The Daily Journal announced today that multiple Manatt teams have been honored with 2018 “California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year” awards for their extraordinary achievements in various sectors of the law. Each year, through its prestigious CLAY Awards, the Daily Journal recognizes the lawyers whose cases had far-reaching impacts in law, business and society.
Litigation partners Barry Landsberg, Harvey Rochman and Craig Rutenberg are recognized for their work on behalf of Dignity Health in Minton v. Dignity Health, an “eye-catching case” that turned on a nearly decade-old precedent. The matter involved Evan Minton, a transgender man who sought a hysterectomy as part of a series of gender reassignment procedures. Minton alleged discrimination under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act after his surgery was moved from a hospital within Dignity Health’s system that was affiliated with the Catholic Church to one of Dignity’s non-Catholic hospitals. Landsberg told the Daily Journal that the underlying legal principle was fairly straightforward and that Dignity followed a model laid out by North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group Inc. v. San Diego Superior Court. He said, “The complaint acknowledged that Dignity Health immediately undertook to have the procedure performed at another Dignity Health non-Catholic hospital. The court agreed that, based on California Supreme Court precedent, Dignity Health provided Mr. Minton with full and equal accommodations and did not intentionally discriminate against him.”
Appellate partner Joanna McCallum is recognized for her successful argument before a Second District Court of Appeal panel that led to a significant victory for victims of domestic violence in California. McCallum, working pro bono with lawyers at the Family Violence Appellate Project, represented the plaintiff in Priscila N. v. Leonardo G., a case that clarifies the jurisdictions of domestic violence restraining order renewals. The issue began when Priscila’s restraining order against her spouse, which was issued by a juvenile court, was up for renewal. When the juvenile court was satisfied that the children were safe under the orders it issued, it terminated its jurisdiction and transferred the restraining order to the pending divorce proceeding in family court, which then concluded it lacked jurisdiction to renew the restraining order, leaving Priscila to start the entire process over. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the family court does have jurisdiction under the Domestic Violence Protection Act to renew a restraining order issued by the juvenile court. "This furthers the Legislature's purpose to make sure that protections in juvenile court translate seamlessly to family court without the burdens and obstacles of restarting the restraining order process," McCallum told the Daily Journal.
Land use co-chair Victor De la Cruz and associates C.J. Laffer and Salvador Pérez were recognized for their work in helping elderly residents stay in their homes after an apartment with assisted living services sent them eviction notices in 2016. Working pro bono with public interest law firm Bet Tzedek, the team turned a three-month eviction notice into a long-term relocation plan that allows the residents to move back to the renovated building for no additional rent. Key to the effort was a residential hotel designation that the team secured for the apartment building that’s now under appeal by Watermark Communities, which had bought the building with plans to convert it into a luxury, licensed assisted living facility. The new designation brings stricter conditions, including a required tenant habitability plan that regulates relocation plans for residents. “A lot of this is making sure this large-scale eviction of senior citizens never really happens again,” said De la Cruz.