February 23, 2012
Jeffrey Nevin, '83, was honored as one of California's 2011 Attorneys on the Year in a special section of The Recorder newspaper's Feb. 20, 2012, edition.
Nevin and his defense co-counsel, Alison Crane, were cited for their courtroom work in an explosive Santa Clara County Superior Court trial that ended in April 2011 with a complete defense verdict against a plaintiff who sought $9 million in damages.
The case stemmed from a 2007 incident in which eight members of the De Anza College baseball team allegedly participated in the sexual assault of a minor. The allegations were reviewed by the county sheriff's department and DA's office and no charges were filed. The decision not to prosecute was widely questioned, and the DA eventually lost her re-election race even though the state Attorney General (Jerry Brown at the time) agreed that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Meanwhile, the case was "tried" over-and-over again in the media. Editors and talk show hosts railed against the defendants. ABC's 20/20 ran a lengthy program on the controversial case, featuring eyewitnesses who were lauded for rescuing the alleged victim.
Some defendants in the civil suit settled for modest amounts and several were dropped from a civil lawsuit that followed. Nevin, who boasts years of experience in high-profile criminal and civil cases, was brought in at the last minute to represent an insurance carrier. He led a lengthy voir dire session, was front-and-center for much of the witness testimony, and handled the closing argument. The trial lasted for nine weeks and the jury engaged in 3 1/2 days of deliberations.
"You could have heard the proverbial pin drop when the jury foreman read the verdict," Nevin said. "It was tremendously emotional for all involved and we were mobbed by the media outside the courtroom."
At the time of the case, Nevin headed his own self-titled San Francisco firm. Just this month, he moved to Sacramento to be the managing attorney for the Farmers Insurance claims litigation team. Farmers staff counsel division is the largest of its kind in the county with 650 attorneys in 29 states. Its Rancho Cordova office is second only in size in California to its Los Angeles office.