Firm News & Events
Click on the year below to view all news and events for that year. From January 2018 to present, please see our Twitter feed.2019
- 2019 Harmon G. Scoville Award Honoree Neil Pedersen
- Neil Pedersen was the 2019 Harmon G. Scoville Honoree and was featured in this month’s Orange County Lawyer magazine. Read the full article Here
- Most people think maintaining a hostile work environment is unlawful for an employer. Not true. Bullying, hostility, anger, and other unpleasant workplace conduct is allowed unless unlawfully motivated
- Assembly Bill 3080
- Unfortunately, the governor has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the use of arbitration agreements in the employment context. Assembly Bill 3080 would have prohibited employers from requiring employees and independent contractors to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of their employment or continued employment. The governor gave as his reason for the veto that the bill violated the Federal Arbitration Act. Frankly, he was probably right. The only effective way to eliminate mandatory arbitration in the workplace will have to be through federal legislation.
- The “No Rehire” Provision
- A common provision found in most settlement agreements between employers and employees is a promise that the employee will never again apply for a job with the employer. This “no rehire” provision has now been called into question. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Golden v. Cal. Emergency Physicians Med. Grp., 896 F.3d 1018, 1021 (9th Cir. 2018) determined that when such a no rehire clause constitutes a restraint of substantial character on the employee’s ability to carry out their regular occupation, the clause is unenforceable as an impermissible restraint on trade. This can be very important for employees of very large companies who would otherwise be precluded from seeking work in entities acquired by the settling defendant or other remote divisions.
- OC Courts Weigh In On Dynamex
- The new Dynamex decision is going to raise havoc in many industries that have traditionally tried to use independent contractors to perform part of the work employees would have done. The big issue now is whether that decision will be applied retroactively. The California Supreme Court did not address the issue in its opinion and rejected an attempt to clarify that issue when a petition for rehearing was brought on that basis. The trial courts are now left to make that decision. One Orange County court has already determined that in that case the Dynamex decision is retroactive. If that is eventually determined to be the law, employees are going to be able to reach back four years from the date of their complaint to seek wages and wage penalties associated with being treated as an independent contractor when in fact they were employees.
- Attorney-Client Contract: The Intersection of Ethics and Risk Management
- On September 14, 2018, Firm principal Neil Pedersen, spoke to about 80 lawyers on the topic “The Attorney-Client Contract: The Intersection of Ethics and Risk Management.” The one-hour presentation was given at the California Lawyers Association Annual Conference held in San Diego, California. Included in the discussion was content related to required and recommended provisions in such agreements as well as procedures to use to assure the most effective use of an attorney-client contract.
- Common Employer Violation of Fair Employment and Housing Act: No Part Time Work
- Pedersen Law is seeing a rash of employers who are taking the position that medical restrictions that require the employee to work less than full time are not accommodatable by the employer. The firm presently represents 5 employees who worked for 5 different employers who have been refused return to work for the same reason: “we cannot accommodate you working less than full time.”
This apparently popular position is, in each of the cases handled by our firm, a clear violation of FEHA which requires the employer to extend a reasonable accommodation to the employee if doing so would not create an undue hardship on the employer. Undue hardship is more than mere inconvenience. It must involve substantial expense or interference with the employer’s functions. Accommodation contemplates changing the way an employer normally does things, including modifying schedules and hours worked. Absent some real undue hardship the mere assertion by the employer that a part time schedule is not accommodatable is going to be a violation of FEHA.
- EEOC Continuing to Emphasize that Finite Limits on Leave are Unlawful
- Many companies attempt to place a defined limit on how long an employee can be out on leave before their job is forfeit. In EEOC v. Mueller Industries, Inc., the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against a global manufacturer, charging the company with terminating employees and failing to provide reasonable accommodations for those exceeding its 180-day leave policy. The EEOC also took issue with the company’s attendance policy that assigned points for absences, regardless of reason, claiming such a policy violated federal law. At Pedersen Law we see both of these approaches being used regularly by employers.
This action resulted in a settlement whereby the company agreed to a judgment against it including $1 million in damages, reinstatement of those who were terminated, and injunctive relief requiring the revision of the offending policies. This action confirms that a uniform policy with hard and fast deadlines for return to work violates the law.
- Retroactive Effect of Dynamex Decision Regarding Independent Contractors
- The California Supreme Court (CSC) issued its groundbreaking decision in May of this year redefining the manner in which a worker is determined to be an employee vs. an independent contractor. The case fundamentally changed the analysis, making it far more difficult for an employer to classify a worker as an independent contractor. Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 503.
Specifically unstated in the Dynamex decision is whether the new ABC Test is to be used retroactively or only prospectively. Retroactive application would, of course, implicate far more misclassified employees. The CSC denied a Petition for Rehearing on June 20, 2018 that would have allowed it to add that clarification. Trial courts are now being asked to make that call without appellate guidance.
One trial court in Orange County Superior Court has decided that Dynamex should be applied both retroactively and prospectively. Johnson v. Imperial Showgirls (Aug. 5, 2015). That court, whose decision cannot be used for precedent, but does give us an inside view about at least one judges thinking about the subject, cited to a general rule that such decisions are to be given retroactive application. We will not have clear guidance until some of the trial court decisions make it to the appellate level. For now, I am assuming retroactive application.
- California Supreme Court Finds Coverage for Employers of Sexual Abusers
- A California employer was sued for negligent hiring, retention and supervision of an employee who was accused of sexually molesting a student at a school where the employer was performing work. The employer tendered the lawsuit to its insurer, Liberty Mutual. The insurer argued that such claims are barred from coverage, meaning it had no duty to defend the employer or indemnify it because the allegations were not sufficient to trigger the coverage duty. It claimed intentional conduct of the sort alleged was not an “occurrence” under the policy, which was defined as “unexpected, unforeseen or undesigned happening or consequences from either a known or unknown cause.”
The CSC noted that while the employee’s act was willful and therefore beyond the scope of coverage, the focus was on the employer’s alleged conduct. The employer’s allegedly negligent hiring, retention and supervision of the employee is an independently tortious act, and because those acts are not willful by nature, they can be considered an accident, and insurance coverage therefore exists for those claims.
While many would see this holding as somewhat disgusting that an employer can have insurance pay for the losses associated with its employment of a molester, the case is a mixed bag for victims. Insurance money to defend the case means perhaps more aggressive defense of such claims. However, insurance money availability for settlement or to pay a judgment can be good news for victims when the employer might not be able to fund the kind of settlement or judgment necessary to make the victim more whole. See, Liberty Surplus Insurance v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction (2018) 5 Cal. 5th 216.
- Cal. Supreme Court Continues to be Pro-Employee
- The California Supreme Court has again ruled favorably to employees and against employers in a case deciding if California would follow the federal de minimus defense regarding paying employees for all time spent working for the employer. In Troester v. Starbuck Corp, the CSC soundly rejected the employer’s argument that the federal rule permitting employers under some circumstances to require employees to work as much as 10 minutes a day without compensation is applicable in California. The Court made clear that under California law, which is more protective than the federal FLSA, “hours worked” means not only the time spent performing the principal activity of the job, but encompasses all time the employee is subject to the control of the employer.
- Watershed Case Decided by CA Supreme Court Regarding Independent Contractors
- The California Supreme Court has radically changed the method for determining if someone is an employee vs. an independent contractor. For purposes of determining compliance with Wage Orders only (for now) the CSC has changed the test to be used. Now employers and courts must employ the “ABC Test” instead of the old Economic Realities Test. The new ABC Test will make it far more difficult for employers to properly classify a worker as an independent contractor. See, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (CSC April 30, 2018).
- Kimberly Whang Joins Pedersen Law Team
- Pedersen Law added another piece to its powerful arsenal by hiring Kim Whang as an Associate Attorney. Kim comes to Pedersen Law with over four years of litigation experience, two-and-a-half years of that time in plaintiff employment litigation. She therefore hits the floor running with the firm’s core practice area. Kim was a magna cum laude graduate of Western State College of Law, an editor on Law Review, and was the recipient of several academic excellence awards in school. We are very excited to have her join the team.
- Pedersen Law Goes Live With Brand New Website
- The firm has just launched its new website. The new site focuses exclusively on employment law for the plaintiff and has a great deal of unique content generated by Neil Pedersen, the firm’s principal. In addition to written content, there are 9 videos imbedded into the website. The goal is to now consistently add content to the site so that it becomes an even better resourse for those seeking knowledge about workplace harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and about wage and hour and protected leave issues.
- Neil Pedersen Named Super Lawyer
- Neil Pedersen has again been named a Southern California Super Lawyer in the 2018 edition of Super Lawyers Magazine by Thomson Reuters. This distinction is conferred on select attorneys based on a process involving peer nomination, independent research and evaluation by the publisher, with about 5% of attorneys in the state being named to the list.
- Kristina Coronado Graduates from Law School with Academic Honors
- Long-time employee, Kristina Coronado, graduated this month with honors from Western State College of Law. While in law school Kristina was honored with the position of Editor in Chief of the Law Review. A Certified Paralegal with Pedersen Law for years, and a Legal Assistant prior to that, the firm has watched Kristina rise from graduating from Orange Coast Community College, then Cal State Fullerton, and now law school all while employed with the firm. We are very proud of Kristina!
- Firm Wins Important Victory at 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- The firm, with a big assist from former Associate Attorney Armond Jackson of Jackson Law, not only won an important victory for our client, but also made good law, by prevailing in the appeal in the matter entitled Scott v. Gino Morena Enterprises. The trial court had entered judgment against our client believing she had failed to timely exhaust her administrative remedies. The defense had argued that because the EEOC failed to issue a right to sue letter within the 90 days it was required to do so, Scott’s failure to thereafter file a lawsuit within 90 days constituted a failure to exhaust. On appeal the 9th Circuit appropriately held that Scott had the right to wait for the EEOC to issue the right to sue letter, even if the EEOC failed to issue it within the statutory time period. This is the first case that clearly and unambiguously holds that a plaintiff does not lose her right to proceed against her employer where she had no part in the delay created by the EEOC. Armond Jackson, who started handling the case as an Associate Attorney at Pedersen Law, wrote the briefs and attended oral argument on the matter. Pedersen Law and Jackson Law are co-counsel in the case.
