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.
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.
Kathleen Morgan-Martinez has been practicing law for nearly 30 years in California. Her practice is focused primarily on Real Estate, Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Organizations, Probate Administration and Litigation, and Real Estate Consulting.
In 2013, she took a case that helped define the scope of trustee protections in the residential real estate foreclosure process to the California Supreme Court. (Biancalana v. T.D. Service Company, 56 Ca. 4th 807) And, in 2015, she was asked to testify before the California State Assembly and Senate Committees on Local Government regarding changes to the law governing City Councils.
In addition to her law license, Ms. Morgan-Martinez holds a California Real Estate Broker’s license (Broker ID No. 01807811) and a Certificate in Mediation from the Mandell Gisnet Center, Monterey College of Law.
Ms. Morgan-Martinez graduated with honors in Community Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and obtained her law degree from the University of Santa Clara. She was a Dean’s Scholar and a Research Editor of the Santa Clara Law Review, publishing “Comment: Local Control of Low Income Development: The Promise of California’s Article 34” (33 Santa Clara L. Rev. 765 (1993)). During her last year at Santa Clara, she was the research assistant for Rita Risser’s book “Stay Out of Court, a Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits.” (Prentice Hall 1993)
For four years, Ms. Morgan-Martinez was the Manager of Claims and Loss Control for Nonprofits Insurance Alliance of California. While at NIAC, Ms. Martinez was appointed to the Education Committee of the State Bar of California Business Law Section and served as its liaison to the Nonprofit Organizations Committee. In 1997 she organized and oversaw a statewide program for nonprofit board education through a partnership with the State Bar, NIAC, and the Peninsula and California Community Foundations. She co-authored articles on nonprofit law, insurance, and risk management for the California Business Law News and the International Risk Management Institute. She was a speaker at the 1996 Nonprofit Day in San Francisco, presented by the Support Center for Nonprofit Management.
After leaving Nonprofits Insurance Alliance, she was of counsel to Hardiman & Carroll in San Francisco. She co-authored “Liability “Free” Management: Protecting Against Negligent Supervision Claims,” published by the American Bar Association Business Law Section.
In 1998, Ms. Morgan-Martinez joined the law offices of Dawson Passafuime & Bowden in Scotts Valley, becoming a partner in 2004. After joining Dawson Passafuime, she continued to write on nonprofit risk management issues for Berkley Risk Services, including articles on accessing the FBI Fingerprint Database to protect children from sexual predators, personnel management, nonprofit driver risk issues, and Y2K. In 1999 she spoke on nonprofit risk management for the Insurance Education Association, which included being approved as an instructor for the California Department of Insurance’s Continuing Education Program.
In her practice with Dawson Passafuime Bowden & Martinez, Ms. Morgan-Martinez advises and represents road associations and nonprofit mutual benefit organizations, including homeowner associations and resident-owned mobile home parks, both those subject to Davis Stirling and those which are not. In her work with resident-owned mobile home parks, Ms. Morgan-Martinez was at the forefront of the response to the lending crisis affecting her clients. Partnering with state lenders, she drafted language to be amended into governing documents, which allowed secured lending for the purchase of mobile homes and park ownership shares in resident-owned mobile home parks.
Ms. Morgan-Martinez specializes in transactional real estate matters, including the sale and purchase of properties and real estate development, and real estate related litigation such as quiet title, easements creation and disputes, landlord-tenant issues and neighbor disputes.
In addition to her real estate practice, she advises clients on estate planning, tax, and legacy issues and prepares wills, trusts, and related estate documents, including the drafting of special needs trusts. She serves her clients in the probate courts with conservatorship and special needs trust administration and probate and trust litigation.
Ms. Morgan-Martinez has litigated in Superior Courts in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Alameda, San Luis Obispo, and San Diego. She has practiced before the Sixth District Court of Appeal, California Supreme Court, US District Court (Northern District), US Bankruptcy Court (Northern District) and the Workers Compensation Appeals Board.
Ms. Morgan-Martinez has served as a board member for the Live at Home Foundation, the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust and Casa de Cultura in Pajaro. She is a graduate of the Focus Agri-Cultural program of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau. She has danced with Santa Cruz Viva Espana and Asi Asi Jasmine, of the Monterey Aditi Foundation.
Prior to her legal life, she worked as a Claims Representative for State Farm Insurance. She was an international charter flight attendant with TransInternational Airlines serving refugees, military, religious minorities, and students. She has traveled extensively in the US, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and South America. Ms. Martinez is married with two adult children who live in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., respectively.