Hon. Maria-Elena James (Ret.)

Profile

Hon. Maria-Elena James has served on the bench for a remarkable thirty years, first as a Civil and Family Law Commissioner with the San Francisco Superior Court, and later for twenty-four years as a United States Magistrate Judge with the Northern District of California.  She further served as the Chief Magistrate Judge of the Northern District for three years.  In 2010, she was honored with the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s “Federal Jurist of the Year” award.

Known for her professionalism and even-handed temperament, Judge James conducted thousands of settlement conferences as a Magistrate Judge and became highly regarded for her ability to settle disputes.  Previously, as a Family Law Commissioner, she had established a formal program of procedures for settlements.  Judge James also served as the Northern District’s ADR Magistrate Judge, where she was in charge of coordinating the alternative dispute resolution program with the Court.

JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE

  • United States Magistrate Judge, Northern District of California   1994-2018
    Chief Magistrate Judge, Northern District of California   2009-2012
    Alternative Dispute Resolution Magistrate Judge, Northern District of California
  • Superior Court Commissioner, San Francisco Superior Court   1988-1994
    Civil Discovery and Civil Law Motion Commissioner   1988-1989
    Family Law Commissioner   1989-1994

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

  • San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, Family and Child Services Department   1984-1988
    Deputy City Attorney
    Supervising Attorney
  • National Labor Relations Board, Staff Attorney   1983-1984
  • San Francisco Deputy Public Defender   1979-1983
  • San Francisco District Attorney’s Office   1978-1979
    Director of the San Francisco Small Claims Court Education Project
    Consumer Fraud Unit

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Civil Rights/Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Securities/Commodities

EDUCATION

  • University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D.   1978
  • University of California, Irvine School of Social Ecology, B.A.   1975

Representative Cases

ADA & Disability Access

  • Plaintiff and family appealed an administrative decision (deemed to be denying plaintiff an education in American Sign Language), alleging disability discrimination and violation of Plaintiff’s right to public education under 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400, et seq., 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., and 29 U.S.C. §§ 794, et seq. Settled.
  • Plaintiffs (student and student’s family) brought action against defendants for breaching settlement agreement by failing/refusing to provide agreed-upon services and reimbursements to plaintiffs, under 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400, et seq., and 1415, 29 U.S.C. § 794, et seq., 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-02.
  • Plaintiff sued his university for failing to (timely) accommodate his vision disability, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51-52, and 29 U.S.C. § 794.
  • Plaintiffs, a mother and her dependent children, sued defendants after their alleged failure to accommodate her disability led to her family becoming homeless, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 3604, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Civ. Code § 51, and Cal. Gov. Code § 11135. Settled.
  • Defendants (public housing authorities and their employees) allegedly refused to accommodate plaintiff renter’s disability, and failed to provide safe and habitable housing, which led to pest infestations and plaintiff’s catching a disease, so plaintiff filed suit under 18 U.S.C. § 1961, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1345, 1367, and 1441, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (Fair Housing Act), 3612, 3614, 3617, 12101, et seq. (Americans with Disabilities Act), and 12203 (Title V of the Civil Rights Act).
  • Public facility purported to be accessible, wheelchair-bound plaintiff denied access due to wheelchair lift seemingly never being repaired, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., Cal. Gov. Code §§ 4450, et seq., and 11135, Cal. Code Regs. tit. 24-2, and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51, 52, 54, 54.1, 54.3, and 55.
  • Plaintiff sued employer over termination of long-term disability plan benefits, brought under 28 U.S.C. § 1132.
  • Disabled persons filed suit against various city officials, alleging that many city facilities, programs, and services were not accessible to persons with disabilities, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. (ADA), 29 U.S.C. § 794 (Rehabilitation Act of 1973), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 5, et seq., and 54, et seq., Cal. Gov. Code §§ 11135, et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