- Jamie Gottschalk-Hall Joins the Pedersen Law Team
- Pedersen Law is honored to have Jamie Gottchalk-Hall join the team as an Associate Attorney. Jamie has had a depth of litigation experience, including several years working for employees against their employers. Jamie is a 2003 graduate from Western State College of Law, where she has also worked as an adjunct faculty member and Assistant Legal Clinic Director. Jamie will make a great new member of the Pedersen Law team.
- Pedersen Law Adds Intake Manager/Social Media and Marketing Manager
- The volume of people making contact with the firm has made it necessary to hire a person dedicated to working with these potential new clients. Anthony Pedersen has been hired to make immediate direct contact with all persons who call the firm seeking its expertise. He will have immediate direct access to Neil Pedersen who makes all decisions about taking cases at the firm. In addition to his Intake Manager responsibilities, Anthony will also take on responsibility for all marketing efforts at the firm, including all social media content and website development. We are very happy to have him as part of the team.
- Neil Pedersen Teaches Attorneys About Winding Up Their Practices
- Neil Pedersen, along with Professor Kevin Mohr and colleague Marla Merhab Robinson presented a two-hour seminar at the offices of the Orange County Bar Association on the topic “It’s Time to Close Up Your Legal Practice for Good.” The presentation discussed appropriate planning for both the planned retirement and unexpected end of practice. The sold-out event occurred on January 23, 2018.
- Neil Pedersen Provides Guidance for Young Attorneys
- Firm principal, Neil Pedersen reprised his popular presentation entitled “Hit the Floor Running: Practical Advice for the Novice Attorney,” a three hour seminar sponsored by Western State College of Law. The presentation provides 75 nuggets of wisdom for less experienced attorneys about how to succeed and thrive in the practice of law. This presentation occurred on January 27, 2018 on the Irvine campus of Western State College of Law.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Next Article in Series on Attorney Stress
- Neil Pedersen has published part three of his four part series of articles appearing in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s December 2017-January 2018 edition of the E-News entitled “Reducing Stress in the Practice of Law: Some Practical Tips – Part Three in a Recurring Series.”
- Neil Pedersen engaged by State Bar as Subject Matter Expert
- The State Bar of California has retained Neil Pedersen to act as a Subject Matter Expert as part of its creation of training videos that will be viewed by new attorneys to satisfy new requirements that attorneys in their first year of practice must complete. Neil has been hired to assist in the development of content related to basic lawyering skills and law practice management that will be part of these training videos.
- Neil Pedersen Presents at National Law Practice Management Conference
- Neil Pedersen was invited to be a speaker at the three-day conference held in Indianapolis, Indiana entitled “Jump Start Your Law Practice” on November 18 through 20, 2018. At the conference, Neil presented a one-hour talk on the topic “Law Office Employee Hiring, Firing, and Management.” Neil was also asked to be part of two different panel discussions at the conference entitled “Money, Fees, and Pricing (Making Your Money Work for You),” and “Time Management and Proper Delegation.” All three presentations were well received and procured excellent evaluations from the audience.
- Neil Pedersen Presents to Inns of Court
- On November 9, 2017, Neil Pedersen presented a one-hour presentation to the Peter M. Elliot American Inn of Court in Newport Beach on the topic “The Prospective Client and Beyond, Client Interviews to Identify Problem Clients and Avoid Potential Pitfalls During the Representation.” The interactive presentation presents several video vignettes of client interviews and discusses common red-flags to look for in client selection.
- Neil Pedersen is Again Selected as Member of Executive Committee
- The State Bar of California has approved the action of the Executive Committee of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section of again making Neil Pedersen an Executive Committee member. Neil had previously serve his three-year term as Executive Committee member from 2012 to 2015. Since that time Neil has been a Special Advisor to the Executive Committee. Neil’s new term as Executive Committee member will run through 2020.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Next Article in Series on Attorney Stress
- Neil Pedersen has published part two of his four part series of articles appearing in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s October-November 2017 edition of the E-News entitled “Reducing Stress in the Practice of Law: Some Practical Tips – Part Two in a Recurring Series.”
- Neil Pedersen Speaks on Cyber-Security Threats for Small Law Firms
- Firm principal, Neil Pedersen, gave a one-hour presentation to the Los Angeles County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section on October 19, 2017 entitled “Ethical Issues Presented by the Cyber-Security Threat to the Small Firm or Solo Practitioner.” The talk discussed common cyber threats to the solo and small firm practitioner and effective ways to combat those attacks.
- Neil Pedersen Addresses Annual Solo and Small Firm Group
- Neil Pedersen was one member of a four-person, two-hour panel discussion at the annual evening program of the Orange County Bar Association entitled “Building and Growing a Successful Practice.” The discussion covered a number of topics related to the practice of law and was before a packed room, held on September 14, 2017.
- Neil Pedersen Teaches Younger Attorneys About Depositions
- On September 12, 2017, Neil Pedersen, along with friend and former partner Teresa McQueen, led a program at the Orange County Bar Association offices entitled “Mock Depositions: Don’t Make a Mockery of Yourself.” The program sponsored by The Young Lawyer’s Division of the Orange County Bar Association included a mock deposition followed by a discussion related to effective preparation for and taking of depositions in civil litigation.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes First in Series of Articles on Attorney Stress
- Neil Pedersen has published part one of his four part series of articles appearing in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s August-September 2017 edition of the E-News entitled “Reducing Stress in the Practice of Law: Some Practical Tips – Part One in a Recurring Series.”
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Fee Disputes
- Neil Pedersen’s article entitled “Getting Paid: 20 Ways to Avoid Fee Disputes With Your Client, ” was published in The Bottom Line, the official publication of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section in the July-August 2017 edition.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks to New Lawyers About Employment Law
- Firm principal was asked to reprise his semi-annual presentation to new lawyers at the OCBA Bridging the Gap program on the topic of Employment Law. The presentation, performed with selected defense counsel, is a panel discussion wherein the employment law practice area is addressed. This program was held at Chapman University on July 15, 2017.
- Neil Pedersen Acts as Judge and Trainer at OCBA Trial Skills College
- Every two years the Orange County Bar Association holds its College of Trial Advocacy, a multiple week training opportunity for attorneys who wish to hone their trial skills. This year, firm principal, Neil Pedersen, participated as a judge and trainer at Chapman University for three separate weekend sessions on the topics Opening Statements, Cross and Direct Examination, and Closing Arguments.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at UCLA Law School
- On April 22, 2017, Neil Pedersen was part of a day-long workshop held at the UCLA School of Law entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Starting and Running a Solo Practice.” Neil was a panelist for an extensive final question and answer session covering all aspects of law practice management.
- Neil Pedersen Provides Guidance for Young Attorneys
- Firm principal, Neil Pedersen reprised his popular presentation entitled “Hit the Floor Running: Practical Advice for the Novice Attorney,” a three hour seminar sponsored by Western State College of Law. The presentation provides 75 nuggets of wisdom for less experienced attorneys about how to succeed and thrive in the practice of law. This presentation occurred on March 4, 2017 on the Irvine campus of Western State College of Law.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks to New Lawyers About Employment Law
- Firm principal was asked to reprise his semi-annual presentation to new lawyers at the OCBA Bridging the Gap program on the topic of Employment Law. The presentation, performed with selected defense counsel, is a panel discussion wherein the employment law practice area is addressed. This program was held at Chapman University on February 11, 2017.
- Neil Pedersen Guest on Radio Program on Employee Privacy Issues
- On January 5, 2017, Neil Pedersen was the featured guest on a half-hour segment of KUCI radio talk show program “Privacy Piracy” hosted by show host Mari Frank. The topic of discussion on the show was “Employee Privacy Issues.”
- Firm Collects $2.1 Million Settlement for Clients
- After ten years of aggressive battling, the firm has procured for three wonderful clients a paid settlement in the amount of $2.1 million from a defendant that fought to avoid the consequences of her actions. The case, that started as a sexual harassment claim, turned into a collections battle. The ultimate payors were the so called partners of the person in charge at the restaurant that allowed the terrible harassment to occur, and who retaliated against the plaintiffs when the harassment became so bad that they had to file workers compensation claims. While the primary offender was essentially penniless, the firm located these partners with substantial assets, and then went after their assets. After fighting off a claim that they should not have to pay, both in superior court and in the appellate court, and fighting off a separate lawsuit attempting to prevent collection, the firm prevailed and procured a settlement that recovered the money, almost ten years to the day after the bad conduct had occurred.
- Neil Pedersen Presents Legal Education Content
- On August 11, 2016, Neil Pedersen provided a three-hour, twenty-minute presentation video recorded by the National Law Foundation for its library of video content entitled “Law Practice Management.” The video and audio program will be used for continuing legal education credit by those attorney who purchase the content, and it covers a broad spectrum of practical processes, procedures and knowledge related to running a successful law practice.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks to New Lawyers About Employment Law
- Firm principal was asked to reprise his semi-annual presentation to new lawyers at the OCBA Bridging the Gap program on the topic of Employment Law. The presentation, performed with selected defense counsel, is a panel discussion wherein the employment law practice area is addressed. This program was held at Chapman University on July 16, 2016.
- McKenzee McCammack Authors Article on PAGA
- Law clerk and future Pedersen Law attorney McKenzee McCammack’s law review article on the Private Attorney General Act has been published in the Western State Law Review. The article entitled “PAGA is the New Qui Tam: Changing the Landscape of Employment Law in California” surveys the use of the PAGA statute as a method of enforcing California Labor Code violations by aggrieved employees.
- Kristina Coronado Named Editor-in-Chief of Western State Law Review
- Long-time employee and paralegal for Pedersen McQueen, Kristina Coronado, has just been named the new Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review at Western State College of Law. This honor bestowed upon her by her colleagues at the law school reflects Kristina’s strong academic and organizational skills. Editor-in-Chief of Law Review has long been one of the most prestigious honors that can be attained in law school, and we at Pedersen McQueen are very proud of Kristina for her accomplishment.
