A suit was filed for the purpose of vacating factual findings and legal conclusions made by Judge Patrice McElroy of the State Bar Court. Said suit alleges that McElroy issued rulings in exchange for a gift she had secretly accepted from private counsel. The gift which was bestowed on Patrice McElroy was a trip overseas.
The circumstances which led to the bribing of Pat McElroy took place few years prior, while various events were unfolding at a certain law-school, which shall be referred to here as "School"
Taking part in the events were the dean("Dean") of the School along with Student #1, Student #2, and Student #3.
Student 1 and Student 2, both of whom are females, were good friends.
Student 1, while attending School, also worked as an intern/law clerk for the State Bar of California. Her supervisor at the State Bar was an individual by the name of Donald Steedman.
Student 2 and Student 3 met at School and were friendly to each other. Student 2 wished to further develop the friendship with Student 3, and to otherwise become his paramour. Student 2 and Student 3 exchanged written communication of the intimate kind. Student 2 also indicated to Student 3, in writing, that the fact that he was otherwise married was not a problem for her, and that it should not serve as an obstacle.
In the meantime, Student 1, while employed for the State Bar, accessed the confidential file of Student 3. Student 1 begun gossiping and divulging confidential information to Student 2 concerning Student 3.
Later, Student 2 and Student 3 had a falling out. Student 2, who felt that she was being harassed by Student 3, sought the intervention of School. She asked the Dean to have a "little chat" and "nothing more” with Student 3. However, during a subsequent social meeting which took place between Student 1 and Student 2, a new plan was devised which was to advance a formal complaint against Student 3, rather than the "little chat" that Student 2 had asked for.
Indeed, shortly thereafter, Student 2 advanced a formal written complaint to School against Student 3. Said complaint made no mention of the reason behind the decision to suddenly and abruptly formalize the complaint. The formal complaint contained factually inaccurate information and is otherwise in conflict with some of the contents of the intimate written communication that had taken place between Student 2 and 3.
School begun the process of investigating the formal complaint. During a formal interview of Student 2 with Dean, she disclosed the fact that Student 1 has been sharing with her confidential State Bar information concerning Student 3. Furthermore, during the interview with Dean, Student 2 conceded that Student 3 never touched her, nor did he ever ask for any physical contact to take place , nor that there was ever any such contact.
Subsequently, School scheduled a formal hearing to be conducted in front of 3 faculty members. However, prior to the hearing, Student 2, who at the time was around 30 years old, and her parents became very concerned about the unfolding of events. Especially, after they had learned that Student 3 maintained copies of the various email communications which had taken place between their daughter and Student 3. As such, Student 2 and her parents met with Dean for an urgent meeting.
Dean, after the urgent meeting with Student 2 and her parents, abruptly summoned Student 3 to his office and presented him with an ultimatum to immediately withdraw from School. Student 3 refused, and left the premises. (Later, Student 3 will file suit against School, re-matriculate, and graduate.)
Subsequently, Student 3 submitted an application to the State Bar, which was rejected. Student 3 sought hearing/trial to take place in front of the State Bar Court. The case was assigned to the courtroom of Judge Patrice McElroy. While Judge McElroy presided over the case, the State Bar was represented by an individual named Donald Steedman. Student 3 represented himself.
State Bar alleged that Student 3 had harassed Student 2. As such, Donald Steedman had planned to present during the trial the viva-voce testimony of Student 2. As at School Student 3 never had a chance to learn the specifics of the allegations made by Student 2 (as Dean unlawfully blocked such an attempt)Student 3 scheduled the deposition of Student 2.
In preparation for her deposition, Student 2 sought the advice and representation of counsel. Indeed, Student 2 retained counsel and appeared with said counsel at her deposition. Student 2's counsel was Dean.
Student 3 objected to Dean's representation of Student 2 due to the obvious conflict, and Dean presumed access to his school-file which is protected by various privacy statues. As such, Student 3 filed a motion with McElroy seeking the disqualification of Dean from representing Student 2. Student 3's motion was denied by McElroy.
A new deposition of student 2 was scheduled, and again she showed up represented by her counsel of choice- Dean. During the deposition, Dean referred to Student 3 as a "Son of a Bitch", whereupon Student 3 aborted the deposition. Student 3 filed a new motion with the State Bar Court. McElroy granted the motion, while at the same time chastised Student 3 as McElroy wished Student 3 had proceeded with the deposition despite Dean’s unprofessional behavior and resort to profanity.
Dean, unhappy with McElroy's decision, sent McElroy a letter in which he informs her that he will not produce his client for another deposition, and would rather face contempt charges. McElroy, capitulated and issued an order which stated that the deposition proceed in writing. McElroy also ordered the parties to show-up for a status conference.
After the status-conference concluded, as Student 3 was about to exit the courtroom, McElroy disclosed off-the-record that Dean had previously been her direct supervisor at the office of public defender. Student 3 asked Judge McElroy to put this disclosure on the record, which she did. Dean, on his part, never disclosed to Student 3 during any of those proceedings that he was acquainted with Judge McElroy. This despite the fact that concurrent with the State Bar Court proceedings, Student 3 was litigating the case against School in order to re-matriculate.
Subsequently, Student 3 conducted further discovery, in which he managed to have Student 2 authenticate the written communication between the two.
He also managed to extract, despite ferocious opposition, the name and identity of Student 1 who was working at the State Bar under the supervision of Donald Steedman. It was, coincidentally, the same Donald Steedman who was opposing Student #3 discovery motions.
By the time, Student 3 managed to seek rulings on the aborted depositions and to extract the identity of Student 1, the 120 days to conduct and complete discovery elapsed.
As such, he filed a motion to re-open discovery in order to obtain discovery from Student 1. Steedman vigorously opposed the motion. McElroy, shockingly, refused to allow the discovery process to be re-opened. Under normal circumstances, a motion to re-open discovery, we are told, are granted as a matter of routine. Not here.
Later, a hearing before Judge McElroy took place, in which she ruled against Student 3, and the matter made its way to the Review Department.
While pending before the Review Department of the State Bar Court, Student 3 deposed Dean as part of the case he filed against School to re-matriculate himself.
Student 3, during the deposition, obtained sworn testimony from Dean in which Dean disclosed that while the case was pending before McElroy, Dean had approached McElroy and offered her to join him for a trip oversees. McElroy accepted Dean's offer and never disclosed it to any one, let alone Student 3.
At this point in time, while Student 3 case was with the Review Department, and on the day he deposed Dean, the saga of "Bribing Pat" had been already consummated, as Pat, after enjoying the trip overseas with Dean, was back at work.
The work of Patrice McElroy, a judge with the Hearing Department of the State Bar Court, which is part of the State Bar of California, involves judging others in matters relating to ethics.