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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Judicial

Los Angeles County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Seat 72

Photo of Myanna Dellinger

Myanna Dellinger

Law Professor/Attorney
624,600 votes (39.55%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Balanced justice: I have years of experience _behind the bench_ working for trial and appellate court judges on hundreds of cases. I judge people every day, keeping control of hundreds of people in a classroom.
  • Reduce the racial disparity in the criminal justice system - many more people of color than whites are arrested and jailed than whites. We also need more females on the bench. It is currently 75% male!
  • To provide greater access to justice - only about half of Los Angelenos can afford an attorney! I have ideas for short- and long-term solutions that can help.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Law professor, attorney (climate change, business)
Associate Professor of Law, The University of South Dakota School of Law (partially online) (2015–current)
Professor of Law, University of South Dakota School of Law (2015–current)
Temporary judge, Superior Court of Los Angeles County — Appointed position (2019–current)
Assistant & Associate Professor of Law, Western State College of Law (2011–2015)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Whittier Law School (2010–2011)
Law Clerk for The late Hon. Procter Hug, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2009–2010)

Education

The University of South Dakota PhD candidate (2021), The role of courts in climate change law and policy development (current)
University of Oregon School of Law JD, Law (2008)
University of Oregon School of Law JD, No. 1/181, Order of the Coif, Natural Resources and Environmental Law (2008)
The Aarhus School of Business (University of Aarhus) MA, Cand.Ling.Merc - The Specialized Language Degree (1991)
The Aarhus School of Business (University of Aarhus) BA, Business and Language (English & German) (1988)

Community Activities

Campus representative, Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, Columbia Law School (2017–current)
Podcaster, The International Environmental Law and Energy Podcast (2017–current)
Blogger, business law, The ContractsProf Blog (2014–2020)
Pro bono attorney, Campaign for Dual Citizenship in Denmark (2014–2015)

Biography

Myanna Dellinger, M.Sc., J.D., PhD candidate (Political Science, 2020), graduated at the top of her law school class, Order of the Coif.  She has worked on thousands of cases with state and federal judges at the trial and appellate levels including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Myanna is currently a law professor teaching Human Rights (including Civil Rights), Contracts, Sales, and Public International Law.  She researches and writes extensively on the intersection between climate change and business law and policy as well as endangered species law and policy.  

 

Myanna started and hosts the Global Energy and Environmental Law Podcast, which has had more than 100,000 listeners.  Originally from Denmark, Professor Dellinger has lived and worked in four countries on three continents.  She has visited 37 nations for business and pleasure.  She and her husband live in Eagle Rock (Los Angeles).  Orginally from Denmark, Myanna moved to Southern California in 1997.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

The bench in LA needs diverse, progressive judges from a variety of backgrounds who are not just interested in the position for power and prestige. I wish to contribute to LA County and its people with my worldly insight and unique training.  Being a judge will be a suitable professional challenge for me at this point and in the future. I am very good at working with the law in a neutral manner as a law professor. I have great people skills.  

Notice that a judgeship is a non-partisan non-political position and that we are not allowed to issue opinions about matters which may come before is as judges.  Further, there is only so much a judge can do to solve societal issues, but the following are some of my main concerns about LA society today.

Power structures, including the government, need to be much more inclusive of women, immigrants, low- and middle-income earners, educators, and other people from a “non-traditional” background including people of color and LGBT people.  I run to help remedy this defect.  Roe v. Wade must be upheld by the judiciary and women’s rights to decide over their own bodies protected in other ways as well.  

The homelessness issue in LA and beyond needs to be redressed in a fair way without further delay. While there are, as mentioned, limits to what judges can do in this context, there are times when judges can, under the common law, create new solutions. For example, a judge recently held that the belongings of homeless people cannot just be discarded when streets are cleared.  That gave some dignity back to homeless people and I applaud that. Another judge created much initial attention to the issue by creating a running club in the “Skid Row” area. Even off the bench, judges stand out and should use that role to help society progress.

