Litigation

Paul, Plevin attorneys represent California employers in all types of contested matters, from arbitrations, to administrative hearings, to class actions, to jury trials, to appeals.

The firm’s experience base is vast. All Paul, Plevin litigation partners have experience in multiple jury trials and appeals, and combined have over 150 years of employment litigation experience.

In litigated matters, Paul, Plevin has a solid track record of delivering outstanding results. First and foremost, whenever appropriate and consistent with our client's needs, we aggressively pursue prompt and economical case resolution through early, candid case assessment, mediation and settlement. Our combined expertise, derived from resolving literally thousands of employment claims, provides a unique case evaluation perspective. When early settlement is not possible, the firm has an outstanding record disposing of matters through motion work. The firm’s employment law specialization, and our attorneys’ experience in identifying and pursuing the arguments that can win a motion, give Paul, Plevin clients an advantage in getting the right motion filed, with the best chance of success. When a case must go the distance, our attorneys have the skill, experience and confidence to take a case to trial and win it, and then to preserve the outcome on appeal.

Paul, Plevin has extensive experience in other litigation matters. Firm attorneys have successfully brought and defended trade secret-related claims, and have defended several fraud, defamation and False Claims Act cases, as well as other commercial litigation.

Trials, Arbitrations and Disciplinary Hearings

  • Defense verdict in jury trial for the University of California Irvine Medical Center in which a psychiatric nurse alleged age and disability harassment and failure to engage in the interactive process related to his disability (Orange County Superior Court).
  • Defense verdict in jury trial for Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the first case tried nationally of a fraud claim against a law school based on allegations of misrepresenting post-graduate employment data (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in jury trial for Fortune 500 technology company on sexual harassment claims. In the same trial, obtained non-suit of punitive damages claims at the close of plaintiff's presentation of evidence (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial of Iranian research scientist's claim of national origin discrimination against medical diagnostics maker (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial of Superior Court interpreter's claim that the court failed to hire her based on age and defrauded her (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial on behalf of a real estate management company where plaintiff was seeking overtime pay and other wage and hour remedies. In the same trial, obtained a defamation verdict and punitive damages against the plaintiffs (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial of a claim by the former men's basketball coach for the University of California, San Diego, that the university misappropriated his summer basketball league opportunity (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial in case in which plaintiff alleged wrongful termination and fraudulent inducement of employment by a client in the financial services industry (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in jury trial of sexual harassment claim by female employee in high technology retail industry (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Defense verdict in a jury trial brought by airline employee claiming she was fired due to whistle blowing about airport security violations, and due to her sex, age and in retaliation for filing discrimination claims. Also obtained $30,000 judgment on cross-complaint due to plaintiff's illegal tape recording of company managers (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Directed verdict after a jury trial in which a former employee claimed she was terminated for complaining about not being offered a permanent position with her employer; former employee ordered to pay defense costs of $60,000 (Monterey Superior Court)
  • Defense judgment following court trial of wrongful termination and retaliation claim by pharmaceutical territory manager terminated for violating compliance policies (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Defense judgment following court trial of race discrimination claim brought by terminated employee relations manager of a Superior Court (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Complete defense arbitration verdict in breach of contract claim by a former law firm employee, including successfully compelling arbitration and defeating attempts at improper forum shopping
  • Defense arbitration verdict in disability discrimination, retaliation and failure to engage in the interactive process claims brought by a former employee
  • Civil Service Commission decision upholding discharge of public pension employee who claimed whistleblower status; obtained dismissal and attorneys' fees award when employee attempted to bring related claims in federal court
  • PERB decision upholding employers' actions and denying the union's unfair practice charge
  • Defense arbitration award on behalf of client in a breach of contract dispute between two major life sciences corporations
  • Defense arbitration award in $12 million ERISA claim against a defense contractor
  • Defense arbitration award in sexual harassment, wrongful termination and race discrimination case brought by a senior executive of a Fortune 150 company
  • Defense arbitration award in disability discrimination and failure to provide reasonable accommodation case brought by former employee against higher education institution
  • Represented a public university in a disciplinary hearing against a tenured professor for violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct, resulting in an unprecedented vote by the board of regents to uphold dismissal of the tenured professor for bullying
  • Successful prosecution of tenured university researcher for scientific misconduct, resulting in decision of Privilege & Tenure Committee to bar faculty member from further research. Result upheld in Superior Court writ proceedings and on appeal

