San Diego Business Journal

Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP has been appointed by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody to a committee overseeing litigation against the National Football League alleging that multiple concussions can lead to long-term brain injuries. Casey Gerry is one of only nine law firms in the nation — and the only one in San Diego — serving on the leadership committee. Partner Frederick Schenk will represent the firm on the committee, which is charged with overseeing, preparing and streamlining the case. Also playing a role is partner Robert Francavilla, who will serve on the medicine and science subcommittee, which will help identify the relationship between playing football and head injuries.

Sullivan Hill and client City of San Diego won a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmation recently, in a case challenging a portion of the city’s defined benefit pension plan. Plaintiff Janet Wood, an unmarried woman retiree, had filed a class action complaining that the spousal continuance benefit of the city’s pension plan unlawfully discriminated against women both intentionally and unintentionally. In a unanimous decision the circuit panel disagreed on both issues, affirmed the lower court and entered judgment for the city. Sullivan Hill attorneys David Hopkins and Robert Allenby represented the city before the federal trial court, and were joined by appellate expert Candace Carroll for the 9th Circuit proceedings.

Tyson & Mendes LLP announced that Lorelei J. Armstrong has become its newest associate. Armstrong previously maintained a year-long clerkship in the San Diego Superior Court with Judge Timothy Casserly and prior to that she worked for Chapman University’s Tax Law Clinic. Armstrong will focus on defending businesses and individuals in products liability, accounting malpractice, and business matters.

Solo collaboration is the new mega firm. OK, that’s a stretch, but Klinedinst has a great idea. Called Klinedinst Co-Counsel Services, it has formed a group designed to provide trial preparation, research resources, and case advisory services to small firms handling large, complex cases. The practice group, started by one of Klinedinst’s shareholders who was a solo practitioner, builds on two of Klinedinst’s core strengths: complex business litigation/trial work, and defending other attorneys. Klinedinst attorneys can be contracted to instantly enhance trial preparation, technical capabilities and staff load to effectively litigate and successfully bring a case to trial. Better for the client, and better for the solo attorney, as well.

Omar Passons is an attorney who enhances the reputation of the profession. Help him. He is chairing the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association’s annual Neighborhood Law School, which provides free legal workshops taught by top San Diego attorneys. Workshops will be held each Monday from June 4 through July 9. The courses are designed to give useful legal information on a variety of topics to any member of the community, including employees, business owners, landlords, renters, or anyone who lives in San Diego. Specific workshops include Criminal Law Basics, Financial Literacy and Immigration. Great volunteer opportunity. Be like Omar. Make us look good.

Speaking of local attorneys doing good, San Diego business and real estate attorney Whitney Skala has been named a 2012 winner of the Spirit of CEB award, in recognition of outstanding contributions as an author and editor of articles and books published by Continuing Education of the Bar, a joint venture between the University of California and the State Bar of California. He was the only San Diegan on the 23-member panel. The Spirit of CEB award will be presented to Skala at the state bar’s annual convention.

The Security Network, a facilitator of security technology innovation, recognized McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP at its fourth annual “Fostering Innovation Through Collaboration” event recently. The award highlights McKenna’s government contracts and intellectual property experience. Mitchell Brook, a partner and member of The Security Network board of directors, accepted the award on behalf of the firm at the 9th annual Security Summit.

Gerson Law Firm had another excellent month as lender’s counsel for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, closing more than $85 million in loans in April. Loans closed by the San Diego firm were for apartment projects on the West Coast as far north as Seattle and to Long Beach in the south, and from the desert in Scottsdale, Ariz. to the coast. Loans ranged from $718,000 to $21 million.

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP partner Jon Schimmer, CPA, Esq. was recently appointed to the board of Philanthro, a 100 percent volunteer-run nonprofit that provides opportunities for other young professionals to engage in philanthropy through social and volunteer events. Philanthro has chapters in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Seattle.

Randy C. Frisch is the president and publisher of the San Diego Business Journal. He is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada and Idaho. He can be reached at rfrisch@sdbj.com.