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Employment, Labor & Benefits

Wrongful Termination, Discrimination and Harassment

Doug Becker v. Kikiktagruk Inipiat Corporation

Representing client against claims of race discrimination and violation of wage and hour laws. Case No. 3:09-CV-00015-TMB (Ongoing)

Employment related matters for Virginia Mason Medical Center

Successfully defended Virginia Mason against city, state, and federal agency charges by employees and former employees of discrimination, harassment and other employment-related claims. (2009-present)

Giron v. Walt Disney Pictures

Unanimous defense verdict after eight-day jury trial. (L.A. Cnty. (Cal.) Sup. Ct. 2012, 2013)

Hardman v. Cemex

Representing Cemex, global building supply company, in defense of workers compensation retaliation lawsuit. (Ongoing)

Khoshnood, Lalwani & Shahwan v. Bank of America, N.A.

Defended Bank of America in federal court in wrongful termination, race discrimination, and retaliation case filed by three former banking center managers. (2013)

McDonough v. Russell Investments

Defense of international investment company against claims of age discrimination, commission claims, and stock pricing claims. (Ongoing)

Newton v. R.W. Beck, Inc.

Defense of national engineering firm against claims of gender discrimination, harassment, and breach of contract asserted by former chief human resources officer. (Ongoing)

Single-plaintiff employment defense litigation for Bank of America N.A., Bank of America Home Loans, Merrill Lynch, Kaiser Permanente, and Stewart Enterprises

Represent large organizations in defending single-plaintiff employment matters--before and after the filing of a lawsuit--in the areas of discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, wage and hour, and breach of contract. (Ongoing)

Employee v. Charter Communications LLC

Won summary judgment in wrongful termination case involving claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation on behalf of fourth-largest cable and internet provider in the U.S.  Employee-plaintiff had dyslexia and was terminated after refusing to return from medical leave.  Court found plaintiff’s complaint failed on all seven claims.  (C.D. Cal. 2013)

Aboseif v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group et al.

Lead defense counsel in an arbitration case brought by a former partner physician alleging nine causes of action related to his partnership and service as a physician. (2012)

Beem v. Providence Health & Services, Inc.

Obtained jury verdict for Providence Health & Services, Inc., in wrongful termination case involving allegations of failure to accommodate under the ADA and WLAD. (E.D. Wash. 2012)

Bouie v. Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Lead defense counsel in case alleging violation of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). (2012)

Cobilla v. Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. and Disneyland International

Obtained summary judgment in an age discrimination case. (2012)

Diederich v. Providence Health & Services

Won summary judgment on all state and federal claims alleging disability and age discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation brought by former physician resident in family medicine program in large teaching hospital in Olympia; also obtained order limiting breach of contract damages (W.D.Wash. 2012)

Estrella v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Smith, Inc.

Defend Merrill Lynch and several current and former employees in a single-plaintiff case alleging claims for sexual harassment, constructive discharge, and retaliation. Case resolved without payment of any settlement amount. (2012)

Gorfinkle v. NVIDIA Corporation*

Led the team that obtained dismissal and/or summary adjudication of 13 of 14 causes of action against NVIDIA and individual C Suite executives in a wrongful termination case by a high-level, long term employee. (2012)

Nelson v. Providence Health & Services

Won summary judgment on all claims in wrongful termination case brought by former cardiovascular technician alleging discrimination based on her medical condition of multiple sclerosis. Plaintiff claimed employer violated the FMLA, ADA and WLAD, and engaged in retaliation under state and federal laws (W.D.Wash. 2012)

Thompson v. Trident Seafoods Corp.

Defended Trident Seafoods Corp. against sexual discrimination, retaliation and Section 1981 claims. Summary judgment was granted and case against our client was dismissed. (W.D. Wash. 2012)

Abdul Alani v. Alaska Airlines

Obtained summary judgment in wrongful termination case involving an Iraqi-born employee alleging national origin discrimination and retaliation. (N.D. Cal. 2011)

Henderson v. Eldorado Stone

Summary dismissal of plaintiff’s claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy based on alleged retaliation for taking medical leave. (2011)

Hilde v. Pinnacle Healthcare, et al.

