Honorable MARCUS M. KAUFMAN
(1929 - 2003)
Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fourth
Appellate District, Division Two (1970 –
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the
State of California (1987 – 1990)
The Supreme Court of California reconvened
in its courtroom in the Ronald Reagan State Office
Building, Third Floor, South Tower, 300 South
Spring Street, Los Angeles, California, on June
4, 2003, at 9:00 a.m.
Present: Chief Justice Ronald M. George, presiding,
and Associate Justices Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar,
Chin, Brown and Moreno.
Officers present: Frederick K. Ohlrich, Clerk,
and Gail Gray, Deputy Clerk.
Marcus Kaufman served as the 103d justice on the
Supreme Court of California from March 1987 until
his retirement in January 1990. Prior to his appointment
to the Supreme Court, Justice Kaufman served for
17 years as an Associate Justice of the California
Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Second
Division. He attended the University of Southern
California Law School, where he was editor-in-chief
of the Law Review. He graduated in 1956, first
in his class and Order of the Coif. From 1956-1957
he served as a law clerk to Roger J. Traynor,
then as an Associate Justice of the California
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Good morning. We meet today to honor Justice Marcus
Kaufman, who served with great distinction as
an associate justice of this court from March
1987 through January 1990. I would like to begin
by introducing the members of the court. To my
immediate right is Justice Kennard, and to her
right is Justice Werdegar, and then Justice Brown.
At my far left is Justice Moreno, then Justice
Chin, and then Justice Baxter. On behalf of the
court, I wish to welcome Justice Kaufman’s
wife, Eileen, his children and grandchildren;
and other family and friends.
Justice Kaufman’s ascension to the Supreme
Court in 1987 actually marked his return to this
venue; from 1956 to 1957, as a new law school
graduate, he served as a research attorney for
then Associate Justice Roger Traynor. Subsequently,
after serving as a member of the faculty of the
University of Southern California Law Center,
he had a very distinguished career in private
practice in San Bernardino. Although I never had
the honor of serving with Justice Kaufman, I became
acquainted with him through the opinions he authored
both as a justice of the Court of Appeal and of
the Supreme Court. During my years as a trial
judge and appellate justice, I had frequent occasion
to seek guidance from the opinions authored by
Justice Kaufman, and in my present position I
continue to find it a pleasure to encounter an
opinion he has authored on an issue of interest.
Justice Kaufman was rightfully viewed as a thoughtful
and scholarly student of the law, always interested
in carefully scrutinizing issues, precedent, and
I have spoken to individuals who worked with Justice
Kaufman on the Supreme Court, and they all mention
that he was especially notable for his kindness
and concern for staff. His encouragement and support
extended not only to those who worked directly
with him in his chambers, but equally to all employees
of the court. They, in turn, remember his courtesies
and interest with fondness and appreciation.
While on the Supreme Court, Justice Kaufman authored
a number of majority opinions in landmark cases.
He also produced several concurrences and dissents
that effectively and clearly laid out his differences
with the majority. Many of his opinions for both
the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal continue
to guide and inform the bench and bar today and,
I am confident, will continue to do so for many
Whether writing scholarly majority opinions, or
concurrences, or deeply-felt dissents, Justice
Kaufman’s enthusiasm for and in-depth knowledge
of the law and respect for the administration
of justice were always evident.
After leaving the court, he continued to work
of counsel in Southern California, maintaining
his close involvement with the law and the legal
profession. But his greatest connection was with
his wife, Eileen, who was his constant companion
and support during their more than 52 years of
marriage. Although Justice Kaufman’s contributions
as a lawyer and as a judge were many, his warmth
and commitment to family and kindness to staff
and others will be equally remembered and appreciated
for many years to come.
It is now my pleasure to introduce my colleague,
the senior associate justice on the Supreme Court,
Joyce Kennard, whose tenure on our court briefly
coincided with Justice Kaufman’s but whose
friendship with him continued after his retirement
from the court.
JUSTICE KENNARD: They
say that true death is to be eternally forgotten.
