CAOC 2005 Awards

Consumer Advocate of the Year
Legislator of the Year
Media Award
CAOC Service Awards
Local TLA President of the Year
Edward I. Pollock Award
Marvin E. Lewis Award
Robert E. Cartwright, Sr. Award
Consumer Attorney of the Year
Presidential Awards of Merit



Michelle Geyer
Consumer Advocate of the Year

This year, CAOC honors Michelle Geyer as our Consumer Advocate of the Year. Like many Californians, being a plaintiff in the legal system and becoming an advocate for policy change was the farthest thing from Michelle’s mind only two years ago. Then her life changed. When tragedy struck her family, she not only sought help from a consumer attorney and the legal system to right the wrong, but she has fought tirelessly to educate her friends and the public about how the current MICRA law needs to be changed.

Michelle’s beautiful, healthy seven-year old daughter, Jessie Marie, was killed by medical malpractice on November 1, 2003. At Jessie’s funeral, Michele and her husband Mark wrote about her. "We will miss Jessie’s bright smile and her easy giggle. We will miss watching her sleep so preciously, snuggling with her bestest friend ‘Lammy.’ We will miss hearing her voice that was so quick to say ‘I love you Mommy’ or ‘I love you Daddy.’ We will miss her growing up with her little brothers Jordan and Jamison."

Later, as the cause of death became clear (a misdiagnosed bacterial infection which could have been easily treated by antibiotics), the Geyers encountered the horrendous impact of California’s MICRA law, which caps human suffering damages to $250,000. MICRA, passed in 1975, has never been adjusted for inflation or fairness.

In Michelle’s words….

"The MICRA law needs changing. We have recently joined a club of which no one would want to be a member. We are mourning the death of a child. This is our reality. It will never change. We are now faced with the monumental task of taking on a major hospital and our legal pediatric health care provider in a lengthy lawsuit. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, we now come to learn that the maximum compensation in California for this kind of suit is $250,000. The truth is that the cost of getting a case to trial, with expert testimony and endless hours of depositions, is often greater than $250,000. That is why most people who have a case give up and nothing ever comes of it This law is out of step with the realities of its far-reaching effects today. Legislators need to come up with fair and sensible laws, not out-dated ones that help only the contributing lobbies like the AMA and the insurance industry."

To Michelle and all of the parents, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers in California who have suffered such horrible pain because of a doctor’s negligence, Consumer Attorneys of California commits to you that we will never forget Jessie and the other victims of medical malpractice. Together, we will change this unfair law and work to eliminate medical malpractice errors and deaths.

Assembly Member Dave Jones 
Legislator of the Year

Dave Jones may be a freshman legislator, but he is definitely at the head of the class. In his very first year he was chosen to chair the Assembly Judiciary Committee and has already demonstrated a striking command of both policy and politics. Perhaps that should be no surprise. Before his election to the Legislature, Dave graduated from Harvard Law School, worked as a legal aid attorney, received the prestigious White House Fellowship, served as counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, and was elected to the Sacramento City Council. This year Jones ushered more of his bills to the Governor’s desk than any other first-year Assembly Member. As a skilled advocate for Consumer Attorneys’ sponsored legislation, he stood up for Medi-Cal patients (SB 399), for fair compensation to jurors (SB 874), and for fair processing of insurance claims (SB 815).


Rob Feldman and Keiko Johnson
Media Award 

Rob Feldman and Keiko Johnson are presented with this year’s Consumer Attorneys of California Media Award for their dedication and commitment to conceptualizing, writing and producing of a MICRA video for CAOC to use in its on-going MICRA education projects. Rob and Keiko are award winning media professionals who gave their time, energy and initiative to create a high-quality MICRA segment worthy of airing on any national news program for the Consumer Attorneys of California. Without Rob and Keiko this project would not have come to fruition. It is through their efforts many more Californians will be educated about the inequities of MICRA. Thank you Rob and Keiko for keeping true to the ideals of justice in all your projects.