- Neil Pedersen Listed as One of the Best Employment Law Attorneys in Orange County
- The publishers of Orange Coast Magazine have once again released its list of the Best Attorneys in Orange County and Neil Pedersen is once again listed as one of the best attorneys in Orange County in the area of Employment Law.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks on Employment Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
- On Saturday June 11, Neil Pedersen presented at the Orange County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section’s 2016 Labor and Employment Law Symposium held at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. Neil spoke on the topic “New Developments in Discrimination, Retaliation and Harassment Law” in which he discussed state and federal regulatory, statutory and case law changes over the last year.
- Firm name changes to Pedersen Law APLC
- Effective June 16, 2016, the name of the firm changes from Pedersen McQueen APLC to Pedersen Law APLC. The change of corporate name is the result of long-time friend and skilled attorney Teresa McQueen’s decision to transition from a litigation practice to a business model focused more on consulting and advising. Teresa’s firm, launched with the blessings and support of Pedersen Law, is called Saffire Legal which can be contacted at saffirelegal.com. We wish Teresa all the best in her new endeavor.
- Neil Pedersen Wins Attorney of the Year Honor
- Neil Pedersen was selected as the 2016 Attorney of the Year by the State Bar Solo and Small Firm Section. This honor is given to one attorney each year that exemplifies what is best about attorneys. For more on this honor, go to solo.calbar.ca.gov
- Neil Pedersen named as Southern California Super Lawyer for 2016
- Thompson Reuters publications has released its list of Super Lawyers for 2016. Neil Pedersen has once again been named to this prestigious list. This distinction is conferred on select attorneys based on a process that involves peer nomination, independent research and evaluation by the publisher, resulting in only about 5% of all attorneys in the state being named to the list. This is Neil’s second year as a Super Lawyer.
- Neil Pedersen Once Again Named as One of the Best Attorneys in Southern California
- Neil Pedersen has been named as one of the Top Lawyers of Southern California for 2016 in the annual publication sponsored by American Legal Media and the Los Angeles Times. This is the sixth year in a row that Neil has been so honored by this publication.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at Placer County Bar Association Annual Conference
- Neil Pedersen was asked by the Placer County Bar Association to speak at its annual conference on April 22 in Lake Tahoe on the subject of Converting Your Office to a Digital Environment. This two hour presentation to an audience of several dozen practicing attorneys discussed how to create a “paperless” law office, as well as secure and effective methods of storing and protecting the digital data maintained by the modern digital office.
- Firm Files Lawsuit Alleging Gender Discrimination in Hiring by Los Angeles Employer
- This month the firm has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that the client interviewed with a Los Angeles-based employer but was told in the interview that they would not hire a woman into the position for which she applied because there had been a prior sexual harassment claim by the woman that held that position before the client. The lawsuit alleges a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and seeks damages for the refusal to hire and punitive damages as well.
- Firm Files Wage and Hour Claim Against Los Angeles Restaurant on Behalf of Server Client
- This month the firm has filed a wage and hour and PAGA lawsuit on behalf of its client, a server at a west side Los Angeles restaurant, alleging that the employer denied legally-required meal periods by making the servers clock in for one minute at the beginning of their shift and then immediately clock out for the meal period, essentially denying the employees a meal period in the middle of their shift. The lawsuit also claims violation of several other Labor Code provisions, including failure to provide required rest periods, wage statement violations and failure to maintain legally-required employment records.
- Firm Wins $640,000+ Wage and Hour and PAGA Judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court Bench Trial
- This month the lawsuit known as Bautista v. Petrol Mobile Fueling, Inc. went to trial before Judge Mel Recana in Los Angeles Superior Court. Armond Jackson prosecuted the case to the Judge where the plaintiff was seeking individual damages for unpaid overtime and wage penalties for rest and meal period violations. Additionally the plaintiff sought the award of substantial penalties under the Private Attorney General Act for similar Labor Code violations against other employees like the plaintiff. The court awarded our client all of his $26,046.13 in damages sought, and additionally awarded PAGA penalties in the amount of $614,00 against the defendant. Attorney fees and costs will be awarded later following post-trial motions.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks to New Attorneys
- Neil Pedersen reprised his presentation to young attorneys on the topic Hit the Floor Running: Practical Advice for the Novice Attorney, a seminar sponsored by Western State College of Law, on February 20, 2016. The presentation provided 75 “nuggets” of wisdom regarding the practice of law especially relevant to new attorneys.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Employment Law Changes
- Neil Pedersen’s article Employment Law Changes That Affect Law Firms was published in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s E-News in its January-February 2016 edition. The article discussed several employment-related statutory changes that came into effect as of January 1, 2016.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks on Employment Law
- On January 30, 2016, Neil Pedersen was asked to participate in a one-hour segment of the day-long Bridging the Gap program sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association. Neil was asked to speak to new attorneys on the topic of Employment Law.
- Firm Enters Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination Dispute
- This month the firm was asked to enter as first chair a pending dispute between a female employee and her employer which involves claims of substantial sexual harassment by an immediate supervisor, and when the employee complained about the harassment, was essentially terminated by the HR personnel to which she reported the harassment. The lawsuit seeks damages arising out of the loss of her job, emotional distress in dealing with both the harassment on the job and arising out of loss of the job, and punitive damages. The claims also include the seeking of substantial penalties under the Private Attorney General Act for Labor Code violations visited upon the client and many similarly situated aggrieved employees at the same employer.
- Neil Pedersen Awarded Top Contributor Honor by AVVO.com
- The online website known as AVVO.com has again awarded Neil Pedersen with a Top Contributor honor based on the content he has provided to those who come to the website seeking answers to general legal questions in the area of Employment Law and related practice areas.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on the Private Attorney General Act
- Neil Pedersen’s article The Wild, Wild West of PAGA Litigation was published in the January 2016 edition of the Big eNewsletter, the State Bar Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section’s bi-monthly publication. The article discussed the unsettled nature of employment litigation involving the California Private Attorney General Act.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Employee Private Use of Internet and Texting at Work
- In December 2015, The Bottom Line, the official journal of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section, featured Neil Pedersen’s article, There’s A Thief In Your Office: The Hidden Cost of Non-Business-Related Internet Use and Texting. The article discusses the issue of employees using internet for personal uses while at work, as well as employee texting in the office.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Law Practice Risk Management
- Neil Pedersen’s article Risk Management for the Law Office Owner, was published in the E-News, the bi-monthly newsletter of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section, in November 2015. The article discusses three levels of risk management that should be employed by law firms.
- Firm Files Lawsuit for Employee Who Was Denied Hundreds of Hours of Overtime Pay
- This month the firm filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court seeking damages for the employer’s failure to pay for hundreds of hours of overtime pay that it knew its employee was working. The lawsuit involves a claim that the employee was intimidated into turning in timesheets that clearly did not disclose hundreds of hours of overtime, but the employer knew the employee was working that time. The employer took the position that it had no duty to pay for hours not shown on the time sheet, even if it knew otherwise.
- Firm Files Wage and Hour Lawsuit in San Bernardino Superior Court for Machine Operator and Installer
- This month the firm filed a wage and hour lawsuit in San Bernardino Superior Court alleging that our client, a machine operator and installer at an Inland Empire business, was not given a reasonable opportunity to take legally-required rest periods or meal periods. In addition to the client’s individual claims, the lawsuit also seeks penalties under the Private Attorney General Act on behalf of all of the similarly aggrieved employees of the company.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Follow-up Article on the Paperless Law Office
- Neil Pedersen’s article Going Paperless: The Nuts and Bolts of Converting Your Office to a Digital Environment, was printed in The Bottom Line, the official publication of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section in its October 2015 edition. This article is the second in a series of two articles, this one addressing the practical aspects of creating a digital law office.
- Neil Pedersen Selected as Special Advisor to State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section
- After the conclusion of his three-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section, Neil was selected to continue to be part of the Executive Committee of that organization as a Special Advisor. As Special Advisor, Neil will continue to provide presentations and articles sponsored by the organization, as well as his insights and assistance in the meetings of the ExCom.
- Neil Pedersen Named Among Top Lawyers in Southern California
- Neil Pedersen has been named as one of the Top Lawyers of Southern California for 2015 in the annual publication sponsored by American Legal Media and the Los Angeles Times. This is the fifth year in a row that Neil has been so honored by this publication.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at State Bar Convention
- Neil Pedersen was asked to speak at this year’s California State Bar Annual Meeting, held on October 8-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Neil presented Honing Your Client Intake Skills to Avoid Practice Challenges. Through video clips of mock intake interviews, the program identified the most common causes of attorney-client discord and how to deal with them before problems erupt. Neil also presented Management Tools to Create Effective Law Office Employees, which covered various approaches available to law firm management to encourage, train and provide powerful experience to firm personnel to grow the firm’s most critical asset its people.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Legal Marketing
- Neil Pedersen’s article entitled Legal Marketing – Have your Elevator Speech Ready! was published in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s E-News in its September-October 2015 edition. The article discussed the creation and use of a short introductory statement as a method of making a good first impression.
- Firm Principal Moderates Judge Panel
- Neil Pedersen acted as moderator for a one-hour presentation sponsored by the Western State College of Law chapter of Phi Alpha Delta and the Western State Law Review. The program entitled “Wine, Cheese and Judges’ Pet Peeves” featured three sitting superior court judges discussing their pet peeves. The program was held on September 18, 2015 at the Orange County Bar Association Offices.
