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Appellate

The firm has handled appeals in the California Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Many of the appeals handled are the result of dispositive motions (Demurrer and Motion for Summary Judgment) at the trial court level involving complex legal issues as well as appeals following jury trials. The firm has a reputation for presenting convincing and cogent appellate briefs that result in a substantial number of published appellate opinions. A representative sampling of those published opinions include:

In Clemes v. Del Norte County Unified School District, et al. (ND Cal 1994) 843 F. Supp. 583, the firm represented defendant school district and several individual defendants in a case in which our clients prevailed on a FRCP Rule 12B6 Motion to Dismiss. The United States District Court rejected plaintiff’s claim under Title VII and IX, despite the claim that students within the school district were being subjected to discrimination because of their race.

In Couch v. San Juan Unified School District (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 1491, the firm represented defendant school district and prevailed on a Motion for Summary Judgment. A former employee of the school district sued for libel, invasion of privacy and emotional distress. The ruling was upheld on appeal in a published opinion by the Third District Court of Appeal.

In Customer Company v. City of Sacramento (1995)10 Cal.4th 368, the firm successfully defended the City of Sacramento and its police officers in a civil rights case involving municipal liability for destruction of private property by police in the course of apprehending an armed and fleeing felon who had barricaded himself inside a local convenience store. This case of first impression was ultimately decided in our clients’ favor by the California Supreme Court.

In Federico v. Superior Court (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 1207, the firm successfully obtained a Writ of Mandate in a case involving alleged employer liability for sexual misconduct by one of its employees. This published opinion by the Third District Court of Appeal provides importance guidance to employers and requires a connection between employment duties and the alleged criminal conduct of an employee before negligent hiring liability may be found.

In Ferrari v. Grand Canyon Dories (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 248, the firm represented the sponsor and conductor of a white water rafting trip that obtained summary judgment at the trial court by utilizing the primary assumption of risk defense. The Third District Court of Appeal upheld the decision in favor of the clients by holding that the conduct of the sponsor did not increase the risks inherent in the white water rafting activity. This case provided a substantial development in the primary assumption of the risk doctrine in the State of California.

In Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company v. Allstate Insurance Company (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 1154, the firm represented the defendant carrier in an insurance coverage case involving the Highway Carriers’ Act and delved into what accounts for sufficient compliance with the Public Utilities Commission insurance requirements. The firm recovered $750,000.00 plus pre-judgment interest for the client.

In Great American Surplus Alliance Insurance Company v. Ace Oil Company, et al., (ED Cal 1988) 120 FRD 533, the firm represented the defendant in a case involving insurance coverage for “environmental impairment liability”. The case published by the United States District Court involved the application of the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrine to material exchanged between an insured and their insurance carrier.

In Knight v. Hayward Unified School District, 132 Cal. App. 4th, 121 (2005), the firm represented the defendant in a case of first impression in California regarding disability discrimination in medical insurance under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. A teacher sued his employer alleging disability discrimination under FEHA claiming that the group health insurance was discriminatory because it failed to provide coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. The teacher’s wife was infertile and required this treatment and was thus considered disabled under the Act. The First District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment holding that the teacher could not sustain his burden of establishing a prima facie case of disability discrimination. The discrimination the teacher complained of was not genuinely based on infertility, because the plan covered many forms of infertility treatment which the wife utilized. The IVF exclusion applied uniformly to all covered persons and the exclusion was legal under Health & Safety Code §1340, et. seq. Since everyone participating in the plan received the same coverage, the plan was not discriminatory.

In McMackins v. Elk Grove Unified School District (ED Cal 1998) 21 F. Supp. 2d 1201, the United States District Court granted defendant school district’s Motion for Summary Judgment in a case involving claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, wrongful termination and failure to accommodate. The District Court determined pursuant to the school district’s motion that the plaintiff was not a qualified person under the ADA.

In Rio Linda Unified School District v. Superior Court (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 732, the firm succeeded on a Writ of Mandate before the Third District Court of Appeal. In the Rio Linda case, a developmentally disabled boy claimed he was injured due to a dangerous condition on the school grounds. Given a lack of any admissible evidence to establish the location and cause of the injury, the Third District Court of Appeal provided a decision in favor of the school district. This case is often cited in law and motion courts as providing important guidance to defense counsel bringing summary judgment motions under recently adopted summary judgment standards.

In Saenz v. White Water Voyages, Inc. (1990) 226 Cal.App.3d 758, the firm successfully defended a white water rafting company in a wrongful death case. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s grant of summary judgment by holding that a release agreement executed by the decedent was valid and that it applied to bar a wrongful death action.

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