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Dueling awards for L.A. Assemblyman Mike Feuer

November 5, 2009 | 11:27 am

If the enemy of one’s enemy is supposed to be a friend, what exactly does that make Mike Feuer? The Los Angeles assemblyman recently won kudos from California’s trial lawyers association, which named him their “legislator of the year.”

Then came word that Feuer, a Democratic former L.A. city councilman, was to receive an award from the Civil Justice Assn. of California, which exists to reduce or eliminate the very lawsuits that are the trial lawyers' specialty.

“It’s kind of like when you’re in grade school and you say the same word at the same time and someone calls 'jinx,' ” said Christine Spagnoli, president of the trial lawyers group. “Well, I’ll call 'jinx' on [CJAC President] John Sullivan so he can’t talk for a year.”

Feuer, who chairs the Assembly Judiciary Committee, called the dueling awards from the dueling interests “a nice coincidence.“

“Anything I could say to you in response it going to sound unduly self-congratulatory,” he said.

What helped land the consumer attorneys and their lawsuit-limiting opponents in approximately the same place was a California Supreme Court ruling opening good Samaritans to potential negligence lawsuits. Feuer authored legislation to clarify the state’s position.

“I don’t think anyone could imagine getting us to agree on a bill -- and Mike did,” Spagnoli said.

Sullivan called the twin awards “a tribute to his openness and willingness to hear arguments from all sides.”

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento