After eight years of litigation, a Sacramento judge
awarded $10 plus interest to 43 attorneys who objected to the way their State Bar dues
were spent. Both sides said they likely will appeal.
Ending the trial phase of the long-standing case, Superior Court
Judge Morris C. England Jr. also refused to preclude the bar from using member dues for
future lobbying efforts. In-stead, each plaintiff gets a $10 refund from the dues they
paid in 1991.
The case, Brosterhous v. State Bar, was filed in 1992 by Raymond
Bros-terhous II, a California deputy attorney general, two years after the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that mandatory bar dues could not be used to fund activities with political or
ideological coloration not reasonably related to the bars core
In response to that decision in Keller v. State Bar of California,
the bar created the so-called Hudson deduction for activities it determines are non-chargeable
to member dues.
In 1991, it offered a $3 refund, which later was increased by an
arbitrator to $7.36 for activities that should not be charged to the membership.
Brosterhous challenged the way the bar calculated the 1991 deduction.
England ruled last year that the bar improperly calculated that
deduction and said it cannot fund the activities of several offices with bar dues.
The bar sought unsuccessfully to have that decision reversed
immediately and thus to prevent the second phase of the trial. Englands decision now
frees the bar to pursue its appeal.