Represented defendant on breach of an employment contract claim. Summary judgment granted. (2011)

Iqbal v. Pointil Systems, Inc.

Defended Pointil Systems against claims of employment discrimination. Obtained summary judgment on all claims. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) 2011)

Russell Childs v. Microsoft

Won motion for summary judgment on all claims in wrongful termination case involving foreign-national plaintiff seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief related to residency in the U.S. and Canada. Our team secured a number of early case victories for Microsoft including 12(c) dismissal of three claims, blocking the deposition of a Microsoft executive and winning several discovery motions. The nine remaining claims for wrongful withholding of wages, race and national origin disparate treatment, disparate impact, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, misrepresentation, and four different federal immigration statute violations were dismissed on summary judgment. (W. D. Wash. 2011)

Schmidt v. ICRC

Successfully defended multiple employment discrimination complaints alleging sexual harassment, employment discrimination, and retaliation, securing dismissal of all complaints. (Alaska St. Comm. for Human Rights Admin. Proceeding 2011)

Washington Family Care Act claims by Washington Department Labor & Industries

Successfully defended against claims alleging violations of the Washington Family Care Act, filed with the Washington Department of Labor & Industries. (2010-2011)

Williams v. Sony Pictures Entertainment

Lead defense counsel in case alleging disability discrimination, wrongful discharge, and failing to accommodate. (2011)

Willis v. Landsafe Title of California, Bank of America Corporation

Defended Landsafe and Bank of America in retaliation and wrongful discharge brought by former executive. (2011)

Babcock v. Lake Otis Pharmacy

Successfully defended employment discrimination complaint alleging race discrimination and sexual harassment, securing dismissal of complaint. (Alaska St. Comm. for Human Rights Admin. Proceeding 2010)

Boster v. Cascadia International, LLC

Successfully defended AKOSH administrative complaint alleging retaliatory termination for reporting safety violations, securing dismissal of complaint. (Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Dev. Admin. Proceeding 2010)

Cortese, Docker, & Robinson v. Bank of America Home Loans, et. al.

Defended Bank of America in sexual harassment, assault, and battery claims brought by three former employees. (2010)

Perez v. K & L Distributors

Successfully defended employment discrimination complaint alleging national origin discrimination, securing dismissal of complaint. (Alaska St. Comm. for Human Rights Admin. Proceeding 2010)

Topping v. Wilshire Credit Corporation

Defended Wilshire Credit against claims alleging sexual orientation discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation, and breach of employment contract. All claims dismissed at summary judgment. (2010)

French v. Providence Regional Medical Center Everett

Obtained a full defense verdict for our client after a weeklong jury trial in federal court. The case involved allegations of violations of the ADA, WLAD, FMLA, and public policy. (2009)

Green v. Seattle Art Museum

Represented the Seattle Art Museum in a race and national origin case brought by a terminated employee. The federal court granted summary judgment in all respects. On appeal, the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal. (2009)

WizKids, LLC v. Michael, Best & Friedrich, LLP

Represented plaintiffs in legal malpractice claim arising from failure of prior patent counsel to secure U.S. patent rights on collectible miniature war game; successfully settled. (King Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2008)

Employment claim for technology company*

Successfully obtained summary judgment on claims of racial harassment brought by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (C.D. Cal. 2007)

Shahriary v. Teledesic et al.

Obtained summary judgment for Teledesic and all individual defendants on claims of breach of contract, race and age discrimination, fraud and misrepresentation, and alleged violation of California Labor Code in case in which plaintiff sought damages of $100 million; then prevailed in plaintiff's appeal to 9th Circuit. C00-1755C (9th Cir. 2002)

Trial Experience

Campbell v. American Express, Conde Nast Publications, et al.

