Richard I. Fine has been referred to as a “crusader”, the “taxpayer advocate attorney” and the “peoples’ lawyer” for his work in challenging and correcting the abuses and corruption in government. The breadth of his experience encompasses antitrust cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal and state courts, requiring United Way to allow donors to designate the beneficiary of their contributions, the lawsuit against OPEC, class action cases, complex litigation, constitutional cases, criminal cases, environmental cases, international cases including those involving diplomatic immunity, public corruption and abuse of power cases, securities cases, and helping homeowners, amongst others.
A. Approximately $1 Billion Dollars Has Been Returned To California Taxpayers, And Been Protected From Future Unlawful Expenditure, As A Result Of Lawsuits Filed by Richard I. Fine On Behalf Of California Taxpayers.
From 1993 through the present, Richard I. Fine has returned approximately $350 million dollars to California taxpayers which state, county and municipal governments have unlawfully taken from “special funds” and “trust funds” in a series of taxpayer cases filed in federal court and the California state courts, commencing with the taxpayer case of Malibu Video, et al. v. Wilson, et al., and returned $6 million to the Tidelands Trust Fund and prevented approximately $350 million from being unlawfully expended from the Tidelands Trust Fund in a series of cases against California cities and ports commencing with the taxpayer case of Veltman v. City of Los Angeles, et al. Additionally, Richard I. Fine also returned money to small and minority businesses who were not paid during California’s “budget crises” in the class action case of Lido v. State of California.
In 1996, Richard I. Fine required the City of Los Angeles to change its method of calculating “sewer service charges,” saving residents tens of millions of dollars per year from the previous system, from 1996 onwards for each successive year through the present, in the taxpayer class action case of Shinkle, et al. v. City of Los Angeles.
In May, 1999, Richard I. Fine required Los Angeles County to create a special environmental inspection fee fund from monies that had wrongfully been deposited in the Los Angeles County General Fund with an initial deposit of $11 million dollars, and to freeze the environmental inspection fees until the $11 million dollars was expended, and to deposit approximately $40 million dollars a year in environmental inspection fees annually into the “special fund” into the indefinite future, in the taxpayer case of Amjadi and LACAOEHS v. LA Board of Supervisors, et al. The income to taxpayers in the “special fund” since 1999 is over $400 million dollars, and is growing by over $40 million dollars each year.
B. Twenty-Six Years Of California’s “Annual Budget Crisis” Were Stopped By A Taxpayer Case Won By Richard I. Fine
On July 21, 1998, Richard I. Fine won a preliminary injunction in the taxpayer case of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. & Steven White v. Connell, which closed the California State government and stopped all payments other than pre-authorized payments during the 1998 budget crisis. This also stopped salary payments to judges. Within a few days, a $19 billion dollar “emergency bill” was passed to relieve the “budget crisis”. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision, but held that judges’ salaries were pre-authorized by legislation setting their salaries and compensation under the Government Code. The Court of Appeal’s decision was affirmed in the California Supreme Court in 2003, in the case of White v. Davis; Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. & Steven White v. Wesly.
C. Richard I. Fine Was The First Lawyer To Challenge, In Court, The Unconstitutional Payments Given By Los Angeles County To The Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges.
In an Opening Brief in the appeal of the case of John Silva v. Garcetti, as District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles, in the California Court of Appeal in August, 2001, Richard I. Fine challenged the dismissal of the case alleging that the trial judge, James C. Chalfant, had not disclosed that he was receiving payments from Los Angeles County during the trial. This was the first time that the issue of the payment of the monies known as “local judicial benefits” from Los Angeles County to Los Angeles County Superior Court judges was ever raised in a court case.
Richard I. Fine filed two Federal civil rights cases in March and June, 2002, ACAOEHS v. County of Los Angeles and Lewin and Silva v. County of Los Angeles, Chalfant, Mitchell, Doi Todd, Boren and Nott, respectively, challenging the Los Angeles County payments of “local judicial benefits” to Los Angeles County Superior Court judges as a violation of Article VI, § 19 of the California Constitution, showing that such payments were not disclosed as required under the Political Reform Act, Government Code § 87200 and § 82030(b)(2), as interpreted by Regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission; Title 2, Division 6, California Code of Regulations, Regulation 18232(a), which required judges and court commissioners to disclose all income except salary, reimbursement for expenses and per diem allowances from a federal, state or local government agency, if they provided services to such government agency; showing violations of the Code of Judicial Ethics Cannons 2, 2B(1), 3B(5), 3E(1) and (2), and 4D(1) (4) and (5); and alleging violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
On September 15, 2000, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George stated to the California Judges Association, at their meeting in San Diego, California, with respect to the Los Angeles County payments of “local judicial benefits” to the Los Angeles County Superior Court judges:
“That state of affairs is not only wrong, it may be unconstitutional.”