- Neil Pedersen Named “Top 100 Employment Lawyer”
- Neil Pedersen has been named a “Top 100 Employment Lawyer” by The National Advocate. The National Advocates: Top 100 is an invitation-only professional organization composed of the Top 100 attorneys from each state or region who serve individuals and families needing attorneys to represent them in the American legal system.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Client Expectations
- Neil Pedersen’s article entitled Managing Client Expectation During the Attorney-Client Relationship was printed this month in The Bottom Line, official publication of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section. The article addresses the importance of determining and then managing reasonable expectations to avoid unhappy clients.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Converting to a Digital Law Office
- Firm principal Neil Pedersen’s article entitled Going Digital: Now is the Time to Convert Your Practice to a Paperless Environment, was published this month in The Bottom Line, official publication of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section. The first in a series of two article on the paperless law office, this article focused on the multiple reasons a law practitioner should consider transitioning their practice to a digital one.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Wage and Hour Claims by Interns
- Neil Pedersen’s article entitled Avoiding Exposure to Wage and Hour Claims by Interns and Externs was published in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s July-August 2015 edition of the E-News. The article discussed the factors required to be legitimately considered an unpaid intern or extern and the exposure of employers to mischaracterization of employees as interns.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks to New Attorneys
- On July 11, 2015, firm principal, Neil Pedersen, participated in a panel discussion on the topic Employment Law, a one hour segment of a day-long Bridging the Gap program sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association held at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University.
- Firm Files Lawsuit for Client Whose Company Refuses to Provide Her With Meal and Rest Periods
- This month the firm has filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court alleging that our client’s employer refuses to allow her a thirty-minute, duty-free, uninterrupted meal period and forced her to sign a waiver of her right to such a meal period. The lawsuit challenges the validity of the meal period waiver, and cites other Labor Code violations as well.
- Firm Files Lawsuit for Client Who Was Retaliated Against for Making a Workers Compensation Claim
- This month, the firm has filed a First Amended Complaint, adding allegations to a prior wage and hour lawsuit arising out of the employer’s refusal to communicate with its employee who was released to return to work by his doctor after a temporarily disabling condition, and ultimately forced to sign a resignation from employment to simply get paid his workers compensation benefits. The lawsuit asserts a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy.
- Neil Pedersen Listed as One of the Best Employment Law Attorneys in Orange County
- This month the publishers of Orange Coast Magazine released its list of the Best Attorneys in Orange County and Neil Pedersen is listed as one of the best attorneys in Orange County in the area of Employment Law.
- Neil Pedersen Presents at State Bar Solo and Small Firm Summit
- Neil Pedersen gave two one-hour presentations at this year’s State Bar Solo and Small Firm Summit on June 18, 2015, in Newport Beach, California. One presentation was entitled Time Management for the Busy Attorney, and the other was entitled The Paperless Law Office: Using Technology to Maximize Efficiency and Profit. The State Bar’s California Young Lawyers Association has asked Neil to produce two recorded segments on those same topics for its Ten Minute Mentor program, where CYLA members can view ten-minute videos on topics related to the practice of law.
- Firm Files Wage and Hour Lawsuit for Client
- The firm has filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court alleging that our client, who was an installer for a local contractor, was denied the opportunity to take required meal and rest period breaks, was not paid overtime for all of the time he worked more than 8 hours in a workday, and who was not provided with a proper wage statement when he received his pay. The lawsuit seeks damages for the client, and also asserts penalty claims under the Private Attorney General Act on behalf of all of the other aggrieved employees of that same workplace.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Law Practice Cash Flow Management
- This month’s newsletter for the Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section of the State Bar of California included an article written by Neil Pedersen entitled Improving and Maintaining Cash Flow for the Solo and Small Firm Practitioner. The article suggests several ways a small firm practitioner can increase vital cash flow.
- Neil Pedersen Presents for California Young Lawyers Division Annual Practical Skills Training Symposium
- Neil Pedersen presented at the State Bar offices in Los Angeles on May 22 on the topic of Making Good Client Choices. He was asked to present as part of the California Young Lawyers Division Annual Practical Skills Training Symposium, a two-day training program for young lawyers. The presentation included a series of video clips and discussion focused on heading off practice problems by identifying potential client issues in the intake process.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at Disability Rights Legal Center
- This month Neil Pedersen was invited by the Disability Rights Legal Center at Loyola Law School to speak to its staff on the topic The Paperless Office: Using Technology to Make Your Office More Efficient and Mobile.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Journal Article on Recording Attorney Time
- Neil Pedersen published in The Bottom Line, the official publication of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section his two-part article, entitled Time Capture and Recordation: Part 1 Capturing Your Time, and Time Capture and Recordation: Part 2 Effectively Recording Your Time. The articles appear in the February and April 2015 editions of the journal. The articles focus on an attorney’s challenges associated with keeping track of billable time, and methods to most effectively capture and then record that time to assure client satisfaction, ethical compliance and maximized profits.
- Neil Pedersen Provides Substantial Content for New Software Product
- JumpStart Genius, an online software program developed to help law students and attorneys to design, start and manage their law firms was launched this month. Firm principal Neil Pedersen provided a substantial amount of content for this program at the request of its developer Carolyn Dillinger, who also co-teaches the Law Practice Management Course with Neil at Western State College of Law.
- Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Handling Interruptions
- As an eighth article in his series of articles on time management, Neil Pedersen’s article Time Management Tips Handling Predictable Interrupters was published in the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section’s E-News this month.
- Firm Principal Participates in Panel Discussion About Litigation Experiences
- Neil Pedersen was asked to participate this month in a panel discussion sponsored by Burger Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta national law fraternity entitled War Stories. The panel of attorneys and law professors were asked to speak about some of their interesting and entertaining career experiences as attorneys and legal educators.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks to New Attorneys
- On March 28, firm principal Neil Pedersen presented on the topic Hit the Floor Running: Practical Advice for the Novice Attorney, a seminar sponsored by Western State College of Law.
- Firm Principals Present Webinar on Preparing a Client
- Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen presented a webinar entitled “Your Client’s Deposition: Preparation Tips and Strategies.” The webinar, sponsored by the California State Bar Solo and Small Firm Practitioner’s Section educated attorneys about the best ways to prepare their clients for a deposition.
- Neil Pedersen Gives Presentation to Attorneys on Practice Mangement
- Firm principal Neil Pedersen participated in a one hour panel discussion entitled “Venturing Out” at Bridging the Gap, a program for new attorneys. Neil’s presentation discussed the opening and maintaining of a law office.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against Orange County Retailer
- One of the firm’s clients has agreed to settle her lawsuit against a former employer who terminated her because, it claimed, her workers’ compensation doctor placed her on permanent and stationary work restrictions which precluded her from being able to perform the job functions of the position she held prior to her injury. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the amount of settlement and names of the parties must remain confidential.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against National Manufacturer
- The firm settled a case this month for one of its clients against his former manufacturer employer who had terminated the employee based on its perception that he would be unable to work much longer due to the diagnosis and onset of initial visible signs of Multiple Sclerosis. The confidential settlement was achieved before the client was forced to endure his own deposition or trial.
- Neil Pedersen Asked to Co-Teach Law Practice Management Course at Local Law School
- Firm principal, Neil Pedersen, has been asked to teach a Spring Semester course at Western State University School of Law on the subject of Law Practice Management. The course will focus on how to open and maintain a successful law practice, which Neil has done for most of his 20+ year career.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against Orange County Employer
- The firm settled a case this month for $85,000 arising out of a claim that the firm’s client had been terminated in retaliation for taking excused time off due to a medical condition. The client had presented the employer with a doctor’s note requiring the employee to miss six weeks of work to recover from a medical condition. Upon return to work, the employee was told that his position had been eliminated. The firm contended that the economic reason given for the termination was a pretext.
- Firm Settles Retaliation Lawsuit Against Inland Empire Employer
- This month the firm settled a case against an inland empire employer who had terminated the firm’s client within days of her hiring a workers compensation attorney and who, upon terminating her, raised the issue of her retention of that legal help. The $85,000 settlement constituted over two years of the client’s wages from that job.
- Firm Wins Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Trial
- In a case tried to Judge Andrew Banks of the Orange County Superior Court, Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen prevailed on their client’s claims of disability discrimination in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The eight-day trial resulted in a judgment in favor of the client in the approximate amount of $32,000. A motion for an award of prevailing party attorney fees and costs in an amount in excess of $150,000 will be filed soon.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks on Practicing Professionalism
- Firm principal, Neil Pedersen, was asked to come to a local law school to discuss the topic of Practicing Professionalism. In two separate sessions, the Western State University School of Law first-year students heard Neil discuss what it takes to be a true professional and not just a lawyer.
- The Firm Changes Its Name to Pedersen Heck McQueen, APLC
- Effective October 2011, the corporation named Pedersen Law & Dispute Resolution Corp. changed its name to Pedersen Heck McQueen, A Professional Law Corp. The corporate name change was done to reflect the senior attorney status of Dan Heck and Teresa McQueen, and to recognize their outstanding contributions to the firm and to its clients.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Claim Before Litigation Becomes Necessary
- The firm settled a case before litigation became necessary for a client who had been terminated from her job after a series of medical leaves. Upon her return from the serial leaves, the employer claimed her job was no longer available. The firm negotiated a pre-litigation settlement for the client who wished to avoid a lawsuit in an amount that must remain confidential.
- Dan Heck Educates Workers Compensation Attorneys About Employment Law Issues
- On October 21, Dan Heck spoke to the Orange County Chapter of the California Applicants Attorney Association, a group of attorneys who represent applicants for workers compensation benefits, on the topic Workers’ Compensation and Employee Rights: How Do the Pieces Fit Together? The purpose of Dan’s presentation was to educate workers compensation attorneys about common issues of discrimination, harassment and retaliation that may arise in the context of their workers’ compensation matters.
- Firm Attorneys Attend and are Recognized at the CELA Annual Conference
- This month Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen attended the annual conference of the California Employment Lawyers Association in Monterey, California. The association is the premier group of California attorneys dedicated to the representation of employees in employment disputes. At the conference, Neil and Teresa were recognized as CELA Member Successes due to two of their significant successes in the prior year. Additionally, Neil Pedersen was recognized during one of the lunch programs for his assistance of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in its summer clinics programs.
- Dan Heck Participates in Program to Provide Access to Justice System
- On October 1, Dan E. Heck participated in the Parking Lot Justice event at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. The free event was open to the general public and was designed to give back to the community by offering free legal advice to those persons who otherwise do not have access to the justice system. Close to one thousand people attended the event. Dan assisted people with employment and contract issues.
- Neil Pedersen Updates Fellow Employment Lawyers
- On October 10, 2011, Neil Pedersen was again asked to present the Employment Law Update at the monthly meeting of the Labor and Employment Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Neil discussed several recently decided cases and his opinions on the implications of those opinions.