Never to be forgotten will be Justice Marcus Kaufman,
who died on March 26 at the age of 73 after a
long illness. His family and many friends will
forever keep alive the cherished memories of this
great jurist and wonderful man.
In 1987, after Marc had been on the Court of Appeal
for 17 years, Governor George Deukmejian appointed
him to the California Supreme Court, where I became
his colleague in 1989. Marc retired in 1990.
In a sense, Marc’s appointment to the state
high court was a homecoming. Back in the mid 1950’s
Marc had been a law clerk, an annual to be more
precise, to then Associate Justice Roger Traynor.
In a recent tribute to Marc, Jo Larick, a former
staff attorney of Marc’s, recounted how
much Marc loved the work on the court, and how
sad he was to leave. But his devoted wife and
number one fan, Eileen, told him she just knew
that one day he would return to the court. She
was right, of course.
Marc was a man of utter brilliance and integrity,
dedicated to public service. He has been described
as a man of passion and compassion. An apt characterization
indeed. Marc was passionate about the law, and
compassionate toward his fellow human beings.
Former staffers fondly remember their beloved
Justice Kaufman. Invariably they talk about his
thoughtfulness and his loyalty. Beverly Gong,
his former and my current secretary, has described
how, after he had announced his retirement from
the state high court, Marc lobbied his successor,
Justice Armand Arabian, to retain Marc’s
staff attorneys. When Justice Arabian said he
would, Marc walked into Beverly’s office
and called his wife to tell her the good news.
Beverly recalled that there were tears of relief
on his face.
Earlier, Marc had lobbied me to fill a vacant
chief-of-staff position with one of his attorneys,
Terry Mead. I’m glad I listened to Marc.
Bringing Terry on my staff, and later Beverly,
were among the best decisions I have made in my
career. Terry and Beverly have enriched my life.
And for that I will always be grateful to Marc.
This past January, I had the pleasure of having
Marc’s grandson, Evan Granowitz, a student
at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, join my staff
as an intern.
Shortly after Evan came on board, I called Marc
and Eileen to tell them how pleased my attorneys
and I were with Evan’s high intelligence,
his dedication to the job at hand, his thoughtfulness,
and his capacity for hard work, the same qualities
so evident in his grandfather. I recall Marc’s
delighted chuckle when I told him that my attorneys
affectionately referred to Evan as “young
Marcus.” That was to be the last conversation
I had with Marc.
As his colleague on the court, I had the highest
respect and admiration for Marc. I just adored
him. Invariably, my December holiday cards to
Marc and Eileen after Marc’s retirement
would have this P.S.: “Marc, I still miss
you.” Today, I would add: “I always
In facing death, Marc told his family that one
can live on after death. This is what he wrote
down: “Ideas, values and ideals do not perish
with the mind that conceived them or the life
that exemplified them. They live on and play a
part in the lives of those to whom they have been
transmitted. And so people live on after death
in the ideas, values and ideals they transmitted
during their lives, which often continue to grow
and spread even after death.” Those ideas,
he said, need not be monumental. They can be such
worthwhile concepts as “an appreciation
of beauty, love of family, a recognition or fulfillment
of duty or loyalty, a love of excellence, or an
admiration of and appreciation for achievement.”
Marc is gone, but his legacy lives on.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you very much, Justice Kennard. It is now
my pleasure to introduce Mr. Guy Kornblum, a legal
practitioner in San Francisco who co-authored
with Justice Kaufman the work California Practice
Guide: Bad Faith (Rutter Group 1986).
GUY O. KORNBLUM, ESQ.:
May it please the court.
Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of
this special tribute today to my friend and your
colleague, Associate Justice Marcus M. Kaufman.
It is reasonably easy to be impressed with someone
who graduates No. 1 in his law school class. It
is also easy to be impressed when one is introduced
to an appellate judge. That is all I knew about
Marc Kaufman when I was first introduced to him
by Bill Rutter of the Rutter Group in the very
Then a Court of Appeal Justice, Marc was to be
a co-author with Harvey Levine and myself on the
first insurance bad faith book concentrating on
It did not take me very long to realize how fortunate
I was that Bill Rutter – whom I had known
since the mid 1960's – had given me the
opportunity to not only meet, but work with and
become a friend of Marc Kaufman.
