San Diego attorney Cory Briggs loses a quarter million dollars in attorney's fees today because he elected to file an answer on behalf of a nonprofit corporation when his firm knew that corporation was suspended. Plus, Justice Huffman's opinion, like the trial court, insults him for doing do. Saying, among other things:
"The law is clear that SDOG lacked the capacity to appear in the Validation Action.
A corporation that has had its powers suspended 'lacks the legal capacity to prosecute or
defend a civil action during its suspension.' . . . Despite this clear authority, SDOG, represented by BLC [the Briggs Law Corporation], filed an answer in the
Validation Action. Such conduct was clearly wrong. Additionally, BLC's explicit
approval of SDOG's appearance and representation of SDOG was, as described by the
superior court, unethical and perhaps criminal. . . .
We are perplexed by BLC's and SDOG's actions here. We do not understand why
BLC would represent SDOG in the Validation Action and file a verified answer on behalf
of SDOG when it knew, as did the corporation, that SDOG was suspended. In light of
this clearly unethical and possibly criminal conduct, we expect some explanation of
BLC's actions. BLC provides none. BLC does not explain why it felt compelled to
violate the law and make an appearance on behalf of SDOG. BLC does not discuss any
exigency in the matter that induced its improper actions. BLC does not clarify what
value SDOG's presence in the action added, especially considering that the public interest
was already being protected by Shapiro. There is no indication that SDOG obtained
unique relief that Shapiro did not or could not achieve in the Validation Action. In other
words, BLC offers absolutely no justification for its actions.
Further exacerbating BLC's illicit conduct here, BLC does not accept
responsibility for its actions. Instead, it blames the City for failing to discover earlier that
SDOG was a suspended corporation. . . . Such blame shifting and obfuscation does not carry the day."
A good day for the city of San Diego. At least financially. Not such a good day for the law firm.