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Civil Rights

  • Plaintiff sued her former university for failing to investigate ongoing sexual harassment by her professor, under 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983. Settled.
  • Plaintiff, a minor, sued school district under Title IX for sexual harassment and deliberate indifference after allegedly being sexually assaulted on school grounds by someone the district knew had a history of committing assaults. (Sexual Harassment). Settled.
  • After a high school athlete was hazed and sexually assaulted, and school officials/teachers did nothing to prevent future occurrences (there was an ongoing problem at the school), the student and his family brought suit (against school officials and teachers, and the school district and its officials) under 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-88, Cal. Civ. Code § 1714.1, Cal. Penal Code § 245.6, Cal. Gov. Code § 815.2(a), Cal. Educ. Code §§ 32261, 44807, and 48200, and Cal. Code Regs. §§ 5530-31 and 5550-51. (Education). Settled.
  • Child allegedly unlawfully removed from lawful guardian’s care for prolonged period after his mother, a recovering addict, made false abuse allegations; guardian filed suit for damages. (Child Custody)
  • Muslim airline passenger, mistakenly on the no-fly list, was questioned, searched, arrested, and refused her medication, and later filed suit against various government and law enforcement entities and officials for discrimination and violation of her civil rights, action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 52.1 and 52.3, and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Discrimination/Wrongful Search and Arrest)
  • Woman filed suit against realty company after a realtor’s misrepresentation led to her not being able to apply for housing, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (Fair Housing Act). Settled.
  • Former prisoner, displeased with the allegedly negligent post-operative care he received while in custody and the deliberate indifference demonstrated by prison officers during his transports to medical facilities, filed suit (under the Eighth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (the ADA) against the prison and various personnel. Settled.
  • Prisoner brought suit, alleging deliberate indifference under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against various prison staff after they allegedly forced injured plaintiff to move to an upper level bunk bed for five months, resulting in him being further injured and requiring surgery, and repeatedly refused him medical treatment. Settled.
  • Multiple suits by prisoners who were allegedly wrongfully placed in administrative segregation, mistreated, and/or were denied medical treatment or basic necessities, actions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
  • Forfeiture action, brought under 21 U.S.C. § 881 by the federal government, after a traffic stop led to the discovery of a substantial amount of stashed currency, which had allegedly been used in narcotics transfers. Settled.
  • Suit brought against the government by woman alleging the government, in coordination with a hospital, put a tracking device on her and had been monitoring her for decades, action brought under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting files on the surveillance.
  • Action brought (under various amendments of the United States Constitution) against the city, various government officials, and a government agency, after disabled plaintiff (a veteran) was allegedly battered and falsely arrested and imprisoned by police.
  • Plaintiff, a San Francisco Institutional Police Sergeant, brought action, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, and various state laws, against defendants for plaintiff’s alleged wrongful arrest and detention, defendants’ use of excessive force, and the resulting injury to plaintiff.
  • Plaintiffs filed suits against law enforcement defendants for their alleged wrongful arrests and detentions, defendants’ uses of excessive force and unlawful detention tactics, and for the resulting injuries to plaintiffs, under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and various state laws. (Unlawful Arrest and Detention). Settled.
  • Plaintiffs filed suits after police’s allegedly wrongful searches and seizures and uses of excessive force injured plaintiffs, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, Cal. Const. art. I, and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1. (Wrongful Search and Seizure, Excessive Force)
  • Plaintiffs sued defendant officers for sustained personal injuries, emotional distress, and violations of various protected rights, which resulted from one defendant’s alleged unwarranted use of force and threats, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1. (Police Misconduct/Violence). Settled.
  • Plaintiffs sued defendant officers for their alleged false arrest, ¬¬¬unreasonable detention without medical attention, and malicious prosecution, and defendants’ use of excessive force, which resulted in injury to plaintiffs requiring hospitalization, actions brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. (False Arrest/Excessive Force)
  • After multiple allegedly false and race-based arrests by the same officer, plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and various federal and state constitutional amendments. (Wrongful and Racially-Based Arrests)
  • Plaintiff’s complaints to police department regarding harassment, uses of excessive force, and his false detention went unaddressed, so plaintiff filed suit for these and other wrongs under 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1985, and 14141, and various constitutional amendments. (Harassment, Excessive Force, Wrongful Detention)
  • Plaintiff filed suit for his false detention, false arrest, and malicious prosecution, after which he lost his job and suffered severe emotional distress, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, and various federal and state constitutional amendments. (False Detention/Arrest, Malicious Prosecution)
  • Plaintiff and his guardian brought suit, under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and various California laws, against defendant public transit authority for failure to properly supervise and train defendant employee (sued individually and as an employee of defendant), who wrongfully detained, unlawful searched and seized, battered, and used unreasonable force against minor plaintiff. (Wrongful Search and Seizure, Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Formerly incarcerated plaintiff brought suit after prison personnel allegedly threatened and coerced plaintiff into admitting to an infraction, and beat plaintiff, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. (Officer Misconduct/Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Defendants police officers allegedly abused and battered plaintiffs, and others did not intervene, so plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Officer Misconduct/Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Plaintiff renter brought suit (under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) against his landlords and various police officers after a landlord-tenant dispute (over unpaid rent) resulted in plaintiff’s arrest and jailing for trespassing onto the property he was renting. (Wrongful Arrest). Settled.
  • Defendant police officers allegedly used excessive force against plaintiffs during their arrests (one for violating a restraining order, others for new offenses), and plaintiffs filed suit under the Fourth Amendment and Cal. Gov. Code §§ 820(a), 820.8, and 815.2. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Plaintiff brought suit, under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, against police department, various officers, the city, and a taser manufacturer for the severe emotional distress she and her minor son suffered as a result of witnessing the officers’ alleged use of excessive force that resulted in her husband’s death. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • After high school allegedly failed to take action against racist students harassing plaintiff, he and his family filed suit (against the school district, the superintendent, and school administrators) under 42 U.S.C. § 2000d and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Equal Protection). Settled.
