher.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.