In 2008, the California Court of Appeal confirmed the constitutional violations of the Los Angeles County payments of “local judicial benefits” to the Los Angeles County Superior Court judges in the decision of Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, et al., (167 Cal.App.4th 630 (2008), review denied December 23, 2008.
Six and one-half years after Richard I. Fine began the fight to bring justice to the Los Angeles County Superior Court judicial system and remove the unconstitutional payments affecting the court, at great personal sacrifice of being charged with "disbarment" and "contempt of court" for "attacking the integrity of the court" for in retaliation for bringing the cases and exposing the unconstitutional payments, respectively, the payments were held to be unconstitutional. The Los Angeles County Superior Court system will now be free from the influence of unconstitutional payments and the First Amendment right to petition the government to redress grievances will be unfettered.
RICHARD I. FINE
Place of Birth: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
EDUCATION: University of Wisconsin (B.S., 1961); University of Chicago (Doctor of Law, 1964); University of London, London School of Economics and Political Science (Ph.D., International Law, 1967); Certificate - Hague Academy of International Law, 1965, 1966; Certificate of Comparative Law - International University of Comparative Science, Luxembourg, 1966; Diplome d'Etudes Superieures du Droit Compare (Faculte Internationale pour L'Enseignment du Droit Compare), Strasbourg, 1967.
ADMISSIONS: Illinois 1964; District of Columbia 1972; California 1973, (State Bar #55259); United States Supreme Court 1972; and various U.S. Circuit and District Courts.
AWARDS: Lawyer of the Decades 1976-2006, Awarded by the California Black Republican Women's Council and the Judea Christian Alliance; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition "in recognition of outstanding service to the community"; California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition; California State Board of Equalization Resolution "for outstanding dedication and service to the taxpayers of the community".
Diplomatic: Honorary Consul General, Kingdom of Norway (1995-present); Second Vice Dean, Los Angeles Consular Corps. (2001-2003).
Government: U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (1968-72). Founder and Chief of the Antitrust Division for the City of Los Angeles (1973-74), the first Municipal Antitrust Division in the United States; Special Counsel, Governmental Efficiency Committee, Los Angeles City Council (1973).
Practice: Coudert Brothers, London Office (1968); Swerdlow, Glikbarg & Shimer, Los Angeles (1972-73); Richard I. Fine & Associates, Los Angeles (1974-present).
SAMPLE OF ORGANIZATIONAL AFFILIATIONS AND OFFICES
Academic: University of Chicago Law School Visiting Committee (1992-95); American Friends of the London School of Economics (University of London), Board of Directors (1984-), Chairman, Southern California Chapter (1984-2002); Los Angeles Advisory Committee, London School of Economics (1992-); Distinguished Visitor, Claremont Graduate University - School of Religion (2001-2005).
Professional: BNA Antitrust Advisory Board (1980-); American Society of International Law, Executive Council (1984-87), Budget Committee (1992-98), Regional Coordinator (1994-2006), International Legal Materials-Corresponding Editor; American Bar Association, International Law Section, Chairman, Committee on International Economic Organizations (1977-81); State Bar of California, Founder and Chairman of Antitrust Trade Regulation Law Committee and Section (1978-85); Organizer, International Law Committee (1987); Los Angeles County Bar Association, Founder and Chairman of Antitrust Section (1977-78), Executive Committee, International Law Section (1993-), Chairman, International Law Section (2003-2004); Global Alliance for International Advancement (2008- ).
Civic: Citizens Island Bridge Company, Ltd., Board of Directors (1992-2006), Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Los Angeles World Affairs Council-International Circle (1991-); Founders, Los Angeles County Music Center (1984-); Missing Children's Data Center, Board of Directors (1994-95); Retinitis Pigmentosa International, Board of Directors (1985-90); White House Conference on NAFTA, October 21, 1993 (Participant); Los Angeles Global Forum, January 1995, Moderator, Panel of African Ambassadors.
Publications: Numerous publications in legal journals on the subjects of antitrust, comparative and international law.