  • Following a verbal altercation with a festival booth employee, plaintiff was unlawfully arrested and injured by police, and brought suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. (Unlawful Arrest/Excessive Force). Settled.
  • After a dementia-ridden man was allegedly wrongfully detained and then jailed for an extended period, without access to his medication, released without the family being informed, and left to wander the streets until a car struck and killed him, his estranged daughter brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983/wrongful death action against the county. (Violation of Rights/Wrongful Death). Settled.
  • After defendant police officers pursued plaintiff, defendant canine officer repeatedly bit and dragged plaintiff, who sustained multiple flesh injuries while the human officers failed to intervene, and plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Police, claiming self-defense, shot and killed a man they were to evaluate and transport for psychiatric treatment, so his sister brought a wrongful death suit, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, against the city and the police officers involved. (Violation of Rights/Wrongful Death). Settled.
  • Police, answering a noise complaint, allegedly unlawful entered, unreasonably searched and seized, used excessive force, and unlawfully arrested renters involved in a rental dispute, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1. (Unlawful Search and Seizure/Arrest)
  • Chaos erupted after police responded to a mother’s call to assist in calming down her mentally ill minor child, and police handcuffed and allegedly injured the mother and her children while attempting to control and investigate the situation, so the family filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Police officers allegedly battered and arrested a well-known personal trainer after he tried to intervene in their investigation and handling of another matter, so the trainer filed suit against the city and county, and the officers involved, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Civil Rights Violations)
  • Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 after police officers allegedly obtained a warrant based on misinformation, searched plaintiff’s home, seized legal prescription medication and money, unlawfully arrested plaintiff and his son, falsified police reports, and later re-arrested plaintiff as retaliation for filing a claim with the city. (Unlawful Search, Seizure, and Arrest). Settled.
  • After one plaintiff was allegedly battered and unlawfully arrested by police (with the help of a private citizen), and another, who had been taking photographs (which went missing) of the incident, allegedly experienced similar treatment for “obstructing” the investigation, both plaintiffs filed suit against the city, officers, and the private citizen for battery, false imprisonment and arrest, and conspiracy, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1 (the Bane Act), and the California Constitution. (Police Misconduct) Settled.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against a city and a corporation for their alleged conspiracy and pattern of harassment and imposing excessive fines on him for zoning and blight ordinance violations, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985(3), and various constitutional amendments. (Harassment/Excessive Fines)
  • Following a car accident between police officers and a civilian, officers (those involved in the accident, and those that responded) offered the civilian medical care, which she declined, but she felt officers should have provided her with medical care regardless of her answer, so she filed a state negligence and federal due process suit against the municipality and all the officers.
  • After plaintiff’s partner got into a disagreement with another person at a party, plaintiff called the police, who took plaintiff and partner into custody, allegedly battered plaintiff using excessive force, and charged both with violating a domestic violence penal code section (charges later dropped), so plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Gov. Code §§ 815.2 and 820(a), Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, and amendments of the United States Constitution. (Excessive Force, Unlawful Detention)
  • Police came upon plaintiff loudly arguing with her mother and took plaintiff into custody, using tight handcuffs, which resulted in plaintiff seeking medical attention for a hand/wrist injury, and plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Gov. Code §§ 815.2 and 820(a), Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Excessive Force)
  • Officer used deadly force against allegedly unresisting and unarmed plaintiff, resulting in plaintiff becoming paraplegic, so plaintiff filed suit (against the city and the officer) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Settled.
  • After plaintiff protested his sister’s mistreatment by a police officer, the officer allegedly battered and arrested plaintiff, who later brought suit (under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) against the city and the officer. Settled.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against city and law enforcement officers after the officers searched, arrested, and allegedly tortured plaintiff for a traffic infraction, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Unlawful Search and Arrest)
  • Officer investigating in neighborhood came upon plaintiff, about to clear broken glass (allegedly unrelated to the ongoing investigation) in front of his driveway, and harassed and arrested plaintiff for obstructing justice, plaintiff brought suit against the county and arresting officer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Unlawful Arrest)
  • Multiple suits brought against law enforcement (departments and/or officers) for civil rights violations—including, but not limited to, unlawful searches and/or seizures, uses of excessive force, wrongful arrests, battery, harassment, use of threats/coercion—committed against the plaintiffs by various officers. (Law Enforcement-Related Violations)
  • Plaintiff, photographing and videoing a stranger’s arrest, was beaten by police officers and arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest (charges dropped), so he filed suit (against the city and the offending officers) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Transit officers unlawfully detained and injured plaintiff, who brought suit (against the officers and the transit entity) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and the California Constitution.
  • Allegedly unarmed and not resisting man shot multiple times by police officer he claims was mentally unstable, man filed suit, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, against the county and various police officers. Settled.
  • Suits, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against sheriff’s offices and deputies after the deputies followed plaintiffs and held guns to the unarmed and not-resisting plaintiffs’ heads. Settled.
  • Plaintiff investigated and discovered alleged housing discrimination based on familial status, and, in seeking to recover for its efforts to end the practice, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (Fair Housing Act) and Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12927 and 12955, et seq. (California Fair Employment and Housing Act). Settled.
  • Plaintiff inquired about rental property owned by defendant, who allegedly told plaintiff that plaintiff’s family of seven was too large for defendant’s house to accommodate, and plaintiff brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a), (c) (Fair Housing Act) and Cal. Gov Code §§ 12955, et seq. (California Fair Employment and Housing Act), alleging discrimination based on the size of her family. Settled.
  • After landlord filed eviction suit against a mentally disabled tenant who began causing disturbances in the apartment complex (due to his temporarily discontinuing his antipsychotic medication, which he could not afford for a time), the tenant filed a housing discrimination suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12960, et seq. (FEHA), and various sections of Ch. 37 of the SF Admin. Code (SF’s Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance). Settled.

