Thursday, January 7, 2016
State Bar Hires New Counsel in Dunn Action
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The State Bar of California said yesterday that it has hired the firm of Hueston Hennigan LLP to represent it in the suit filed by its former executive director, Joseph Dunn.
The firm was hired because of its “outstanding trial skills and extensive experience representing public and quasi-public entities in high-stakes litigation,” State Bar General Counsel Vanessa L. Holton said in a statement, and “demonstrates the State Bar’s determination to vigorously combat Dunn’s allegations.”
Dunn sued in November 2014, claiming that he was fired in retaliation for complaints about various improprieties at the State Bar, including the falsification of statistics purporting to show that a backlog in disciplinary complaints had been cleared up, as well as wasteful spending.
The State Bar has denied the allegations, and contends that Dunn, as the head of the organization at the time, cannot claim to be a whistleblower.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered the case to arbitration pursuant to the parties’ contract, and retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Infante of the Northern District of California was recently named as the arbitrator. The State Bar has changed attorneys several times and was most recently represented by Burke, Williams & Sorensen.
State Bar President David Pasternak commented:
“We have the utmost confidence that Hueston Hennigan LLP will help to quickly put this distraction behind us and will end the resource expenditure that Mr. Dunn has caused the State Bar with his lawsuit for personal gain, enabling the bar to direct all of its attention to the important public protection work that is currently underway.”
The Hueston Hennigan legal team is led by partners John Hueston and Moez Kaba. Hueston said in a statement that Dunn had “unfairly impugned” the integrity of the State Bar, and promised a vigorous defense.
Dunn’s attorney, Mark Geragos, told the MetNews:
“They can keep needlessly spending the dues of the lawyers of the State of California but it won’t take away from the fact that the State Bar is irretrievably broken and dysfunctional. We welcome Hueston Hennigan as the seventh law firm the Bar has hired in this litigation. However, we wonder if they have done a conflict check since they are already representing past president of the State Bar Craig Holden in this very same litigation which would appear to be an irreconcilable conflict of interest.”
Hueston succinctly replied:
“There is no conflict.”
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company