Bar Associations

Arbitrator tosses fired bar executive's claim against former California bar president

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State bar of California seal.

An arbitrator has tossed the last claim against former California State Bar President Craig Holden in an action filed by the bar’s fired executive director, Joe Dunn.

Dunn had alleged intentional interference with contract. But JAMS arbitrator Edward Infante, in a decision released on Monday, found the evidence was lacking, Law360 (sub. req.) reports.

Dunn had alleged in a 2014 lawsuit that he was fired for exposing “egregious improprieties,” including allegations that the bar’s chief trial counsel had concealed the true backlog of disciplinary cases. Dunn also alleged that Holden had told several people he wanted “to do something about Dunn” and that Holden’s actions were “part of an effort to usurp executive authority in the state bar.”

The dispute went to arbitration after a judge found it was required by Dunn’s employment agreement.

Infante said Dunn didn’t provide sufficient evidence that Holden acted intentionally to interfere with Dunn’s employment, or that Holden stood to reap a tangible benefit from Dunn’s firing. Nor was there evidence that Holden’s actions caused Dunn’s firing, the arbitrator said.

Holden is a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.

Some of Dunn’s claims against the state bar are still pending, including a claim that the bar fired him in retaliation for being a whistleblower. An arbitrator tossed other claims against the state bar last summer.

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