Most of us who knew him know a good bit about
his background and his accomplishments. We know
his reputation – well deserved – for
being a tough appellate court judge with his booming
voice insisting that his poignant questions be
answered directly, without deviation or hesitation.
Get to the point!
We also know about his perceived “schizophrenic”
judicial philosophy – tough on crime, but
a bit more liberal when it came to protecting
individual rights and civil remedies for California
But there is much more. Marc was a stickler for
preparation. Before each of the Rutter Group “bad
faith” seminars, he would pore over his
notes. Here was as knowledgeable a judge as you
could find on tort and insurance law, and yet
he was continually working over his presentation
to make sure he had it right.
Afterwards, those attending would come to the
podium and ask questions. They always went to
Marc first. He did not leave until he had talked
to them all. This tough, stern-voiced appellate
justice was so approachable and patient with their
inquiries – so desirous of helping his colleagues
at the bar learn what they came to learn.
We had some wonderful times traveling–enjoying
the professional camaraderie that developed, which
later developed into social occasions which my
wife, Victoria, and I so enjoyed. As time passed,
and we got busier, they became fewer. At one point
I had hoped that Justice Kaufman, after his retirement
in early 1990, would join my firm. But, frankly,
he went elsewhere, to be closer to home and enjoy
the support of a large firm. That was the right
decision, indeed, and he enjoyed his years as
a consultant and adviser on important questions
of law and public policy. We remained in contact
as he consulted with some of my clients during
For me, his opinion in Fletcher v. Western
National Life Ins. Co., in 1970, while on
the Fourth District Court of Appeal was an insightful
view of what was to come from this honorable court
in Gruenberg v. Aetna Ins. Co. in 1973
and then Silberg v. California Life Ins. Co.,
in 1974, when the court embraced the essential
concepts of insurance bad faith as a tort remedy
Marc’s brilliance has been often recognized.
His allegiance to the highest professional standards
was an example for all of us. His devotion to
family while maintaining a dedication to his career,
But more important during my 20 years or so of
being a colleague – and I hope I can assume
that role–is Marc’s personal values.
He was just a delightful human being, warm, sensitive,
engaging, intimate. When you were with Marc he
cared about you, asked about you and your family,
and wanted to make sure that you were alright,
that your wife was well and your children on course.
He was genuinely happy when you reported good
things about your family.
When I was first friends with Marc, my children
were little. He always wanted to know about them.
I was so impressed that a man of his eminence
would care so much about others.
When one worked with Marc, as Harvey and I did
along with Bill Rutter, it was constant learning.
He kept poking at our ideas, questioning if we
really knew what we were talking about. No one
was offended. He was right on course. It was Marc
who helped us develop the three-tier analytical
framework for insurance bad faith cases that is
still part of the Rutter book’s presentation.
He helped us hone and fashion concepts, with his
insistence on adhering to basic legal principles
while trying to refine new ideas and legal theories.
He just made us figure out things the way they
needed to be figured out–to get it right.
I have to laugh when I hear Marc referred to as
the “intelligent redneck,” or words
to that effect. I never saw him that way. He was
loyal to views that were well known. If you started
a “discussion” to test those views,
he was ready, willing and most able to stick you
right against the wall, but always in the most
diplomatic and friendly way. But you better stick
to your guns in those discussions; don’t
back down. That was not how to earn any respect
Marc Kaufman. Loved and admired–you bet.
Respected and, in a sense, feared as an intellectual
sparing partner, you bet. Friend and confidant,
and adviser–there could be no better one
than Marc Kaufman.