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Commercial Contract, General Business

  • Plaintiff seeking enforcement of Affidavit of Support to obtain contracted-for financial support from ex-spouse, brought suit under 8 U.S.C. §§ 1182(a)(4)(C) and 1183(a).
  • Actions to recover contracted-for payment for services/products rendered. Settled.
  • Law firm filed suit against clients for unpaid legal fees of almost $100,000. Settled.
  • One investigation company poached the contract, processes, and employees of another, resulting in many of the second company’s employees violating their non-compete clauses, so the second company filed suit against the first and the breaching employees in question for interference with perspective economic advantage, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets (among others), brought under common law, Cal. Civ. Code § 3426, and various other California laws.
  • After company acquired and renamed, former company head ensured his allegedly-promised retirement and other permanent benefits would continue, but the company later terminated the benefits, so the former company head sued the company for breach of contract and elder financial abuse (among others) under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30. Settled.
  • Artist previously sold partial interest in her recordings to recording companies, which later claimed complete ownership, so the artist’s estate brought suit for breach of contract. Settled.
  • Suit by landlord against tenant movie theatre and owner after the theatre and owner abandoned the property and stopped paying rent, in violation of the lease agreement. Settled.
  • Real estate renovator sued bank, lending institutions, and renovation partner, alleging Civil Rico violations and accusing defendants of fraudulently misrepresenting and inducing his purchase of one property and the mortgaging of his other properties, for which defendants received fees, costs, and profits; action brought under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1639, et seq. (Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act) and 1681 (Fair Credit Reporting Act), 15 U.S.C. § 1605 and Regulation Z § 226.4 (Federal Truth-in-Lending Act), 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601, et seq. (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act), and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq.
  • Plaintiff sued for repayment of $345,000 loaned to but unlawfully kept by defendants. Settled.
  • Trustee of an elderly woman’s trust filed suit against a bank, alleging fraud, deceit, and breach of fiduciary duty because the bank allegedly improperly advised the woman on investing and unduly influenced her to make unwise investments (given her age), action brought under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15600, et seq. (California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act) and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq. (California Unfair Competition Law). Settled.
  • Lawsuit by televised sports-event licensing distributor against bar owners, claiming the bar showed patrons a boxing event they did not have the commercial rights to show. Settled.
  • Winemaker sued distribution company and its owner for repeatedly refusing to pay winemaker the money collected on its behalf, which the company and its owner spent instead.
  • Trustee of a bankruptcy estate brought suit against the recipients of fraudulent transfers/revocable preferences made in violation of Cal. Civ. Code § 3439.04 and 11 U.S.C. §§ 544, 547, and 548.

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Consumer Cases

  • Plaintiff sued debt collection firms for harassment and engaging in unlawful debt collection practices, which resulted in physical and psychological harm to plaintiff, action brought under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq., and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1788, et seq. (Unlawful Debt Collection Practices). Settled.
  • A software programming error resulted in the accidental release of Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) credit requirement information onto the wrong group of users’ accounts, and though the error was corrected upon discovery and no negative impact befell the users (actual injury is required in this kind of case), the users nevertheless filed a class action lawsuit under Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1785.1, et seq. (California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act), alleging continuing reckless treatment of sensitive OFAC information and disregard of the applicable law by the defendants. (Credit Reporting)
  • Suits brought under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, et seq. (Fair Credit Reporting Act), against credit unions and consumer reporting agencies for the unlimited and impermissible release of consumer credit data to data collection groups not permitted to have such data. (Consumer Credit). Settled.
  • Action against credit reporting agencies for failure to investigate identity theft and contested credit information, and for use of unlawful debt collection practices, brought under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, et seq. (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and 1692, et seq. (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and various state laws, including Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.92. (Credit Reporting/Unlawful Debt Collection Practices). Settled.
  • After being constantly barraged by “abusive and intrusive” phone calls, plaintiff sued a national consumer debt buyer for abuses under both the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.) and California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17). Settled.
  • Action brought, under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601 (Truth in Lending Act) and 1681 (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and CCP § 425.10 (seeking an accounting), against bank and lending service for failure to properly provide and report loans and engaging in harassing debt collection practices. Settled.

