We represented the State Bar of California and the former president of its board of trustees in a high-stakes lawsuit filed by Joseph Dunn, former state senator and State Bar executive director. In an explosive suit widely followed by the press, Dunn alleged that the State Bar retaliated against him and terminated his employment because he blew the whistle on ethics violations within the organization. Dunn also asserted contract and fiduciary duty claims.
After successfully transferring the case to arbitration, our legal team secured an early victory when the arbitrator sustained the State Bar and its president’s demurrer in its entirety to all five of Dunn’s causes of action. When Dunn filed an amended complaint, we again prevailed on a demurrer to narrow Dunn’s claims.
The case then proceeded on Dunn’s remaining claims with the parties exchanging written discovery, substantial deposition practice, and numerous motions to compel. Shortly before trial, we won summary judgment on Dunn’s remaining claim for interference with contractual relations, resulting in the former State Bar president’s dismissal from the case.
Finally, the State Bar and Dunn participated in a public, trial-like arbitration before a retired federal judge. Here we argued that—far from retaliating against him—Dunn was fired based on misconduct and false representations he made to the State Bar board. After five days of testimony and extensive post-trial briefing, we won a complete judgement on Dunn’s remaining whistleblower and contract claims.
“An arbitrator on Monday rejected all of Joe Dunn’s remaining claims against the California state bar, ending a three-year legal saga that pitted the one-time executive director against his former employer.” —The Recorder
“Ex-Calif. Bar President Sheds Fired Exec’s Contract Claim,” Law360 (January 24, 2017)
“Arbitrator Rejects Remainder of Ousted Bar Leader’s Claims,” The Recorder (March 20, 2017)
“Bar Prevails in Former Executive Director’s Lawsuit,” Daily Journal (March 21, 2017)