In past years, Altshuler Berzon attorneys have won major victories in the cases described below.
Labor and Employment
- UAW v. Johnson Controls (Supreme Court)
Prohibited employers from adopting “fetal protection” policies that discriminate against female workers in violation of Title VII.
- UAW v. Brock (Supreme Court)
Compelled the Department of Labor to restore $200 million in wrongfully withheld Trade Act benefits to thousands of unemployed autoworkers and steelworkers.
- Bower v. Bunker Hill Co.
Restored, after a six-week jury trial, tens of millions of dollars of retiree health insurance benefits that had been terminated following the shutdown of Idaho’s largest private employer.
- Golden Gate Restaurant Ass’n v. City and County of San Francisco
Obtained a Ninth Circuit ruling upholding, against an ERISA preemption challenge, a San Francisco ordinance that requires employers either to provide health benefits to their employees or to pay into a City fund for the same purpose.
- UAW v. Kiddoo
Required California to resume paying unemployment compensation to almost 400,000 unemployed workers following a budgetary impasse between the Legislature and the Governor.
- Gentry v. Superior Court
Obtained California Supreme Court ruling that employers generally may not prohibit workers from pursuing statutory claims on a classwide or collective basis.
- Bay Area Laundry Workers v. Ferbar (Supreme Court)
Established longer statute of limitations for suits against employers who withdraw from multi-employer pension plans.
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 174
Obtained a unanimous en banc court of appeals decision overturning prior decisions that had severely weakened the protection afforded by the Norris-LaGuardia Act to union economic action.
- Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Svcs.
Obtained a ruling from the California Supreme Court that employers cannot require their employees, as a condition of employment, to resolve employment claims through arbitration, where the arbitration agreement does not provide for specific procedural protections.
- Washington Service Contractors Coalition v. District of Columbia
Successfully defended against a federal preemption challenge a local displaced worker ordinance that requires new service contractors to retain the employees of their predecessors.
- Does I Thru XXIII v. Advanced Textile Corp.
Established the right of workers to sue under fictitious names and withhold their identities from their employers, where they reasonably fear that disclosure of their identities will result in severe retaliation.
- Granite Rock Co. v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters (Supreme Court)
Obtained U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting an employer’s unprecedented attempt to expand Section 301 of the LMRA to include tort theories for interference with contract by international union.
- Passantino v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products, Inc.
Successfully defended on appeal a multi-million dollar jury award in an employment discrimination action under federal and state law.
- Veliz v. Cintas Corp.
Obtained a $22.75 million settlement of class actions and individual cases pending in the Ninth Circuit, the Northern District of California, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, and AAA arbitration, each of which challenges a nationwide industrial laundry company’s policy of classifying its drivers as exempt from overtime requirements of federal and state wage-and-hour laws.
- Hawaii State Teachers Assn./United Public Workers v. Lingle
Enjoined the Governor of Hawaii from unilaterally implementing unpaid furloughs for all state employees of three days per month on the ground that unilateral implementation violated the state constitutional right to collective bargaining.
- SEIU-UHW v. Fresno County IHSS Public Authority
Obtained an injunction requiring Fresno County to maintain the wage and benefit rates paid to providers of in-home support services pending arbitration of the union's grievance regarding the wage and benefit reduction.
- Narayan v. EGL
Obtained a Ninth Circuit reversal of a district court's grant of summary judgment to an employer of delivery truck drivers, on the grounds that the district court had improperly applied Texas law to California drivers' statutory wage and hour claims and incorrect concluded that the drivers were independent contractors rather than employees.
- Harris v. Quinn
Obtained dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation that challenged the right of home care providers in Illinois to choose a union representative for purposes of collective bargaining and negotiate fair-share fees to cover the costs of union representation.
- Does I et al. v. The Gap, Inc., et al.
Negotiated $20 million settlement and innovative workplace monitoring program in anti-sweatshop class action on behalf of 30,000 Chinese and other foreign workers against Saipan garment factories and retailers for alleged violations of RICO, Alien Tort Claims Act, FLSA, and federal common law.
- Satchell v. FedEx Express
Obtained a consent decree providing $55 million in monetary relief to two classes of African American and Latino employees of FedEx Express, as well as comprehensive injunctive relief against discriminatory employment practices, including reducing managerial discretion in promotions, compensation and discipline, and prohibiting the use of a promotion test that had an adverse impact on minority employees.
- Bright v. 99 Cent Only Stores, Inc./ Home Depot v. Superior Ct.
Obtained Court of Appeal rulings that California workers have private right of action for civil penalties against employers who violate minimum labor conditions standards guaranteed by IWC Wage Orders.
- Pulaski v. Calif. Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
Successfully defended the nation’s first safety standard on ergonomics against an industry challenge, and invalidated exemptions that would have prevented that standard from applying to most California workplaces.
- SkyWest Pilots ALPA Organizing Committee v. SkyWest Airlines, Inc.
Obtained a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction prohibiting an airline from interfering with its pilots’ rights to organize and to free expression under the Railway Labor Act.
- UFCW Local 751 v. Brown Shoe Group, Inc. (Supreme Court)
Established union standing to sue employers that violate the WARN Act’s statutory notice requirements.
- State Building & Constr. Trades v. Aubry
Struck down, as a usurpation of legislative authority, administrative regulations that would have lowered by 20 percent the prevailing wage rate paid to construction workers on public projects.
- Bell v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (Bell III)
Obtained appellate decision upholding the largest overtime pay jury verdict in history, in class action on behalf of insurance company claims representatives who were misclassified as exempt under California’s wage and hour law, and subsequently negotiated a settlement in excess of $200 million for class members.
- The Hess Collection Winery v. California Agricultural Relations Bd.
Successfully defended against constitutional challenge a California statute providing for the binding resolution of disputes between agricultural employers and their union-represented employees arising from their failure to agree on an initial labor contract, thereby guaranteeing that agricultural workers will obtain an initial contract.
