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County of Santa Clara Board Appoints Miguel Márquez as County Counsel

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors announced today the appointment of Miguel Márquez as the County Counsel. Márquez has been serving as Acting County Counsel since July 6, 2009, and previously served for a year as Assistant County Counsel, providing advice and counsel to various County departments and to the Board of Supervisors.

“Miguel has managed the County Counsel’s Office superbly and provided sound legal advice to the Board in several important areas,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “We know he will be an effective leader as County Counsel.”

Miguel Marquez

“It’s a tremendous honor to serve as the Board of Supervisor’s chief legal advisor, and it’s a privilege to work with the staff of one of the best public law offices in the nation,” said Márquez. “I look forward to serving the Board and the County in this new role and will do my level best to ensure that the County Counsel’s Office continues to provide top notch legal services to the County and to all of the other public agencies it serves.”

As Acting County Counsel, Márquez oversaw all aspects of the 59-attorney Office of the County Counsel. He has worked closely with the Board of Supervisors on a range of innovative initiatives, including reinvigorating the County’s FAST program to identify, investigate, and prevent elder financial abuse, developing a drug take-back system for the County’s Health & Hospital System, and spearheading public health measures aimed at reducing childhood obesity.

Márquez’s defense litigation team has demonstrated a willingness to litigate rather than settle cases that lack merit, culminating in several recent wins for the County – and ultimately for taxpayers. On April 30th, for example, a jury rejected a demand for nearly $4 million from a patient alleging that VMC’s East Valley Clinic staff members were negligent when they advised her to go to the Emergency Room to treat her medical condition. The jury agreed with the County that taxpayers should not be held responsible for the patient’s failure to follow that advice. Márquez’s advice team also recently won a battle to ensure that voters in the June 8th election will not be provided candidate endorsement materials in their sample ballot packets.

Under Márquez’s leadership, the office’s novel impact litigation and social justice section has expanded to include a false advertising case against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline over its ten-year marketing campaign to promote diabetes drug Avandia despite scientific evidence that the drug significantly increases patients’ risks of heart attacks. Earlier this year, Márquez’s efforts led to improved notice procedures to expand the number of disabled people who could benefit from a settlement agreement with the Social Security Administration, resulting in an estimated $50 million more in federal benefits. And, along with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Márquez’s office recently obtained a writ requiring Medi-Cal to cover inpatient psychiatric care for children in the juvenile justice system.

Prior to joining the County of Santa Clara, Márquez was the General Counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District, where he managed a multi-million dollar budget and was responsible for all legal matters, including the District’s child development centers and schools and programs run by the County Office of Education. In that role, he also worked extensively on many issues that face local government entities, including labor negotiations, employment, civil rights, land use, Brown Act, Public Records Act, First Amendment issues, facilities and construction, and general government and litigation. Márquez also has served as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, where he provided legal services to the City’s Department of Elections and the Ethics Commission and as a Deputy County Counsel in San Mateo County for nearly five years.

Márquez, who is 43 years old, earned a Juris Doctor degree from University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, where he received the AmJur Award as the top student in Accounting and Finance. He also holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Stanford University. He lives in the City of San José. His salary will be determined at a later date by the Board of Supervisors.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119
Posted: May 14, 2010