Labor and employment litigation is costly, often unnecessary and almost always the least effective way to achieve a favorable result. Because of the intense emotions involved, it usually takes more time to resolve this type of litigation than other types.
We have been extremely successful helping clients avoid this waste of resources. A primary reason for this success is Win². Developed by our firm, this process enables parties to a filed or threatened lawsuit to assess at an early stage whether the dispute can be resolved constructively, before they spend huge amounts on legal fees and their positions harden.
Win² is designed to resolve most employment litigation within two months of a lawsuit being filed. Win² is based on a collaborative discussion model. Parties exchange information voluntarily at the beginning of a lawsuit or a dispute. Most disputes or lawsuits in which we have used Win² (more than 50) have been resolved without significant discovery, cost or disruption to our client’s operations. Some disputes, of course, can be resolved only with a lawsuit or administrative proceeding. In that event, we vigorously and tenaciously represent our clients.
Our lawyers have experience defending a broad spectrum of businesses and other organizations against a variety of claims, including
- Wrongful discharge
- Whistle-blower and other retaliation
- Common law torts such as defamation and infliction of emotional distress
- Violation of wage and hour laws
- Employee benefits laws
We also represent employers in disputes involving noncompetition and nondisclosure clauses as well as other employment-related contract provisions.
Abubakar v. Aetna Life Ins. Co. (C.D. Cal. 2016). Obtained dismissal of long-term disability benefit claim on de novo review. The Court affirmed the benefit denial, concluding that the administrator correctly applied the plan’s pre-existing condition exclusion.
Williby v. Aetna Life Ins. Co. (C.D. Cal. 2018). Secured judgment for claims administrator on remand. After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a judgment for the claimant and remanded for consideration under the correct standard of review, the District Court concluded that the administrator’s decision to terminate short-term disability benefits was reasonable and supported by the administrative record.
- Successfully defeated disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and aiding and abetting claims
Schmitz v. University of Washington et al. (2016-2018). Served as lead trial counsel in defending the University of Washington against claims of disability discrimination, accommodation, harassment, and retaliation brought against the University and in defending three University managers against claims of “aiding and abetting” discrimination. The case proceeded to a nearly month-long jury trial in King County Superior Court in March 2018, resulting in a unanimous defense verdict on all claims in favor of the University and the individual defendants.
Multnomah County Circuit Court, Portland, Oregon
Successfully defended national restaurant chain in statewide wage and hour class action lawsuit in two separate eight-week jury trials, eliminating 92% of all class members and reducing damages to 8.7% of claims.
Litigation claims: Discrimination and harassment on the basis of religion and national origin; constructive discharge; intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff was seaman who was Muslim and of Yemeni origin. Plaintiff alleged unlawful harassment and threats of violence by his direct supervisor. Plaintiff alleged that he complained to the ship’s captain, and that as a result he was forced to resign. Plaintiff demanded $120,000 in compensatory and emotional distress damages at mediation. Settlement at mediation for $19,500.00 with a non-specific letter of apology (proposed by client).
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of individual manager sued in sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit
Obtained summary judgment in favor of individual manager sued in sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by former direct report in King County Superior Court.
- Served as lead defense counsel in representing the University of Washington in successfully defending claims of race, ethnicity, and age discrimination and retaliation
Sambou v. University of Washington (2015-2016). Served as lead defense counsel in representing the University of Washington in successfully defending claims of race, ethnicity, and age discrimination and retaliation. The case proceeded to an eight-day jury trial in King County Superior Court, in which 17 witnesses testified. All claims were denied and dismissed in the University’s favor.
Collins v. Swedish Medical Center (2015-2016). Secured summary judgment dismissal of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims brought by former Swedish employee.
Slapsys v. University of Washington (2015-2016). Successfully defended discrimination and leave-related claims brought by former University pharmacist through a series of successful summary judgment motions resulting in complete dismissal of all claims.
McGlashan v. University of Washington (2015-2016). As lead defense counsel, secured summary judgment dismissal of disability discrimination and contract-based claims brought by a former University employee.
- Served as lead trial counsel in representing the University of Washington in successfully defending discrimination and retaliation claims
Bichindaritz v. University of Washington (2012). Served as lead trial counsel in representing the University of Washington in successfully defending discrimination and retaliation claims brought by former faculty member in federal court. After a six-day bench trial, in which 23 witnesses testified, the court entered a verdict for the University on all claims. Defense verdict affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2013).
- Served as lead defense counsel in successfully defending discrimination, retaliation, and more than a dozen other claims
Satterwhite v. University of Washington (2012). Served as lead defense counsel in successfully defending discrimination, retaliation, and more than a dozen other claims brought by former University faculty member. After completing discovery, obtained dismissal of all claims on summary judgment.
WPM NW, Inc. v. GW Services of WA, Inc., et al. (2011). Served as lead counsel in prosecution of noncompetition claims, including for breach of non-solicitation agreement and violation of trade secrets act, against former agent of property management company and competitor who hired former agent. A two-day arbitration, with more than a half-dozen witnesses testifying, resulted in judgment against defendants totaling more than $370,000.
Cardenas v. Interocean American Shipping (2010). Served as lead defense counsel in successfully defending discrimination and retaliation claims brought by former employee of marine shipping company. After completing discovery, obtained summary judgment dismissal of all claims. Affirmed, in part, on appeal.
Manning v. Swedish Medical Center (2015-2016). Secured summary judgment dismissal of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims brought by former Swedish employee.
- Secured dismissal, with prejudice, of various claims against the University of Washington and three University employees
Mansfield v. Jones-Pfaff, University of Washington, et al. (2014-2015). As lead defense counsel, secured dismissal, with prejudice, of various claims against the University of Washington and three University employees, including summary judgment dismissal of First Amendment retaliation claims.
Bichindaritz v. University of Washington (2012-2015). Along with co-appellate counsel obtained complete reversal of a public records act judgment and penalties levied against the University, securing a final judgment in the University’s favor.
News & Events
- GSB Newsroom, 1.2.19
- GSB Newsroom, 7.11.17
- GSB Press Release, 7.31.14
- Duff on Hospitality Law, 6.5.19
- Family Business Bulletin, 4.30.19
- Duff on Hospitality Law, 4.30.19
- Cannabis Business Blog, 4.30.19
- Duff on Hospitality Law, 9.13.18
- Speaking engagementBremerton, WA, 9.19.19
- “FMLA, OFLA, ADAAA, OMG: The Dos, Don’ts, Hows and Whys of Protected Leave Laws,” BOLI's 34th Annual Employment Law ConferencePresentationPortland, OR, 11.2.18