Our attorneys are well known for their quality of work and for helping clients achieve positive outcomes. In addition to providing trusted advice and counsel, we have won numerous cases for our clients, including several precedent-setting lawsuits that have changed the face of the legal sphere in the state of California and beyond. We've spearheaded successful cases in front of the California Supreme Court, we've saved our clients millions of dollars in settlement fees, and we've negotiated unprecedented contracts with labor unions and other parties. Below is a sampling of our client successes:
California Supreme Court Victory
In Roy Allan Slurry Seal v. American Asphalt South, 2 Cal.5th 505 (Cal. 2017), the California Supreme Court unanimously agreed with our argument that construction companies could not sue competitors whose winning bids allegedly are based on violations of prevailing wage laws.
Favorable Settlement of $250 Million Construction Claim
We defended a contractor involved in the construction of a nearly $2 billion hotel and retail project in Las Vegas, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino and Desert Passage. Claims on the project reached over $250 million and involved multiple parties and complex construction, subguard insurance, and bankruptcy issues. At the time, this was the largest construction claim ever filed in the Western Region of the American Arbitration Association. After arbitration and a series of mediations, we achieved a successful settlement for our client.
Resolved Claim for Less than One Percent of Amount Sought
Our client helped design and build the Los Angeles County Central Jail, which included the first acute care medical facility built into a California jail and consequent unique regulatory and design issues. The construction of the over one-million-square-foot facility resulted in a $66-million claim arising out of 6,000 proposed change orders and 13,000 RFIs. The claim was resolved for less than one percent of the amount sought.
Dismissal of Class Certification
We were substituted in as counsel in a wage and hour class action against a vocational institution. By the time we took over the case, class certification already had been granted. We filed a motion for dismissal of certification. The motion was granted and we settled with the three remaining plaintiffs.
First of Its Kind Agreement with Teachers’ Union
We represented a California school district in negotiating a “first of its kind” agreement in California with its teachers’ union to implement a new system of performance evaluation which used student achievement gains to help determine year-end compensation bonuses for teachers.
Administration of School Districts’ Multimillion-Dollar Bond Programs
We handle the administration of the construction contracts for numerous school districts and community college districts across the state. Many of these districts have bond program of over 100 million dollars.
Successful Defense of School District’s Parcel Tax Measures
We successfully defended a school district’s parcel tax measures from invalidation by a developer at both the trial and appellate court levels.
Negotiations of Public Entities’ Technology Purchases and Agreements
Thwarted Attempted Secession from School District
We successfully defended a secessionist attempt to remove territory from a school district for the formation of a smaller, more exclusive school district in a matter that garnered nationwide attention.
Life Science Companies
Summary Judgment in False Claims Act Case
We obtained summary judgment in favor of a billion-dollar, publicly traded medical device company in a highly contentious False Claims Act case in federal district court.
Dismissal of FDA Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims
We obtained complete dismissal of FDA whistleblower and retaliation claims on behalf of a major medical device company, asserting potential crossclaims against the plaintiff that resulted in the plaintiff paying the employer a settlement to resolve the litigation.
Negotiations Helped Repair City’s Relationship with Its Largest Union
We served as Chief Labor Negotiator for a large California city in its negotiations with the City’s biggest employee union, which represented 60% of its workforce. The relationship between the City and its union was contentious and had been marked by litigation and mistrust. We obtained a four-year collective bargaining agreement and helped repair the labor-management relationship.
Favorable Settlement of Action Brought by City Attorneys Group
A group of City Attorneys filed suit in federal court against their large city employer. The attorneys claimed that by imposing furloughs, the City violated the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the City Attorneys, as well as the Contracts Clause, Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause, and Takings Clause of the state and federal Constitutions. We represented the City and argued that the fiscal emergency doctrine allowed for the furloughs. After vigorous defense, the parties reached a favorable settlement which resolved the litigation and other pending unfair labor practice charges.
