Articles

Victory on Gender Pay Discrimination Claims

Call & Jensen recently obtained summary adjudication on multiple claims asserted against the firm’s client by a former executive employee, who was alleging gender pay discrimination, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, and related claims. Although California Equal Pay Act was recently amended to a new standard, the firm prevailed on its client’s behalf in getting all equal pay claims dismissed without the need for a trial, leaving only a few separate wage-related claims in the case. Attorneys who worked on the case included Julie Trotter, Jacqueline Beaumont, Ellen Cohen, and Morgan Podruski.

Complete Summary Judgment Dismissal of Employment Lawsuit

Following a year of litigation, Call & Jensen attorneys obtained a complete summary judgment victory in defense of their client in a lawsuit filed by its former employee alleging 11 employment-based causes of action. The claims ranged from gender and disability discrimination to harassment, retaliation, interference with leave, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination, among others. The Court also rejected the plaintiff’s request for a continuance of the motion hearing to conduct additional discovery and depositions, after reviewing Call & Jensen’s arguments opposing the continuance. The legal team consisted of Julie Trotter and Jacqueline Beaumont.

CALL & JENSEN OBTAINS UNANIMOUS APPELLATE OPINION AFFIRMING SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING IN CASE ALLEGING DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, RETALIATION, AND WAGE-AND-HOUR CLAIMS

Call & Jensen attorneys Julie Trotter, Delavan Dickson, and Melinda Evans obtained a unanimous decision from the California Courts of Appeals affirming the trial court’s ruling granting summary judgment on fifteen of the seventeen causes of action the Plaintiff had alleged against a skilled nursing facility and one of its former Executive Directors (Plaintiff had dismissed the other two claims with prejudice). The appellate briefing addressed several hot topics in employment litigation, including the continuing violations doctrine, the hearsay rule as applied to statements made by a company’s employees, constructive discharge, pregnancy discrimination and harassment, whistleblower retaliation, and timing requirements under Labor Code section 2802’s reimbursement requirements.

Ryan McNamara will be a Featured Speaker at Pincus Professional Education’s 2019 Superior Court Boot Camp

Ryan McNamara will be a Featured Speaker at Pincus Professional Education’s 2019 Superior Court Boot Camp to be held in Los Angeles, California on November 8, 2019.  Mr. McNamara will discuss both the art and science of conducting effective depositions with an emphasis on California rules and procedures.

Since joining Call & Jensen in 2007, Mr. McNamara remains undefeated in trials and has conducted case-dispositive depositions from California to Florida.  Judges have noted that Mr. McNamara’s depositions have been “used to devastating effect at trial” and that Mr. McNamara’s cross-examinations are “meticulous.”  In assessing Mr. McNamara’s cross-examination skills, a federal judge noted that, over the course of a multi-day examination, Mr. McNamara “continually impeached Plaintiff with nearly every questions asked during both direct- and cross-examinations.”  A popular speaker, Mr. McNamara has personally trained over 1,000 attorneys in California on how to conduct winning depositions.

CALL & JENSEN OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN SUPPLEMENT LABELING CLASS ACTION

Call & Jensen attorneys obtained summary judgment in favor of their clients in a class action alleging that the claims on the label of a dietary supplement were false and misleading. In entering Judgment in favor of the manufacturers and retailer of the product, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg agreed with Call & Jensen’s argument that the plaintiff’s state law claims were preempted by federal law, which expressly permits supplement sellers to make the claims alleged by the plaintiff to be misleading. Call & Jensen’s team includes Matthew Orr, William Cole, Samuel Brooks, and Nilab Tolton. The case is Greenberg v. Target Corporation (Northern District of California Case No. 17-cv-01862-RS).

McNamara On Depositions: Deposition Is Trial

Ryan McNamara will present his popular seminar “McNamara On Depositions: Deposition Is Trial” in conjunction with Bridgeport Continuing Education on June 21, 2019. The seminar will take place at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Mr. McNamara will present on multiple topics including “How to Take an Effective Deposition for Use at Trial” and “How Effective Deposition Testimony Plays Out at Trial.”

Mr. McNamara has personally trained over 1,000 of California’s attorneys regarding the art and science of depositions and has taken case dispositive depositions from California to Florida. Judges have described Mr. McNamara’s depositions and cross examinations as “devastating” and “meticulous” with one judge noting that, over the course of a multi-day trial, Mr. McNamara “continually impeached Plaintiff with nearly every question asked during both direct- and cross-examinations.” Since joining Call & Jensen in 2007, Mr. McNamara remains undefeated at trial.

Additional information regarding the seminar is available at bridgeportce.com.