- Employee Staffing Services, Inc. v. Aubry
Defeated an employee-leasing company’s ERISA preemption challenge to California’s workers’ compensation laws.
- NLRB v. Town & Country Electric, Inc. (Supreme Court)
Protected paid union organizers from discriminatory discharge or refusal to hire under the NLRA.
- Long Beach City Employees v. City of Long Beach
Overturned on state constitutional grounds a city policy requiring public employees to submit to polygraph examinations.
- Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp.
Obtained a ruling that a national aluminum manufacturer violated the NLRA by unlawfully locking out 3,000 of its employees and must pay them approximately $175 million in back wages – the highest backpay award in the history of the NLRA.
- Associated Builders and Contractors v. Nunn; ACTA v. Smith
Defeated federal court preemption challenges to a regulation raising the minimum wage rates for California apprentices.
- Amaral v. Cintas Corp.
Won $1.6 million summary judgment in a class action challenging a nationwide laundry company’s systematic underpayment of its workers, defeating state law preemption and federal due process challenges to a local living wage ordinance.
- Capers v. Nunn
Obtained decision upholding a California Apprenticeship Council ruling that precluded non-union apprenticeship program from operating outside its approved geographic area.
- Rosenburg v. Int’l Business Machines Corp.
Obtained a $65 million settlement in a class action brought on behalf of IBM information technology specialists for failure to pay overtime compensation.
- Air Line Pilots Ass’n, Int’l v. Emery Worldwide Airlines, Inc.
Obtained an eight-figure settlement of breach of contract claim on behalf of airline pilots who were permanently furloughed when their employer ceased flight operations.
- Frazier v. Citicorp Investment Services
Obtained class action settlement for full backpay on behalf of securities brokers who alleged that their employer violated California and New York law by enforcing a corporate fine-based disciplinary policy.
- Aguiar v. Superior Court (Cintas Corp.)
After two successful appeals, obtained full back pay plus interest and civil penalties in settlement on behalf of class of laundry workers who were not paid the wages required by L.A.'s Living Wage Ordinance.
- In re Farmers Ins. Exchange Claims Representative's Overtime Pay Litigation
Obtains an $8 million settlement of claims challenging an insurance company's treatment of its claims representatives as exempt "administrators."
- Cremin v. Merrill Lynch
Settled nationwide sex discrimination class action on behalf of women brokers, resulting in establishment of novel claims procedure and agreement by brokerage firm no longer to compel any employees to arbitrate statutory discrimination claims.
- Curtis-Bauer v. Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc.
Obtained a $16 million class-action settlement for African-American and Latino financial advisors and financial advisor trainees that will (among other non-monetary relief) require Morgan Stanley to change its account distribution procedures to de-emphasize historical factors that have an adverse impact on minorities, to engage in active recruitment of minority financial advisors, and to tie manager compensation to diversification efforts.
- Akau v. Tel-A-Com Hawaii
Upheld, against an employer’s ERISA preemption challenge, Hawaii’s Dislocated Workers Act, which provided supplemental unemployment compensation benefits to workers adversely affected by plant closings.
- Reigh v. Calif. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Bd.
Obtained the right to unemployment compensation for workers in non-safety-sensitive jobs who were discharged after refusing to take, or failing, a random drug test.
- AFL-CIO v. Employment Development Department
Compelled California to continue to pay unemployment compensation benefits to hundreds of thousands of claimants per year pending evidentiary hearings on their continued eligibility.
- Gerlach v. Wells Fargo & Co.
Obtained a $12.8 million settlement in a class action brought against Wells Fargo for misclassifying employees given the title “business consultants” as exempt from overtime.
- Martens v. Smith Barney
Settled a nationwide sex discrimination class action on behalf of women brokerage employees, resulting in a novel claims procedure allowing for potentially tens of millions of dollars in damages.
- California Hospital Ass’n v. Henning
Overcame a federal statutory challenge to a California law requiring payment of accrued vacation pay to workers upon cessation of employment.
- United Public Workers v. Yogi
Invalidated a state public employee wage freeze that conflicted with the state constitutional right to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining.
- St. Thomas - St. John Hotel & Tourism Ass’n v. Gov’t of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Defeated an NLRA preemption challenge to a Virgin Islands statute that protects employees from termination without cause.
- Simo v. Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees
Successfully defended on federal appeal a labor union’s use of the “garment industry proviso” to § 8(e) of the NLRA.
- Adcock v. United Auto Workers; Patterson v. Heartland Industrial Partners, LLP
Obtained decisions from the Fourth Circuit (Adcock) and the Northern District of Ohio (Patterson) holding that an agreement under which an employer agrees to remain neutral in union organizing campaigns in return for the union’s agreement to limitations on such campaigns does not violate Section 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act or RICO.
- Heartland Industrial Partners, LLP and the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO
Obtained an NLRB decision upholding a neutrality and card-check organizing agreement under Section 8(e) of the NLRA.
- Pearson Dental Supplies v. Superior Court
Obtained a California Supreme Court ruling that requires heightened judicial review of an arbitration award, issued pursuant to a mandatory arbitration agreement, that is challenged on the ground that the arbitrator's legal error deprived the claimant of a hearing on the merits of a fundamental statutory or common law claim.
- Danielli v. Int’l Business Machines Corp.
Obtained a $7.5 million common fund settlement in a class action brought on behalf of IBM employees for IBM’s failure to pay overtime compensation.
- Vendachalam v. Tata International
Obtained a Ninth Circuit ruling that Tata International, India's largest conglomerate, could not force its overseas workers to arbitrate employment disputes before Tata's hand-picked arbitrators in Mumbai.
- SEIU Local 24/7 v. Professional Technical Security Services, Inc.
Obtained settlement under state wage and hour laws providing payments to hundreds of low-wage workers as reimbursement for uniform cleaning expenses.
- Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 142 v. Brewer
Obtained a settlement on behalf of a class of retirees from sugar and pineapple plantations compensating them for the company’s termination of their medical plans.