Dismissal of Case after Appellate Court Victory
Plaintiffs brought a class action against their City employer concerning a negotiated agreement to increase City employees’ pension contributions in order to fund an early retirement program intended to reduce the workforce and avoid layoffs and furloughs. Plaintiffs contended the agreement violated the Contracts Clauses of the state and federal Constitutions. We filed a demurrer on behalf of our City client. After the superior court denied the demurrer, we filed a writ of mandate with the California Court of Appeal. The appellate court granted the writ, holding that any contractual modification was consensual and, therefore, did not violate the constitutional contracts clauses as a matter of law. The Plaintiff’s case was dismissed.
Case Alleging Disability Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Settled for Favorable Terms
The Plaintiff was terminated from her employment after working for the City for over six years. She claimed that the City unreasonably refused to accommodate her request to have no contact with her supervisor who allegedly sexually harassed her and that the City terminated her in retaliation for her complaints. Plaintiff claimed lost income of over $280,000. After we filed a motion for summary judgment, the case settled for nuisance value.
Public Safety Agencies
Disciplinary Decision Unanimously Affirmed by Civil Service Commission
After a public safety officer tested positive for cocaine, the City terminated his employment based on his violation of the City's drug policies. The Grievant contended that his urine sample was contaminated and that the City's testing agent had committed reporting errors regarding the sample. After a three-day hearing before the City's five-person Civil Service Commission, the Commission unanimously voted that the discharge was justified and rejected the Grievant's argument that the methodology of the drug test violated federal Department of Transportation regulations.
Case Resolved by Summary Judgment
Two City police officers on probationary status were activated for National Guard duty in Iraq. Once they completed their duty, they returned to work for the police department. After the officer’s were denied annual leave, seniority, and pay-step accrual, they sued for discrimination under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Both the officers and our client, the City, filed motions for summary judgment. The district court granted the officers’ motion on certain issues and granted the City’s motion regarding its position that reinstating the officers to probationary status was proper.
Disciplinary Decision Affirmed in Arbitration and on Appeal
An arbitrator upheld our client’s decision to terminate a police officer from employment for stalking a civilian. Thereafter, the police officer brought a writ of mandate in Los Angeles Superior Court. The court denied the writ and the California Court of Appeal affirmed the decision.
Successful Defense of Termination of Deputy Sheriff
A sheriff’s deputy appealed his termination for illegally entering citizens’ residences on three separate occasions and then fabricating evidence and reports concerning the circumstances. The case involved extensive analysis of Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues concerning the propriety of law enforcement entry into dwellings. The arbitrator sustained our client’s decision to terminate the deputy.
Favorable Settlement in Mediation
We represented a California city in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action brought by police officers claiming that they had not been compensated for pre-shift and post-shift donning and doffing of uniforms and equipment. We successfully settled the case in mediation under favorable terms, based partly on the leverage obtained by the City’s assertion that multiple plaintiffs should be severed from the case due to misjoinder that was pending court resolution.
Nominal Payout on FLSA Medical Cash-Out
A public safety officer sued our municipal client in federal court, alleging his medical “opt out” compensation was unlawfully excluded for purposes of calculating his regular rate of pay on which his overtime compensation was paid. Plaintiff sought over $85,000 in damages, including attorney’s fees. After partially granting the City’s motion for summary judgment, the court awarded $1,200 to Plaintiff and $7500 in attorney’s fees and costs. Because the City made an Offer of Judgment, the City’s total exposure was reduced to $6,000.
Protected Intellectual Property Rights of National Baking Goods Company
After we sued another baking goods company for infringement of trade dress rights by copying our client’s distinctive packaging of its baked goods, the company agreed to change its packaging.
Summary Judgment Upheld by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
We obtained summary judgment for a large grocery chain in a racial discrimination case and prevailed on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Nominal Settlement of Discrimination Claim
We defended a large grocery chain in a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination and retaliation, failure to engage in the interactive process, and failure to accommodate in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The plaintiff had been terminated after purportedly eating one grape in the produce department. The plaintiff alleged the termination stemmed from his store manager’s animus toward him after he suffered a workplace injury. The defendant contended the plaintiff was terminated for violating company policy prohibiting employees from consuming or taking company product without paying for it. After seven days of trial and our cross-examination of the plaintiff, the case settled for a nominal $5,000.