Obtained summary judgment as lead defense counsel in class action brought on behalf of all males in California against eight corporate defendants alleging violations of the Unruh Act (gender discrimination) and Gender Tax Repeal Act in connection with a "Women's Golf Month" event. (2012)

Porteous, Teri v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Southern California Permanente Medical Group

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of various Kaiser entities and an individual defendant in a wrongful termination case alleging claims for age discrimination, retaliation, defamation, violation of Business and Professions Code § 17200, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (2011)

Winston v. Countrywide Home Loans, Bank of America

Lead trial counsel for defendants in a month-long trial for fraud and wrongful discharge claims brought by former Countrywide executive. Obtained defense verdict at trial on all but one claim. The Court of Appeals found for the defense on the final claim and reversed the judgment in full, (without a new trial) finding that substantial evidence did not support the jury’s verdict. Plaintiff’s petition for review to California Supreme Court denied. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011; Cal. App. & Supreme Ct. 2013)

Green, et al. v. Standard Appliance, Inc.

Representation of defendant employer against claims for age and employment discrimination brought by multiple former employees terminated in reduction in force. Jury trial resulted in complete defense verdict in favor of employer. (2010)

Johnson v. Chevron, et al.*

Served as lead counsel in three-week jury trial alleging failure to accommodate, discrimination and hostile work environment. Successfully obtained summary judgment on failure to accommodate claims, later reversed by the Court of Appeal. Obtained defense verdict on remaining claims after one hour of jury deliberation. 159 Wn. App 18, 244 P 3d 438 (2010) / 07-2-20155-6 (King Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2009)

Dent and Strathmann v. CombiMatrix

Represented biotech company in defense of claims brought by former vice president of research and development and vice president of marketing seeking multimillion-dollar damages for bonuses and commissions and also asserting patent and intellectual property claims. Claims dismissed following two-week trial. (2008)

Berntsen v. Dollar Tree Stores

Summary judgment granted on eight claims of age, gender and national origin employment discrimination. Jury verdict achieved for defendant on remaining claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment . (D. Or. 2007)

Class Action Defense

Noe, et. al. v. Sarnoff, et. al.

Defend national concessions and entertainment clients in wage and hour class action brought on behalf of concessionaires at various sport arena locations in California alleging they were improperly classified as independent contractors and other claims. (L.A. Cty (Cal.) Super. Ct. Ongoing)

Wage and hour class action defense for national publication, international entertainment company

Represent national publication and international entertainment company in two separate wage and hour class actions dealing with promotional 'women only' event. Successfully resolved case, second is ongoing. (Ongoing)

Chullino v. Prospect Mortgage

Lead counsel in wage and hour class action alleging meal period, overtime and off-the-clock violations. Class claims dismissed before certification. (2012)

Long v. Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Obtained summary judgment for defendant in Unruh Act class action brought on behalf of all males in California alleging gender price discrimination connection with 3rd party charitable events held at the Playboy Mansion. Summary judgment upheld by 9th Circuit Court of Appeal. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2014)

Priyanto, et al. v. Holland America Lines, Inc., et al.

Successfully represented Holland America Lines in defeating class certification in a putative class action by Indonesian seamen involving statutory and contractual claims for damages; case then settled. (C.D. Cal. 2012)

Becerra, et al. v. All Janitorial, et al.

Won partial summary judgment on wage and hour claims and successfully defended against remaining claim at trial on behalf of Expert Janitorial LLC in multi-plaintiff lawsuit. (King Cnty. (Wash.) Sup. Ct. 2011)

Campbell v. American Express, Conde Nast Publications, et al.

Obtained summary judgment as lead defense counsel in class action brought on behalf of all males in California against eight corporate defendants alleging violations of the Unruh Act (gender discrimination) and Gender Tax Repeal Act in connection with a "Women's Golf Month" event. (2012)

Lucarini v. Dresser, Inc.