- Vega v. Contract Cleaning Maintenance, Inc.
Obtained class action settlements on behalf of low-wage janitors and maintenance workers who were misclassified as independent contractors, providing double overtime, reimbursement of allegedly unlawful paycheck deductions and statutory interest.
- Wynne v. McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, Inc.
Obtained a consent decree against a restaurant chain requiring it to implement a series of measures to increase the representation of African-American employees in “front of the house,” i.e., server, bartender and host/hostess, positions.
- Higazi v. Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
Obtained a $7.664 million class-action settlement for information technology workers who were misclassified as exempt employees and denied overtime and meal and rest breaks in violation of federal and California law.
- In re the Pep Boys Overtime Actions
Obtained a $6 million class-action settlement compensating employees of a national automobile parts and service retailer, who were denied meal and rest breaks and required to work “off the clock” without pay.
- Adams v. Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc.
Obtained a $4 million settlement compensating private security guards who were required to work “off the clock” without pay and requiring the company to pay its employees in the future for the time they spend in mandatory training sessions and pre-shift briefings.
- Martin v. New United Motor Mfg., Inc.
Obtained a $4.65 million settlement from an automobile manufacturing plant for failure to compensate its employees for donning and doffing protective gear, in violation of federal and state law.
- Southern California Edison Co. v. Public Utilities Comm’n
Obtained decision upholding the authority of the Public Utilities Commission to order utilities to require the payment of prevailing wages to construction workers on energy utility construction projects.
- AFL-CIO v. Marshall
Required payment of an additional 26 weeks of extended unemployment compensation benefits, worth billions of dollars, to unemployed workers nationwide.
- IBEW v. Eichleay
Enforced a multi-million dollar arbitration award against an employer that tried to evade its contract obligations through a non-union alter ego.
- Local 1564 v. City of Clovis
Struck down a local “right to work” law enacted by a New Mexico city.
- Patel v. Sugen
Obtained a nearly $2 million settlement in a class action challenge to a pharmaceutical company’s refusal to pay contractually-mandated severance pay and bonuses to employees upon sale of the company, representing complete recovery of all monies owed plus ten percent interest.
- Figueroa v. Guess?, Inc.
Obtained a million dollar settlement of a wage and overtime class action on behalf of Los Angeles garment workers.
- EQR/Legacy Partners
Obtained settlement in administrative action of $1.6 million in back wages to construction workers who were not paid the prevailing wage required on public works projects.
- Californians for Safe and Competitive Dump Truck Transportation v. Mendonca
Defeated an industry challenge to the application of California’s prevailing wage law to motor carriers after the enactment of trucking deregulation.
- Gerke v. Waterhouse Securities
Obtained a $3.3 million overtime settlement on behalf of 1,800 employees of a discount brokerage firm who were not paid for half-hour lunch periods during which they were expected to work.
- Fry v. Air Line Pilots Ass’n
Defeated an attempt to hold a union liable under RICO and state tort law for ostracism allegedly directed against strikebreakers.
- IBEW Locals 595 and 6 v. LIS Electric
Won a private attorney general action, after a multi-week trial, against a construction contractor and its president for failing to pay workers prevailing wages on public works projects.
- International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142 v. Hawaiian Waikiki Beach Hotel
Obtained an order requiring the corporate parent of a hotel in receivership to arbitrate claims for millions of dollars in accrued vacation and severance pay owed to the hotel’s employees.
- SEIU v. County of San Bernardino
Obtained an injunction prohibiting one of the nation’s largest counties from depriving its employees of their right to discuss union issues at work.
- Retlaw Broadcasting Co. v. NLRB
Successfully defended on appeal the NLRB’s decision that an employer unlawfully implemented a contract proposal allowing it to bypass the union and negotiate directly with its individual employees.
- CPS Chem. Co. v. NLRB
Confirmed an employer’s continuing duty to bargain with the local union that represents its employees, notwithstanding that union’s affiliation with a national union.
- Bishop v. Air Line Pilots Ass’n
Defeated a challenge to a nationwide collective bargaining agreement that had been approved by a majority of the bargaining unit employees in a secret ballot election.
- San Joaquin Regional Transit Dist.
Obtained an arbitration award stopping a transit district from contracting out numerous jobs held by union-represented workers.
- Driscoll v. Oracle
Negotiated $12.7 million settlement in nationwide overtime case under FLSA and state law on behalf of internet sales representatives.
- UAW Local 2244 and New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.
Obtained an arbitration award in excess of a million dollars for violation of a contractual provision requiring an employer to pay wage premiums to employees who start their shifts before 6:00 a.m.
- ATU Local 1292 and Alameda County Transit District:
Obtained an arbitration award prohibiting a public transit district from using a lease arrangement to evade contractual restrictions on outsourcing bargaining unit jobs.
- California Federation of Interpreters v. Region 1 Court Interpreter Employment Relations Committee; California Federation of Interpreters v. Region 2 Court Interpreter Employment Relations Committee; California Federation of Interpreters v. Region 4 Court
Obtained arbitration awards requiring Superior Courts to pay mileage compensation to court interpreters and holding that the Courts acted illegally by giving interpreting assignments to independent contractors.
- New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. and United Auto Workers, Local 2244
Successfully challenged in arbitration an employer’s policy of terminating sick leave benefits for ill or injured employees, providing relief to nearly one hundred employees.
- Int’l Bhd. of Electrical Workers Local 551 v. WSB Electric
Enjoined a contractor and its officers from continuing to commit unfair business practices by underpaying workers on public works projects, leading to the debarment of the contractor from bidding on public works projects for three years.
- Associated Builders and Contractors
Obtained an NLRB decision that an association of non-union construction contractors violated the NLRA by filing and prosecuting a lawsuit challenging a union program to recapture jobs for union workers.