Case Dispositive Motion Work

  • Summary judgment for university against the EEOC in a claim of race discrimination based on denial of tenure to African-American business school professor (U.S. District Court, Central District of California)
  • Summary judgment for health care provider in a race discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination case (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment in a race discrimination and retaliation case with attorneys' fees awarded for the employer under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment on claims by court clerk for constructive discharge, failure to accommodate, and disability discrimination (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment for public entity employer on wrongful termination claim involving a public employee's free speech rights and discipline for off duty conduct (U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Summary judgment on claim by university program manager of gender discrimination (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment in federal court in a case alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, including claims of racial harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination brought against a national commercial services company (U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Summary judgment for officers of company employers on fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims, and summary judgments for successive employers on breach of contract and fraud claims, in related cases (San Diego Superior Court and U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Summary judgment on claim of disability discrimination brought by custodial worker (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment on claims for violation of privacy and failure to provide rest breaks under California Labor Code. Attorneys' fees awarded under Labor Code (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment in federal court for a university in a False Claims Act claim asserting that the university fraudulently obtained its accreditation, and therefore fraudulently obtained state and federal student financial aid (U.S. District Court, Central District of California)
  • Summary judgment on discrimination claim by a medical student alleging he was unlawfully terminated from the medical school (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment on wrongful termination claim brought by Risk Manager of corporation who claimed to be a whistleblower (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Summary judgment on a whistleblower claim on behalf of a California trial court, followed by an award of over $50,000 in attorneys' fees against the plaintiff, a high level manager who sued the agency head (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Dismissal, at the pleading stage, of class action complaint against a Los Angeles law school based on allegedly misleading employment and salary statistics reported in U.S. News & World Report and other publications (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Dismissal under the anti-SLAPP statute of discrimination, retaliation and defamation retaliation claims arising from a peer review proceeding; attorneys' fees exceeding $100,000 awarded to all defendants (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Dismissal, at the pleading stage, of a Fair Labor Standards Act class action claim by employees of a California trial court alleging off-the-clock work and unpaid meal periods, based on Constitutional immunity (U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Dismissal, at the pleading stage, of a wrongful termination in violation of public policy and retaliation claim against public employer based on immunities and failure to exhaust administrative and judicial remedies (Orange County Superior Court)
  • Dismissal, at the pleading stage, of discrimination claims brought against an employment agency for failure to properly exhaust administrative remedies (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California)
  • Dismissal, at the pleading stage, of disability access claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act against a public university, on grounds that the University is immune from disability access claims under the ADA. (U.S. District Court, Southern District of California)
  • Obtained an order in Superior Court on behalf of a software industry client, attaching over $600,000 of a former executive's assets based on the company's claim of misappropriation of company funds (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Dismissal of multiple unfair labor practice charges on behalf of a construction industry client in a proceeding before the National Labor Relations Board

Appellate Results

Paul, Plevin attorneys regularly represent clients on appeal, in both the California and federal appellate courts. Examples of appellate results include:

