Winter 2012 • Issue 42, page 1

Judge Jones Names Judicial Editor of Receivership News

By Bronston, Edythe*

Publisher's Note: RN is pleased to announce that LA superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones has agreed to serve as a Judicial Editor for RN. She will comment from time-to-time on topical issues and provide a Judge's perspective. In accepting the appointment, Judge Jones insisted that she will be presenting her views only and not speaking on behalf of the judiciary at large. Following is an interview designed to introduce yoiu to RN's new Judicial Editor. RPM

Judge Ann I. Jones, besides being a delightful conversationalist, has an amazingly varied intellectual, experiential and legal background. She graduated from Brown University, magna cum laude in 1977, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and with honors in American History. While matriculating, she was a National Merit Scholar from 1973 to 1977 and Phi Beta Kappa in 1977. She then went on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley in 1984, while concurrently attending Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley, from which she obtained a Juris Doctor degree...also in 1984. While at Boalt, she was Executive Editor and Member of the California Law Review from 1982 to 1984, as well as having won the Thelen, Marrin Prize for the Best Published Article and the Moot Court Prize for Best Oral Argument.

Judge Jones’ was Law Clerk to the Honorable Eugene F. Lynch, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California prior to beginning an eight year stint at Blecher & Collins, where she was first an associate and then a partner, focusing on complex anti-trust, intellectual property and other commercial litigation. From Blecher & Collins, she went on to the Department of Justice, Anti-Trust division, where she was Special Litigation Counsel to Assistant Attorney General Anne K. Bingamin. While with the Department of Justice, she received the Assistant Attorney General’s award for Outstanding Achievement…twice! From the Department of Justice, Judge Jones went on to the Federal Trade Commission in Los Angeles, where she was Director of the Regional Office. Once again, in 1997, she received an award for Superior Service.

In 1997, her talent, intellectual excellence and her hard work were recognized, and she was appointed to the United States District Court, Central District, where she served as a United States Magistrate Judge for four years. As a Magistrate, she had occasion to hear complex cases and expand her experience and knowledge. In October, 2001, her career to date was capped by an appointment to the Los Angeles Superior Court by Governor Gray Davis. In the ten years since taking the bench, Judge Jones’ assignments have exposed her to a multitude of legal subjects: family law (in Pomona), felony calendar, independent calendar and Central Civil West, where she heard many complex litigation cases. One year ago, she replaced Judge David Yaffe in Dept. 86 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, handling Writs & Receivers, along with Judge James Chalfant in Dept. 85. As if her plate were not full enough, she is an Adjunct Professor of Antitrust Law at both Loyola and Pepperdine Schools of Law.

Judge Jones’ only prior experience with receiverships was as a consumer, i.e., while at the Federal Trade Commission, she frequently moved for appointment of a receiver, often in highly visible insurance cases. She finds her present assignment very interesting and challenging, as no two cases are ever the same. Judge Jones was very clear that she invites and encourages the bar and her receivers to “educate” her as to the facts and application of the law to those facts. Be aware, however, that Judge Jones makes decisions only after carefully reviewing all of the pleadings. Because of that policy, she rarely grants ex parte requests for a receiver. If there is evidence of a threat of loss of assets and a case needs immediate attention, Judge Jones will usually rule that a Temporary Restraining Order or an Order Shortening Time is preferable, to allow her to review the papers.

The philosophy in Dept. 86 is a radical departure from prior years. When Judge Jones appoints a receiver, the receiver reports to the Judge, who is personally invested in the case. She considers that she and her receivers are in a way, partners, and she expects to be kept abreast of facts as they are discovered. She has a realistic perspective: a receiver doesn’t know the facts of the case until he or she has had time to investigate, often a 60 day period. Because of that, she is averse to “gargantuan appointing orders” and rarely approves them in toto. Instead, she expects her receivers to come into Court often, to discuss and report on their game plan; she will then be able to expand an Order as needed, when she has been convinced of the facts by the receiver.

(N.B.: Lawyers moving for appointment of a receiver should take note and tailor their orders accordingly. It is more than a little disquieting for a receiver to obtain an Appointing Order which is awash in black marker, with various provisions crossed out.)

Judge Jones is also concerned with cash flow, both to protect the parties so that a receiver doesn’t end up running a business for his or her own benefit and to ensure that the receiver is paid for his or her time. She is pragmatic, understanding that sometimes a business is just “dead in the water” and can’t be resuscitated. In such a case, she will terminate the Receivership to stop the bleeding and protect the receiver from incurring additional expense. Judge Jones is a stickler for supporting information throughout the case and in the Final Report and Account; i.e., the receiver is expected to explain why money has been spent on substantive items.

It is not required that movants reserve a date for noticed hearings (except for writs, which are actually trials); those hearings may be self-calendared for any even dates. Please call Judge Jones’ clerk, though, to be sure that the matter is on calendar and file pleadings directly in Dept. 86.

As the reader can imagine, Judge Jones’ philosophy and policies require an inordinate expenditure of time and effort, resulting in a six day work week. This leaves her only one day to enjoy her beloved 2-1/2 acre ranch which she purchased two years ago when she decided to fulfill a long-held dream in the present, rather than wait until retirement. She shares her ranch with a friend, and with many adored horses and dogs. Even there, she is “hands on,” caring single-handedly for her orchard and huge garden, calling herself a “weekend farmer.”

This writer has interviewed many judicial officers, but none with such a varied and successful background. She thanks the editors for the opportunity to interview Judge was a pleasure.

*Edythe L. Bronston is a Sherman Oaks attorney, whose practice is limited to accepting assignments as a Receiver, Provisional Director and Partition Referee. She is a Founding Director of the California Receivers Forum and Founder and President of the California Jazz Foundation, serving jazz musicians in need.