- McCabe Hamilton & Renny Co., Ltd. v. Int’l Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 142
Obtained, and secured against federal court challenge, a $355,000 arbitration award for a longshore worker who was assaulted, permanently disabled, and forced to spend two years in a witness protection program due to the employer’s breach of a contractual duty to provide a safe workplace.
- Advocate Health Care Network v. Service Employees Int’l Union
Obtained dismissal of defamation, commercial disparagement, unfair trade practices, and maintenance claims arising from union’s support for community campaign to change hospital chain’s practice of overcharging uninsured patients.
- In re Opinion of Bill Lockyer, Attorney General (State Allocation Board)
Obtained interpretation from the California Attorney General requiring school districts to utilize competitive bidding laws to award public school construction projects, thereby insuring that union contractors have an opportunity to bid on such work.
- In re Santa Ana Transit Village
Obtained a California administrative ruling that a transfer of property for a redevelopment project at so-called “fair reuse value” is not equivalent to a transfer at the “fair market price,” and therefore California construction workers who perform work on such projects must be paid prevailing wages.
- Wagner v. Professional Engineers in California Gov’t
Established that the appropriate remedy for legal deficiencies in a union’s annual fair share fee notice is for the union to correct and re-issue the notice, not to refund fees previously collected.
- Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 v. Northern California Mason Contractors Multiemployer Bargaining Ass’n
Obtained an arbitration award upholding a union’s right to allocate annual economic increases under a collective bargaining agreement between wages and fringe benefits.
- Contra Costa County and Contra Costa Public Defenders Ass’n
Obtained an arbitration award against Contra Costa County for violating the “parity” clause of its collective bargaining agreement, which required the county to provide its public defenders with any new benefits provided to its district attorneys.
- Mendoza-Barrera v. San Andreas HVAC, Inc.
Obtained a stipulated judgment of more than $200,000 for four sheet metal workers whose employer failed to pay them the prevailing wage on public works projects.
- Acevedo v. SelectBuild
Obtained a settlement for construction workers who alleged they were required to work off the clock by their employer, notwithstanding the employer's bankruptcy filing.
- Montoya v. Laborers International Union of North America
Obtained the voluntary dismissal with prejudice, after filing a motion to dismiss on grounds of justiciability and preemption, of a challenge to an international labor union's procedures from considering a transfer of authority over work in Mohave County, AZ from one local union to another.
- Southern Wine & Spirits v. Simpkins
Defeated motion for preliminary injunction seeking to prevent California employee of Florida company from working for California competitor.
- SEIU Local 24/7 and Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Obtained seven-figure arbitration award for employer's failure to pay its security guards for on-duty meal periods, and subsequently enforced that award in federal court after employer sued to vacate it.
- CRONA v. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Received an award of $70,355.00 against employers for their refusal to arbitrate a union grievance.
- Air Line Pilots Association, International, et al. v. United Airlines, Inc.
Obtained declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of United Airlines pilots requiring the airline to comply with California's Kin Care law, which requires employers that offer paid sick leave to allow employees to use up to half of that leave to care for ill relatives.
- Harris v. Quinn
Obtained a Seventh Circuit decision upholding the right of Illinois home care providers to organize and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with the State that include union-security provisions.
- UGL-UNNICO Service Co.
Helped obtain National Labor Relations Board decision reinstating a bar to challenging a union's majority status after a new employer assumes control of an organized facility, thereby allowing the parties a reasonable period of time to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.
- United Healthcare Workers-West v. Borsos
Successfully litigated adversary trial in bankruptcy court and obtained an order preventing a former local union official who had been held liable in federal district court for violation of his fiduciary duties to the union from discharging that judgment debt in bankruptcy.
- S&F Market Street Health Care LLC and Windsor of North Long Beach
Obtained victory before NLRB administrative law judge and NLRA §10(j) injunction in case alleging that nursing home employer engaged in unlawful “surface bargaining” by unyieldingly insisting on a package of contract proposals that would have forced the Union to surrender all representational authority for the duration of the collective bargaining agreement.
- Sheen v. SAG
Successfully defeated motion for preliminary injunction under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act seeking to stop the counting of votes in a union merger election, resulting in the merger passing by an overwhelming majority.
- Holloway v. Best Buy Co., Inc.
Obtained a consent decree, with a four-year duration, in a federal court class action providing for changes in Best Buy's personnel policies and procedures which will enhance the equal employment opportunities for the thousands of women, African Americans, and Latinos employed by Best Buy nationwide.
- Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court
Obtained unanimous California Supreme Court decision establishing standards governing meal period and rest break claims, and affirming in part and reversing in part trial court’s certification of class of low-wage restaurant workers.
- Carrillo v. Schneider Logistics, Inc.
Obtained preliminary injunctions on behalf of low-wage warehouse workers against joint employers, requiring accurate payroll recordkeeping and paystub disclosures, and prohibiting planned mass retaliatory termination.
- D.R. Horton
On behalf of amici SEIU and Change to Win, obtained NLRB ruling that employers commit unfair labor practice by including prohibition against joint, class, and collective actions in mandatory employment arbitration agreement.
- Reed v. Los Angeles Unified School District
Overturned on appeal a California Superior Court decision approving a settlement agreement that impaired the statutory and contractual rights of public school teachers, over the objection of the teachers' representative (which had not agreed to the settlement), on the grounds that the approval of the settlement violated the teachers' due process right to an adjudication of the merits of the underlying claim and the requirements of the California statute regarding judgments based on settlements.
- Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Brown, et al.
Obtained ruling that California Governor and Department of Personnel Administration exceeded the authority granted to them by the Legislature to impose unpaid furlough on public employees.
- CRONA and Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Obtained arbitration decision finding that employer violated recognition clause of collective bargaining agreement by transferring represented nurses’ duties to non-union nurses.
- Turtle Bay Exploration Park, City of Redding
Obtained a decision on administrative appeal that a hotel project is covered by the California's prevailing wage law because the developer is not paying fair-market rent for the use of public land, overturning the agency's original, contrary determination.