Article 19 of the U.N. Charter A Catalyst of Thought; Revue de Droit International de Sciences Diplomatiques et Politiques [The International Law Review] No.1-1965
Comparative Offer and Acceptance in Contracts by Correspondence in German, French, Soviet and Anglo-American Law: The Uniform Law on the Formation of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods; An advance?; IL DIRITTO negli scambi internazionali, Anno IV n.4 di Dicembre 1965
Procedure Under Articles 85 and 86 of the E.E.C. Treaty as Interpreted by the Commission, the European Court of Justice and the Courts of the Member States; IL DIRITTO negli scambi internazionali, Anno V n.1-2 di Marzo-Giugno 1966
Peace-Keeping Costs and Article 19 of the U.N. Charter: An Invitation to Responsibility; The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 15, Part 2, April, 1966
Technical Assistance to International Law, A Reality?; The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 15, Part 4, October, 1966
The Substance of Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty of Rome as Viewed by the Courts of the Member States: A Case Analysis; IL DIRITTO negli scambi internazionali, Anno V n.4 di Dicembre 1966
Extra-Territorial Application of Restrictive Trade Practice Legislation: A Restatement of Underlying Conflicts; IL DIRITTO negli scambi internazionali, Anno VI n.1-2 di Marzo-Giugno 1967
Exclusive Dealing Under the Treaty of Rome; The Journal of Business Law, April, 1967
The Nature of a Restrictive Practice Under Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty of Rome; The Journal of Law and Economic Development, Vol. IV, No. 2, Fall 1969
The Nature of a Restrictive Practice Under Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty of Rome-Part II; The Journal of Law and Economic Development, Vol. V, No. 2, January 1971
The Control of Restrictive Business Practices in International Trade- A Viable Proposal for an International Trade Organization; The International Lawyer, Vol. 7, No. 3, July, 1973
Control of International Restrictive Business Practices-Panel at the 69th Meeting of the American Society of International Law, Richard I. Fine, Moderator; Proceedings, 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, April, 1975
SAMPLE OF UNIQUE CASES WITH SOCIETAL IMPACT
United States Supreme Court:
Eastman Kodak Company v. Image Technical Services, Inc., et al.: Represented the California State Electronics Association and approximately 60 other state associations, national associations and companies as amicus curiae in a landmark tying arrangement and monopoly case. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the brief, thereby preserving the U.S. Service Industry by keeping jobs, and reducing the balance of payments.
Hartford Fire Insurance Co., et al., v. State of California, et al.: Represented the Service Industry Council and the California State Electronics Association as amicus curiae in a major international insurance boycott case which caused the premiums for commercial general liability insurance for all businesses in the United States to triple. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the brief.
California Supreme Court:
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Connell, et al.; White v. Davis et al. Taxpayer lawsuit to declare unconstitutional the state of California's expenditure of monies without a budget or an emergency appropriation in the year 1998. Trial court granted a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. California Supreme Court held that the State cannot expend monies without an appropriation. For years, the state has faced a fiscal crisis each year due to the failure to pass a Budget on time. The State would refuse to pay its vendors and welfare and medical payments while paying the salaries of the Governor, the Legislature and State employees. Each year, the people of the State needlessly suffered. This case has forced the Governor and the Legislature to either pass a Budget on time or go without salaries themselves and not pay State employees or any bills unless they pass emergency legislation.
Federal and State Courts:
AID v. United Way: Lawsuit by Associated In-Group Donors, a large donor-oriented charity in Los Angeles County, against United Way for breach of charitable trust, anti-competitive activities, and unfair competition for United Way's anti-competitive conduct and attempt to drive AID out of the charitable business and monopolize such for United Way; represented AID and obtained a stipulated judgment against United Way; effect of the judgment is to prevent the United Way from engaging in unfair business practices and allowing the public to designate the recipient when they give money to United Way.
IAM v. OPEC: Lawsuit by the International Association of Machinists against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies and its members for price-fixing of oil imported into the United States; brought the case on behalf of the IAM; at the trial, was appointed by the Trial Judge to be lead counsel and try the case; the Trial Court held that OPEC's activities were acts of sovereign nations and not commercial; the Ninth Circuit held that OPEC's activities may be price-fixing but are protected under the Act of State Doctrine; the political effect of the case was to restrain the price-fixing activities of the OPEC nations.
RP Foundation v. RP: Lawsuit by Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation, Baltimore, against Retinitis Pigmentosa Los Angeles; cross-complaint by RP Los Angeles for breach of charitable trust, unfair competition, anti-competitive actions and attempting to drive RP Los Angeles out of the charity business; represented RP Los Angeles; settled the case by severing RP Los Angeles from the RP Foundation, Baltimore, and founding RP International.
Republic of The Gambia v. United States of America: Intervention by the Republic of the Gambia in the lawsuit of the United States of America v. Sissoko to assert diplomatic immunity, which was not asserted by Sissoko's attorneys. Trial court adopted the Gambia's interpretation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (of 1963).