Volume 15, No. 26 | December 20, 2016

eye on ethics

Q: My neighbor has referred several clients to me over the past year. Can I give my neighbor an edible fruit bouquet as a thank-you gift? The bouquet will cost approximately $45.

A: Yes, you may give a gift of de minimis value to an attorney or non-attorney after a client referral, if the gift is an expression of thanks and not a quid pro quo payment. Under these circumstances, you can give the neighbor the fruit bouquet without violating ER 7.2(b)'s prohibition on paying for referrals. See Ethics Opinion 02-01.

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Beyond Mere Words
Yes, esteemed lawyer John Stookey suffered a stroke. But his impact continues to grow.

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member news

Phoenix Attorney Diane L. Drain Wins Ruth V. McGregor Award: Diane L. Drain was honored as the 2016 recipient of the Ruth V. McGregor Award at the annual Arizona Women Lawyers Association Wine and Cheese reception. The reception celebrated individuals who support women in the law by contributing to the advancement of women in the profession. Drain focuses her solo practice on bankruptcy and has been a long-time, active participant in AWLA, and currently serves in a leadership role on a number of boards and committees including the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, the State Bar's Bankruptcy Section and Sole Practitioner/Small Firm Section. Congratulations, Diane!

Superior Court Judge Reinstein Named as Morrison Institute Distinguished Fellow: Judge Ron Reinstein, along with two others, has joined the prestigious list of Arizona leaders who serve as Morrison Institute Distinguished Fellows. He was presented with the honor by Board Chair Betsey Bayless and Director Thom Reilly at this year's State of Our State Conference, the annual signature event of Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. "All three individuals stand as accomplished leaders and true visionaries in their own right. Collectively, as ambassadors of Morrison Institute, we hope they'll be even more effective in their continual effort to improve Arizona through policy, deeds and action," said Reilly. Congratulations, Judge Reinstein!

Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee Adds State Bar Member: Dr. James T. Tucker of Armstrong Teasdale in Nevada has been added to the U.S. Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee. Dr. Tucker is Pro Bono Voting Rights Counsel to the Native American Rights Fund and he serves as an Adjunct Professor at UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law, where he teaches courses on voting rights and elections law. As a member of this committee, he will work on topics such as language, the aging and hard-to-reach populations, race and ethnicity, and American Indian and Alaska Native tribal considerations. Congratulations, James!

In the news

Judicial Panel Clears California Judge Who Gave Lenient Sentence in Stanford Sexual Assault: A Santa Clara County judge who drew heated criticism for his decision to sentence former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has been cleared of misconduct by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. Read more on the Commission's decision here.

Patent Holder for Hepatitis C Drug Wins Record 2.5B Verdict: Gilead Sciences Inc. was told by a federal jury to pay $2.54 billion to Merck & Co. for using a patented invention as the basis for its blockbuster drugs for the potentially deadly liver disease hepatitis C�the biggest patent-infringement verdict in U.S. history. The jury in Wilmington, Delaware, deliberated for less than two hours and rejected Gilead's arguments that Merck's patent is invalid. Read more about the record verdict here.

from the bar

State Bar Offices Closed for Upcoming Holidays: Happy holidays! The State Bar of Arizona will close its offices in Phoenix and Tucson for Christmas and New Year's Day. While both holidays land on a weekend, the Bar will observe Christmas with an early closure at noon on Friday, December 23 resuming normal business hours on Tuesday, December 26 and will observe New Year's Day with an early closure on Friday, December 30 resuming normal business hours on Tuesday, January 2.

Are You An Attorney Who Has Good News to Share? Have you recently been recognized for contributions you make to the communities you serve? Is your firm raising money or collecting food for charity over the holidays? Are you a leader who is being recognized for advancing the legal profession? If so, we want to hear about it! Email Alberto Rodriguez to be considered for inclusion in a future issue of eLegal under Member News.

File Your State Bar Annual Statement and Dues Online: Your 2017 statement is available now for you to complete, review and submit online at www.azbar.org/fees. A paper statement will not be mailed to you. Payment can be made by credit card or E-check through the Bar's secure website. When you submit your statement and submit dues online, your receipt will include a temporary bar card for use until the permanent one is mailed to you. To avoid delinquency fees, your statement and fees must be postmarked or received in the State Bar office by 5 p.m. MST on February 1, 2017. Online submissions will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. MST on February 1, 2017. More.

Share Your Thoughts on Maricopa County Superior Court Applicants: The Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments is seeking public input on 13 candidates for two openings on the Maricopa County Superior Court. View the applicants here.

Public Comment Sought on Pima County Superior Court Applicants: The public is invited to comment on eight applicants for a vacancy on the Superior Court in Pima County created by the retirement of Judge Carmine Cornelio. View the applicants and learn of the comment deadlines here.

Applications Being Accepted for Two Vacancies on Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals: Applications are being accepted for two vacancies on Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals, created by the retirement of Judge Patricia A. Orozco and the appointment of Judge Andrew W. Gould to the Arizona Supreme Court. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review applications, interview selected applicants, and recommend at least three nominees for each vacancy to Governor Doug Ducey. More.

Felony Conviction Leads to Interim Suspension of Attorney Michael P. Thieme of Prescott: The Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court issued an order placing Michael P. Thieme of Prescott on interim suspension. More.

Criminal Attorney Nathaniel J. Carr of Phoenix Suspended for Dubious Billing Practices: Attorney Nathaniel J. Carr of Phoenix was suspended for four years after violating several Rules of Professional Conduct while representing criminal defendants. Read more about his suspension here.