  • Serpa v. California Surety Investigations, Inc., 214 Cal.App.4th 695 (2013), reversing denial of employer's motion to compel arbitration of employment claims, holding that an arbitration policy that allowed for employer modification does not render an agreement to arbitrate illusory
  • Do v. The Regents of the University of California, 216 Cal.App.4th 1474 (2013), upholding the denial of a mandamus petition, holding that the decision of the University of California to terminate plaintiff's employment is subject to substantial evidence, not independent judgment, standard of review
  • Provost v. The Regents of the University of California, 201 Cal.App.4th 1289 (2011), establishing that in-house counsel may bind corporate party to stipulated settlement under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6.
  • Chan v. Judicial Council of California, 199 Cal.App.4th 194 (2011), upholding summary judgment regarding due process given to class of court reporters
  • Wills v. Superior Court, 195 Cal.App.4th 143 (2011), a highly publicized opinion which affirmed summary judgment for our client, and established that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act does not prohibit an employer from discharging an employee for making threats, even if the employee’s conduct is caused by a disability (bipolar disorder)
  • Goldbaum v. The Regents of University of California, 191 Cal.App.4th 703 (2011), holding that The Regents of the University of California is exempt under the California Constitution from Labor Code section 218.5, a mandatory fee-shifting provision in certain lawsuits for nonpayment of wages or benefits. The Court of Appeal ruled that exposure to attorneys' fee recovery in employment matters interferes with The Regents' constitutional autonomy
  • Marsh v. Anesthesia Services Medical Group, Inc., 200 Cal. App.4th 480 (2011), upholding the trial court's decision to sustain defendants' demurrer, which makes it more difficult for individual physicians to bring certain antitrust and unfair competition claims against hospitals and medical groups
  • Combs v. Skyriver Communications, et al., 159 Cal.App.4th 1242 (2008), after obtaining a defense judgment in a bench trial, the Court of Appeal favorably clarified the parameters of the administrative exemption under California law
  • Lachtman v. The Regents of University of California, 158 Cal.App.4th 187 (2007), upholding summary judgment on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, in a claim brought by a Ph.D. candidate challenging his dismissal from his doctoral program. The Court of Appeal also gathered and reaffirmed, as California law, a variety of well-known federal precedents, and, in a single opinion, covered a broad array of academic procedural and substantive matters
  • Thompson v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company, et al., 2013 WL 358927, upholding summary judgment for employer on claims for race and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and harassment
  • Brede v. Science Applications International Corporation, 2014 WL 793118, upholding summary judgment for employer on wrongful termination in violation of public policy and Labor Code section 1102.5 claims
  • Harvey v. Yellowpages.com, 2013 WL 3808191, overturning decision of the trial court to deny employer's petition to compel arbitration
  • Newton v. Superior Court, 2012 WL 681216, affirming defense jury verdict in failure to hire age discrimination and fraud case
  • Torres v. Scripps Health, 2012 WL 9681, upholding summary judgment on rest period claims and denial of plaintiff's motion for relief from deemed discovery admissions
  • Mataele v. Nunn, 467 Fed.Appx. 607 (9th Cir. 2012), upholding motion to dismiss based on various immunities in lawsuit brought by private citizen against Superior Court Family Court Mediator
  • Buenviaje v. Pacific Bell Directory, et al., 2011 WL 1085113, upholding summary judgment for employer on national origin discrimination claim and "English-only" requirement
  • Victorino v. Scripps Health, 2011 WL 976785, upholding summary judgment for employer on Fair Employment and Housing claims for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, harassment and retaliation
  • Padilla v. AT&T Services, Inc., 2011 WL 825652, upholding summary judgment of all claims based on the administrative exemption in a misclassification case brought by a senior IT employee
  • Hong v. Regents of University of California, 2010 WL 4102251, affirming an order granting a special motion to strike plaintiff's complaint and affirming award of attorneys' fees and costs to defendant
  • Greene v. Kelly Services, Inc., 2010 WL 20899996, affirming demurrer without leave to amend based on plaintiff's failure to state a cause of action and awarding defendant costs on appeal
  • Hong v. Grant et al., 403 Fed.Appx. 236 (9th Cir. 2010), upholding summary judgment of First Amendment claims affecting faculty free speech rights

Class Actions

Class actions continue to play a significant role in employment litigation, especially in the area of wage and hour disputes.  Paul, Plevin attorneys have extensive experience defending employers in class actions.  The firm’s class action experience base includes defending employers in a wide range of industries in the state and federal courts involving various aspects of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the California Labor Code, such as employee misclassification, meal and rest period violations, employee expense issues, vacation pay, and the Private Attorneys General Act (Labor Code section 2698, et seq.).  The firm also has experience handling class actions involving allegations of employment discrimination, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations, and WARN Act violations. 

Since 2004, the firm has represented employers in over 70 class actions, involving hundreds of thousands of putative class members.  Paul, Plevin attorneys have successfully defeated class certification, executed individual settlement programs, obtained voluntary dismissals of class claims, and represented clients in reaching favorable settlements that have been approved by federal and state courts throughout California.

In 2013, the firm defeated class certification in Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a highly publicized case in which plaintiffs alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act  based on allegedly misleading employment and salary statistics reported in U.S. News & World Report.

Agency Proceedings

Firm attorneys regularly appear before state and federal agencies charged with the enforcement of labor and employment laws, including the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Labor Commissioner, the United States Department of Labor, the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Labor Code 132a claims), the Public Employment Relations Board, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the National Labor Relations Board. The firm also has substantial experience representing health care providers in medical staff-related proceedings.