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Employment

  • Suits against pharmaceutical companies by former employees wrongfully terminated after being subjected to hostile work environments, discrimination, and retaliation. Settled.
  • Plaintiff sued former employer, alleging that discrimination (based on race, age, sex, and/or (perceived) disability) led to plaintiff’s wrongful termination, under Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12900, et seq., 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e and 2101, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq., and Cal. Labor Code §§ 200, et seq. Settled.
  • Plaintiffs filed suits against their former employers for alleged retaliatory and discriminatory termination, based on 42 U.S.C. § 2000e5(f) and 42 U.S.C. § 1987a.
  • Plaintiff sued for wrongful suspension and termination, alleged harassment and retaliation she experienced during her employment, failure to accommodate her work-related physical disability, and psychological harm caused by the disability, age, and race discrimination she experienced, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 12101, et seq., Cal. Gov. Code § 12940, and 29 U.S.C. §§ 701, et seq. Settled.
  • Plaintiffs suffered alleged (race-based) employment retaliation after filing claims against their current and former employers, brought suits under Cal. Gov. Code § 12900, et seq., and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 2000e. Settled.
  • After exhausting her administrative remedies, plaintiff filed suit for wrongful termination, allegedly based on her physical disability (carpal tunnel), and failure to reasonably accommodate her disability, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., and Cal. Gov. Code § 12940. Settled.
  • Class actions against employers for unlawful labor and business practices (including failure to pay wages timely and/or overtime wages, provide accurate itemized wage statements, and failure to provide meal and rest breaks), brought under Cal. Labor Code §§ 201, et seq., 226, 226.7, 512, and 1194, and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq. Settled.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer for employment discrimination and retaliation, gender discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract and of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and failure to pay bonuses, commissions, and overtime compensation. Brought under Cal. Labor Code §§ 98.6, 201, 203, 218.5, 226(a), 510, 558, 1102.5, and 1194, Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12900, et seq. (Fair Employment and Housing Act), and 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. (Fair Labor Standards Act). Settled.
  • During his employment, plaintiff was allegedly subjected to a hostile work environment and harsh language/threats from the company’s owner, so he filed suit against his former employer and the owner of the company, alleging wrongful termination, violation of whistleblower protection, defamation, and other unlawful employment practices. Action brought under 8 Cal. Code Regs. § 11050(12), Cal. Labor Code §§ 226(e), 1102.5, and 1174(d), and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 46, 201, 203, 218, 226.7, and 512(a). Settled.
  • Plaintiffs filed suit, alleging their employers subjected them to racially and/or religiously-based harassment and discrimination. Settled.
  • Plaintiff sued former employer and colleagues, alleging whistleblower retaliation, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Settled.
  • Plaintiff sued former employer (under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA, Cal. Gov. Code §12940), and 42 U.S.C. §1981) for alleged harassment and race, age, and disability discrimination (for direct discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination), creating a hostile work environment, and retaliatory termination, etc. Settled.
  • Race discrimination lawsuit brought by former employee, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging that, after a patient refused treatment and died, defendant hospice center not only terminated plaintiff nurse’s employment, it also failed to defend plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the patient’s family and filed suit itself against its former employee. Settled.
  • Terminated for underperforming and causing problems, plaintiff filed suit against her former employer for age, disability, and race discrimination, and for retaliatory termination (she had an ongoing workers’ compensation case), under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 12101, et seq. (ADA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq. (ADEA), and Cal. Gov. Code § 12940 (FEHA). Settled.
  • Plaintiffs filed suit against former employers, alleging failure to accommodate their disabilities, and, for many, retaliatory termination. Settled.
  • A temp worker was let go from her assigned workplace (because she was allegedly difficult to work with), so she filed EEOC charges (dismissed), and a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging gender discrimination, claiming she was let go because she had had a relationship with a male supervisor, who was kept on by the company.
  • After plaintiff was injured on the job, defendant employer allegedly created a hostile work environment, delayed plaintiff’s necessary surgery, and refused/failed to accommodate him (allegedly in retaliation for his filing a workers’ compensation claim) in violation of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • After allegedly well-performing employee was subjected to disparate treatment by her employer (on account of her race), she filed grievances and EEOC charges and was subsequently terminated, so she filed suit against her employer for discriminatory and retaliatory termination, and against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for unlawful discrimination (as it failed to conduct a hearing).
  • Employee complained of hostile work environment (she endured harassment and race discrimination) and was subsequently terminated, so she filed suit, under 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), against her former employer. Settled.
  • Female prison officers filed an employment discrimination suit, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e and Cal. Penal Code § 4021, against the city and county after allegedly receiving gender-based work assignments that endangered their safety. Settled.
  • Plaintiff, working two jobs for a state-run developmental center for disabled individuals, reported patient abuse and gross negligence by physicians and was subsequently fired from one job and made to endure a hostile work environment at the other, so he filed suit against the officials and physicians of his employer, action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. §§ 133, 1343, and 1367, and the California Constitution. Settled.
  • Employer made continued employment conditional on adopting its religious affiliation, but plaintiffs (married couple) refused and were subsequently fired, so plaintiffs filed employment discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit under FEHA. Settled.
  • Plaintiff allegedly made a complaint to her government employer about her supervisor (for sexual harassment and retaliation), and employer subsequently constructively discharged her and investigated her for having a relationship with her harasser, so she sued her former employer for gender and race discrimination, action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 200e-5(g).