Super Lawyers Recognition

Call & Jensen congratulates its attorneys who have been recognized by Southern California Super Lawyers in its recent lists of “Super Lawyers” published in Super Lawyers, Orange Coast, and Los Angeles Magazine. Nine Call & Jensen attorneys were named “Super Lawyers” – honors awarded to no more than 2.5% of California attorneys who have practiced law for over 10 years and attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their respective areas of practice. Call & Jensen congratulates the following attorneys for their Super Lawyers selection in 2019: Jacqueline Beaumont, Todd Bouton, Wayne Call, Mark Eisenhut, Ryan McNamara, Matt Orr, Scott Shaw, David Sugden, and Julie Trotter.

Complete Trial Defense Victory

Call & Jensen attorneys Scott R. Hatch and William P. Cole recently secured a complete defense victory against claims of breach of contract and fraud against the firm’s clients, following a three-week trial in the Orange County Superior Court. In the lawsuit, ProMedia, Inc. had sought over $20 Million from the firm’s clients Elevati, LLC, Aacaju, Inc., Nathan Gwilliam, and Crystal Gwilliam. Plaintiff put on its case over the course of three weeks, based on its allegations that Call & Jensen’s clients were liable for breach of contract, various fraud counts, and conspiracy related to ProMedia’s attempts to acquire media assets including Adoption.com. After the conclusion of plaintiff’s evidence, Call & Jensen filed a motion for judgment for all four defendants as to all causes of action, which was granted in its entirety by the Honorable Judge Robert Moss, resulting in a complete defense victory for the firm’s clients and defeat for the plaintiff.

MSJ Secured in Multi-Million Dollar Independent Contractor Case

Call & Jensen’s attorneys recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client in an independent contractor case. The plaintiffs, two vehicle accident victims, sued Call & Jensen’s client, a company that had hired another company to perform courier services for it. In its summary judgment motion, Call & Jensen distinguished the relationship between the firm’s client and the courier driver at issue from an employer-employee relationship, and argued that there could be no liability as to Call & Jensen’s client for the vehicle accident. Even as the law distinguishing independent contractors and employees continues to evolve, the court granted Call & Jensen’s motion and dismissed the company from the lawsuit, delivering a victory to the firm’s client. The team consisted of John Egley, Jeffrey David, and paralegal Halai Hashimi.

JURY TRIAL VICTORY AGAINST MAJOR RETAILER

Call & Jensen attorneys, along with co-counsel Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, recently obtained a unanimous jury verdict against a major retailer for willful trademark infringement after a three-day jury trial. The long-awaited trial was necessary after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year reversed the District Court’s Order granting judgment in favor of the Call & Jensen’s client. The Fourth Circuit vacated the District Court’s $95.5 million judgment in favor of the Plaintiff and remanded the case back to the District Court for a jury trial. The three-day trial was limited to the question of trademark infringement, and whether the infringement was willful Now that a North Carolina federal jury has found willful trademark infringement, corroborating the findings of the original District Court order, the amount of damages will likely be determined at later proceedings. Scott Shaw of Call & Jensen represented Call & Jensen’s client, the Plaintiff, along with co-counsel Thad Adams, Alex Long, and Christy Trimmer of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick.

C&J Adds New Employment Practitioner

Call & Jensen is pleased to announce that it has added an employment litigator to its roster of trial and complex litigation attorneys. Morgan Podruski joins the firm from Kring & Chung, where her practice encompassed wage and hour class actions, advice and counsel, and wrongful termination litigation. She holds a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. Call & Jensen welcomes Morgan to the firm.

HONOR: C&J TOP 50 AND SUPER LAWYERS

Call & Jensen is pleased to congratulate its attorneys who were recognized by Southern California Super Lawyers in its 2017 lists of “Super Lawyers” published in Super Lawyers, Orange Coast, and Los Angeles Magazine. Two of the spots on the Top 50 OC Super Lawyers were held by Call & Jensen attorneys Mark Eisenhut and David Sugden. Overall, 8 Call & Jensen attorneys were named “Super Lawyers” in their respective areas of practice – designations awarded to no more than 2.5% of California attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Call & Jensen congratulates the following attorneys for their 2017 Super Lawyers selection: Todd Bouton, Wayne Call, Mark Eisenhut, Ryan McNamara, Matt Orr, Scott Shaw, David Sugden, and Julie Trotter.

Kerri Summers a Human Options Board Member

Call & Jensen is proud to announce that Kerri Summers, legal assistant, has been named as a member of the Board of Directors for Human Options, an Orange County-based nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence. Ms. Summers has volunteered with the organization since 2009.

Women in Law and Leadership Summit

On March 7, 2018, Call & Jensen shareholder Jacqueline Beaumont will be presenting at the Women in Law and Leadership Summit. The event is targeted towards creating a leadership community amongst women attorneys, by providing networking and learning opportunities on topics including career management, mentorship, gender equity, etc. Other speakers include senior in-house counsel and GCs from companies including Microsoft, T-Mobile, Intel, and Nike. Event details are available here.