- Air Conditioning Trades Association v. Baker
Obtained the dismissal of a constitutional challenge to a California law that protects prospective apprentices from exploitation by requiring a showing of a training need before state approval will be granted to new apprenticeship programs.
- CRONA and Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Obtained arbitration decision finding that union could grieve employer’s violations of procedural protections in collective bargaining agreement related to termination of probationary employees.
Environmental and Public Health
- NRDC v. Patterson (Rodgers)
Obtained a court ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation illegally dried up California’s second longest river by diverting excessive amounts of water for agricultural and other uses, and subsequently negotiated a comprehensive settlement providing for restoration of the river and reintroduction of native salmon populations.
- United Steelworkers v. California Dep’t of Forestry and Fire Protection
Obtained a decision holding that the California Department of Forestry’s approval of a plan to log vast portions of California’s redwood forests violated the California Forest Practice Act’s requirements for a sustainable yield plan.
- Orff v. United States (Supreme Court)
Obtained ruling (based on arguments in merits brief filed on behalf of environmental organizations) rejecting challenge brought by agribusiness interests to the federal government’s reduction of contractual water allocations to a local water district for the purpose of protecting threatened salmon and smelt.
- California Healthcare Ass’n v. California Dep’t of Health Svcs.
Defeated a hospital industry challenge to a California health regulation requiring minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.
- Les v. Reilly
Required the Environmental Protection Agency strictly to apply the Delaney Clause’s prohibition against cancer-causing substances in processed foods.
- Public Citizen v. Dep’t of Transportation
Obtained a Ninth Circuit ruling (later overturned by the Supreme Court) blocking for several years the federal government’s decision to allow Mexico-domiciled trucks to travel throughout the United States without an Environmental Impact Statement and a Clean Air Act conformity analysis.
- California v. Browner
Obtained a consent decree, in a challenge to EPA’s systematic failure to enforce federal food safety laws, that required dozens of cancer-causing pesticides to be removed from the food supply.
- NRDC v. Price Pfister
Compelled major faucet manufacturers to eliminate lead from drinking water faucets pursuant to Proposition 65, the California Toxics Initiative.
- NRDC v. The Reclamation Bd. of the Resources Agency of the State of California
Obtained a writ of mandate overturning a state administrative agency’s approval of an extensive development project on top of a major levee in the Sacramento River Delta, for violating regulations governing flood control levees.
- Sunshine Canyon
Successfully advocated in land use proceedings, on behalf of a coalition of environmental, labor, and community organizations, for stringent environmental conditions to be placed on a large solid waste landfill in Los Angeles County.
- NRDC v. EPA
Settled Clean Air Act case requiring warning labels on processed foods manufactured with methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting substance.
- NRDC v. EPA
Compelled the Environmental Protection Agency to stop holding “closed-door” meetings with industry representatives before setting pesticide health and safety standards.
- NRDC v. Whitman
Forced EPA to reassess the safety of some of the nation’s most dangerous pesticides to protect children, farmworkers, and consumers.
- NRDC v. Smith Kline
Required reductions in lead content of calcium dietary supplements.
- EDF & NRDC v. Sta-Rite
Successfully challenged the widespread use of lead in submersible water pumps under the California Toxics Initiative.
- Tosco Corp. v. Communities for a Better Environment
Defeated a declaratory judgment action brought by an oil company to preclude environmental organizations from seeking penalties for its discharges of dioxin.
- AFL-CIO v. Deukmejian
Required the Governor of California to expand tenfold the list of carcinogenic chemicals included within the California Toxics Initiative.
- California Labor Federation v. Cal. OSHA
Preserved the California Toxics Initiative against an OSHA preemption attack.
- AFL-CIO v. Deukmejian
Overturned a regulation exempting food, drugs and cosmetics from the California Toxics Initiative.
- NRDC v. OEHHA
Forced state environmental agency to withdraw “records retention” policy that had required agency scientists to destroy data and documents that were inconsistent with final agency position.
- AFL-CIO v. Gorsuch
Overturned an EPA moratorium on public disclosure of industry pesticide health and safety studies.
- NRDC v. Wilson
Required the Governor of California timely to determine whether to expand the list of reproductive toxicants included within the California Toxics Initiative to include five dozen chemicals identified as reproductive toxicants by U.S. EPA.
- NRDC v. Badger Meters, Inc.
Required manufacturers of water meters that leach lead into residential drinking water to shift to a low lead emitting alloy.
- NRDC v. Safeway, Inc.
Required large grocery retailers to achieve a substantial reduction in diesel truck emissions around their grocery distribution centers, which are located primarily in low-income areas.
- Environmental Law Foundation v. Crystal Geyser Water Co.
Required manufacturers to eliminate unlawfully high levels of arsenic, trihalomethanes, and heterotrophic bacteria from bottled drinking water.
- City and County of San Francisco v. United States Tobacco Co.
Required warnings to be provided to consumers regarding the health dangers of smokeless tobacco products.
- Environmental Law Foundation v. Ironite Products Co.
Obtained a consent judgment banning the continued sale in California of a fertilizer manufactured from hazardous waste that contained excessive levels of arsenic and lead.
- In re Vinegar Litigation
Obtained settlements requiring food retailers to post consumer warnings regarding the presence of lead in balsamic vinegar.
- In re St. Lukes Hospital Merger
Persuaded the California Attorney General to conduct a review of the terms of a proposed merger of two hospitals, including the extent to which the merger would serve or disserve the needs of the affected communities.
- NRDC v. Kempthorne
Working closely with NRDC and Earthjustice, we overturned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion on the effect of the California Central Valley Project’s operations on threatened Delta smelt and obtained protective interim remedies, including reduced water pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and an order requiring the Service to issue a new biological opinion.
- Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations v. Gutierrez
Working closely with NRDC and Earthjustice, we overturned the National Marine Fisheries Service’s biological opinion on the effect of the California Central Valley Project’s operations on three species of threatened and endangered salmon and obtained protective interim remedies, including early opening of dam gates and shortening the periods in which the gates are closed, facilitating migration up and down the Sacramento River; also obtained an order requiring the Service to issue a new biological opinion.