  • Plaintiff disabled employee filed EEOC claims after his new supervisor, upon discovery of plaintiff’s race and national origin, allegedly created a hostile work environment and discriminated against plaintiff (removed him from projects, demoted him in favor of younger coworkers, and falsified performance review documents), and plaintiff’s employment was later terminated (plaintiff claims retaliatory termination, employer claims plaintiff was simply let go during company-wide layoffs), so plaintiff filed suit against his former employer under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-17, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-34, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112-17.
  • Disabled plaintiff was terminated on her first day of work, so a federal government agency filed suit against her former employer, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981(a), 2000e-5(f)(1), (3), and 12112(a). Settled.
  • Coffee company discovered barista’s religious social media postings and, deeming the postings threats against the company, fired the barista, who filed an employment discrimination suit (based on religion) against the company under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e.
  • Barista filed suit against her employer, alleging that she faced (reverse) sexual orientation discrimination and was subjected to a hostile work environment (she was harassed due to her sexuality), action brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Cal. Gov. Code § 12940, Cal. Labor Code § 5401 (and various unspecified sections), and Cal. Civ. Code § 45.
  • Former employees filed wrongful termination suits against former employers (often the government), alleging age, race, and disability discrimination, a hostile work environment, and/or that the employers refused to provide reasonable accommodation for the employees’ disabilities, brought under 29 U.S.C. §§ 791 (Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 630, et seq. (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-16, et seq., 5 U.S.C. §§ 1201, et seq. (Civil Service Reform Act), and/or 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, et seq. Settled.
  • Employee, terminated for violating company policy, brought a wrongful termination suit under Cal. Labor Code § 6310, Cal. Civ. Code § 3294, and Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12940, et seq., alleging he was actually fired for complaining of employer’s safety violations. Settled.
  • Suit by employee facing gender and disability discrimination and whistleblower retaliation after reporting health and food safety violations to employer, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000(e), et seq., 29 U.S.C. §§ 791-794d, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601, et seq., and 5 U.S.C. §§ 1221, et seq. Settled.
  • Suit by employee facing gender and disability discrimination and whistleblower retaliation after reporting health and food safety violations to employer, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000(e), et seq., 29 U.S.C. §§ 791-94d, and 2601, et seq., and 5 U.S.C. §§ 1221, et seq. Settled.
  • Suit against pharmaceutical company by former employee who was wrongfully terminated after being subjected to a hostile work environment, discrimination, and retaliation. Settled.
  • Employee disciplined and eventual terminated after engaging in union activities during work hours. Plaintiff’s employee and labor union sued, alleging employee was fired due to his association with the labor union and his activities on their behalf. Settled.
  • Plaintiff reported co-worker misconduct (against customers) to her employer, but instead of taking action against the coworkers, employer allegedly retaliated against plaintiff and eventually terminated her employment, so plaintiff filed a retaliation and wrongful termination suit under 18 U.S.C. § 1514A (Sarbanes-Oxley), 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6 (Dodd-Frank), and Cal. Labor Code § 1102. Settled.
  • Plaintiff’s employment terminated after his narcolepsy diagnosis led to him taking multiple medical leaves (for which he allegedly provided his employer with proper documentation) to work with doctors to manage his condition, plaintiff filed suit for discrimination-based wrongful termination and failure to inquire about/provide accommodations, under 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213 and Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12940, et seq. Settled.
  • Disabled plaintiff brought suit, alleging he was denied a promotion to police sergeant, and the right to contest the denial, as retaliation for statements he previously made during his employment; action brought under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, the ADA, and 29 U.S.C. § 794 (Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973). Settled.
  • Plaintiff, a patent attorney, filed an action for disability discrimination against defendant company, alleging failure to provide reasonable accommodation and failure to engage in the interactive process, based on the company’s revocation of its offer to employ plaintiff after he failed to report timely to work for his first day on the job as counsel for defendants. Brought under the ADA, 42 U.S.C § 12112(a) (FEHA), and Cal Gov. Code § 12940(a). Settled.
  • Plaintiff brought class action suit against employer for breach of contract and violating labor laws (through failing to provide breaks, pay (hourly) wages, etc.), under Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq., and Lab. Code §§ 201, et seq., 223, 226(a), 226.7, 510, 512, 1194, 1194.2, 1197, 1997.1, and 1198.
  • After filing EEOC claims against, and subsequently being terminated by, mail delivery service, plaintiff filed suit against former employer for alleged race, sex, disability, and age discrimination, and for alleged retaliatory termination, violations of 29 U.S.C. §§ 791, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8), and 29 CFR §§ 1630.9, 1630.12, and 1630.14. Settled.
  • Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against their employer for improperly calculating their regular and overtime wages, action brought under 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. (the Fair Labor Standards Act). Settled.
  • Construction worker filed suit, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Cal. Lab. Code §§ 1194, 1194.2, and 1771-74, California Unfair Trade Practices Act, and California Bus. and Prof. Code § 17203, against employer for failure to pay overtime, regular minimum and overtime prevailing wage, and contracting with insufficient funds. Settled.
  • Employment discrimination and wrongful termination suit brought against employer that allegedly failed to accommodate and fired plaintiff because of his disability, age, and taking medical leave, action brought under Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12940 and 12945.2, 29 U.S.C. § 2615, and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq. (Family Medical Leave Act)
  • Class action brought against employer allegedly engaged in unlawful employment practice of purposefully misclassifying employment status so as to pay lower wages and no overtime, thereby failing to comply with state labor laws; action brought under Cal. Labor Code §§ 200, et seq., 226.8, 510, 1194, 1198, 2753, and 2802, Cal. Code Regs. § 11090, and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq.
  • Postal worker filed a fair labor standards action, asking that the union represent member and non-member interests equally, action brought under 29 U.S.C. § 151-69. Settled.

