David Mehretu is a member of the Trial and Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Peace Officer Defense/Civil Rights Practice Groups. David represents public and private entities in all phases of high-stakes litigation in federal and state court, as well as in administrative proceedings and through alternative dispute resolution, with an emphasis on complex, high-profile, multi-party matters often covered by the media.
David has represented nearly every type of public entity, including cities, counties, and various special districts. For these clients, he handles complex contractual disputes, land use, First Amendment, civil rights, peace officer defense, and environmental litigation and appeals. Recent examples include representing the City of Modesto in a contractual dispute concerning a major water distribution public works project, and representing five public entities against two large municipalities in a complex multi-phased administrative proceeding over a major contractual dispute concerning a contested $2 billion capital improvement program for the largest wastewater treatment facility in the western United States.
For private entities, David has broad experience in complex commercial litigation matters including class actions, intellectual property, appeals, business fraud and unfair competition, real estate, and regulatory challenges. David has worked with private entities in major sectors of the economy, including financial institutions, media and telecommunications enterprises, global consumer goods companies, and real estate developers.
David has established a strong track record serving as lead or co-lead attorney on drafting over 50 significant motions and briefs — including summary judgment, motions to dismiss, appeals, demurrers, opposition to class certification, and writs — with a particular expertise in federal litigation. David also has experience handling numerous significant oral arguments including dispositive motion practice, trial, and appeals, and personally appeared and advocated on behalf of clients in federal and state courts, not including case management conferences, over 25 times.
David’s broad federal court experience includes litigation in California, Colorado, New York and New Jersey. He recently assisted in preparing for a two-week federal jury trial in the Eastern District of California on behalf of a city and individual police officers in an excessive force and false arrest lawsuit. In the Central District of California, he recently drafted and provided oral argument on the successful motion to dismiss a county and four staff members in an action asserting land use, civil rights/takings, and First Amendment retaliatory claims. In the Southern District of New York, David served as second chair in a two-week trial in a multi-million dollar false advertising case for an international corporate joint venture, and in the District of New Jersey he prepared for trial in a major federal false advertising case, which settled on the eve of trial.
David has also represented pro bono clients in immigration proceedings, unlawful detainer actions, prosecuting restraining orders, and a murder trial, for which he has received awards for outstanding service.
Prior to joining Meyers Nave, David was a litigation associate at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass in San Francisco (five years) and Cooley LLP in New York (two years), and clerked for the Honorable Saundra Brown Armstrong, United States District Judge, in the Northern District of California (one year). He also served as a post-doctoral legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity, a regulatory law and policy think tank based at New York University School of Law.
David is admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Second Circuit, and the following U.S. District Courts: the Northern District of California, Eastern District of California, Central District of California, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Southern District of Texas, District of Colorado, and Southern District of Indiana. He serves on The Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center’s Associate Council.
David received his J.D. from New York University School of Law (2006) where he served as an editor for the Review of Law and Social Change. He earned his B.A. in philosophy and politics from New York University (1997).
- Prevailed on a dispositive pleadings motion on behalf of the City of Modesto and eight police and fire department personnel in a high-stakes federal civil rights lawsuit regarding a murder conviction and subsequent 18-year incarceration of the plaintiff, a case that has generated front-page news since 1997 with the involvement of the Innocence Project. Second chair in oral argument before the Ninth Circuit where Defendants successfully obtained affirmance of the trial court’s dismissal with prejudice of all claims.
- Represented five public entities against two large municipalities in a multi-phased administrative proceeding over a complex contractual dispute concerning a contested $2 billion capital improvement program for the largest wastewater treatment facility in the western United States.
- Defended the County of Santa Clara and 44 other county defendants including the sheriff, county counsel, and over 38 sheriff’s deputies, in a federal court action concerning alleged systemic abuses of prisoners in the Santa Clara County Jail. Numerous appearances as lead counsel before the court to argue a series of discovery disputes that ultimately forced the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the case with prejudice.
- Representing the City of Modesto in a contractual dispute concerning a politically-significant water distribution public works project.
- Successful resolution of five individual lawsuits and a complex class action settlement of a major prisoner abuse case filed against the County of Placer, the sheriff, and several deputies who have been charged with criminal offenses in connection with their treatment of jail inmates.
- Lead appellate brief drafter and lead attorney at oral argument in achieving a favorable ruling from the Ninth Circuit on behalf of a former City of Los Angeles police officer in a Section 1983 action against the officer for Brady violations and fabrication of evidence claims related to a civil rights lawsuit against the officer, the City of Los Angeles, and the County of Los Angeles.
- Lead drafter on a successful motion for partial summary judgment on behalf of the City of Richmond and an individual police officer in a police excessive force case in the Northern District of California.
- Lead drafter on successful pleadings motions in four federal section 1983 lawsuits brought against cities and individual police officers involving: (1) allegations of inappropriate sexual contact between seven police officers and plaintiff; case dismissed with prejudice for a waiver of costs immediately in advance of defendants filing a motion to dismiss, (2) allegations that two officers shot and killed a man who was not a threat; plaintiffs dismissed for waiver of costs pre-discovery, (3) allegations that an officer shot and killed an unarmed man; plaintiff dismissed for waiver of costs pre-discovery, and (4) allegations of false arrest, illegal search of vehicle, and excessive force; plaintiff dismissed all claims for a waiver of costs two months before trial.
- Oral argument on motion to dismiss in the Central District of California in a complex Section 1983 civil rights action on behalf of the County of Los Angeles and four individual defendants including due process and equal protection claims.
- Oral argument before a Water Treatment Plant Advisory Committee on behalf of five sanitary districts in administrative claims against one of the plant’s two City owners.
- Defended a Procter & Gamble international joint venture in a multi-million dollar false advertising action, from inception of the case through trial in the Southern District of New York.
- Represented Chicago Title Insurance Company in a multi-party environmental contamination litigation in California state court concerning underground storage tanks.
- Prevailed on appeal in the Seventh Circuit to uphold dismissal of a class action asserting violations of the Social Security Act and state consumer protection laws against DISH Network.
- Achieved a highly favorable settlement following mediation on behalf of an international heavy industry manufacturer in a breach of contract dispute.
- Defended a California bank in a consumer class action and fended off two copycat class actions alleging violations of California’s unfair competition laws, which were part of a wave of overdraft fee-related litigation against banks across the country.
- Oral argument in successful opposition to a petition for writ of mandate in California state court that attempted to cancel the award of a public school high-speed internet contract that was awarded to Cox Communications.
- Secured a voluntary dismissal of putative class action against DISH Network that was consolidated in the Pacquiao-Mayweather MDL in the Central District of California.
- Defeated class certification in a complex Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action in the District of Colorado.
Honors and Awards
- Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco, Outstanding Public Service Award, 2013, 2015
- The Legal Aid Society, Outstanding Pro Bono Legal Service Award, 2008
Presentations and Publications
- Presenter, “Social Media Challenges: Applying Existing Case Law to New Technology,” League of California Cities City Attorneys’ Spring Conference, 2018
- Author, “Public Records & Public Forums: How to Apply Established Case Law with Rapidly Emerging Social Media Platforms,” League of California Cities City Attorneys’ Spring Conference, 2018
- Co-Author, “Santa’s Early for the White Collar Bar,” Daily Journal, December 22, 2014
- Member, The State Bar of California
- Member, The State Bar of New York
- Member, The Bar Association of San Francisco
- Member, American Bar Association
- New York University, School of LawJD, 2006
- New York UniversityBA, Philosophy and Politics, 1997