Your Honors, it is indeed my privilege to participate
today in this tribute to Associate Justice Marcus
M. Kaufman in this special ceremony.
To Eileen, Evan and Marc’s family, I know
you cherish the memories – and what wonderful
ones they must be. May those memories remain with
all of us of a great and dear man. We have all
been blessed with his presence on this earth and
in our lives.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you very much, Mr. Kornblum. I now would
like to introduce Mr. Evan Granowitz who, as noted
by Justice Kennard, is a grandson of Justice Kaufman
and a law student, and who recently completed
a term as an extern on Justice Kennard’s
MR. EVAN GRANOWITZ:
May it please the court:
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices
of the court, and friends:
It is truly an honor to speak today on behalf
of the Kaufman family. First of all, on behalf
of my family, I would like to express our condolences
to the family of Justice Eagleson on his recent
Thank you for this tribute to your colleague,
my grandfather, Justice Marcus Kaufman. We are
especially grateful to Justice Joyce Kennard and
Guy Kornblum for sharing some of their cherished
memories of my grandfather.
Serving among you and your predecessors as an
associate justice of the California Supreme Court
was the fulfillment of my grandfather’s
lifetime aspiration. “Justice, and only
justice, shall you pursue,” were the watchwords
of his life. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity
he was afforded to contribute to the development
of the laws of this great state. More than anything
else, he was grateful for the honor and recognition
bestowed upon him for simply doing that which
he knew he was put on this earth to do. We trust
that his legacy will continue to provide inspiration
to others in the years to come.
On behalf of my grandmother, Eileen, and the other
members of our family, let me thank the members
of the court and court staff for your kindness
and support throughout the years and especially
during these past months. We are comforted to
know that my grandfather’s death cannot
diminish the important ways he impacted our lives,
the lessons he taught us, and the principles he
stood for. They continue as our legacy-- for which
we are blessed. As he wrote so eloquently in his
ethical will, “a person’s life…
is measured in terms of the ideas, values and
ideals transmitted by words or examples to family,
friends, community and perhaps the world. These
do not perish with the mind that conceived them
or the life that exemplified them. They live on
and play a part in the lives of those to whom
they have been transmitted.”
Although Marcus Kaufman may be remembered by the
legal community as a scholar, an independent thinker,
and a mentor to many; to my sister, my cousins
and me, he was our adored “Zaidi.”
His love for us knew no boundaries. He was dedicated
to his work, but dedicated even more to his family.
No matter what pressing opinion he had to write,
or function he had to attend, he always made time
to spend with family.
He encouraged us to be worthy individuals, to
develop our talents and interests, and to share
our special gifts with others in meaningful ways.
The inscription on the watch given to me upon
my graduation from college says it so concisely,
Coming from humble beginnings, his professional
successes never changed him as a person, and he
remained true to certain cherished values throughout
Personal recognition was not important, except
as it could serve to further more noble purposes.
He instilled in us the ideals which were most
important to him: appreciation of nature’s
beauty, love of family, the importance of duty
and loyalty, love of excellence, and appreciation
for achievement. He fiercely believed in the absolute
responsibility to help the less fortunate, and
sought out ways to assist others, no matter what
their station in life.
He strived to exemplify in his life, in his own
words, “a love affair with excellence, the
pursuit of perfection, an obligation to develop
one’s abilities, and to achieve to the fullest
of one’s capacity.” But these values
left him with little time or patience for what
he called “mediocrity or stupidity, especially
My sister and I have always recognized how privileged
we were to have such a great man as a grandfather.
But we were especially fortunate to have inherited
his passion and calling to the law.
Over the last few months of his life, we had many
conversations about the law, which inevitably
led to more lessons about life, some of which
I am sure will not be apparent until years in
the future. But above all else he stressed to
me the importance of knowing myself and constantly
reevaluating and improving myself. It is through
this type of self-knowledge that one lives a meaningful
Thank you again for this final tribute to Marcus
Kaufman. Although he is no longer with us in the
flesh, I know that he lives on in those that knew
and loved him. The passion for justice and devotion
to the law that guided his life will continue
to burn brightly in the hearts of those whose
lives he touched.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you very much, Mr. Granowitz.
I want to express my appreciation again to all
those who contributed their special and memorable
remarks to this morning’s memorial session.
In accordance with our custom, it is ordered that
the proceedings at this memorial session be spread
in full upon the minutes of the Supreme Court
and published in the Official Reports of the opinions
of this court, and that a copy of these proceedings
be sent to Justice Kaufman’s family.
(Derived from Supreme Court minutes and 30