Honoree: Brian A. Cardoza
Southern California Edison Company
Boston College Law School
It is rare for a Fortune 250 law department to have in-house counsel prepared to try large cases in court without the use of outside counsel. Brian Cardoza is an exception to this norm. While working at Southern California Edison Company (SCE), Cardoza has litigated and tried numerous cases against some of the best trial attorneys in the state. He has tried all manner of cases affecting the utility, including catastrophic personal injury, business loss and interruption, alter-ego, breach of contract, wrongful death, structure fire and wildland fire matters. In fact, he is only one of a handful of attorneys in the state to have tried to verdict a California wildland fire case. He is currently on several trial teams defending high-stakes wildland fires cases for the company. His strategic insight and leadership in the ever-evolving world of fire litigation has been of value to the company.
To achieve favorable litigation results, Cardoza has developed expertise in the subject areas unique to representing an electric utility. For example, for over 20 years, he has undergone specialized training in fire origin and cause determination and takes a “hands-on” approach to investigating fires affecting the utility. This includes boots-on-the-ground evidence review, site analysis, and coordination with experts. Because of his front-end assessment of liability, SCE is often in a strong position to defend or prosecute its cases when the matter goes to the courtroom.
In addition to actual trial work, Cardoza has acted as lead attorney in numerous appellate matters affecting SCE. In one case, he acted as lead trial counsel, authored the subsequent appellate brief, then argued the appeal. The result was a seminal published decision that is often cited in the utility industry. When not litigating, Cardoza is actively involved in mentoring and training other attorneys and often speaks on topics of trial preparation to industry groups. He has co-developed an in-house attorney trial training program at SCE. He has also served as past chairman of the nonprofit organization Volunteers in Parole, a Los Angeles Bar Association sponsored program which pairs incarcerated youth offenders with attorney mentors.