- Firebaugh Canal Water District v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Joined with U.S. Interior Department in defeating San Joaguin Valley water districts' attempts to compel the Government to provide them low-cost drainage services, which would have kept more toxic-laden agricultural lands in production and required more water diversions. Irrigation districts have appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit.
- Conant v. McCaffrey
Obtained a permanent injunction under the First Amendment prohibiting the federal government from revoking or threatening to revoke the prescription drug licenses of California physicians on the basis of their confidential communications with their seriously ill patients regarding medical marijuana.
- Walker v. Air Line Pilots Ass’n
Obtained a jury verdict following a ten-week trial upholding the right of the Air Line Pilots Association to engage in free speech activities promoting solidarity among strikers.
- Eller Media Co. v. City of Oakland
Defeated efforts by billboard and alcohol industry to overturn City of Oakland ordinance prohibiting billboards advertising alcoholic beverages in residential neighborhoods and in proximity to schools and playgrounds.
- Sutter Health v. UNITE HERE
Obtained a California Court of Appeal reversal of a $17.3 million defamation verdict against a union based on a communication that was part of a labor dispute, on the ground that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that the plaintiff was required to prove actual malice.
- SEIU v. City of Houston
After obtaining a preliminary injunction under the First Amendment, obtained on appeal a ruling that three Houston ordinances that restrict the right to protest via parades, public gatherings in public parks, and the use of sound amplification equipment violate the First Amendment.
- Connelly v. No On 128, the Hayden Initiative
Enforced a California law requiring state initiative campaign advertisements to identify industry campaign contributors.
- Crawford v. Int’l Union of Rubber Workers Local 703
Obtained reversal of a six-figure jury verdict against union and picketers who had exercised free speech right to disparage strikebreakers.
- Buyukmihci v. Regents
Obtained a permanent injunction protecting the free speech rights of a professor of veterinary medicine whom the University of California had tried to fire because of his animal rights views.
- Carreira v. Trustees of the California State University
Obtained the first order ever issued by a California court overturning the California State University’s denial of a whistleblower retaliation complaint and ordering a jury trial on that claim; and subsequently negotiated a $1,787,000 settlement for the whistleblower, a tenured professor at Cal State Long Beach.
- Furukawa Farms v. CRLA
Successfully defended a statewide poverty law office against a suit brought by agricultural growers to block its advocacy on behalf of farm workers.
- Auvil v. CBS 60 Minutes
Obtained dismissal of a class action product defamation suit brought by Washington apple growers against the Natural Resources Defense Council for having publicized the public health hazards of the growth regulator Alar.
- Coors v. Wallace
Defeated an antitrust suit brought by Adolph Coors Company against the organizers of a nationwide consumer boycott of Coors beer.
- Evergreen Oil Co. v. Communities for a Better Environment
Obtained the dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute of an oil company’s defamation action against a non-profit environmental advocacy group.
- Tosco Corp. v. Communities for a Better Environment
Obtained dismissal for lack of federal jurisdiction of an oil company’s federal court defamation action against an environmental group that had engaged in free speech about air pollution issues.
- California Nurses Ass’n v. Stern
Obtained dismissal, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, of a lawsuit contending that peaceful home visits by representatives of a labor organization constituted “stalking.”
- ABC Security Service, Inc. v. SEIU Local 24/7
Successfully defended labor union against a SLAPP suit brought by an employer seeking damages against union for its organizing campaign to obtain recognition as the representative of the employer’s workers, and negotiated a stipulated dismissal under which the employer entered into a card-check and neutrality agreement with union to govern the recognition process, resulting in recognition and a collective bargaining agreement.
- Singer v. American Psychological Ass’n
Obtained dismissal, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, of a lawsuit seeking to impose defamation liability on professional associations for statements made in amicus curiae briefs they had filed in court.
- POSCO v. Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council
Defeated an antitrust suit brought against various labor unions for engaging in environmental lobbying and litigation.
- Recall Grey Davis Committee v. Regents of the University of California
Obtained dismissal, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, of a lawsuit seeking to hold the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which sponsored a political event, vicariously liable for spontaneous protests outside the event venue.
- Schavrien v. Lynch
Obtained dismissal, under California’s anti-SLAPP law, of a suit against the former President of the California Public Utilities Commission brought by an executive of an energy company regulated by the Commission, for publicly exposing the executive’s attendance at a campaign fundraising event in support of the spouse of a Commissioner.
- Knox v. Westly
Defeated preliminary injunction motion brought several days before statewide election to prohibit union from spending union dues and fees to oppose anti-worker ballot initiatives, and subsequently obtained Ninth Circuit decision that union had no legal obligation to provide non-members with a mid-year fair share fee notice when it enacted a temporary increase in dues and fees.
- Mosqueda v. CCPOA
Defeated a libel action brought by prison warden against correctional officers union for statements made in support of litigation initiated by a union officer.
- Western Growers Ass’n v. UFW
Obtained dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute of an “unfair business practices” action brought by a growers’ association against a union for its free speech activities.
- Allied Pilots Ass’n v. San Francisco
Obtained an injunction allowing pilots to handbill and picket at San Francisco International Airport.
- Bruce Church, Inc. v. UFW
Overturned on First Amendment and statutory grounds a $10 million judgment against the United Farm Workers for engaging in allegedly improper boycott activity.
- Guess?, Inc. v. UNITE
Obtained dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute of complaint alleging union had unlawfully supported picketing and litigation activity directed against employer’s workplace practices.
- UFW v. Dutra Farms
Obtained judgments against 18 growers and growers’ association prohibiting them from illegally financing an “employee committee” to defeat union organizing drives.
- Steam Press Holdings, Inc. v. Hawaii Teamsters, Local 996
Established that federal labor law precludes an employer from obtaining damages under state defamation law for economic losses resulting from a strike.
