Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Ann Ravel, county counsel for Santa Clara, Calif., is trying to force plaintiffs bar heavyweight McManis, Faulkner & Morgan out of a whistleblower suit it filed on behalf of the county’s jailhouse physician and nurse administrator. Ravel’s office filed a motion in federal court Friday to disqualify the San Jose firm because partner Sharon Kirsch handled sensitive legal work for the county for six years, including examining the hiring, firing and discipline practices of nurses at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “She learned client confidences that are jeopardized by this litigation,” Ravel argued in court papers. Ravel also argued that the firm was hired in 2000 by the assistant chief of the county corrections department for an employment dispute. Because it was involved in that matter, the firm shouldn’t be able to bring the case, Ravel said. “Kirsch owes a duty of confidentiality to the county that is seriously jeopardized by her representation of [the plaintiffs] in this substantially related litigation,” writes Ravel’s office. “This present representation violates legal and ethical rules governing attorney conduct and mandates disqualification.” McManis, Faulkner regularly sues the county and the city of San Jose and has achieved some high-profile successes. “For some reason they want us off the case. You can probably figure out why,” name partner James McManis said Friday. He called the disqualification “rubbish.” “Instead of defending the case on the merits, which is hard to do because there is no defense, they decided to attack us personally,” said McManis, who is working on the case with Kirsch. “I just think it’s disgusting what they are doing. I take this personally. I consider this an attack on me, my firm, my partner and friend.” McManis and Kirsch represent jail physician Moneesha Pinto and nurse administrator Mary Ann Save. The pair filed a civil rights suit against the county in September, alleging that the county retaliated when they spoke out about substandard medical care at the jail and improper billing of Medi-Cal for inmate treatment. Pinto was fired and Save’s responsibilities were diminished, according to their federal suit. Prior to joining McManis, Faulkner in March, Kirsch had represented the county in a few cases. While working for San Jose’s Berliner Cohen, she represented Santa Clara County in a suit brought by an inmate who suffered permanent brain damage while being restrained by guards. Kirsch also helped defend the county when a union president sued the county for retaliating against protected union activities. She also worked for the now-defunct Skjerven Morrill, which was retained by the county in 2000 to investigate alleged mismanagement and race-based hiring and promotion practices of medical center nurses. McManis, however, said the work Kirsch did on those cases “was peripheral at best. She was not the lead lawyer. She was not the person in charge. The few cases in which she was involved happened a long time ago and did not involve any of the same witnesses or issues.” In her filing, Ravel said that she’s not trying to put McManis out of business. “Defendants are not seeking to disqualify McManis from forever suing the county. Rather, this motion is carefully tailored.” U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel is set to hear the motion Jan. 5.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

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

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


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 © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.