Law Briefs


August 2, 2005


San Diego couple donates $1.75 million to USD

Susan S. and Jerry G. Gonick of San Diego gave the University of San Diego School of Law a pledge commitment of $1.75 million to endow a chair in the field of elder law. In recognition of their leadership and generosity, the law school will name the chair the Susan S. and Jerry G. Gonick Chair in Elder Law.

Susan Gonick, who was awarded her juris doctor degree from USD in 1986, is a member of the law school's Board of Visitors. Jerry Gonick received his master of laws in taxation from USD in 1984.

"We are very grateful to Susan and Jerry Gonick for this generous planned gift and for Susan Gonick's valued service on the law school's Board of Visitors," said Interim Dean Kevin Cole. "This chair will help us attract and retain distinguished teachers and scholars in an area that is increasing in importance not only to law students but also to a growing yet underserved part of the community."

Susan Gonick recently retired from a successful career as a partner specializing in securities litigation with several prestigious firms, including Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe and Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP. Jerry Gonick, who holds multiple advanced degrees in law, engineering and business, has retired from the practice of law and is a consultant primarily to the plaintiffs' securities class action bar. He was a member of the original design and development team for the space shuttle at IBM (NYSE: IBM).

County suit settled

A federal lawsuit brought against the county of San Diego for banning the Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Congregation's religious use of its property on Camino del Ray in Bonsall was settled Monday by the parties.

The lawsuit, filed on June 3, alleged that the county's cease and desist order issued earlier this year violated the congregation's rights under the First Amendment and the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

The settlement agreement lifts the cease and desist order and permits the group to continue to meet. The congregation and county will continue processing an application for a major use permit to build a new facility on the site.

"This is a great victory for these monks and those who meditate with them," said Roman P. Storzer, attorney for the congregation. "We applaud the county for agreeing to allow the use to continue."

Cal Western welcomes Scheininger

Marilyn Scheininger rejoins California Western School of Law as its new assistant dean for academic achievement. She previously taught at Cal Western as a legal skills professor for five years before most recently working as a research attorney for Associate Justice Terry B. O'Rourke at the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District.

"Not only are Marilyn's qualifications outstanding, but she is also well respected at California Western and by the legal community," said Dean Steven R. Smith. "She is an exceptional legal educator and leader, and she will serve our students well. We are extremely fortunate to have her back."

As assistant dean for academic achievement, Scheininger will oversee academic support programs. Also, she will provide student support by administering and teaching the Academic Achievement Workshop, planning and supervising periodic skills workshops, directing the tutor programs, and coordinating the school's bar review program. She will provide support for faculty teaching by coordinating teaching retreats, researching teaching and assessment tools, and collecting materials on current developments in law teaching.

Mulligan named ABA committee chair

San Diego County Bar Association leader Janice Mulligan was recently appointed chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability. She will assume her position as chair at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Aug. 4-9. It is a one-year appointment, subject to reappointment for a possible total of three years.

The ABA's 15-member Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability provides testimony to Congress and assists in the formulation of policy regarding medical professional liability at the national level. The committee opposes caps on pain and suffering awards and is in favor of trial by jury for health-related cases. Mulligan has served as a member of the committee since 1999.

"ABA policy is very much in favor of consumers," Mulligan said. "It is a privilege to be able to advocate these positions at the national level."

Mulligan, a partner in the law firm of Mulligan & Banham in San Diego, represents consumers in catastrophic cases arising out of medical negligence, pharmaceutical litigation, personal injury and elder abuse actions. She is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association, having served on the bar board of directors between 1987-90, and chaired the bar's Lawyer Referral and Information Service community service effort between 1985-88. Mulligan currently serves on the Task Force on Judicial Appointments, a position she has held since 2001.

Ronald McDonald House taps Pyke

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego has chosen Greg Pyke, a partner and member of the real estate practice group of Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP, to serve as their pro bono, legal counsel.

Pyke's contribution to the organization will consist of managing the ground lease work for the existing house lease and the proposed new Ronald McDonald house facility at Children's Hospital.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego has served as a "home away from home" to families of children with cancer, leukemia and other serious illnesses being treated at area hospitals. This 12-bedroom facility with common laundry and kitchen areas is open to any family regardless of ability to pay. Pyke has more than 25 years of experience in business and real estate matters, in addition to more than 20 years of experience representing nonprofit organizations.

Foley & Lardner honored

The life sciences practice of Foley & Lardner LLP, which has offices in San Diego, has been recognized as one of the best in the United States by the Practical Law Company's (PLC) 2004/2005 Cross Border Life Sciences Handbook. The firm received high marks for its life sciences work in the intellectual property, competition/antitrust and regulatory areas.

PLC's handbook is a guide to the law and leading lawyers in the industry worldwide. The publication includes a "Which Lawyers" section, which identifies the leading law firms and attorneys in the life sciences sector in 31 jurisdictions throughout the nation. To compile "Which Lawyers," PLC interviewed private practice practitioners and regulators and received recommendations from industry specialists.


August 2, 2005