- Firm Files Perceived Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against UPS
- This month the firm filed a constructive discharge action against United Parcel Service alleging a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing act and public policy of the state. Employer removed the client from the UPS work schedule after his workers’ compensation doctor placed him on medical restrictions, despite the doctor’s statement that that employee could continue to perform the functions of the job he had been doing for the last two years. The lawsuit claims that the action of the employer of refusing to schedule the client based upon a perceived disability constitutes constructive discharge (i.e., in effect, termination) and seeks damages for financial loss and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages and attorney fees.
- Neil Pedersen Authors Chapter in Book on Law Practice Management
- Just released by Aspatore Books, a Thompson Reuters business, is the book entitled Behind the Minds: Establishing a Successful Solo Practice in which Neil Pedersen authored a chapter entitled Operating Successfully in a Solo or Small Firm Environment: What Lawyers Need to Know Before Striking Out on their Own.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against the State of California
- Concluding a substantial litigation against the California Department of Rehabilitation, the firm procured a $254,000 settlement for its client who was forced to take disability retirement after the Department of Rehabilitation refused to allow her to return to work with restrictions that should have been accommodated. The case involved, in part, the issue of whether an employee characterized as “temporarily totally disabled” in the workers’ compensation system should be considered for reasonable accommodation under the Fair Employment and Housing provisions related to disability discrimination.
- Neil Pedersen Updates Fellow Employment Lawyers
- On September 12, 2011, Neil Pedersen presented the Employment Law Update at the monthly meeting of the Labor and Employment Section of the Orange County Bar Association. In that segment of the meeting, Neil discussed recently decided cases and his opinions on the implications of those new cases.
- Neil Pedersen Invited to be Member of California Editorial Board for SmartLitigator Website
- One of the nation’s largest legal magazine and newspaper companies, ALM, invited Neil Pedersen to be part of its exclusive editorial board for a new website product it is developing for California attorneys. Neil, selected for his experience and expertise in the areas of employment and insurance litigation, will work with roughly a dozen or so other top-notch attorneys from across the state to assist ALM in producing content for the new website.
- Firm’s Client Ultimately Collects on Trial and Appellate Victory
- The firm this month was able to effect full collection of all money owed to its client from the elder abuse and fraud lawsuit entitled Miller v. Prism Health Inc. which had been litigated and appealed over a number of years. Additionally, the firm was informed that the principal of defendant’s firm had determined, based in large part on the lawsuit, to divest herself of the elder and dependent adult care business altogether.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
- The firm settled a case this month for a client whose employer terminated her after she was injured on the job. The client successfully returned to work and performed the functions of her job with restrictions for over a year when the employer claimed it could not accommodate the client’s restrictions and terminated her despite her ability to continue working. The client sought compensation for lost income and benefits, emotional distress, attorney fees, and punitive damages. The case settled for $155,000.
- Neil Pedersen Invited to Teach Employment Law at Local Law School
- Local law school Western State University College of Law has enlisted firm principal Neil Pedersen to teach a three-unit elective course entitled Employment Law during its fall semester. The course will be a survey course covering all aspects of federal and California employment law.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at Department of Fair Employment and Housing Sponsored Clinic
- On July 1 Neil Pedersen was invited to the University of California, Irvine to speak as the luncheon speaker to the summer law student clinic sponsored and run by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The one-hour program was intended to allow students in the program to understand the experiences of employment litigators who prosecute DFEH claims for clients.
- Firm Files Complaint Against the Los Angeles Times Alleging Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination
- The firm filed a lawsuit this month on behalf of its client against former employer Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit alleges employer failed to accommodate employee’s work restrictions and terminated him in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and public policy of the state. The employee worked in a light duty position for a short time, thereby proving an accommodation was possible, but was sent back to his normal job before his restrictions had changed, forcing his doctor to place him on temporary total disability. The employer later terminated the employee. The lawsuit seeks financial losses, emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorney fees.
- Firm Highlighted in Daily Journal Article
- On July 15, 2011 the Daily Journal, the Southern California Legal Newspaper, published an article that profiled the firm. The article entitled “A Family Affair” focused on the family-like nature of the working relationships between the attorneys at the firm.
- Firm Principal Speaks on Arbitration in Employment Disputes
- Neil Pedersen was a member of a two-person panel at the Orange County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section’s all-day Employment Litigation seminar. In his break-out session, Neil represented the employee side of the issues on the topic of Arbitration in Employment Disputes.
- Firm Tries Pregnancy Discrimination Case
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck tried an eight-day jury trial this month. The case involved claims of pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The firm effectively integrated video technology into the trial, including video deposition clips played to the jury during live witness testimony as well as in closing argument.
- Firm Settles Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Claim for $1.06 Million
- After years of litigation against the County of Riverside in a case involving two clients who had been subjected to serious and long-term sexual harassment and then retaliation for reporting of that harassment, the County of Riverside agreed this month to settle the case for the total sum of $1,060,000. The litigation leading to this settlement included 17 depositions and the procurement and review of thousands of documents eventually produced by the County.
- Teresa McQueen Completes College of Trial Advocacy Training
- Teresa McQueen completed her course of study at the Orange County Bar Association-sponsored College of Trial Advocacy. The program consisted of educational presentations and workshops which provided participants with practical advice from senior-level trial advocates on trial activities including opening statements, presentation of evidence, and closing arguments.
- Firm Members Participate in Annual Call-A-Lawyer Event
- Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen both participated in the annual OCBA Call-A-Lawyer event where members of the public are encouraged to call a bank of volunteer attorneys who answer legal questions at no charge. The program fields calls for several hours on varied topics.
- Firm Members Present Program to Local Attorneys on Mock Trial Process
- Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen, along with their co-counsel John McCarty of McCarty Law, were asked by the local employment lawyers group to give an hour-long presentation on the Mock Trial Process. The program was intended to teach other employment lawyers the value and practical considerations of engaging in such a process.
- Neil Pedersen Presents Biblical Dispute Resolution Program for Local Church Group
- On May 7, Neil Pedersen gave a presentation to a local church group “Celebrate Recovery” regarding Biblical dispute resolution. The program focused on how to use the Bible as a blue-print for resolving disputes between believers.
- Neil Pedersen Asked to Judge College of Trial Advocacy Workshop
- The OCBA College of Trial Advocacy asked Neil Pedersen to judge one of their closing argument workshops. The College of Trial Advocacy is a lengthy program whereby senior-level trial attorneys provide practical advice about trying cases to other attorneys wishing to develop their trial skills. As a workshop judge, Neil officiated mock closing arguments and provided participants with helpful criticism regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments.
- Firm Settles Retaliatory Eviction Claim Against Landlord
- The firm concluded a $100,000 settlement this month against a landlord who attempted to evict the firm’s client, who at the time was a recovering cancer patient, for reporting code violations to the city department of code enforcement. In addition to the financial settlement, the firm had previously procured a restraining order against the landlord, preventing the eviction from occurring during the pendency of the lawsuit.
- Firm Settles Retaliation and Pregnancy Discrimination Case
- At a last minute settlement conference the day of trial, the firm settled a case for a client who had been laid off after being subjected to sexual harassment and systematic retaliatory conduct by her former supervisor. The firm alleged that the client’s low performance reviews were a product of her supervisor’s retaliatory conduct, and that absent those reviews, she would not have been placed on the lay off list. The six-figure settlement must remain confidential.
- Firm Engages in Mock Trial Evaluation at Local Law School
- In preparation for trial set to occur three months later, the firm arranged a mock trial aimed at testing specific aspects of the client case before a panel of mock jurors. The event was held at a local law school, Western State University College of Law, in their moot court room. Members of our firm and co-counsel presented testimony and legal arguments from the perspective of both plaintiff and defendant, then the jury deliberations were video recorded and later reviewed.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at Bridging the Gap Program
- Neil Pedersen spoke to new attorneys at the annual Bridging the Gap program on the topic of Business Law, held at Chapman University School of Law. Neil was on a panel with another experienced business attorney and Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek Hunt.
- Neil Pedersen Invited to be Part of Executive Committee
- Neil Pedersen was invited to be part of the Orange County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section’s Executive Committee formed to plan and put on the section’s monthly and annual programs.
- Firm Defends Trial Victory in Appellate Court Oral Argument
- Neil Pedersen defended an appeal of the firm’s six-figure punitive damage verdict in Miller v. Prism Health Inc. before the appellate court this month. The defendant challenged both the basis for the jury’s fraud verdict, as well as the amount of damages awarded.
- Firm Settles ERISA Disability Insurance Case
- After prevailing against a client’s insurer in an ERISA case tried in federal court, the insurer agreed to settle the outstanding issues associated with its liability to the firm’s client and duty to pay under an employer-provided disability insurance policy. The amount of the six-figure settlement must remain confidential.
- Teresa McQueen Elevated to Chair of the Orange County Bar Association Resolutions Committee
- Effective this month, Teresa McQueen became the Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Resolutions Committee, an organization of attorneys dedicated to creating, debating and presenting new laws for consideration at the annual Conference of Delegates at the State Bar Convention.
- Firm Principal Cited in Article
- In an article published this month on the mediation of employment disputes authored by prominent employment law mediator Howard Hay, Howard cited to Neil Pedersen as one of the eminent employment law litigators he interviewed to compile the information contained in his article.
- Dan Heck Undergoes Christian Dispute Resolution Training
- This month, Dan Heck participated in a multi-day training program sponsored by the Billings, Montana-based Peacemaker Ministries wherein he received intensive training in the process of Biblical dispute resolution. Upon completion of this program, Dan became fully qualified to assist clients in Christian conciliation and conflict coaching.
- Neil Pedersen Attends Annual CELA Conference
- Firm principal Neil Pedersen attended the annual conference of the California Employment Lawyers Association, held in Los Angeles. This multi-day event featured presentations on various topics of interest to attorneys who represent employees in disputes with their employers.
