Three years ago, poverty attorney Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi, civil rights attorney Bryan Pease, and I sued the San Diego Housing Commission alleging the Commission’s implementation of a Section 8 housing voucher program increased segregation in San Diego and trapped families in low income, low opportunity, high crime, neighborhoods. Our lawsuit detailed how the Commission had been setting voucher levels standards woefully low in high opportunity areas, and relatively lower than in low opportunity areas. Last May, after years of tough litigation and tactical delay, the Commission, facing a trial this summer, made a fundamental change to the manner in which it sets its voucher payment standards and aligned them with those issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Because the Commission’s payment standards had been so woefully low, this change constituted nothing short of leapfrogging over years of woefully inadequate voucher levels and was the largest one-year increase national fair housing experts had ever seen. This is a result we had fought hard for during three years of contentious litigation. It was a great result for our clients, for a lot of good San Diegans, and for the city of San Diego.
Deep in the canyon. Late afternoon. Still hot. Shadows invading the spaces all day occupied by bright searing sunlight. Sharp distinct lines between sun and shadow on surrounding rock faces. Waist deep, stinging cold, darkening, water, straddling the eddy line, my frontside feeling edges of the strong pull of the river moving downstream, backside feeling the subtle flow of eddy water moving upstream. In front of me, the main river moving swiftly to right, behind me, the eddy moving slowly to my left. In front of me, deep, surging, powerful, swift, downstream, behind me, shallow, calm, lazy, smooth, upstream. Water, slightly swirling, bubbling, along the line. Trout, at my feet, lazily moving upstream, along the line, in the shade. Almost cold beer in hand. Jill and family behind me on beach built by the eddy, laughing, drinking whiskey, happy.
Late afternoon, standing in an eddy line, on the Colorado River, deep in the Grand Canyon. Perfect.
Three years ago, lead attorney Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi, civil rights attorney Bryan Pease, and I sued the San Diego Housing Commission for our clients, the NAACP, San Diego Tenants Union, and Darlisa McDowell, alleging the Commission’s implementation of a Section 8 housing voucher program increased segregation in San Diego and trapped families in low income, low opportunity, high crime, neighborhoods. After years of tough litigation and tactical delay, the Commission, facing a trial this summer, changed the manner in which it sets its voucher payment standards to align with those issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is a result we have fought hard for since 2019 and, having achieved this fundamental change in the voucher program, we have concluded the litigation. (See link to NAACP Press Release below) I congratulate and thank my co-counsels Parisa and Bryan, two fine, committed San Diego attorneys, for this result. I am proud to be a part of this effort to bring about fundamental change to the voucher program and to have helped secure a result which will allow voucher families greater choice in where they live. This significant change in the voucher program will give thousands of San Diego families access to better neighborhoods and greater opportunities. It’s a great result for a lot of good people and for the city of San Diego.
My practice is upgrading and expanding its document management and eDiscovery capacity. This is part of our ongoing effort to effectively work the complex business cases we are best suited to handle and to meet the high expectations of our clients. We have updated out document management and eDiscovery software to IPRO’s Discovery ][ Local suite. We have also increased our system speeds with SSD system drives and capacity with fault tolerant, big capacity storage drives for client and case documents. All client data and case documents are maintained in-house with redundant onsite, and offsite, back-up to insure against unexpected drive failure data loss. This upgrade to our firm infrastructure will further ensure that client data is secure and that we can meet the ever-increasing eDiscovery, traditional discovery, and courtroom demands of big document cases. We pride ourselves on our ability to go toe-to-toe with large firms in complex, high risk, document heavy cases. This infrastructure upgrade enhances our ability to meet that challenge. It also reflects our ongoing commitment to securing the best possible litigation and trial results for our clients and to providing focused, efficient, cost-effective legal services.
One of the joys of life is Music.
Listening to, Sharing, Discovering/Rediscovering, and Seeing Live, Music.