Lead defense counsel in wage and hour class action brought on behalf of oil industry technicians alleging violations of alternative work week, meal period, on-call time, and off the clock rules. (SBSC 2010)

Aden v. Delta Global Services

Successfully resolved 30 plaintiff religious discrimination case without litigation. (2010)

Belknap et al. v. U.S. Bank

Successfully obtained ruling of class action decertification, of wage claim, following five years of litigation. On appeal, obtained affirmance of trial court’s decertification order and obtained reversal of trial court’s attorney fee award to named plaintiffs. 235 Or. App. 658 (2010), rev den 349 Or. 654 (2011)

De Lapp v. U.S. Bank

Defended U.S. Bank in a class action alleging forfeiture of vacation time in connection with acquisition of another financial institution resulting in a favorable settlement for our client. (2010)

Henson v. Searles Valley Minerals Operations, Inc.

Lead defense counsel on wage hours class action alleging meal period, pay stub, overtime, and “off-the-clock” violations. Obtained favorable settlement before class certification. (2010)

Lujan v. Western Peterbilt

Successful early resolution of class action lawsuit alleging California state pay violations relating to overtime and paycheck requirements. (N.D. Cal. 2010)

Rock v. Doyon Security Services LLC

Represented Doyon Security Services LLC in a complex wage and hour matter involving two overlapping class action lawsuits and 43 individual claims. Early favorable settlements were reached in all cases, and the court approved the class action settlement. (Monterey Cnty. (Cal.) Super. Ct. 2010)

Ross v. U.S. National Bank Association

Defended U.S. Bank in California wage and hour class action involving some 5,000 employees in California, Oregon, and Washington, and claims of misclassification, off-the-clock, meal and rest period, overtime, and paystub violations. Most claims were dismissed or withdrawn. The few claims that remained were settled. (2010)

Schrader et al. v. adidas Promotional Retail Operations, Inc.

Defense counsel in wage and hour class action alleging improper classification of retail store managers. (2010)

Barrett v. Doyon Security Services LLC

Defended Doyon Security Services in consolidated class action lawsuits alleging meal period violations, off-the-clock work, and pay stub violations. (Santa Barbara Cnty. (Cal.) Super. Ct. 2009)

Challgren v. U.S. National Bank Association

Lead counsel representing U.S. National Bank Association in a wage and hour class action lawsuit presenting novel issues of collateral estoppel involving previously rejected class certification. The case settled for five figures. (CDDC 2009)

Rojas v. Shell Oil et al.

Lead defense counsel in wage and hour class action brought against nine petroleum refinery defendants alleging violations of Labor Code section 2810 and related wage statutes. Motion to Dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) granted, and case dismissed on pleadings in 2009. (CDDC)

Hallam v. Holland America Line

Prevailed before the Alaska Supreme Court on novel class action claim concerning the so-called 'pyramiding' method of computing overtime for hours worked in excess of eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. 180 P.3d 955 (Alas. 2008)

Wage and hour class action dispute for national retailer (Fortune 100)

Defended national retailer employer in the largest wage and hour class action in Washington State history involving alleged underpayment of shift differential. Case removed to federal court. Class never certified. Case settled with individual claimants during court-ordered mediation. (2008)

Wage and hour class action dispute for residential drywall contractor

Defended residential drywall contractor in wage and hour class action litigation involving alleged underpayment of wages and overtime. Case settled after discovery, motion practice and court-ordered mediation. (2008)

Wage and hour class action dispute for residential drywall contractor

Defended residential drywall contractor in wage and hour class action litigation involving alleged underpayment of wages and overtime. Case settled after discovery, motion practice and court-ordered mediation. (2008)

Williams v. Boeing Co.

Represented Boeing to uphold district court's decision dismissing a class action alleging racial discrimination in compensation. The 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal. 517 F.3d 1120 (9th Cir. 2008)

Dale v. Sitel

Defeated class certification on behalf of Sitel in a wage and hour class action, which claimed, in part, that Sitel used rounding to force employees to come in seven minutes early to work, and then required that the same employees leave at precisely 5 p.m., so as to never receive a rounding benefit. (Multnomah Cnty. (Or.) Cir. Ct. 2007)