- Firm Members Speak at Local Law School
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck were asked to speak to first year students at Western State University College of Law regarding one of the firm’s recent appellate victories. The students had been required to read, as a part of an arbitration assignment, the case of Metters v. Ralphs Grocery Markets, successfully argued at the appellate court by Dan Heck. Neil and Dan explained aspects of the case undisclosed in the appellate decision, and provided further information about arbitration in both employment disputes and other areas of law.
- Firm Settles Breach of Term Employment Contract Case
- Through the substantial efforts of Dan Heck who spearheaded the prosecution of the case, the firm closed a $450,000 settlement this month for one of its clients who had been terminated only one year into his three year term employment agreement. The defendant had alleged the plaintiff was not entitled to the remainder of his compensation due to various alleged acts of misconduct.
- Firm Settles Pregnancy and Disability Discrimination Case
- The firm procured a $248,000 settlement this month for a client who claimed that her employer violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act and other pregnancy discrimination laws by failing to return her to work following an extended pregnancy leave caused by physical complications brought on by her pregnancy.
- Firm Principal Sits on Seminar Panel on Law Practice Management
- Neil Pedersen again participated as a panelist in the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section’s annual seminar on Opening and Maintaining a Successful Law Firm. This was the fourth year Neil was asked to be a part of this annual event.
- Teresa McQueen Trains Other Lawyers at the State Bar Convention
- This Month, Teresa McQueen presented the program Survival Tips for Opposing Summary Judgment Motions: A Plaintiff’s Perspective to approximately 100 attorneys at the California State Bar Convention in Monterey, California. Her presentation gave practical advice on how to successfully defend against motions for summary judgment brought by defendants attempting to defeat a case before trial.
- Firm Assists Client in Christian Conciliation
- Neil Pedersen assisted a client through Christian Conciliation this month using the Peacemaker Ministries model for Christian dispute resolution. The process involved several pre-conciliation meetings with a conciliator and concluded with a joint all-day mediation session with the other side.
- Teresa McQueen Becomes Chair of State Bar Solo and Small Firm Section
- After serving on its Executive Committee for several years, Teresa McQueen began her reign as the Chair of the State Bar of California’s Solo and Small Firm Section in September 2010.
- Firm Paralegal Ties the Knot
- Firm paralegal extraordinaire, Kristina Hernandez, became Kristina Coronado on August 7, 2010. The entire firm congratulates her new husband, Ramon, on such a great choice.
- Firm Settles Denial of FMLA Rights Lawsuit
- The firm settled a lawsuit for a client who alleged he was terminated by his employer for exercising his right under the FLMA to leave when his baby was born by emergency C-Section. The emergency occurred four days prior to his pre-approved FMLA leave, and although he informed his supervisor of the emergency procedure, he was subsequently terminated. The client sought damages from his former employer for lost pay, benefits, distress and financial problems caused by the termination, as well as attorney fees and punitive damages. The settlement amount is confidential.
- Firm Procures Preliminary Injunction in Retaliatory Eviction Lawsuit
- Teresa McQueen successfully procured a preliminary injunction preventing a landlord from evicting the firm’s client from her home. The client, who was recovering from cancer surgery and chemotherapy, was evicted after reporting code violations of an adjacent unit’s dryer exhaust that was venting into her unit. The court order prevents the landlord from removing the client from her unit until the retaliatory eviction lawsuit can be finally determined.
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck Give Seminar on Employee Rights
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck presented a seminar entitled “Employment Law: Do I have a Claim Against My Employer?” to a group of consumers gathered at the annual Law Day event sponsored by Handel On The Law and KFI 640 AM radio. Neil and Dan lectured on the common bases for claims employees may have against their employers including workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour problems, and other common issues. They also discussed common mistakes made by employers and employees, and fielded attendee questions free of charge for several hours before and after the seminar.
- Neil Pedersen Inducted into Law School Alumni Hall of Fame
- On May 15, 2010, Neil Pedersen was inducted into Western State University School of Law’s “Hall of Fame” in express recognition of his “exemplary career and outstanding community and professional service.” The school boasts of over 10,000 graduates, approximately 60 of whom have been honored in the school’s Hall of Fame for their distinguishable post-law school achievements.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Claim
- In May, the firm assisted its client in settling a lawsuit against the County of San Bernardino associated with a claim that the client was harassed in the workplace and eventually terminated because she had made a claim for time off under the Family Medical Leave Act, and because she had filed a workers compensation claim. The amount of the settlement must remain confidential.
- Firm Files Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Against Employer
- On April 27, 2010, the firm filed a lawsuit against an Orange County technology supplier employer who hired the firm’s client as a sales person and immediately assigned several key accounts to her, but as soon as the employer heard she was pregnant, it pulled those key accounts and eventually terminated her, claiming it could not afford to invest in her since it is possible she would not come back after the pregnancy. The lawsuit seeks past and future wages and benefits, emotional distress, attorney fees and punitive damages.
- Firm Files Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against A Nationwide Transportation Company
- On April 2, 2010, the firm filed a lawsuit against a nationwide transit company, on behalf of a client who was injured on the job but then terminated. The employer terminated the plaintiff over a year after the injury, and after the plaintiff had returned to her job and had been successfully doing it with restrictions for a year. Nonetheless, the employer claimed it could not accommodate the client’s restrictions and terminated her anyway. The client seeks compensation for lost income and benefits, distress, attorney fees and punitive damages.
- Firm Procures $1.95 Million Judgment for Three Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Termination Clients
- Three of the firm’s clients, all long-term waitresses at a well-known cafe in the inland empire known as Kay’s Cafe, had been subjected to significant sexual harassment in the workplace. When they complained, they were targeted for serious retaliation. Eventually the daily pressure of the workplace led each to file a workers compensation claim. The employer told each that if they did not drop their workers’ compensation claim they would be sorry. They were then fired. The matter proceeded to litigation, during which the firm procured terminating sanctions against the defendants based on their utter abuse of the process, culminating in a judgment for over $1.95 million.
- Firm Presents Seminar on Cutting Edge Technology in the Law Office
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck presented a lunch program to the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section entitled The 21st Century Law Firm: Using Cutting Edge Technology in the Solo and Small Firm Environment. Neil and Dan covered several areas of advancing technology including networking alternatives, appropriate storage and backup options, and the creative use of common software solutions including MS-Excel and Adobe Acrobat Pro. Over 60 attorneys attended the event.
- Firm gets $337,000 Judgment for Truck Driver Fired for Refusing to Drive More Hours Than D.O.T. Safety Limits Allow
- The firm’s client was a truck driver subject to Department of Transportation limitations on the number of hours he was allowed to drive in defined periods of time. His employer had regularly required him to drive beyond those limits. Eventually, the client refused to exceed the safety limits and was fired for his refusal to violate the law. After some litigation, the defendant was defaulted for failing to continue to participate in the litigation, and a judgment was entered for the plaintiff in excess of $337,000. Collection efforts are now proceeding.
- Firm Attorneys Give Course on “The Ideal Business Contract” at Handel on the Law’s “Mind Your Own Business” Event
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck participated in the Mind Your Own Business event put on by KFI radio talk show host Bill Handel. Their class taught “The Ideal Business Contract: How to Draft Agreements to Avoid Litigation” to the entrepreneurs and small business owners who attended the event.
- Firm Beats Insurer in ERISA Disability Insurance Matter
- Dan Heck, assisted by Neil Pedersen, prevailed in a case litigated in federal court proving error on the part of a client’s disability insurer who claimed that the client’s Lupus condition was not covered under its policy because it was a pre-existing condition. The court determined not only that the insurer was wrong, but that it was either recklessly negligent, or worse, intentionally withholding the policy benefits.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Suit for $125,000
- This month the firm settled a case for one of its clients involving claims of violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and wrongful harassment, discrimination, retaliation and termination in violation of public policy for a payment of $125,000.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Claim for $95,000
- The firm settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of a client against his employer alleging that he was terminated because of certain disabilities, and because he was going to file a workers compensation claim. The employer terminated the employee claiming he had exceeded his allotted FMLA leave time.
- Teresa McQueen Kills Another Motion for Summary Judgment
- In what has now become a string of seven straight victories, Teresa McQueen successfully defeated another motion for summary judgment brought by a defendant employer thus allowing the matter to proceed to a trial date.
- Firm Files Arbitration Claim Against Employer Who Terminated Employee Without Good and Valid Cause
- Dan Heck filed a Complaint in Arbitration on behalf of a firm client against employer A.J. Kirkwood and Associates, Inc., a national construction contractor, asserting that it fired one of its key employees in violation of a contract that provided for a five-year term and no termination except for good and valid cause. The lawsuit seeks over $1 million in financial losses including attorney fees.
- Dan Heck Negotiates Great Settlement in Employment Matter
- Dan Heck aggressively defended a wrongful termination and disability discrimination case brought against one of the firm’s business clients by an employee who claimed he was terminated for filing a workers compensation claim. Ready to try the case that was on the verge of trial, Dan negotiated a deal that settled the matter for far less than the cost to defend it from that point.
- Neil Pedersen Video Posted on Law School Website
- Neil Pedersen’s former law school, Western State University College of Law, has posted a video interview of Neil on its website, where he speaks to the quality of his experiences while in law school. Neil was honored to be selected as one of only several alumni asked to participate given the over 10,000 alumni from which the school had to choose.
- Firm Procures $195,000 Settlement For Wrongful Termination Client
- This month the firm settled a disability discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit for its client in the amount of $195,000. The client claimed that her employer terminated her without engaging in a good faith interactive process, and without attempt to reasonably accommodate her relatively minor work restrictions.
- Teresa McQueen Wins Right of Client to Proceed to Trial
- In another attempt by an employer to end a lawsuit early through motion for summary judgment, Teresa McQueen fended off the motion and won the right for another employee client to proceed to trial. This win was the sixth such victory in a row for Teresa.
- Neil Pedersen Speaks at Western State University School of Law
- Neil was asked to join a panel discussion at his former law school on the topic ‘J.D. to Esq.,’ a program designed to assist graduating law students to transition into the practice of law.
- Teresa McQueen Attends CELA Annual Conference
- Teresa McQueen attended the multi-day California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) annual conference in San Jose, California. CELA, of which Teresa is a member, is an organization of attorneys who primarily represent employees against employers.