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Environmental

  • After Defendant railroad company allegedly unlawfully discharged pollutants from their industrial operations, plaintiff filed suit (against the railroad company and the controlling state agency) under the citizen enforcement provisions of the Clean Water Act. Settled.
  • Defendants’ construction site released polluted storm water, contaminating clean water, in violation of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §§ 1311, 1342, and 1365), and plaintiffs brought suit under citizen suit enforcement provisions of the Acts. Settled.
  • Nonprofit environmental and public health organizations filed suit after a city and its contractors’ alleged mismanagement, neglect, and other negligent conduct resulted in pollutants spilling into the ocean, in violation of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §§ 1251, et seq., and 1365(b)(1)(A)).
  • Nonprofit sought review of agency’s statutorily-required action plan regarding overfishing, brought suit under 5 U.S.C. §§ 551, et seq. (Administrative Procedure Act), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1801, et seq. (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq. (National Environmental Policy Act).

ERISA

  • Plaintiff sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to recover unpaid delinquent contributions that were found in defendant's payroll records. Settled.
  • After an audit allegedly revealed that defendants failed to make required contributions to employment benefit trust funds, plaintiff filed suit under 29 U.S.C. §§ 185 and 1132, demanding just under $39 million. (ERISA)
  • Plaintiffs union and related trusts filed suit against an employer for potential breach of contract and fiduciary duty, requesting an audit to determine whether defendants failed (as plaintiffs suspected) to make contracted-for contributions to employee retirement plans, brought under 29 U.S.C. §§ 185 (Labor Management Relations Act), and 1001, et seq. (ERISA).

Insurance

  • Plaintiff insurance company requesting contribution/reimbursement from defendant insurance company for costs incurred in defending and paying out settlements on behalf of various third-parties (insured by defendant, but defendant denied coverage) in state superior court actions. Settled.
  • Employer, which contracted with a company to provide life insurance for its employees, terminated contract with insurance company less than one month before an employee died, employee’s widow brought suit to collect the $750,000.00 of life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance benefits.
  • Car crashed into the front insured homeowners’ house, rendering it uninhabitable, and insurance company reduced the contracted-for amount it would pay out, so homeowners filed suit. Settled.
  • Insured filed suit, under 42 U.S.C. §§ 4100, et seq. (Federal Flood Insurance Program), against insurance company that breached their flood insurance contract by refusing to provide contracted-for benefits.
  • Insurance company improperly withheld benefits from a city employee (benefits as part of employment contract), who filed suit against the company.

Intellectual Property

  • Plaintiffs alleged defendant infringed their patent for their integrated medical database and emergency medical services management and reporting system, brought suit under 35 U.S.C. §§ 271 and 281. (Patent)
  • Defendant allegedly violated plaintiffs’ trademarks by using a product name confusingly similar to that of plaintiff in order to create the false impression of association between itself and plaintiffs, and plaintiffs brought suit under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114(1) and 1125, and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 and 17500. (Trademark)
  • Artist brought suit against defendant for purposefully infringing plaintiff’s copyright through reproducing and selling a deceptively similar copy of plaintiff’s painting and using plaintiff’s name in connection with the sale, both without plaintiff’s consent, action brought under 17 U.S.C. §§ 106A and 501, et seq., 15 U.S.C. §§ 1117(a) and 1125(a), Cal. Civ. Code § 3344, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq., and other state statutory and common law. (Copyright). Settled.
  • Defendant sold a product with a part that embodied the design covered by plaintiff’s patent, and did not desist upon notice of infringement, so plaintiff brought suit under 35 U.S.C. §§ 1, et seq. (Patent). Settled.
  • Competitor defendant allegedly used plaintiff’s trademarks without plaintiff’s consent and created the appearance of an affiliation with plaintiff in order to interfere with plaintiff’s licensing agreements with third-parties, and plaintiff brought action under 15 U.S.C. § 1114 and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. (Trademark). Settled.
  • Defendant allegedly stole plaintiff’s wine labels, sold wine using/bearing plaintiff’s copyrighted brand name and wine label, applied to trademark the brand name, and transferred the brand name and its goodwill to third-parties, all without plaintiff’s knowledge or consent, plaintiff brought action under 17 U.S.C. § 106 and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq. (Copyright)
  • Defendant created an advertising service that encompassed services identical to those of plaintiff, and gave their service a similar name so as to create confusion among consumers, so plaintiff brought suit under California common law and 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114, 1125(a), and 1125(c)-(d). (Trademark)
  • Plaintiff filed suit after defendant company repeatedly obtained, copied, and used plaintiff’s software without permission, and “cracked” the software instead of obtaining a license, in violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 501 and 1201. (Copyright)
  • Plaintiff company, the maker of wireless portable cameras, sued another company for patent infringement (brought under 35 U.S.C. § 271), as two of the defendant company’s products used together creates the equivalent of plaintiff’s product, and therefore infringes on plaintiff’s patents. (Patent)
  • Defendant company sold wallets under another company’s trademarked name, infringing on plaintiff company’s trademark and profiting from the confusion it created, so plaintiff filed suit under 15 U.S.C. § 1114. (Trademark). Settled.
  • One scanner company filed suit against another, believing the defendant company’s patent (for a mobile scanner with only minimum components to operate) was too broad, encompassing other scanners as well, and should therefore be invalidated. (Patent)
  • Well-known food and wine brand sued hair care company for trademark infringement and dilution and unfair competition after the company allegedly began emphasizing the part of its name shared with the brand, in hopes of benefitting from false association with the brand, action brought under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114 and 1125, and Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. (Trademark)
  • Small gaming company allegedly created games incorporating elements of plaintiff’s copyrighted and trademarked works, so plaintiff filed suit under 17 U.S.C. § 501 and 15 U.S.C.§§ 1052(d), 1114, 1119, and 1125(a). (Copyright and Trademark). Settled.