Campaign and Election
- Brunner v. Ohio Republican Party (U.S. Supreme Court)
Helped to defeat the Republican Party’s attempt during the November 2008 election to require Ohio election officials to turn over the records of newly registered voters whose voter registration and motor vehicle information did not match, which would have enabled the Republican Party to seek disenfranchisement of up to 600,000 new voters.
- Curley v. Lake County Bd. of Elections and Registration
Obtained injunction requiring early voting in November 2008 election in predominantly African-American and Latino communities of Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago, Indiana.
- Common Cause of Colorado v. Hoffman
Obtained a stipulation and court order requiring the Secretary of State to stop the unlawful purging of registered voters prior to the November 2008 election and to count ballots cast by voters who had previously been improperly purged unless there was clear and convincing evidence that they were ineligible to vote.
- Colvin v. Brunner
Project Vote v. Madison County Board of Elections/State ex rel. Helped to defeat the Republican Party’s efforts during the November 2008 election to require voters to wait 30 days after registering to vote before being able to cast an absentee ballot, which would have deprived thousands of voters of their right to vote absentee.
- AFL-CIO v. Eu
Invalidated a proposed initiative requiring a new federal constitutional convention on the ground that it violated Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
- Common Cause v. Jones
Obtained a court order requiring the replacement of pre-scored punch card voting machines in California prior to the 2004 Presidential election.
- Fleischman v. Protect Our City
Obtained, and successfully defended in the Arizona Supreme Court, an injunction removing an anti-immigrant initiative from the November 2006 Phoenix ballot on the ground that the city law granting initiative supporters the right to supplement signatures after the filing deadline is preempted by state law.
- Hawaii State AFL-CIO v. Yoshina
Overturned on state election law grounds Hawaii’s decision to ignore abstentions in determining whether the required percentage of votes was cast in favor of a ballot measure calling for a new state constitutional convention.
- Central California Farmers Ass’n v. Eu
Defeated on state constitutional grounds an attempt by agribusiness to remove a comprehensive environmental protection initiative from the California ballot.
- Kneebone v. Norris
Successfully defended a local election official’s decision to reject an initiative petition, which would have prohibited a city from entering into project labor agreements on any city-funded construction projects, on the ground that the initiative’s proponents failed to comply with the publication requirements of the Election Code.
- Cardona v. Oakland Unified School District
Upheld the City of Oakland’s right to delay redistricting on basis of the 1990 census until the census was adjusted to correct for the disproportionate undercount of minorities.
- Bennett v. Yoshina
Successfully defended against a federal court due process challenge the Hawaii electorate’s vote to refuse to hold a new state constitutional convention.
- Barry v. Nishioka
Obtained a writ of mandate ordering election officials to place candidates on ballot despite apparent noncompliance with nomination petition formalities.
- Edrington v. Floyd
Successfully defended City of Oakland’s wording of ballot question and ballot analysis for “just cause” eviction initiative against challenge by landlords.
- Dallman v. Ritter
Obtained, and successfully defended in the Colorado Supreme Court, a preliminary injunction against Colorado Amendment 54, a voter initiative that would have banned public employee unions from making political contributions in state and local elections, on the ground the initiative violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
- AFL-CIO v. Chertoff
Obtained nation-wide injunction against a Department of Homeland Security regulation that would turn Social Security Administration “no-match” letters into an immigration-enforcement tool without authorization from Congress.
- Catholic Social Services/Ayuda/Immigrant Assistance Project v. Reno
Obtained the right to apply for legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act for hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens who were prevented from applying because of unlawful INS regulations; and negotiated temporary work authorization for approximately three million aliens potentially eligible for legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act.
- Calif. Rural Legal Assistance v. Legal Services Corp.
Overturned a regulation prohibiting the provision of federally-funded legal services to a nationwide class of several million aliens who had been legalized through the amnesty process.
- SEIU Local 535 v. Thornburgh
Compelled the Immigration and Naturalization Service to rescind a regulation that deprived temporary nonimmigrant workers of the right to strike.
- Patel v. Quality Inn South / EEOC v. Tortilleria “La Mejor”
Through a series of cases, established the eligibility of undocumented immigrant workers for the full remedial protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- Lopez-Alvarado v. Ashcroft
Obtained Ninth Circuit reversal of Board of Immigration Appeal’s decision ordering deportation of an immigrant family that had lived in the United States for more than ten years.
- Int’l Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen v. Meese
Obtained decision prohibiting government and employers from using non-immigrant business (B-1) visas to circumvent the requirement that temporary, non-immigrant, foreign workers not undercut the prevailing wage.
- Blessing v. Freestone (Supreme Court)
Preserved the availability of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in cases seeking enforcement of federal statutory rights.
- Kashmiri v. Regents
Won more than $42 million in a class action case against the University of California for improperly charging fee increases to tens of thousands of undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting the University from charging professional students an additional $18 million in fees.
- Horton v. Mayle
Obtained a Ninth Circuit habeas corpus remand of former death penalty defendant’s murder conviction due to the prosecutor’s failure to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence, and obtained reversal of the conviction after district court evidentiary hearing, resulting in client's freedom after 27 years in prison.
- Jane Doe v. Reddy
Obtained $11 million settlement in human trafficking case on behalf of young Indian women who were unlawfully brought into the United States and forced to provide sex and free labor.
- Anderson v. Regents
Obtained an $11 million recovery in a Contracts Clause class action challenging the University of California’s refusal to fund thousands of university professors’ merit salary increases.
- Oster v. Wagner
Obtained a injunction to block implementation of a California statute that would have severely reduced the eligibility of elderly and disabled Californians for in-home support services that enable them to remain in their own homes.
- Eklund v. Byron Union School District
Established the right of public school teachers to use games, role-playing, and other methods considered to be best pedagogical practices to teach about the history, culture and religion of Islam as part of a secular program of education in a world history class.
