Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney is thrilled to announce that we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary. We would like to welcome the firm's clients, friends, and family to join us for a toast next Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m at our offices in San Francisco. Please RSVP to Cheryll Paguia at or (415) 788-1900.

Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney 40th Anniversary

Interested in the 2017 California court holdings that impacted legal malpractice laws? Important Legal Malpractice Cases in 2017 by John Stellini, associate in MPB&F's San Francisco office, breaks down and briefly summarizes the impactful cases specifically in the areas of fee agreements, disqualification, Anti-SLAPP and litigation privilege, attorney-client privilege and work product, mediation privilege and cases affecting prosecution of legal malpractice claims.

Welcome John Stellini! We are excited to announce the newest addition to MPB&F's litigation and professional liability practice groups, John T. Stellini. John will primarily be working with Shareholder Jason Fellner and his team. Welcome John!

On January 10, 2018, the Daily Journal published in the New California Laws 2018 Supplement SB 813: Expanded Voluntary Disclosure Program by Edward Beeby. Senate Bill 813, sponsored by the California Franchise Tax Board, took effect on January 1, 2018. SB 813 expands California's Voluntary Disclosure Program and is predicted to lower tax revenue by $100,000 annually. Read the article here.

James Lassart James Lassart obtained a complete defense verdict in favor of his attorney and law firm client: Randy Montesano. Haney accused Montesano of legal malpractice, professional negligence, breach of contract, and infliction of emotional distress. Haney claimed that Montesano should have challenged the jury selection process but did not do so. Montesano demurred arguing that Haney filed two identical complaints and did not state the facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action for attorney malpractice. Haney's complaint also exceeded the relevant statute of limitations period and Montesano argued that Haney could not prove actual innocence or exoneration. Elements that must be met in order to prove legal malpractice occurred. Haney represented himself in the current action and the Honorable Harold E. Kahn of San Francisco Superior Court granted Montesano's demurrer and dismissed the entire action.

John H. Feeney Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney would like to wish Founding Shareholder John H. Feeney a wonderful retirement. We will miss John at the firm and are excited for his many adventures that retirement will bring him.

"After thirty-nine wonderful years with the firm I have decided to retire at the conclusion of 2017. It will be bittersweet as I launch into a new phase of life after so many rewarding and heartwarming experiences at the place where my entire career has been spent. It was my extreme good fortune to have arrived at the firm shortly after having passed the bar, and it is my proudest professional achievement to have been part of the growth of Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney.

I have enjoyed the benefit of practicing with many of the best trial lawyers I know and working with the dedicated people that make this firm such a unique and remarkable place. My thanks to all my partners over the years, the many attorneys who have given me the benefit of their wisdom, and the many staff who have allowed me to succeed. I thank the clients of the firm who make it worthwhile to advocate on your behalf and offering me your friendship and patience. I shall miss the comradery that was a hallmark of the firm and the many, many close relationships that are part of the good fortune that comes from working with so many people dedicated to doing the right thing. There are too many thanks to give for me to do it here. Please know how grateful I am to all of you for allowing me to have been a part of this great place." - John H. Feeney

Elder Abuse Avoidance: Counseling Professionals, authored by Jeff Hsu and Angela Rho, was featured on page 11 of the Fall 2017 edition of the Professional Liability Defense Quarterly, Volume 9, Issue 4. Professional Liability Defense Quarterly is published by the Professional Liability Defense Federation (PLDF). Read the article here.

Tarah G. Powell-Chen Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney welcomes Tarah Powell-Chen as an Associate to the San Francisco office. Tarah recently passed the California bar exam and we are proud to welcome her to our family! Tarah's practice will focus primarily on professional liability, business litigation, employment law, and real estate. Congratulations and welcome Tarah!

Top Ten Ethical Blunders Made By Attorneys and How to Avoid Them. The Bar Association of San Francisco will host a panel discussion on November 15, 2017 from 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. An hour of MCLE Credits in Legal Ethics and lunch will be provided. Topics include:

  • Client engagement and termination
  • Litigation hazards
  • Social media pitfalls
  • Cyber security concerns
  • Pursuing unpaid fees
  • Vicarious liability

Kendra L. Basner (Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP) will moderate a panel consisting of Alison P. Buchanan (Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel), Peter M. Roldan (Emergent, LLP) and Jason Fellner (Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney). Visit BASF for more information or to register for the event.

MPB&F would like to welcome Caitlin E. Ward to the firm's San Francisco office. Caitlin will work with Shareholders Aaron McClellan and Thomas "Tip" Mazzucco in their general litigation practice and with an emphasis on White Collar & Regulatory Defense. Welcome Caitlin!

Karen K. Stromeyer Karen Stromeyer attended the American Bar Association (ABA)'s National Legal Malpractice Conference in September. During that conference, Karen attended the panel discussion on "ransomware can happen to you". That course was summarized in an article authored by Karen, Ransomware Make You Wanna Cry? Protecting the Confidential Information of Your Practice and Your Clients from Cybercriminals. Read the article published by Bloomberg ABA/BNA here.

