Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, February 22, 2007


Page 1


Chaney, Ferns Are Potential Court of Appeal Appointees


By TINA BAY, Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Victoria G. Chaney and Edward A. Ferns have been referred by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to this district’s Court of Appeal, the METNEWS has learned.

The fact was confirmed yesterday by Chaney and by aides to Ferns, who was unavailable for comment.

Chaney, 61, told the METNEWS she is not aware of any developments regarding the commission’s review beyond the fact that she is under evaluation.

“I’m very honored that my name has been forwarded to the JNE commission,” she remarked, adding that she believes the job of appellate court justice is “an interesting position” for which she believes she has “something to offer.”

“My experience as both a trial attorney and as a trial judge, would be helpful in helping to bring my perspective to the court,”  she said.

The potential appeals court justice was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1990 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian and elevated to the Superior Court in 1994 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson. During her time on the municipal court bench, she served as supervising judge of the Metropolitan Branch, now known as the Metropolitan Court.

After being elevated to the Superior Court, Chaney initially presided over both civil and criminal trials in Santa Monica. She spent a year in a criminal direct calendar court in Compton and, after one year back in Santa Monica handling long cause criminal and civil trials, she was transferred to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, where she handled a civil direct calendar.

In April 2000, she was assigned to the Central Civil West Courthouse, where she now presides over complex litigation cases, including the trial for the coordinated West Coast cases against the maker of Vioxx. Her current docket includes lawsuits brought by farm workers in Honduras, Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica over exposure to pesticides.

Since June 2004, Chaney has also been assistant managing judge of the Superior Court’s complex litigation program. She has previously been involved in numerous Superior Court committees, including its Executive Committee and committees involved with the interviewing and hiring of research attorneys.

For the last two years, the judge has served as an advisory member to the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California Litigation Section.  She is also on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and until recently completed a term on the board of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.

Prior to her bench appointment, Chaney was an assistant city attorney in the civil liability section of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office beginning in 1979. After one year as a prosecutor, she moved to the Civil Division, where her practice included preparing and trying lawsuits involving allegations of police misconduct.

In 1982, she took a one-year leave of absence from the city attorney’s office to work as a civil litigator with the local firm of Veatch, Carlson, Grogan & Nelson.

Chaney earned her law degree from Loyola Law School in 1977 and was admitted to the State Bar in 1978.  She is an alumna of Mount Saint Mary’s College, where she graduated with a nursing degree in 1967, and also holds a post-graduate degree in biology from USC.

Before pursuing a law career, the judge worked as a registered nurse from 1967 to 1972, first at Cedars Sinai and then at County-USC Medical Center.

Like Chaney, Ferns, 56, was also appointed first to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by Deukmejian, in 1989, and then elevated to the Superior Court by Wilson, in 1993.

The Scotland native, who immigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 8, graduated from UCLA with a history degree in 1971 and earned a degree at Southwestern University School of Law before being admitted to the State Bar in 1974.

Before his appointment to the judiciary, Ferns worked from 1975-1989 as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, most recently as the head prosecutor in the Special Investigations Division.

Others from this appellate district whose names have gone to the JNE Commission include Superior Court Judge Eric Taylor, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson of the Central District of California, and Gregory R. Smith, head of the appellate practice at Irell & Manella.

There are no current vacancies on the court, but there has been speculation that Presiding Justice Vaino Spencer of Div. One, who is 86 and has been a judge since 1961 and on the appellate court since 1980, may step down.


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company