Eric Traut, President
Eric Traut is a trial attorney who was recognized as the youngest winner of the prestigious “Trial Lawyer of the Year” award in the history of the Orange County Trial Lawyer Association and has gone on to try more than 100 jury trials over his 33-year career. He practices law in the areas of plaintiff personal injury and wrongful death with his wife, son, brother, and niece. Eric has handled high-profile cases that have resulted in appearances on Good Morning America, Fox News, Court T.V., and ABC's "Primetime." He has been president of several local organizations including IALOC for the first time in 2005, Orange County Trial Lawyers in 2002, OC Chapter of ABOTA in 2010, Project Youth – OCBF in 2014, and the Banyard Inn of Court in 2020.
Although 23 and Me confirmed he does not have any trace of Italian blood, his love of the people, culture, and food, has inspired him to take over at the helm for the second time !!
Joseph Ferrucci, Vice President
Mike Santoni, Treasurer
Back in 1975 when he finished college, Mike Santoni knew that he was going to be a detective. After realizing he didn’t want to go into the public sector, he became an apprentice as a private investigator. Ever since, he has used his analytic mind to crack case after case. After over 40 years experience, there are few cases that can stump him. He is a mentor to his colleagues and plays an instrumental role in the planning of execution of cases at Santoni Investigations.
Maria Rullo, Secretary
Maria M. Rullo has practiced law in Southern California for 43 years. She specializes in transactional matters including 15 years as General Counsel. Currently, Maria serves as “Of Counsel” to Fitzgerald Kreditor Bolduc Risbrough LLP in its litigation practice handling employment practices, personal injury, and commercial and eminent domain cases. She also serves as a Temporary Judge facilitating MSC’s and hearing Small Claims trials.
She began her legal career in Health Care Law representing hospitals and medical group practices across the country in license and compliance issues. She then moved to full-time litigation specializing in Insurance Bad Faith defense with the firm of Hill, Genson, Even, Crandall, and Wade.
Maria also served as General Counsel for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange where she was responsible for the management of all legal transactions for 59 churches, 52 schools, Pastoral Center, Cathedral complex and a planned Assisted Living Community. During this time, Maria was responsible for the mediation, negotiation, and settlement of 95 clergy abuse cases over a 2-year period, culminating in the first church settlement of abuse cases in California. She led the legal team for the $57.9 million acquisition, purchase, and leaseback of the 39-acre iconic Crystal Cathedral as well as being instrumental in the planning, creation and building of Clearwater of North Tustin, an innovative faith based senior living community.
Joseph S. D'Antony, Consigliore
Joseph D'Antony is the "Founding Father" of the IALOC forming Lex Romana in 1977. Mr. D'Antonty has been an integral part of the IALOC since is creation and was instrumental in getting the IALOC recognized as an official Affiliat of the Orange County Bar Association. For his efforts in forming and reviving the IALOC, Joseph D'Antony was granted a life-time seat on the IALOC Board of Directors holding the esteemed position of “Consigliore.” Click here for a complete history of the IALOC.
Spending 33 years litigating cases from both a plaintiff's perspective and from a defense perspective, Joseph S. D'Antony believes that cases are handled more efficiently through alternative adjudication. He has seen the anguish and the turmoil experienced by his clients commencing with either the serving of the complaint or from experiencing an injustice and ending several months later with a contested trial or settlement. With a civil trial, each party has to relive the experience over and over again. He believes that the mediation/arbitration process can resolve matters more expeditiously and usually with a better and more satisfying result for both parties. After 33 years as a successful civil trial litigator for both the defense and plaintiff's bar, My. D'Antony has retired to become an arbitrator/mediator. Not only does he have have a strong background in civil matters, but he also brings his experiences as a registered pharmacist in the states of Ohio and California.
Mr D'Antony has settled and resolved difficult cases acting as a pro temp settlement conference judge in the Orange County Superior Court and as a mediator on the Los Angeles County Mediation Panel. In addition, Mr. D'Antony has acted as a neutral in arbitrations and this experience lends itself to mediating cases from a non-adversarial position. Mr. D'Antony's experiences in the many variables of a lawsuit have prepared him for ADR.
The majority of Mr. D'Antony's experience has been in the field of medical malpractice, personal injury, and general liability matters. His concern for the parties is conveyed in his approach in working to bring the parties to a position of conclusion. The uncertainties of litigation as well as the expense, emotional and financial concerns for the future are a heavy burden for the parties as they approach a civil trial.
Diana Cimino, Parliamentarian
Diana has been a member of Italian America Lawyers of Orange County for 14 years, where she serves as the Parliamentarian. She is also on the Board for Rotary International of Laguna Beach. Additionally, she is a member of the California Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association, the National Italian American Bar Association, the American Association of University Women, and the Laguna Beach Business Club. Her other activities include the Orange County Girl Scouts, where she is the troop leader, and she serves as a delegate on the Board of the Orange County Girl Scout Council.
Diana previously lived in Venice, Italy and is fluent in Italian. She lives in Laguna Beach with her husband Tom, and her two teenage daughters.
Sherry D'Antony, Historian
Sherry Graybehl D’Antony is a partner at the law firm of Bohm Wildish, LLP. Her areas of practice include Employment Law and Family Law. Prior to joining the law firm of Bohm Wildish, LLP, she was a partner at the law firm of D'Antony, Doyle & Moore. Prior to that, Ms. Graybehl D'Antony was at the law firm of Ferruzzo & Ferruzzo for nine-and-a-half years where she handled all matters relating to family law and employment law.
Ms. Graybehl D'Antony is a California Certified Family Law Specialist since 1995. She was rated one of the top Family Law attorneys in Orange County by Martindale-Hubbell. She was also hailed by the National Association of Professional Women as having “Outstanding Excellence and Dedication to her Profession.” One of Ms. Graybehl D’Antony’s more notable cases includes a $360,000 damages award for a client bringing a battery case against her ex-husband who infected her with a sexually transmitted disease. In another case, Ms. Graybehl D’Antony was granted a nonsuit in favor of her client, ITT Cannon, in a wrongful termination case.
Ms. Graybehl D’Antony served as a Board Member for the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists for 2 years. She also served as President of IALOC in 2011 and again in 2012. Additionally, she is has been a proud IALOC Board Member since 2006.
Ms. Graybehl D’Antony is an avid runner and has completed over 14 marathons and 4 half marathons. To relax and recuperate from the stress of her profession, she and her husband Joseph D’Antony travel to their home in the Abruzzo region of Italy. There, they enjoy a slower pace of life along the peaceful Adriatic coastline.
Anthony Modarelli, Director at Large
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Anthony learned from his Italian family the values of hard work, grit, and connecting with others. He has spent his legal career litigating personal injury cases in California and Nevada on behalf of his injured clients, including representing victims of the 2017 One October Shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas and survivors of sexual assault against institutional defendants, including businesses, schools, and churches. Anthony's leadership skills have been recognized by his clients and others in the community. He has served as a Past President of IALOC Lex Romana and Project Youth OCBF and is a member of The National Italian American Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys of California, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association organizations.
Anthony and his wife, who is also Italian, enjoy sharing Italian food and wines with their friends and families whenever they can.
Michael D'Angelo, Director at Large
As a graduate from University of California, Irvine and Loyola Law School, Mr. D’Angelo has over 23 years of experience litigating eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other complex real estate matters. Mr. D’Angelo worked predominantly for private property owners and business owners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation matters.
Mr. D'Angelo enters his fourth year on the Board and has been a long-standing member, sharing his love for his Italian heritage with others.
Frank Licata, Director at Large