Environmental justice and climate change are crucially and urgently important.  As we have seen from Greta Thunberg, our students and other young people can help direct much needed attention to these issues.  We should protect their right to protest peacefully and, at the same time, remain active students progressing with their studies. Common law judges in this nation are behind those in other nations when it comes to ruling for environmental progress based on notions of human rights and constitutional issues. As a human rights expert, I would listen carefully to facts and arguments under that body of law and, of course, the constitution which actually support more progress as some judges in this nation are also beginning to recognize.

Position Papers

An “Act of God”? Rethinking Contractual Impracticability in an Era of Anthropogenic Climate Change

Summary

Full paper available on SSRN under Myanna Dellinger

Act of God – Abstract - Dellinger

“Extreme” weather has become the new normal. What were previously considered to be inexplicable and unpredictable “acts of God” can no longer reasonably be said to be so. They are acts of man. The established doctrine of contractual impracticability rests on the notion that a party may be exculpated from contractual liability if supervening events have rendered a performance impracticable unless the party has implicitly or explicitly assumed the risk of the event.  To a large extent, courts still consider the foreseeability of the event and an affected party’s ability to control it.  However, it makes little logical or legal sense to continue to allow parties to escape liability for weather events that are in fact highly foreseeable given today’s knowledge about the causes and effects of severe weather.  Some parties may even be found to have been in some “control” of the development of the adverse weather situation and thus not be able to avoid contractual liability.

This article proposes taking a new, hard look at the doctrine of impracticability and the closely related doctrine of frustration of purpose. By modernizing these doctrines to reflect current on-the-ground reality, the judiciary may further help instigate a broader awareness of the underlying problem and need for corrective action against climate change at both the private and governance scales. Meanwhile, a more equitable risk-sharing framework should be implemented where contracting parties have failed to reach a sufficiently detailed antecedent agreement on the issue.

The law is never static. It must reflect real world phenomena. Climate change is a highly complex problem that requires attention and legal solutions at many fronts to many problems including contractual performance liability.  The general public is often said to have lost faith in the judiciary. Given this perception, courts could regain some of that faith in the context of events for which no “God,” other supernatural power, or even nature can be blamed.

Trophy Hunting Contracts: Unenforceable for Reasons of Public Policy

Summary

Cecil the Lion.  The name speaks for itself:  famed alpha male lion lured outside a Zimbabwean national park to be shot for “sport” by American dentist Walter Palmer in the summer of 2015.  Palmer reportedly shot Cecil with a crossbow, then stalked the lion for forty hours before finally killing and beheading it. 

In such “trophy hunting” agreements, wealthy individuals, typically from the Global North, pay locals such as guides or landowners, often in the Global South, to assist with the planned hunt of rare—if not outright threatened or endangered—species such as lions, polar bears, black rhinoceroses, and giraffes for a fee as a private contractual arrangement.  In other cases, hunters obtain government permits to kill and import a rare animal.  Allegedly, trophy hunts contribute to local economies and can help raise money and awareness for species conservation.  However, serious doubt has arisen about the effectiveness of trophy hunts on society’s ultimate goal—undisputed by trophy hunters—of conserving rare species.  --- As a society, we cannot allow trophy hunting of wild, rare animals to proceed given the uncertainty surrounding the effects of the practice and the reprehensibility of it to society.

Full paper available on www.sssrn.com under Myanna Dellinger

Electric Utility Wildfire Liability Reform in California

Summary

This Comment argues that end-consumers who live in the WUI should, to a much greater extent than is currently the case, internalize the full costs of their choices and actions. In other words, they should be prepared to pay more for electricity delivery to areas that are already at high risk of wildfires. It is simply not fair to distribute that cost across a range of users who do notstand to benefit from choices made by some in marked ignorance of today’s climate realities. 

 

 

Full article can be found on www.ssrn.com under Myanna Dellinger

Videos (5)

— January 28, 2020 Dellinger for Judge 2020

Discussion of how you would benefit from my skills training others in the law

— January 28, 2020 Dellinger for Judge 2020

Diversity is key to improvement of society.  That does not only go for skin color, but many other aspects as well.

— January 28, 2020 Dellinger for Judge 2020

Highly relevant _behind the scenes_ experience

— January 28, 2020 Dellinger for Judge 2020

My "platform" in general

I'm tough, yet unbiased!

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