Defense Verdict after Trial of Sexual Harassment Claim
The plaintiff alleged that she was subjected to sexual harassment by a co-worker and that her supervisor ignored her complaints. Our client, a large grocery chain, contended it took appropriate corrective action after the plaintiff complained. A defense verdict was rendered after trial and less than two hours of deliberations.
Shipping, Logistics, and Distribution Companies
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Victory
We won a unanimous victory in Alamillo v. BNSF Railway Co., 896 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2017) when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for our client, holding that the plaintiff’s alleged sleep apnea disability was not a substantial motivating factor for his termination and that reasonable accommodation did not include overturning a decision to terminate an employee for prior misconduct.
Negotiated Unprecedented Seven-Year Contracts with Labor Unions
In 2016, we served as lead negotiator in five separate complex labor negotiations, representing five different major shipping agencies and terminal operators in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Recent labor disputes had resulted in major work stoppages and slowdowns. We negotiated new contracts for a term of seven years each for all five of these major clients, providing labor peace for an unprecedented duration in the international shipping industry.
Defeated NLRB’s Request for 10(j) Injunction
In 2017, we accomplished the exceedingly rare feat of defeating the NLRB’s Request for a 10(j) injunction against our client, a major marine container terminal operator in the Ports of Los Angeles and Oakland. According to nationwide figures, in the year before the hearing, eight 10(j) injunctions had been granted in full, three had been granted in part, and only one had been denied.
Transportation and Transit Agencies
Class Certification Dismissed and Multimillion-dollar Claim Settled for Nuisance Value
The plaintiff sought over $10 million in a class action alleging that a Transportation Authority’s scheduling software undercompensated bus drivers for their time. Plaintiff’s counsel had recently won a multimillion-dollar settlement in a similar case against Alameda County Transit and achieved class certification in cases against two other California transportation authorities. We argued that individualized liability issues precluded class certification, that the scheduling software was accurate, and that drivers could submit timesheets for overtime pay. The federal district court denied class certification in 2015. We later settled the case for nuisance value.
Two-Billion-Dollar Construction Project Resulted in No Litigation
We represented a transportation authority on a two-billion-dollar project involving construction of a 20-mile rail trench running from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to rail switching yards in downtown Los Angeles. All construction issues were handled proactively as they occurred. As a result, the project was delivered on time, within budget, and with no resulting litigation.
California Appellate Court Victory
Plaintiff filed suit on behalf of bus operators, alleging that our municipal transit agency client failed to pay for travel time between the different locations where the bus operators’ shifts began and ended. Plaintiff largely relied on an opinion letter from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) providing that the travel time must be paid. We successfully argued that the travel time was not compensable under California law and that the DLSE opinion letter should not be given any consideration. The trial court ruled in our client’s favor and the appellate court affirmed the decision.
We have successfully served as Chief Negotiator for several transportation agency clients involving the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), AFSCME, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), resulting in numerous multi-year agreements.
Groundbreaking Appellate Victory
We won a groundbreaking case for a water district that faced a wage and hour class action lawsuit. In Johnson v. Arvin-Edison Water Storage District, 174 Cal.App.4th 729 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009), the California Court of Appeal ruled that public agencies are not subject to the California Labor Code and Wage Orders (including break time requirements) unless a statute so specifies.
Unanimous Jury Verdict in Employment Discrimination Case
After the Plaintiff was discharged from his job with a large water district, he filed an action alleging religious discrimination and retaliation, seeking economic damages in excess of $1.6 million, plus emotional distress damages. During a three-week trial, we provided evidence of our client’s culture of religious tolerance, Plaintiff’s insubordination and misrepresentations, and our client’s attempts to counsel, train, and otherwise help Plaintiff. The jury returned a 12-0 verdict in favor of Defendant on the religious discrimination claim and an 11-1 verdict for Defendant on the retaliation claim.