- United States ex rel. Hendow v. University of Phoenix
Won a $78.5 million settlement in a False Claims Act case against a for-profit university that allegedly defrauded the government by falsely certifying its compliance with the Higher Education Act's prohibition against paying commissions to recruiters of new students, the second-larges settlement ever of a False Claims Act case in which the U.S. Government declined to intervene.
- Dominguez v. Schwarzenegger
Obtained temporary restraining order in federal court, blocking Fresno County from reducing, to the California minimum wage, the wages of In Home Supportive Services caregivers.
- Sharp v. Next Entertainment, Inc.
Helped to obtain decision holding that the California Rules of Professional Responsibility do not preclude labor unions and other advocacy groups from funding class action litigation, by filing amicus curiae brief and presenting oral argument on behalf of labor and public interest groups, including the ACLU of Southern California.
- Utility Consumers’ Action Network v. Sears/California Federal Bank/Household Credit Service/ Texaco Credit Card Services/Capital One/Bank of America
Obtained settlements in a series of consumer privacy class actions against financial institutions and credit card companies prohibiting unauthorized dissemination of personal account information to third party telemarketers.
- In re Gulf USA Corporation and Pintlar Corporation
Preserved millions of dollars of retiree medical benefits in a major bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of thousands of retired Idaho mine and smelter workers.
- California Labor Federation v. Cal. OSHA
Invalidated, on state constitutional grounds, California Budget Act restrictions on the state’s payment of public interest attorneys’ fees.
- Gardner v. Schwarzenegger
Obtained restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction, which was affirmed on appeal, against enforcement of a state statute that would have permitted incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, contrary to California Proposition 36, which mandated probation and drug treatment.
- Hamilton v. Great Expectations
Obtained an $8.5 million settlement of a statewide class action against a video dating service that had electronically eavesdropped on confidential membership interviews.
- People v. Horton
Obtained a California Supreme Court death penalty reversal on the direct appeal of a capital case.
- Garvin v. Utility Consumers' Action Network/Savage v. Utility Consumers' Action Network
Successful defense on appeal of a $14 million settlement of a state law privacy class action challenging a bank's practice of selling confidential consumer information to third-party marketing companies.
- IBEW Local 595 v. Aubry
Enjoined the Department of Industrial Relations from spending taxpayer funds to implement a new methodology that would drastically cut prevailing wage rates, where the Legislature had refused to appropriate funds for that purpose.
- Jensen v. Kaiser Permanente
Obtained the rescission of an HMO’s cost-cutting policy requiring staff psychiatrists to prescribe psychotropic medications for patients they have not examined.
- Welfare Rights Org. v. Crisan
Established an evidentiary privilege for communications between applicants for public benefits and their lay representatives, including union representatives.
- California State Building and Construction Trades Council v. Duncan
Enjoined the expenditure of state funds on administrative rulemaking proceedings that would have lowered the minimum wage for apprentices throughout California, on the ground that the Governor lacked the authority to item-veto the Legislature’s decision not to fund such proceedings.
- Rogers v. Governing Bd. of the Sacramento City Unified Sch. Dist.
Obtained a writ of mandate and a permanent injunction under the California Charter Schools Act prohibiting a school board from converting an existing public high school into a charter school without the approval of a majority of the school’s teachers and requiring the school district to open a new non-charter public high school upon a showing of community support.
- In re Sealed Case
Obtained a $13.2 million settlement of a False Claims Act case and two related wrongful termination cases on behalf of a husband and wife who were terminated after disclosing extensive fraud committed by their government contractor employer.
- NAACP v. Davis
Reinstated statutory requirement that California Highway Patrol collect racial profiling data, despite gubernatorial funding veto.
- California Court Reporters Ass’n v. Judicial Council
Struck down rules that would have allowed replacement of official court reporters with audiotape recordings in California Superior Courts, and obtained an injunction against expenditures of taxpayer funds in furtherance of such rules.
- In re Marriage Cases
Helped obtain California Supreme Court decision upholding the right to same-sex marriage under the California Constitution, by filing amicus curiae brief in conjunction with professors and students from Howard University Law School.
- Davidson v. County of Sonoma
Obtained a substantial settlement on behalf of a law enforcement officer injured as a result of his employer’s mock hostage training exercise in which he was seized and threatened at gunpoint.
- County of Alameda v. Aubry
Enjoined California from reducing the prevailing wage in the construction industry by 20 percent where the agency had failed to comply with APA rulemaking requirements.
- Vasquez v. State of California
Obtained a unanimous California Supreme Court decision holding that prevailing plaintiffs who seek private attorney general fees are not required, as a condition of eligibility for a fee award, to demonstrate that they made efforts to settle their dispute before filing their civil complaint.
- Olney v. Pringle
Negotiated a settlement prohibiting state legislators from paying large retroactive salary increases to select staff in violation of the State Constitution.
- Gary W. v. State of Louisiana; La Raza Unida v. Volpe
Required Louisiana and California to pay federal court civil rights attorney’s fee awards despite refusal of State Legislatures to appropriate the monies.
- Dominguez v. Schwarzenegger
Obtained, and successfully defended on appeal, a preliminary injunction against the implementation of a state statute that would have reduced the wages of providers of in-home support services to elderly and disabled Californians.
- Nobles v. MBNA Corp.
Settlement of a California consumer class action against a bank that misleadingly offered consumer lines of credit without disclosing hidden costs and credit impacts, resulting in a payment to class members of more than 85% of the claimed losses with interest.
- M.R. v. Dreyfus
Obtained a Ninth Circuit ruling that plaintiffs challenging a ten percent reduction to hours of Medicaid home care services are entitled to a preliminary injunction under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Oster v. Lightbourne
Obtained a preliminary injunction to block implementation of a California statute that would have reduced by 20 percent the hours of in-home support services provided to elderly and disabled Californians funder the state's Medicaid program.
- Luquetta v. Regents
Won more than $48 million in a class action case against the University of California for improperly charging fee increases to almost 3,000 professional students.