Attorney Dale H. Dawson

Dale H. Dawson


Dale brings a wealth of experience and qualifications to the firm. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis in 1963, his JD degree from Hastings College of Law in 1966, and was licensed to practice law by the California State Bar in 1966.


From 1967 through 1972, Dale was a trial attorney in the office of the District Attorney of the County of Santa Cruz. From 1970 to1972 he was the Senior Assistant District Attorney.


From 1972 through 1976, Dale was on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, where he served as Chairman of the Board, a member of the Boards of AMBAG, the Monterey Air Pollution Control Board and the Capitola Sanitation District,and the Governors Special Task Force on the Environment.


He served as Capitola City Attorney for approximately ten years, and has served as special counsel to the Central Fire District, Felton Fire District, Ben Lomond Fire District and County Service Area #28. He has been President of the Santa Cruz Land Trust and the Monterey Bay Salmon Trout Project. He has taught legal classes for the University of California of Santa Cruz Extension Program and served as a Court Appointed Arbitrator in civil cases and probate.


Currently, Dale limits his practice to Estate Planning and Administration, Business, Corporate and Real Estate law. He has two experienced paralegals with extensive combined legal experience. In his time outside of the office he enjoys fishing, mountain biking, “shrooming”, traveling, and spending time with his “bride”, Janie.

Attorney Phillip A. Passafuime

Phillip A. Passafuime


Mr. Passafuime obtained his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1971 and his JD from the University of Santa Clara in 1975, and was admitted to the Bar that same year. He is a graduate of the Hastings College of Advocacy and taught legal classes for several years on a variety of topics through the University of Califomia Santa Cruz Extension Program.


Mr. Passafuime was an Assistant District Attorney in Santa Cruz between 1977 and 1981, and was a Municipal Court Supervisor in1981. He has represented the Scotts Valley Fire Protection District since 1981, the Central Fire Protection District from 1992 through 2010, the Aptos LaSelva Fire Protection District, the Pajaro Valley Fire Protection District, the Branciforte Fire Protection District, and the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District, among others.


Mr. Passafuime’s litigation experience includes the areas of municipal law, personal injury, contracts, real property, labor and employment law in both the public and private sector, construction law and criminal law. He has served as a court appointed Arbitrator in civil cases, as well as Superior Court Judge Pro Tem in Juvenile Court. He has handled numerous adult and juvenile criminal cases in counties throughout California.


In his work with the Scotts Valley and Central Fire Protection Districts, he has handled various litigation matters and personnel issues, as well as code enforcement issues. He has experience in drafting ordinances, rules and regulations, contracts and other related municipal law matters, and is well-versed in Special Fire District Law, the Health and Safety Code and the Government Code.


He is also well-versed in Workers’ Compensation law, and has advised both public and private clients in that area. He has also worked with various joint powers agencies with reference to Workers’ Compensation coverage, liability coverage and other related issues.


Mr. Passafuime also has extensive working knowledge of the Brown Act, Public Records Act, Fair Political Practices Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He is one of the few attorneys in California who has participated in a criminal Brown Act prosecution, representing a City Attorney who was a percipient witness to an alleged Brown Act violation.


He has also been involved in hazardous materials cost recovery litigation for the Scotts Valley Fire District, and drafted Measure D for the Branciforte Fire protection District, which resulted in the successful passage of a special tax for purchase of fire apparatus and related equipment. He has drafted other special tax provisions over the years, and has been involved in litigation matters for the Central Fire Protection District to insure pass through payments from the Redevelopment Agency, cost recovery in arson cases, and the implementation plan for engine-based paramedics.


He most recently successfully defended the North Monterey County Fire Protection District in a Writ of Mandate action involving retiree medical benefits. In addition to the three major fire districts in the County, Mr. Passafuime has acted as counsel for several smaller districts, and has extensive experience in the area of law regarding the delivery of emergency medical services and personnel matters.


He has attended numerous meetings for various public and private agencies over the years, and has conducted many investigations in areas ranging from discrimination, termination, discipline and the appropriate use of public funds. He has also coordinated insurance coverage for Districts when litigation is initiated, and is familiar with coverage issues as they affect public agencies.

Attorney Kathleen Morgan Martinez

Kathleen Morgan-Martinez


Ms. Martinez graduated with honors from University of California at Santa Cruz in 1980 and obtained her JD from the University of Santa Clara in 1992, where she was a Dean’s Scholar and a Research Editor of the Santa Clara Law Review, publishing “Comment: Local Control of Low Income Development.”


She was the research assistant for Rita Risser’s book: “Stay Out of Court, a Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits,” and of counsel to Hardiman & Carroll in San Francisco.


While working as the Manager of Claims and Loss Control for Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California, Ms. Martinez redrafted insurance policy forms and coauthored articles on nonprofit law, insurance and risk management for the Business Law News, the International Risk Management Institute and the American Bar Association Business Law Section.


She spoke on topics of loss control and legal issues facing nonprofits for The Support Center for Nonprofit Management in San Francisco, the Insurance Institute in San Francisco and the Santa Cruz Community Foundation. Ms. Martinez advises and represents nonprofit mutual benefit corporations, including condominium and resident owned mobile home park associations.


She holds a California Real Estate Broker’s license. Her practice emphasizes nonprofit and mutual benefit corporations, real estate, trust and estate litigation, and business management, including agricultural businesses.


She has an active practice in the both the civil and probate courts. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust and Casa de Cultural, Pajaro, and is a graduate of the Focus Agri-Cultural program of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau.

Dawson, Passafuime, Bowden & Martinez

4665 Scotts Valley Drive

Scotts Valley, CA 95066

P (831) 438-1221 F (831) 438-2812

For more information please call:

(831) 438-1221


Copyright © 2011 Dawson, Passafuime, Bowden & Martinez.

All rights reserved.

Our Lawyers Proudly Serve the Following Areas:


Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, Aptos, Soquel, Capitola, Watsonville, Monterey, Carmel, San Jose, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County, Monterey County, San Benito County