Harold W. Potter
It is with the deep sadness that we announce the passing of our longtime friend and colleague Harold W. Potter on March 21, 2022. He was a giant among men and will be greatly missed by our Jones Mayer family.
Mr. Potter defended all phases of public entity liability, including dangerous conditions of public property, civil rights violations, public employment issues, public works contract issues, inverse condemnation, eminent domain and general litigation matters.
Mr. Potter obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in 1979 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Western State University in 1984. Mr. Potter was admitted to practice law in California on December 10, 1985. Mr. Potter worked as a senior litigator with Jones Mayer from 1996 to 2022.
Mr. Potter began his legal career as an associate with in-house counsel for State Farm Insurance Companies, representing policyholders in liability actions. From 1986 to 1992, Mr. Potter served as a deputy city attorney for the City of Long Beach, California, in their tort liability section, specializing in police civil rights liability and defending actions alleging dangerous conditions of public property. From 1992 through 1996, Mr. Potter was an associate with Ferguson, Praet & Sherman, specializing in the defense of police officers in civil rights violations, including excessive force, high speed pursuits, officer involved shootings, and disciplinary matters. During the course of his career, Mr. Potter enjoyed an outstanding success rate as a trial attorney of over 94% of his more than 40 cases tried in both federal court and state courts of general jurisdiction. Mr. Potter also prosecuted eminent domain actions, first amendment actions on behalf of fire fighters as well as other business and tort related actions. He was proud to be a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
Mr. Potter also has several published cases involving police liability matters. In George v. City of Long Beach, 973 F.2d 706 (9th Cir. 1992), Mr. Potter successfully argued before the 9th circuit court of appeals that officers who illegally entered a residence without a search warrant still had the right to defend themselves and were justified in shooting the resident who appeared to be in possession of a firearm. In Nguyen v. City of Westminster, (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 1161, Mr. Potter successfully argued that a public entity was immune from liability from a police pursuit, through a high school campus, that left a man brain damaged after he was hit by the pursued vehicle. Mr. Potter also argued for the confidentiality of police investigation files where the father was accused of murdering his child in Michael P v. Superior Court, (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 1036.
Mr. Potter was active with his alma mater Point Loma Nazarene University, serving on its Board of Trustees from 2004 through 2010.
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