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Personal Injury

  • Employee of a loading/unloading company injured, sued owner of the vessel being loaded/unloaded for negligently maintaining/controlling the vessel’s equipment and cargo, the condition of which led to plaintiff’s severe personal injuries and damages. Settled.
  • Plaintiff employee was injured on the job due to defendant’s alleged negligence and failure to maintain a safe workplace, brought suit under 46 U.S.C. §§ 30104, 30901, et seq., and 31101, et seq. Settled.
  • Plaintiff sued airline for negligence, claiming substantial injury when flight attendant dropped another passenger's personal computer, striking plaintiff on the head, while attempting to store the computer in an overhead bin. Settled.
  • Passengers were injured during the emergency evacuation of an airplane, as they were forced to jump onto the runway from the wing of the plane with no assistance from flight crew or ramps/stairs/etc., so plaintiffs brought suit against the airline under 14 C.F.R. §§ 91.7 and 91.13. Settled.
  • Unaccompanied minor sexually assaulted during flight, minor and parent sued the airline for negligence and breach of contract, and the assailant for sexual battery (under Cal. Civ. Code § 1708.5). Settled.
  • Following a fatal car accident, the deceased’s parents brought a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit (under 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution) against the treating hospital for failure to diagnose and properly treat their son’s emergency medical conditions and for unnecessarily transporting him to a different hospital before he was stabilized (allegedly done for discriminatory reasons), and against a highway safety agency for inefficiently transporting their son (which the agency allegedly tried to cover up after the fact), leading to his death. Settled.
  • Plaintiff went to the emergency room complaining of severe stomach pains, but the doctors refused to perform standard testing, so plaintiff’s hernia went undiagnosed, resulting in his eventually needing several costly emergency surgeries, and plaintiff filed a personal injury and medical practice lawsuit. Settled.
  • Plaintiff brought suit under Cal. Civ. Code § 1708.85 and Cal. Penal Code § 528.5, seeking damages for emotional distress and harm to her career after her abusive ex-husband posted (her full name and) intimate photographs of her online without her knowledge or consent, and showed them to her family, friends, and coworkers.
  • Defective drug and alcohol testing program for registered medical professionals who have an admitted history of addiction, as even minimal exposure to standard hospital sanitation products results in a positive test, so plaintiffs medical professionals, plagued by false positives and forced on leave and into treatment programs, filed suits against the program’s creator and a state medical professional board. Settled.
  • Personal injury action brought against a bar and its employee after the employee battered and/or threatened to batter multiple patrons. Settled.
  • Wrongful death action by daughter of deceased disabled man, brought against the federal government for negligence of postal service employee acting in the scope of employment, under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) and 2674.

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Real Property

  • Plaintiff commercial tenant sought a declaratory judgment (that plaintiff timely/properly exercised its option to extend lease term and defendant is obligated to enter into good faith negotiations with plaintiff) and a preliminary injunction to prevent defendant from removing plaintiff and leasing the space to a new tenant during the course of this action. Settled.
  • Defendants alleged to have severely mishandled plaintiffs’ mortgage loans, withheld plaintiffs’ insurance proceeds, and orchestrated a foreclosure after refusing to accept plaintiff’s mortgage payments, and plaintiffs brought suit under California Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq., and Civil Code §§ 1511-12, and 2954. Settled.
  • Various actions by (former) homeowners allegedly defrauded of their homes and other real property by banks and other lending institutions.

Securities & Commodities

  • Action by SEC against company and its Chairman/CEO for making misrepresentations about purported company projects, thereby defrauding investors and being unjustly enriched, brought under 15 U.S.C. §§ 77q(a), 77t(d), 78m(a), 78j(b), 78l, 78o, and 78u(d)(2)-(3), (6), and 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5, 240.12b-20, 240.13a-1, 240.13a-13, and 240.13a-14.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against company and its affiliates for breach of fiduciary duty, immigration and other fraud, unfair competition, and IIED, after the company took money from plaintiff under the guise of helping him obtain permanent residency in the U.S. without actually doing so, action brought under 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5), 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 77l(a), Cal. Corp. Code § 25401.
  • Plaintiffs seeking $16 million after defendants’ allegedly purposefully poor investment advice and negligent misrepresentations (violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 77q(a), 78j(b), and 80b-6(1), and 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5) resulted in plaintiffs losing a large sum of money. Settled.
  • Plaintiff, seeking legal U.S. residency, took part in a visa program that she later believed to be a fraudulent investment scheme, so she filed suit under the Immigration (and Nationality) Act of 1990, the Securities Act of 1993, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and various California laws. Settled.