Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Page 1


Administrative Law Judge to Run for Superior Court


By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer


Administrative Law Judge Nora A. Quinn yesterday told the MetNews she is planning to mount a campaign for an open seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Quinn, who has spent the last year in the Van Nuys regional office of the Special Education Division of the Office of Administrative Hearings, said she was in the process of forming a campaign committee and will be retaining Stephen Kaufman as her campaign treasurer.

A former comedy writer, Quinn said she financed part of her first year of law school at UCLA by writing game show questions. After graduating in 1983, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Judith N. Keep of the Southern District of California, since deceased.

Irell & Manella

The attorney then returned to Los Angeles and joined Irell & Manella LLP where she served on the trial team for Candle Corp. v. Boole and Babbage Inc. 1985 WL 1087794, which Quinn said resulted in the invalidation of the first software patent ever issued.

She eventually left the firm to become the legal director of the Disability Rights Legal Center at Loyola Law School, and later relocated to San Luis Obispo with her husband, where she practiced with the general civil litigation firm of Miller & Walter.

Another move took her family to the Washington, D.C., area, and after a stint as a stay-at-home mom, Quinn began writing for the American Bar Association’s Mental & Physical Disability Law Reporter, then became a member of the ABA Section of Litigation Task Force.

 “I would only take jobs with really long names,” she joked.

Quinn went on to open her own business, Civil Rights Investigations Inc., which investigated alleged civil rights violations, then returned to Los Angeles to open the Law Offices of Nora Quinn, doing disability rights and plaintiff’s employment work.

She was co-counsel in ACLU and Disability Rights Center in Miles v. County of Los Angeles, CV 02-03932 DT (JTLx), which resulted in a 2006 settlement requiring the county to improve courthouse accessibility.

Oversight Panel

In 2004, Quinn was appointed to the Equity Oversight Panel of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which investigates discrimination allegations against sheriff’s employees.

She said the position “was a turning point” which made her realize that “what I wanted to do was to be the person who tried to solve the problems and tried to make good decisions that balanced everybody’s rights.”

Quinn said she filed an application for appointment with the governor’s office about a year ago and “test drove” a judgeship by sitting pro tem in about 50 matters.

Acknowledging that most of her experience has been in civil matters, the attorney said she “recognize[s] what areas I need to expand in” and has tried to obtain assignments for traffic arraignments and traffic trials since “it’s the closest I can come to criminal.”

Quinn said she has not yet decided which open seat she will pursue and, thus far, only two seats appear to be available.

The first belongs to Judge William Pounders, who has said he plans to step down when his term ends next January. Deputy District Attorney Alan K. Schneider filed papers for Pounders’ seat on Friday.

Schneider said it “was very humbling” to receive the “unsolicited” backing of Pounders—who told the MetNews last November that he would endorse Schneider—and that “it just seemed appropriate” to file for the judge’s seat.

The other available seat belongs to Judge William R. Weisman, who said he will retire in May.

Other Hopefuls

Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Thomas J. Griego said yesterday that he intends to file for Weisman’s seat. He explained it was “a real natural seat” for him to pursue considering his experience prosecuting drunken driving cases and that Weisman’s courtroom in Long Beach routinely handles such matters.

Other judicial hopefuls who have said they will be seeking an open seat in the June 8 primary race include Calabasas solo practitioner William M. Margolin; Deputy District Attorneys Valerie F. Salkin, Laurie Trammell Castaneda, and Lou Holtz Jr.; Beverly Hills attorney Mark K. Ameli; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Garcia; Pasadena personal injury attorney Anthony de los Reyes; Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Randolph M. Hammock; and West Los Angeles attorney and mediator Elizabeth A. Moreno.

Candidates have been allowed to circulate paperwork to obtain signatures of registered voters to be submitted in lieu of a filing fee since Jan 4. and may file declarations of intent to run beginning Feb. 1. They must file final nomination documents between Feb. 16 and March 13.


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