Alleged Client Fund Misappropriation Leads to Interim Suspension of Attorney Robert L. Earle of Sedona: The Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Arizona Supreme Court issued an order placing Robert L. Earle of Sedona on interim suspension. Read more here.

Practice In Yavapai County? eFiling Now Available: The Arizona Supreme Court is pleased to announce that Yavapai County Superior Court is now accepting electronic filings of civil case initiation and civil subsequent documents (CV & CP cases) through the eUniversa efiling application. Learn more here.

People of All Faiths are Invited to Attend the 47th Annual Red Mass: The annual St. Thomas More Society of Phoenix event commemorates the start of the legislative session, and is attended by lawyers, legislators, and government officials. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24 at Saint Mary's Basilica, 231 N. 3rd St. in Phoenix. The ritual begins at 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow in the Diocesan Center, located east of the Basilica. RSVP is not required. The following day the Society will host the Red Mass Breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St. in Phoenix. RSVP by Friday, January 20 for the breakfast. For more information about both events and how to RSVP for the breakfast, visit the Society's website. More.

Share Your Passion for the Legal Profession by Serving on an ABA Committee or Commission: Hilarie Bass, ABA President-Elect will make approximately 700 appointments to ABA Standing Committees, Special Committees, Commissions, and other entities and initiatives. She invites State Bar of Arizona members to visit the online guide, view all available appointments, and apply to those that best fit your interests and qualifications. All Association members are eligible for a Presidential appointment. Learn more about the ABA appointments here.

Get Your Registration Reduced for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in January! Arizona's legal community is coming together for the eighth consecutive year to run in the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K "Rock Corporate," to be held on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. This year, you can also run in the 5K on Saturday, January 14, 2017. For more, click here.

Help Consumers by Writing Law-Related Tips! The State Bar of Arizona seeks attorneys in all practice areas to offer consumer tips via its social media platforms. We'll be sharing tidbits of information to help consumers begin addressing their legal issues associated with family law, landlord/tenant, estate planning, personal injury, immigration, and DUI among others. If you're interested, email Alberto Rodriguez for more information.

Practice Tip - Be Careful How You Use Text Messages to Communicate With Clients: Click here for a tip from Ahern Insurance, a State Bar Member Discount Provider offering professional liability insurance.

Need to Refinance Your Student Loan? State Bar of Arizona members, family, and friends can receive a $300 welcome bonus* upon refinancing their student loans with SoFi, by visiting SoFi.com/AZBar. SoFi is the market leader of student loan refinancing and has originated $13+ billion in loans for over 200,000 borrowers. In order to receive the $300 welcome bonus*, applicants MUST apply through the SoFi.com/AZBar link.

Looking for Practice Management Software? MyCase is all-in-one, affordable, and intuitive legal practice management software. With features that cover all of the daily functions of the modern law office, MyCase allows legal professionals to practice more and manage less. State Bar of Arizona members get a free 30-day trial and a 10% lifetime discount. Click here for more information.

Save on Car Rentals, UPS Shipping, OfficeMax and More: Click here for the list of companies offering discounts to State Bar members.

court decisions

Arizona Court of Appeals
Division One
Division Two

December 6, 2016 - 1 CA-CV 15-0802 - Lauren M. Jensen v. Peter D. J. Beirne
Whether A.R.S. section 12-1551's limitations period applies to the enforcement of an equitable dissolution decree and subsequent related orders pertaining to real property distributions and directives not concerning judgments for payment of sums certain or judgments enforcing property liens. Read Opinion.

December 9, 2016 - 2 CA-CV 2016-0122-FC - Bill W. Castillo v. Thania N. Lazo
1. Is a birth certificate considered a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity such that A.R.S. � 25-812(E) bars a paternity action after six months? 2. May a putative father file a paternity action when a child is not born out of wedlock? Read Opinion.

9th Circuit Court of Appeals

December 16, 2016 - 10-56406 - Glenn Tibble v. Edison International
In an action for breach of fiduciary duty in the selection and retention of certain mutual funds for a benefit plan governed by ERISA, on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the district court's judgment in favor of an employer and its benefits plan administrator is vacated where: 1. defendants themselves failed to raise the waiver argument in their initial appeal, and thus forfeited this argument; 2. Phillips v. Alaska Hotel & Rest. Emps. Pension Fund, 944 F.2d 509 (9th Cir. 1991) did not apply to the continuing duty claims at issue under 29 U.S.C. section 1113(1), thus, only a 'breach or violation, such as a fiduciary's failure to conduct its regular review of plan investments, need occur within the six-year statutory period of section 1113(1), and the initial investment need not be made within the statutory period; and 3. the duty of prudence required defendants to reevaluate investments periodically and to take into account their power to obtain favorable investment products, particularly when those products were substantially identical�other than their lower cost�to products they had already selected. Read Opinion.

December 14, 2016 - 14-16840 - Jeff Silvester v. Kamala D. Harris
In an action challenging a California law establishing a 10-day waiting period for all lawful purchases of guns, the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs is reversed where: 1) the ten-day waiting period is a reasonable safety precaution for all purchasers of firearms and need not be suspended once a purchaser has been approved; and 2) applying intermediate scrutiny analysis, the law does not violate plaintiff's Second Amendment rights because the ten-day wait is a reasonable precaution for the purchase of a second or third weapon, as well as for a first purchase. Read Opinion.


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