Maurice L. Muehle, a prominent Los Angeles attorney for many years and a resident of Marina del Rey, died Friday (January 30, 2009) at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. He was 75 and had been in ill health following a stroke in December 2007.
Muehle was a civil litigator who represented many firms and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and internationally on a wide range of business litigation Issues and corporate and transactional matters. His practice took him frequently to Europe, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He often championed clients he considered underdogs and supported civil liberties cases and causes. He hosted many fundraising events in his home for Democratic Party candidates.
Muehle had been in practice with his stepson Scott Whitman since 1983 in the Los Angeles firm of Muehle & Whitman. Muehle retired shortly before becoming ill (the firm is now Scott L. Whitman, Inc.).
A native of Los Angeles, Maurice Lee Muehle (pronounced ME-lee) was born on August 10, 1933, to Maurice Joseph Muehle and Ella Virginia Schrauff Muehle. Muehle attended Monrovia High School, where he played varsity basketball, and was an honors graduate of Occidental College, with a major in economics. He received his law degree in 1958 from the University of Southern California Law School, where he had been a member of its law review.
After his graduation from USC, he joined the district attorney’s office in Oxnard and prosecuted courtroom cases. Muehle was a member of the Southern California law firm of Harned Pettus Hoose before starting his own firm in the early 1960s.
As a private lawyer, Muehle always believed in negotiation and was proud of doing so successfully rather than having to take cases to court. His clients, who included people from the worlds of politics and the arts as well as business, considered him a tough and astute lawyer with an unshakeable sense of integrity.
Following his stroke, Muehle underwent rehabilitation from his condominium in Marina del Rey, where he had moved in 2006, and traveled to see family and friends despite his worsening condition. He was a longtime fan of the USC Trojans football team and horseracing at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, and an inveterate reader of history and fiction.
Muehle’s wife, the former Patricia Ann LaLonde Whitman, whom he married in 1966, died in April 2007 following a long illness. His previous marriage to Adrienne Ruth Brown ended in divorce. He is survived by three children, Lisa, Casey, and Eric Muehle; four stepchildren, Tony, Mike, and Scott Whitman, and Linda Whitman Van Hook; and thirteen grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 7, at The Gardens, The Ritz-Carlton, 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Muehle’s favorite charities and institutions, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the University of Southern California, the American Humane Society, and the American Stroke Association.