So, I am going to try something new. Every Friday, I will post Trial Call Tunes – 3 songs – tunes on heavy rotation on my turntable or devices, songs I am currently taken with, music I am listening to. I will post the tunes here on Trial Call and on Facebook (facebook.com/crosbyattorney), Instagram (@crosbyattorney), and Twitter (@crosbyattorney, @Trial Call).
In response, post your own songs, 3 or less, as responses or comments here or on any the above – tunes on heavy rotation on your devices, songs you are currently taken with, music you are listening to! Any and all genres, new music, old music, any music, whatever you are listening to and want to share!
Let’s see what happens. Whenever I share music with friends, I always get back something I have never heard before or something I had forgotten about. So, let’s try this – here goes!
Trial Call Tunes – Friday, March 25, 2022
You Wreck Me – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Wildflowers
Fix It – Lady Blackbird. Back Acid Soul.
Little Ghetto Boy – Lalah Hathaway. Live.
What’s on your playlist?
I am incredibly honored and humbled to learn that the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) has named me it’s “Outstanding Attorney of the Year” for 2022. This award is presented to one attorney annually, and is awarded “to an attorney who, over the course of their career, has demonstrated significant legal expertise, served as a model of civility and professionalism in the practice of law, and has made an outstanding contribution to the legal profession, the justice system, or the public.” The award will be presented at the SDCBA’s Celebration of Community Service on May 20. I’m blown away that I was selected, particularly because there are so many attorneys in our community who I respect and admire for their fine work and significant community service. I look forward to continuing to work with the tremendous attorneys in our San Diego community for years to come. This is truly a special honor for me from a profession and professional community that I love. Thanks to the SDCBA, its Board, and Awards Committee for this honor.
Well, this is exciting! Starting in January and for the Spring 2022 Semester, I will be a Small Group Instructor for the Upper Division Advanced Trial Advocacy Course at the University of San Diego School of Law. In this course, upper-class law students will learn about and practice skills for all phases of a civil trial – voir dire, opening, direct exam, cross exam, objections, impeachment, closing, etc. I will instruct the practice component of the class through these trial phases to a small group of students over the course of the semester. This is a part-time gig and will not impact my litigation and trial practice. In fact, I have a number of significant matters set for trial early next year and we’re getting ready – perhaps some of my students will come watch a trial! I am pleased to assist my law school alma mater in this trial course and I’m excited about the opportunity to instruct law students and help shape the trial skills of my soon-to-be colleagues. This should be interesting and a lot of fun! Thank you to the USD School of Law, and to Professor Linda Lane, for this unique opportunity. I may provide insights from teaching this course once we get going, so stay tuned!
Trials, trials, trials! I suspect the late 2021-early 2022 calendars of most San Diego trial attorneys are filling back up with trials, trials, trials. Mine sure is! The 2020-2021 covid court restrictions and associated delayed trial dates and, now, the court’s reopening and full resumption of trials have, for me, sandwiched together a bunch of what were very nicely-spaced 2020-2021 trials into the 4th qtr 2021 and 1st qtr 2022. Six jury trials from mid-November to late-February, including 2 or 3 that will, if they go, last a week or two. And I am sure I am not alone amongst San Diego litigators in that regard. Surely, and like always, some will settle out, or get bumped further out, and we don’t really know how solid these civil trial dates are, given the current post-covid criminal trial backlog. They won’t all go, never do. But, we have to be ready to go for our clients, and most of the judicial comments I have heard at recent CMCs, status conferences and hearings are that things have changed, the courts are fully open for business, there are trial back logs to be addressed, and we must assume trial dates are real unless advised otherwise. So, who knows? We, San Diego judges and trial lawyers alike, will see how this all shakes out together. Regardless, its going to be a busy fall and winter for San Diego trial lawyers and for the courts. Not griping, not at all! Good for my patient clients to get their cases back moving towards resolution again, and I am happy to be at back at it for them. It’s good to be back in court, and it will be really good to put my hands on a counsel table, push myself up, stand, answer “Ready”, walk into the well, turn to a jury, and start an opening statement, in a trial, in a courtroom.