Thursday, September 22, 2016

City of San Diego v. San Diegans for Open Government (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 22, 2016)

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.