McElmurry et al. v. U.S. Bank

Defeated multiple collective action certification motions under the Fair Labor Standards Act seeking certification of claims alleging misclassification of management-level employees and alleging off-the-clock work. Court twice denied certification on each claim. (2004 WL 1675925 D. Or. 2004; 2005 WL 2494932 D. Or. 2005; 2005 WL 249 2932 D. Or. 2005; 2006 WL 3908536 D. Or. 2006). Before the Ninth Circuit on appeal, successfully obtained dismissal of appeal and denial of petition for writ of mandamus. 495 F.2d. 1136. (D. Or. 2007)

Strunk v. Public Employees Retirement System*

Successfully represented a class of non-union workers that sued the State of Oregon and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Board for $2.2 billion for changes made to Tier One of the Oregon PERS. The case was tried to a Special Master appointment by the Oregon Supreme Court. In a 4-3 split decision, the Court held unconstitutional a number of the legislative changes, giving workers a victory of approximately $1.1 billion. In a subsequent unanimous opinion, the Court awarded attorney fees, costs and a multiplier for 'exceptional success' and the skill and professional standing of the lawyers involved. (2007)  

Mayfield et al. v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

Lead defense counsel in multi-plaintiff action alleging discrimination and various Labor Code violations. Obtained dismissal of most claims at pleading stage, with favorable settlement on remaining claims.

Agency and Administrative Charges

Britt v. Denali State Bank*

Successfully defended disability discrimination claim based on seasonal affective disorder, securing dismissal of complaint. (E.E.O.C. Admin. Proceeding 2009)

Carlton Cousin v. BBBS of Alaska*

Successfully defended race discrimination and retaliation claims, securing settlement on favorable terms for client. (Alaska Equal Rights Admin. Proceeding 2009)

EEOC v. Lowe's HIW, Inc.

Represented national retailer in multi-plaintiff sexual harassment, retaliation, and termination case brought in federal court by EEOC and five intervenor plaintiffs. Resolved by settlement and Consent Decree. (2009)

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries v. Tyson Foods, Inc.

Successfully represented a large food company in an appeal of a WISHA safety and health citation alleging failure to provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment. After an administrative hearing, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals vacated the bulk of the citation against the company, and the courts upheld the board's ruling on appeal. 143 Wash. App. 576, 178 P.3 1070 (Wash. App. 2008)

Race and national origin discrimination case for local luxury hotel

Successfully defeated six related EEOC charges alleging race and national origin discrimination. (2007)

Labor

Labor relations counseling for Seattle Opera

Labor relations counseling and labor negotiations for major national opera company with eight bargaining units. (Ongoing)

Union matters for international air carrier

Representing an airline with multiple bargaining units covered by the Railway Labor Act deal with grievances, arbitrations, agency charges and litigation. (Ongoing)

Farmer v. Searles Valley Minerals Operations

Defense counsel in action alleging disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and interference with alleged union-organizing. Obtained summary judgment on all claims. (2011)

ERISA

Alaska Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry Pension Fund et al. v. AVM, Inc.

In an ERISA delinquent contributions suit filed by multiemployer trust funds, successfully defended client, securing settlement on favorable terms (claims alleging $225,000 or more in damages were settled for $36,000). (D. Alaska 2011)

Trustees of the Alaska Laborers v. RainDance Health Care Group, Inc., et al.

In an ERISA delinquent contributions suit filed by multiemployer trust funds, successfully defended individual shareholders, securing summary judgment dismissing claims alleging individual liability, and an award of attorneys' fees and costs for the individual shareholders. (D. Alaska 2011)

Pierscieniak v. Volt Information Sciences, Inc.

Secured summary judgment on behalf of Volt Information Sciences in a class action suit involving allegations that the vesting provisions in the company's 401(k) plan violated ERISA. (2010)

Audits and Investigations

OFCCP corporate review for health care organization

Representation of a 50,000-employee health care organization in response to OFCCP corporate audit focusing on glass ceiling and other potential gender discrimination issues. Developed and implemented strategy to deal with numerous complaints from female employees during audit about perceived gender discrimination, resulting in closure of the audit with no back pay or hiring requirements or other adverse findings. (2008)
* Denotes experience completed at a prior firm