Peter Weber attended the American Bar Association (ABA)'s National Legal Malpractice Conference this past fall. During that conference, Peter attended the panel discussion Master Class in Attorney Mal Mediations: Select Topics. That course was summarized in an article authored by Peter, Mediating Legal Malpractice? Come Armed with Information, Panel Says. Read the article published by Bloomberg ABA/BNA here.

Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney invites you to attend its' annual Mock Trial at USF School of Law on Saturday, November 4, 2017. The event will be followed by a hosted reception at Barrel Head Brewhouse. View the Invitation for more information or to RSVP.

Internet Chess Player

A good read regarding filing tax returns and not missing the tax trap! Check out Mailing Late Tax Returns Or Payments A Tax Trap For The Unwary by Edward Beeby, Associate in MPB&F's San Francisco office with a LL.M in Taxation from New York University.

Avoiding Malpractice Claims - A Primer for Both New and Seasoned Attorneys.
Please join the Family Law Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association on Friday, October 27, 2017 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., for a presentation on avoiding malpractice claims by Jason E. Fellner and Caitlin T. DiMaggio. Jason and Caitlin's presentation on "Avoiding Malpractice Claims - A Primer for Both New and Seasoned Attorneys" will cover the following:

  • Common mistakes leading to legal malpractice claims
  • Steps for avoiding malpractice claims
  • Elements of a malpractice claim

One hour of MCLE Credit will be provided for attendance. Please login on the SMCBA website for more information on the event or to register. The cost is $45 for section members and $55 for non-section members.
Jason E. Fellner Caitlin DiMaggio

Andy Chen Welcome Andy Y. Chen to MPB&F's San Francisco office. Andy will work with Shareholder Janet Everson in her litigation practice with emphasis on Business Litigation and Professional Liability. Welcome Andy!

Smart Utilization of Demonstrative Exhibits at Trial. Interested in learning more about use of demonstratives at trial? Jason Fellner, Shareholder, and Caitlin DiMaggio, Associate, in Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney's San Francisco office will be hosting a CLE luncheon diving into the topic. The event will take place on Thursday October 26, 2017 from 12:00 - 1:15 p.m. at MPBF, 88 Kearny Street in downtown San Francisco. To register for the event, please contact Sarah Tetlow through the General Inquiries tab on the Contact page.


Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney was voted the Best Legal Malpractice Specialty in The Recorder's 2017 Reader's Best Survey for a EIGHTH consecutive year - Thank You!

Proposed Rule 1.4.1 - Communication of Settlement Offers. On September 8, 2017, the Daily Journal published Communication of Settlement Offers by Shareholder Jason E. Fellner and Law Clerk Tarah Powell-Chen. The article explores Proposed Rule 1.4.1. which narrows the types of settlement offers that a lawyer is required to promptly communicate to clients in a criminal matter and maintains the mandatory communication of all written settlement offers to the client in civil matters.

The San Francisco office of Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney would like to welcome Suzie Tagliere and Eddie Beeby. Suzie and Eddie are both associates who will mostly work with Shareholder Janet Everson and her team. Their primary practice areas will be professional liability and tax. Welcome Eddie & Suzie!

Tolling Legal Malpractice Statute of Limitations - The Uncertainty of "Continuous Representation". The Bar Association of San Francisco will host a panel discussion on October 12, 2017 from 12:00 - 1:15 p.m. An hour of MCLE Credits in Legal Ethics and lunch will be provided. The Legal Malpractice statute of limitations, C.C.P. section 340.6 protects attorneys from stale claims. However, by its terms, it is tolled by an attorney's "continuous representation" of the client. What constitutes continuous representation is not clear cut. This program will discuss the ways attorneys can maintain positive client relations, yet protect themselves from claims of never-ending representation. Jennifer Becker of Long & Levit will moderate a panel consisting of Mark Abelson of Campagnoli, Abelson & Campagnoli and Jason Fellner of Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney. Click here for more information or to register for the event.

The Bar Association of San Francisco

A Powerful Tool: Section 998 Offer to Compromise. Join Jonathan Blute of MPB&F, Conor Kelly, and Valerie McGinty with Mediator Sara Peters at the Bar Association of San Francisco on Thursday, September 21, 2017 from 12:00 - 1:15 p.m. Lunch will be provided as well as MCLE credit. The topic includes: How to use a § 998 offer to turn a loss into a win, and vice versa; Making effective offers in multi-party litigation; Effect of multiple offers; Evaluating the effect of "mixed results" at trial; and Building valid offers that hold up during post-trial motions. For more information and to register for the event, visit here.

