SACRAMENTO – Kim Stone, president and CEO of the Civil Justice Association of California
(CJAC), will be departing
the firm after six years at the helm.
John Doherty, vice president of Politics
and Policy and general counsel of TechNet, will replace her.
CJAC works in the state legislature and the courts to reduce excessive and
unwarranted litigation that creates increased expenses in business and government, ultimately escalating the cost of goods and services for consumers. Among its
many successes is Proposition 64, which stopped “shakedown” lawsuits from being
filed against businesses by private lawyers.
Founded in 1979, Stone became just the third person to
serve as the president of CJAC in 2011.
Stone served as a lobbyist for five years with CJAC Legislation
before joining Blue Shield of California as its director of Government Affairs in
August 2010. She then returned as CJAC’s president and CEO.
"In my 12 years at CJAC, we have had an
overall kill rate, which is stopping trial lawyer-sponsored bad bills, of 95
percent, including five years with 100 percent kill rate," Stone told the Northern California Record. "We have stopped over
300 bills that would have led to increased unjustified litigation in California.
We have stopped over a dozen anti-arbitration bills. We’ve also stopped a
number of bills that would have given lawyers more time to sue that would have
allowed for end-runs around Medical Injury
Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), (which) would have led to increased product liability claims, created more
lawsuits leading to higher insurance costs for all of us. We’ve also gotten
important affirmative wins; we’ve supported six ADA access lawsuit fixes and a
number of good Samaritan liability protection bills. We’ve sponsored successful
legislation to allow judges to sanction lawyers for bad behavior, and we’ve
sponsored successful legislation to facilitate settlements.”
said although the trial lawyers outspent her team as much as 10-to-1 and out
lobbied them with two to four times as many lobbyists, CJAC played strong defense
and kept California’s civil justice system from becoming even more unfair and
“This has been in part due to our innovative California
Project program, which allows us to meet candidates early in the process," Stone said. "Additionally, our appellate program reviews every civil appeal in the state,
and we decide which cases have the greatest potential to influence the
development of the law. Our separate and independently funded Political Action
Committee has supported and helped elect dozens of fair-minded candidates.”
Stone said CJAC has become a trusted source for
the media, and is a frequent source of quotes and information on civil justice
a graduate of Stanford University’s School of Law, Stone previously served as a deputy district attorney for San Mateo County and as special assistant to the U.S.
Attorney for the Southern District of California.
Before joining CJAC, Stone quit her job as a prosecutor,
moved to Honduras and co-founded The Adelante Foundation with her husband. The foundation
is a nonprofit micro credit organization designed to loan impoverished women
money so they can start and grow small businesses.
Stone said she and her husband were inspired by Nobel Peace prize winner Mohammad
Yunus for originating the idea that an organization
can lend money to poor people to help them get out of poverty. She said
microcredit centers on the idea that rich people don’t get rich on their own
money. They borrow from the bank until they are successful. Poor people
don’t have that same opportunity, however, because they lack access to capital to work
their way out of poverty.
“Our organization does that,” Stone said. “We help
poor women by giving them loans to get out of poverty and build small
businesses. They borrow and sometimes buy and resell items, or buy their children
clothes and send them to school; and as they repay, they can loan more. It’s a great
thing, and it absolutely works. It keeps me grounded, too. It is
a nice break from arguing about arbitration agreements. No matter what happens in
the civil justice system, I’ve got a house with hot running water, and my children
go to school and have clothes. That makes me extremely fortunate.”
Stone said that same passion she found with Adelante
for doing right is also what drove her to become a prosecutor and later to
work for CJAC. She said she loves pursuing justice, no matter the
“Whether helping the impoverished, reducing unjustified lawsuits
or representing the state or federal government as a prosecutor, my job has
been to fight for justice and fairness," Stone said. "It has always been my passion, and I will
continue to work for noble and just causes.”
Stone says she plans to continue her endeavors as
she launches her own lobbying firm in Sacramento, Stone Advocacy, which is slated to
open in January.
“I will be sad to leave the great friends and
righteous fights we have had at CJAC,” Stone said, “I am pleased to report that
CJAC has hired John Doherty to be our next president. John is presently vice president of Politics and Policy and general counsel of TechNet, an influential
tech trade association. He has also worked as vice president, State Government
Affairs, for UnitedHealth Group. He served as chief of staff to Democratic Assembly member Alberto Torrico; and prior to that, ran Torrico’s campaign. He also ran
Torrico’s campaign for attorney general. CJAC is lucky to have him as our next president.”