The judge who ruled last summer that the State Bar
improperly funded some of its activities with mandatory membership dues is expected to
enter a damages award of $10 each to the 43 plaintiffs.
An agreement reached last month among the parties to the litigation
will avert a costly damages phase of the trial and permit the bar to appeal the courts
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Morrison England ruled in August that
the bar improperly used member dues for much of its lobbying and several of its programs
The case, Brosterhous v. State Bar, was filed in 1992 by 40 attorneys
who objected to the bars first Hudson deduction a refund system set up by the
bar for attorneys who choose not to fund certain non-chargeable programs under the Keller
v. State Bar decision of 1990.
That ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court held that mandatory dues cannot
be used to fund activities with political or ideological coloration not reasonably
related to the bars core functions. In 1991, the bar offered a $3 refund for
activities it determined were non-chargeable to member dues. An arbitrator
increased the deduction to $7.36.
Deputy attorney general Raymond Brosterhous of Sacramento challenged
the way the bar calculated the 1991 Hudson deduction. After last years trial,
England ruled the plaintiffs were entitled to a refund for activities that did not meet
the Keller test. Rather than litigate the value of each program England said was
nonchargeable, the bar stipulated to the amount of damages the judge can enter as a