- Dan Heck and Teresa McQueen Present Seminar at State Bar Convention
- PHM attorneys Dan Heck and Teresa McQueen were panelists in an hour-long seminar at the California State Bar Convention entitled ‘The Laws Concerning Privacy Issues In The Age of Technology.’ Speaking to approximately 100 attorneys from across the state, Dan and Teresa discussed the ever advancing law of workplace privacy in light of employer technology options including video and audio surveillance computer keystroke and other forms of employee monitoring.
- Neil Pedersen Again Chairs and Moderates Attorney Seminar
- Neil Pedersen again was asked to act as Program Chair and Moderator for the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section’s annual seminar entitled ‘Opening Your Own Firm: Starting and Maintaining a Law Office.’ This three hour evening seminar was a great success, with attendance by more than 120 attorneys.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination Case for $675,000
- The firm negotiated a $675,000 settlement of a disability discrimination and wrongful termination case against a client’s former employer. The employee alleged he was terminated in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act after he informed his employer that he was returning from disability leave mere days after his FMLA leave time elapsed. The employer stated the expiration of his FMLA leave as the basis for his termination, in spite of FEHA law requiring more flexibility by the employer.
- Neil Pedersen Presents Seminar to Attorneys on Time Management
- Neil Pedersen spoke to the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Section Lunch this month on the topic of Time Management in the Law Office.
- Firm Settles a Disability Discrimination Claim Against Employer for $300,000
- The firm negotiated the settlement of a client’s disability discrimination case for a payment of $300,000. The client claimed that his supervisor and employer failed to engage in a timely good faith interactive process and to reasonably accommodate a long-term medical condition prior to terminating him.
- PHM Principal Sits on Business Law Panel for OCBA New Attorney Program
- Neil Pedersen was a participant in the Business Law panel for the Orange County Bar Association’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ program this month. Bridging the Gap is intended to assist newly sworn attorneys get acclimated to their new profession. Neil’s years of experience with business litigation and business transactional work made him a natural fit for the panel.
- Yet Again, Teresa McQueen Defeats an Employer Motion for Summary Judgment
- Teresa McQueen successfully defeated defendant employer AT&T’s summary judgment attempt to end our client’s lawsuit early. The win clears the matter to proceed to trial.
- Julie Nestler foils attempt by employer to limit damages in wage and hour case
- Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen tried a ten-day jury trial in Orange County Superior Court in the matter Miller v. Prism Health, Inc. The jury found our client had been subjected to fraud, and awarded damages, including punitive damages, in the amount of $280,000.
- Firm Procures Judgment Against Employer
- This month the firm procured a judgment against an employer who terminated a truck-driver employee because he refused to drive beyond his Department of Transportation hourly driving limitations.
- Teresa McQueen Defeats Yet Another Motion for Summary Judgment
- This month, Teresa McQueen defeated a motion for summary judgment brought by Stater Bros. Markets in an attempt to end a lawsuit brought by the firm’s client. The court denied the motion and allowed the case to proceed to trial.
- Firm Settles Wrongful Termination Lawsuit for $125,000
- The firm settled a matter on behalf of a former L.A. County Probation Department Officer who claimed he had been wrongfully terminated after the County refused to allow him to come back to work with relatively minor work restrictions following an injury. The settlement was for a total of $125,000.
- Firm Procures Arbitration Award Against Employer Accused of Racial Discrimination
- By way of a three-day arbitration, Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen procured a $75,000 emotional distress damages award for a client who had experienced significant racial harassment in the workplace. The client, a truck driver, faced racial slurs and unfair treatment from his supervisors over a period of several months. The case settled for over $150,000 while a motion for attorney fees was pending.
- Firm Settles Race Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
- Neil Pedersen and Teresa McQueen settled a lawsuit wherein the client alleged he had been subjected to racial discrimination by his store manager. The identity of the parties and the settlement terms are confidential.
- Firm Principal Sits on Jury Duty
- Neil Pedersen had the honor and tremendous experience of being selected as a juror in an Orange County Superior Court criminal trial. The experience has helped him better understand the challenges of being a juror, and he reports it will change the way he relates to juries from here on out.
- Teresa McQueen Defeats Another Motion for Summary Judgment
- This month, Teresa McQueen successfully defended against defendant employer Ralphs Grocery Stores motion for summary judgment against our client. The employer’s attempt to end litigation was defeated, and the primary claims were allowed to proceed to trial.
- Neil Pedersen Hired to Assist Resigning CFO
- Neil Pedersen was hired by the CFO of a publicly traded corporation to assist him in negotiating a separation agreement which included issues of severance pay, releases, and approval of public filings associated with the move.
- Firm Gets Terminating Sanctions Against Employer Who Flaunts Discovery Laws
- The firm procured terminating sanctions against a former employer in a wrongful termination case involving three clients who were sexually harassed, retaliated against, and ultimately terminated for complaining about the harassment. The sanctions effectively prohibit the employer from defending the lawsuit because the judge was convinced that in spite of our firm’s diligent efforts to procure information we were entitled to receive from defendant, defendant refused to cooperate in the process. The amount of damages to be awarded will be determined at a later proceeding where the defense will have no right to argue or respond.
- Firm Settles Retaliation Lawsuit
- Neil Pedersen settled a case on the eve of trial for a client who alleged her employer failed to give her a promotion in retaliation for reporting workplace harassment. The terms of the settlement are to remain confidential.
- Lawsuit Filed Following Wrongful Termination of Long Term Employee After Return From Work-Related Injury Leave
- The firm has filed a complaint against a large Southern California steel forming company employer alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and refusal to engage in any meaningful interactive process or reasonable accommodation prior to termination. The lawsuit seeks financial losses, emotional distress, attorney fees, and punitive damages.
- Firm Files Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Action Against AT&T And Pacific Bell
- A complaint has been filed by the firm on behalf of a long-term employee who was terminated because of symptoms of a disclosed medical condition that played out in the workplace. The employer is alleged to have refused to engage in any form of interactive process or reasonable accommodation of the employee’s medical issues. The lawsuit seeks financial losses, emotional distress, attorney fees and punitive damages.
- Firm Settles ERISA Disability Benefits Matter
- This month the firm has settled a disability benefits lawsuit against a major employer arising out of a claim of denial of benefits. The settlement amount and the identity of the parties must remain confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement.
- Firm Files Lawsuit For Client Injured On Job Where Employer Failed To Have Workers Compensation Insurance
- The firm filed a lawsuit against an Orange County welding contractor and its owners on behalf of a client who sustained a significant on-the-job injury only to find out that the employer was without Workers Compensation insurance. The lawsuit seeks compensation for pain and suffering from the injury, financial loss, emotional distress, and other compensable damages.
- Firm Settles Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
- The firm has just settled a case for an employee who was terminated when she presented a note from her doctor to her employer regarding the medical need to take a few weeks off of work to treat a relatively minor, short-term condition. The settlement amount and the identity of the parties must remain confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement.
- Firm Makes New Law Assisting Employees In Published Appellate Opinion
- Dan Heck successfully argued a case at both the trial and appellate level for our client against Ralphs Grocery Stores. In its published opinion of the case, the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana struck down the dispute resolution process that forced Ralphs employees to arbitrate their disputes with the company. This opinion makes clear certain aspects of the law regarding when persons can avoid being forced to arbitrate their disputes.
- Neil Pedersen And Dan Heck Judge Moot Court Competition
- Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck challenged law students in their appellate advocacy by acting as specially selected alumni judges of Western State University’s moot court competition this month.
- Julie Nestler Foils Attempt By Employer To Limit Damages In Wage And Hour Case
- Pedersen Law attorney Julie Nestler successfully defended against a large firm Paul, Hastings demurrer which sought to limit damages in a significant wage and hour case to only three years of past wages and penalties. Judge Franz Miller agreed with Julie that the longer four-year statute of limitations would apply, assuring the firm’s clients an additional year of past compensation for unpaid overtime, meal time penalties, and rest period penalties.
- Pedersen Law’s Kristina Hernandez Procures Notary Public Designation
- The firm is very pleased to announce that our own Kristina Hernandez has become a Notary Public, providing the firm and its clients with the additional convenience of on-site notarization of important documents.
- Dan Heck Forces Cost Of Defense Settlement In Business/Real Property Litigation
- Dan Heck demonstrated an unquestionable desire to defend his business client at trial, forcing plaintiff and her counsel to reevaluate and negotiate a mutual settlement of the case instead of litigating. The case settled for less than the cost of defending the case further, and for only a small fraction of the amount demanded by the plaintiff less than 45 days earlier.
- Teresa Mcqueen Discusses New State Bar Guidelines For Civility In Practice
- Pedersen Law attorney Teresa McQueen participated as a panelist at the State Bar’s Section Education Institute held in San Diego. Speaking before a crowd of approximately 30 attorneys, Teresa was asked to address issues related to newly promulgated State Bar Guidelines for Professionalism and Civility in the practice of law.
- Pedersen Law Attorneys Become Certified To File Documents Electronically With The Federal Courts In California
- Pedersen Law attorneys Dan Heck and Julie Nestler both completed training and are now certified to file pleadings electronically with the federal courts in California using what is referred to as the federal courts’ new CM/ECF filing system, “Case Management and Electronic Case Filing System.”
- Pedersen Law Attorneys Present A Seminar Entitled “Human Resources 101 for Small Businesses”
- Attorneys Dan Heck and Teresa McQueen presented a seminar to a group of small business owners to discuss basic human resources issues virtually every small employer encounters in their day to day business such as the hiring process, classifying employees, offers of employment, policies and procedures, handling problems, and the termination and exit interview process.
- The Firm’s Principal Acts As Chair And Panel Member For Bar Association Seminar
- Neil Pedersen acted as Program Chair and Moderator for the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section’s annual seminar entitled “Opening Your Own Firm: Starting and Maintaining a Law Office.” This three hour evening seminar was a great success, with attendance by more than 120 attorneys.