C&J Attorneys Elected to Bar Leadership

Call & Jensen is proud to announce that several of its attorneys have been elected to local bar association leadership roles for 2018. Shirin Forootan was elected to the position of Secretary/Treasurer for the Orange County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section, an organization in which Call & Jensen’s employment law attorneys have regularly participated and been invited to speak. She will serve a three-year term, serving as Chair-Elect of the Section in 2019 and Chair in 2020. Jacqueline Beaumont was elected to the Board of Directors for the Orange County Women Lawyers Association, furthering Call & Jensen’s support and sponsorship of this important local bar association. The firm congratulates Mr. Forootan and Ms. Beaumont on their elections.

CLASS CERTIFICATION DEFEATED

Attorneys at Call & Jensen, in association with Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell, defeated class certification in an action which would have included tens of thousands of class members.  Call & Jensen’s client is a leading, world-wide name-brand manufacturer of mattresses and pillows.  After the denial of class certification, the trial team persuaded the district judge to divide the individual plaintiffs’ claims and transfer each plaintiff back to their home districts, leading to a favorable dismissal of all claims. The action was pending before the United States District Court in the Northern District of California.  Call & Jensen attorneys handling the case included Mark Eisenhut, Matthew Orr, and Samuel Brooks.

THREE-WEEK JURY TRIAL VICTORY: PRESTIGIOUS PRIVATE UNIVERSITY PREVAILS IN MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT LAWSUIT

Call & Jensen recently obtained a complete 12-0 defense trial verdict for its clients, a prestigious Southern California private university and one of its employees, following a three-week jury trial in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County. The lawsuit involved detailed claims of sexual harassment and discrimination, pregnancy harassment and discrimination, constructive discharge in violation of public policy, failure to prevent harassment and physical disability discrimination and unpaid overtime and missed meal and rest breaks. Although the plaintiff asked the jury to award more than $3 million in damages, the firm’s attorneys proved at trial that her claims were simply not credible.  Attorneys David R. Sugden, Marlynn P. Howe, and Melinda Evans obtained the vindicating victory for their clients.

PROACTIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLVING ARE KEYS TO AVOIDING COSTLY LITIGATION

Litigation in California is booming.

Litigation in California is booming. More companies are being hit with lawsuits and many companies are moving their headquarters out of California. Therefore, it makes sense to consider ways to avoid costly
litigation in California.

Attorneys working in-house for California companies are often juggling a variety of tasks and the nature of the work can become reactive. To the extent that in-house counsel can be proactive in identifying potential legal issues and working with the business to resolve those issues, the companies will be in better shape to avoid costly litigation. Of course, the difficulty lies in the details. It is sometimes unclear where to focus efforts on being proactive and how to solve potential problems. The tips below are a helpful guide for in-house counsel.

FOR THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.

FILING OF AMICUS BRIEF IN HIGHLY-WATCHED PAGA CASE

Call & Jensen attorneys Julie Trotter, Jamin Soderstrom, and Delavan Dickson recently served as counsel for three of the nation’s largest business associations in filing an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court: the Retail Litigation Center (representing the Retail Industry Leaders Association), the California Retailers Association, and the California Grocers Association. The case,Williams v. Superior Court (Marshalls), involves a dispute over the appropriate scope of discovery in an employee action brought under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), the trial court’s power to manage discovery, and the privacy rights of non-party employees. Arguing as counsel for Amici Curiae in support of Marshall’s, Call & Jensen urged the High Court to affirm the lower court and hold that trial courts possess substantial discretion to manage discovery in a PAGA action, including by phasing or sequencing discovery that involves other employees’ private information. The brief also highlighted abuses of the PAGA statute, emphasized the practical effect a reversal would have on California employers, and questioned the perverse incentives involved with “PAGA-only” cases. 

THE AMICUS BRIEF IS AVAILABLE HERE.

C&J Obtains Jury Verdict for Over $1M for Trade Secrets Misappropriation and Related Torts

In July of 2017, David Sugden and Scott Hatch helped Applied General Agency, Inc. (“AGA”) obtain a jury verdict of over a million dollars.  The jury found in AGA’s favor as against Greenleaf Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., Christopher Mulder, and Lucas Johnson for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Negligent Interference with Prospective Economic Relations, as well as against Lucas Johnson for Breach of his Duty of Loyalty to AGA.  The jury also found that Defendants’ misappropriation of trade secrets was willful and malicious which allows AGA to seek recovery of its attorneys’ fees.  The three-week trial capped a litigation that included Call & Jensen obtaining an order for forensic inspection of the Defendants’ computers due to their discovery abuses, as well as monetary, issue, and evidentiary sanctions.