Robin E. Brewer
CAOC Service Award

Consumer Attorneys of California presents Robin Brewer this award for her many years of service and dedication to our association. Robin began her CAOC career with the CTLA as the PAC Assistant and after a short while became the PAC Director where she served for several years. Robin then went into private practice and returned to CAOC as a contractor to help with the Terrible 200’s. She moved to Boston to practice law and in 2002 came back to CAOC as the Executive Director. Robin returned to private practice 2005.


Deborah Dudley
CAOC Service Award

Consumer Attorneys of California congratulates Deborah Dudley for her years of service and dedication and commitment to the ideals of this organizaton. Deborah joined CAOC as Development Director in 1998 and brought with her years of experience in fundraising, political campaigns, and organizing to revitalize CAOC’s fundraising efforts. Her energy and vision were instrumental in moving the organization forward in the wake of Proposition 34’s campaign finance limits to make us even stronger and more effective politically. Deborah truly put the word "fun" in fundraising and she will be sorely missed.


Craig Sheffer
Local TLA President of the Year

Craig C. Sheffer, 2005 President of the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association, is presented the Local Trial Lawyers Association President of the Year Award. This Award is in recognition and appreciation for advancing the education of members and for enhancing the effectiveness of local associations. Craig has made every effort to strengthen and enhance the presence of the CCTLA by advocating and participating in CCTLA community projects such as the Sacramento Food Bank, Sacramento’s public television phone banks, as well as his personal outreach to increase membership and participation with CCTLA and CAOC. Craig tirelessly worked with CAOC on behalf of CCTLA to coordinate and implement the Tahoe seminar. Craig’s leadership and commitment to the CCTLA and CAOC serves as an example and inspiration to all consumer attorneys.


Bruce M. Brusavich
Edward I. Pollock Award

Bruce M. Brusavich is presented the Edward I. Pollock Award in recognition of his many years of selfless dedication, outstanding efforts and effectiveness on behalf of the causes and ideals of the Consumer Attorneys of California. Bruce served as President of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles in 1996 and President of the Consumer Attorneys of California in 2003. Not one to sit on the sidelines, retirement is never an option for Bruce. His generosity, energy and compassion compel him to devote countless hours to fight for the continued success of the Consumer Attorneys of California. Bruce refuses to give up and his "No retreat no surrender" attitude inspires us all.

Browne Greene
Marvin E. Lewis Award

Browne Greene has been an inspiration to us for many years. In addition to his spectacular legal career, he has been a legendary leader in our organization. After serving as President in the tumultuous time of 1986-1987, Browne could have scaled down his commitment and returned to his law firm to concentrate on his successful legal practice. Instead, he has remained in the trenches, fighting for consumers, contributing to the organization, and motivating us all with his relentless determination and dedication. Even with all of his past notable successes, Browne always looks to the future by motivating and empowering his colleagues to adapt to change and fight for justice. We are proud to honor Browne Greene tonight and salute his unending enthusiasm and the indelible imprint he has made on Consumer Attorneys of California.

Ronald H. Rouda
Robert E. Cartwright, Sr. Award

Ronald H. Rouda of San Francisco is presented the Robert E. Cartwright, Sr. Award for Trial Advocacy in recognition of his dedication to teach trial advocacy to fellow lawyers and to the public. Ron served as President of the Consumer Attorneys of California in 1992 and remains an active voice in support of generosity, honesty and integrity of the profession.

Ron serves on the faculty of the Hastings College of Trials and Appellate Advocacy. He is the author of many articles discussing varied aspects of the civil justice system. Most importantly, Ron is always available to share his extensive knowledge of trial advocacy with others. Ron exemplifies the spirit of this award by his unstinting generosity in helping other attorneys—whether approached in a coffee shop, at a dinner, or at his office, attorneys seeking direction are never turned away. His dedication to the legal profession honors the tradition of excellence in both advocacy and teaching championed by Robert E. Cartwright, Sr. for whom the award is named.