- Pedersen Law Attorneys Represent Orange County At Annual Conference Of Delegates
- Attorneys Dan Heck and Teresa McQueen were selected to participate in the Orange County Bar Association delegation to the State Bar Conference of Delegates. As members of the Association’s Resolutions Committee, they have both been part of the County’s decision-making body on proposed changes in the law that will be presented through the Conference of Delegates process. At the September Conference, Dan was successful in getting his proposed change passed by the Conference as a whole. This change allows a litigant the right to conduct discovery on the limited issue of whether an arbitration agreement exists while a motion to compel arbitration is pending.
- The Firm Procures A $292,642 Judgment For Wrongfully Terminated Employee
- The firm filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against an inland empire employer who fired the employee for complaining about constantly being given paychecks that bounced. When told “if you don’t like it, there’s the door” the employee resigned and hired the firm to protect his rights. The judgment amount includes all financial loss incurred by the client, plus emotional distress, interest and attorney fees.
- Appellate Court Upholds Prior Trial Victory For Firm Client
- The California Court of Appeal issued an unpublished opinion affirming our firm’s trial victory in a Uniform Commercial Code dispute. The plaintiff, KCA Electronics, sued our client Legacy Electronics claiming Legacy did not pay for certain computer chips. At trial, Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck established that Legacy had every right to reject the plaintiff’s defective chips, which the Appellate court affirmed in its entirety, rejecting all counter arguments made by opposing counsel.
- Pedersen Law Attorney Selected As A California “Rising Star Super Lawyer”
- The firm is pleased to announce that associate attorney Teresa McQueen has been selected as a Southern California Super Lawyers “Rising Star” by Law & Politics and the publishers of Los Angeles Magazine for 2007. The honor is bestowed upon only 2.5% of the total lawyers in Southern California, and is given to attorneys 40 years of age or younger, or those with less than 10 years of experience. Congratulations Teresa, we are proud of you.
- The Firm’s Principal Sits On Business Law Panel For OCBA New Attorney Program
- Neil Pedersen was a participant in the Business Law panel for the Orange County Bar Association’s “Bridging the Gap” program this month. Bridging the Gap is intended to assist newly sworn attorneys get acclimated to their new profession. Neil’s years of experience with business litigation and business transactional work made him a natural fit for the panel.
- The Firm’s Principal Presents Time Management Seminar To OCBA Group
- Neil Pedersen was asked to reprise his popular “Time Management for Lawyers” seminar for the Orange County Bar Association’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee. The program helps busy professionals organize their day to manage interruptions, and was presented before the county’s fee arbitrators and mediators as well as several Bar Association staff members in attendance.
- The Firm’s Principal Procures Complete Victory For Client Before Board Of Realtors
- Neil Pedersen represented a client in an administrative proceeding against a local Board of Realtors who sought sever penalties against our client for alleged ethics violations. Following Neil’s efforts at the evidentiary hearing, the client was completely exonerated.
- Firm Wins Trial Victory For Client In Dispute Over Ownership In Real Property
- Trial attorney Neil Pedersen prevailed in Orange County Superior Court this month for the client who was named as a defendant in a breach of contract and specific performance complaint, seeking a determination that a particular piece of real property was owned by the plaintiff. After a three day trial, the court issued judgment for the defendant and against the plaintiff, thereby completely removing any claim by the plaintiff that she had an ownership interest in the property.
- Firm Files Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against Toyota
- The firm filed a lawsuit this month seeking damages for Toyota Motor Sales’ alleged wrongful termination and disability discrimination of a former employee terminated upon her return from mastectomy surgery due to cancer. The company claimed that it could not accommodate the employee’s minor restrictions, in spite of its large workforce and the employee’s diverse skills.
- Firm Settles Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit
- This month, Neil Pedersen procured an outstanding result for a property investment company whose fire insurance company, Assurance Company of America, had, prior to the Riverside County Superior Court lawsuit, refused to pay most of the losses arising out of a fire at one of the company’s investment properties. The six-figure settlement represented all losses that could be supported by documentary evidence, plus attorney fees.
- Firm Settles Real Property Dispute On Favorable Terms
- The firm filed a Partition lawsuit on behalf of three individuals who had a record interest in a piece of real property that had been sold years ago to others without reference to the clients’ interests. This month, the matter was settled for $300,000 following a successful motion for summary adjudication which resolved the ownership interest in favor of the clients.
- Firm Files Wage And Hour Case On Behalf Of Several Former Employees Of Clark Foam
- Fourteen employees of former surfboard manufacturing giant Clark Foam sought the assistance of the firm to procure overtime, break time and meal time pay that was not paid properly by their former employer. The complaint, filed this month, seeks those damages along with penalties, interest and attorney fees.
- Wrongful Termination/Disability Discrimination Case Settled Vs. Large Retailer
- The firm settled a case of wrongful termination and disability discrimination against a large Southern California grocery chain this month. Our client suffered an on-the-job injury while working as a cashier for the grocery chain, and upon her return to work after workers’ compensation leave, the employer claimed to have no positions available that would accommodate her restrictions. Such treatment left the client in limbo for over a year without any source of compensation. The San Bernardino County Superior Court case settlement amount must remain confidential.
- Firm Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against Trucking Company
- This month the firm filed a lawsuit against an inland empire trucking company that fired the firm’s client because he refused to violate Department of Transportation rules when ordered to do so. In addition to this termination in violation of clear public policy, the firm’s client alleges serious racial discrimination in the workplace. The San Bernardino Superior Court case seeks damages for financial losses, significant emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney fees.
- Firm Files Multimillion Dollar Erisa Disability Insurance Lawsuit
- This month, the firm filed a federal ERISA lawsuit seeking policy benefits in excess of $4.5 million arising out of the employer’s refusal to pay disability policy benefits under its long term disability employee benefit plan. The client, who developed early symptoms of MS while employed, made a claim for benefits upon being rendered disabled as a result of his condition, but the employee benefit plan has refused to pay the contractual benefits.
- Wrongful Termination/Disability Discrimination Case Settled Vs. Large Manufacturer
- The firm settled a disability discrimination case against a large national manufacturer who refused to offer the client engineer his prior position or another similar employment position upon his return from time-off for an on-the-job injury. The engineer’s position was available upon his return, and his restrictions did not preclude his ability to perform the required job functions, yet the employer refused to offer any employment which left the client in financial limbo for almost a year. The settlement of this Los Angeles Superior Court case must remain confidential.
- The Firm Procures Judgment After Successful Motion
- This month the firm procured a judgment for its electronic-manufacturer client against a customer who purchased more than $100,000 in goods and then refused to pay. The judgment followed a successful Motion for Summary Judgment brought by Dan Heck of the firm, thereby eliminating the need for a costly trial. Post judgment, the court awarded the client all attorney fees incurred to procure the judgment.
- The Firm Procures “Courthouse Steps” Settlement For Terminated Employee
- The firm’s client had a lawsuit against an Orange County auto service company alleging the employer fired the client when he refused to return money rightfully paid to him by the Department of Labor after an audit revealed that the employer had not paid its employees proper overtime. On the first day of trial, the firm settled the case for ten times the amount of the client’s wage loss resulting from his termination.
- The Firm Kills Another Arbitration Clause
- Attorney Dan Heck, known in the firm as “the Arb-killer,” successfully defeated another attempt by a large corporate defendant to force a dispute into private arbitration and away from a jury’s careful review. In this case, Ralph’s Grocery Stores claimed that it had procured an agreement from the firm’s client that meant the lawsuit filed by the firm had to be handled in private arbitration. An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled this month that Ralph’s scheme did not constitute an agreement by the employee to submit his case to private arbitration and denied Ralph’s motion to compel arbitration.
- Firm Files Wrongful Termination/Retaliation For Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
- This month the firm filed a complaint against a company that owns several restaurants alleging wrongful termination of three long-term employees who faced significant sexual harassment in the workplace that was never properly addressed by management. When the three filed for worker’s compensation stress leave arising out of the unbearable circumstances in which they were forced to work, they were threatened, subjected to retaliatory actions, and ultimately terminated. The lawsuit, filed in San Bernardino Superior Court, seeks damages for their financial losses, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney fees.
- The Firm’s Principal Selected As Mentor In OCBA Mentorship Program
- Neil Pedersen was selected by the Orange County Bar Association to act as one of approximately three dozen selected mentors as part of the new Mentorship Program that matches young attorneys with experienced mentors in the county.
- The Firm’s Principal Commences Duties As OCBA Section Chair
- As of January 1, 2007, Neil Pedersen takes over as Chairperson of the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Section. The section is dedicated to acting as a law practice management resource for those attorneys who operate solo practices or law firms with ten or fewer attorneys. Neil takes over the reins from the prior Chairperson, Teresa McQueen, also a member of the firm. Teresa remains on the Executive Committee of the Section with Neil.
- The Firm’s Attorney Commences Duties As Chair Of The OCBA’s Young Lawyers Division
- Effective January 1, 2007, Teresa McQueen begins her tenure as President of the Young Lawyers Division of the Orange County Bar Association. The Young Lawyers Division provides education and support for attorneys in their first four years of practice.
- The Firm’s Principal Facilitates Great Result For Client In Mediation
- Neil Pedersen was hired for his insurance knowledge in a personal injury case involving a client rendered quadriplegic by an accident. Insurers for defendants had previously taken a “no coverage” position regarding the incident, however, as a result of Neil’s efforts, two of the insurers conceded, placing their full policy limits on the table which allowed the case to settle in mediation. The amount paid is confidential.
- The Firm Wins Trial For Client In Business Dispute
- Dan Heck prevailed in an Orange County Superior Court bench trial regarding a client’s unpaid fees for software development work performed. Despite defendant’s defense of faulty workmanship, the court determined that the firm’s client was entitled to every penny sought.
- The Firm Wins Trial For Client In Business Dispute
- The plaintiff, KCA Electronics, sued our client Legacy Electronics claiming Legacy did not pay for certain computer chips. At trial in Orange County Superior Court, Neil Pedersen and Dan Heck established that Legacy had every right to reject the plaintiff’s defective chips. In post trial motions, the client, as the prevailing party, was awarded all attorneys fees incurred in litigation.