Bill Muñoz, Managing Partner, and Heather Barnes, Associate, in MPB&F's Sacramento office were both named in Sacramento Magazine's 2017 Top Lawyers List. Bill was one of nine attorneys recognized under the Insurance category and Heather was one of six attorneys recognized under Professional Malpractice. Congratulations to Bill and Heather and all of the Top Lawyers recognized in Sacramento Magazine's August 2017 Top Lawyers List.
William A. Muñoz Heather A. Barnes

Keeping Pace With the Evolving California Case Law: How to Distinguish Between Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims and Legal Malpractice Claims Against Attorneys. On August 23, 2017, ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct published the above-named article by Associate Anjali Kulkarni and Shareholder Jason E. Fellner. The article explores key differences between breach of fiduciary duty claims and legal malpractice claims and further discusses how practitioners should learn from the Broadway Victoria case (Broadway Victoria, LLC v. Norminton, Wiita, & Fuster, 217 Cal. Rptr. 3d 414) when litigating malpractice claims. Read the article here.

The Hartford insurance company became a founding sponsor of the U.S. Paralympic Movement in 1994. It takes tremendous training, dedication and financial backing to become a world-class athlete. The Hartford will host its' Fourth Annual Celebration of Heroes Auction and Raffle event on September 26, 2017. For more information on the event and donating to the U.S. Paralympic team, please visit Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney is a proud sponsor of this event.

On August 10, 2017, the First District of the California Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of MPBF client Silvestri, Silvestri & Mialocq in the matter of Lico v. Prioste, et al. Plaintiff and appellant Beth Ann Lico had filed a legal malpractice complaint in San Mateo County Superior Court alleging that her former divorce attorneys, the Silvestri firm and its predecessor, Tanya Prioste of Lakins & Spears, failed to advise Lico to sue her former estate planning attorneys for negligent preparation of a transmutation agreement within the applicable statute of limitations. Shareholder Timothy Halloran and Director Jonathan Blute successfully moved for summary judgment in the trial court on statute of limitations grounds, arguing Lico failed to file her instant complaint within one-year of suffering "actual injury" due to her former divorce attorneys' alleged omissions. Mr. Halloran and Mr. Blute also represented the Silvestri firm on appeal. The full opinion is available here.

On August 15, 2017, Law360 published Clear Termination of Attorney-Client Relationship is Key by Shareholder Jason E. Fellner and Associate Geoffrey Macbride. The article explores the ruling on Flake v. Neumiller & Berdslee (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 223 and the importance of ensuring an attorney-client relationship is complete in order to commence the one-year statute of limitations for legal malpractice claims.

Heather Barnes, Associate in MPB&F's Sacramento office, has been accepted on the Membership Chair of DRI's Professional Liability Committee. The goal of the PL Committee is to build upon their traditional strengths and to significantly increase their programming efforts within DRI. For more information about the committee or DRI, visit here.

Jason E. Fellner On June 27, 2017, Shareholder Jason E. Fellner was designated as a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. The Diplomate designation is about competence, character and commitment; three terms that define professionalism and exemplify the high standards the ABPLA sets for all of its Diplomates. It is the ABPLA's continuing mission to certify attorneys according to the highest standards of experience, ethics, education, examination and excellence. Through this rigorous process, the ABPLA offers consumers a clear standard of excellence for selecting medical and legal malpractice attorneys in whom they can have confidence.

Angela Rho will be speaking on Resolving Sexual Harassment Claims at the Association of Legal Administrator's local Human Resources Section meeting on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at Hanson Bridgett. The prevention of sexual harassment claims is widely discussed by employment law professionals, but what do you do when a complaint is made or a claim is filed? Angela will discuss the steps to a proper investigation that protects your company and your employees, and how best to communicate the results of your investigation to all interested parties. For more information or to register (fee for non-members) visit here.

Following a two week jury trial, Shareholders James Murphy and Harlan Watkins, and Associate Geoffrey Macbride obtained a complete defense verdict in favor of their attorney and law firm clients. Despite plaintiff's alleged damages of over $30 million, the jury, which deliberated for only a day, determined that defendants representation always met the standard of care and were not liable for any wrongdoing. The case was previously tried in September 2013 and the court granted a non-suit after excluding unauthenticated hearsay evidence. The non-suit was reversed on appeal. During the pendency of the second trial, the Supreme Court issued its decision in People v. Sanchez setting forth limitations on what experts could rely on in formulating opinions.

James A. Murphy Harlan Watkins Geoffrey T. Macbride

Practicing in both California and Washington states? Managing Partner of our Seattle office, Nicholas Larson, authored an article for the King County Bar Association Bulletin which compares important aspects of professional liability standards between both states. Read Malpractice Damages - CA v. WA: Comparing Important Aspects of Professional Liability Standards here.

Super Lawyers
Nineteen of MPB&F's Attorneys Were Recognized as a Northern California Rising Star or Super Lawyer. We are pleased to announce that fifteen of our attorneys were recognized as "Northern California Super Lawyers 2017."

Additionally, Four of our attorneys were "Northern California Rising Stars 2017":

Additionally, Founding Shareholder John H. Feeney made the Top 100: 2017 Northern California Super Lawyer List.

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