Trial and Litigation
Meyers Nave attorneys work to uphold public entities’ rights under the law and to prevent plaintiffs from tapping into public money or thwarting our clients’ plans for civic betterment. We concentrate on resolving disputes early, favorably and cost-effectively, with minimal disruption to our clients. Whenever possible, we use alternative means such as mediation or arbitration but, when necessary to protect our clients’ interests, we are very successful in litigation.
Striving to uphold our clients’ rights in all areas of law that affect public entities, our attorneys represent and defend the firm’s clients in virtually every stage of litigation, from initial complaint, through discovery, motion practice, trial and appeal. We handle any range of matters, including property ownership issues, complex flood, landslide or public improvement disputes, Brown Act litigation, insurance disputes, sexual harassment, discrimination, and plaintiff’s claims of civil rights violations. We are also familiar with the plaintiff’s table, and take on the prosecution of any number of matters for our clients, such as recoupment of fees for loan default, property damage cases, nuisance abatement and code enforcement violations.
Compliance with disability access laws is often a challenge for public entities. Our attorneys regularly advise and defend a wide range of clients in cases arising under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and related state laws. These include claims relating to physical access, auxiliary aids and services, and programmatic access to the services, programs, and activities of public entities. Our experience encompasses pre-lawsuit settlement negotiations, responding to DOJ investigations, and the litigation of individual and class action lawsuits.
We also represent clients in tort claims involving real property rights and incidents on public property. As attorneys whose practice is dedicated to serving public entities, we understand that elected officials need information about case status and financial implications, and we are committed to providing this information throughout each case. In tort cases, which often involve insurance and joint powers authority coverage issues, we are an additional resource and source of valuable information for our clients.
Our Group offers policy review, seminars and training for public entity employees involved in records keeping, report writing and policy preparation. This review and/or training is designed to minimize exposure and avoid litigation well in advance of something going wrong.
Examples of our tort law and general civil litigation experience are as follows.
William Rupert et al. v. Barbara J. R. Jones et. al. We defended California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George and Justice Barbara Jones in a complaint filed by plaintiffs seeking constitutionally protected property rights and just compensation for their federal inverse condemnation action; declaratory and injunctive relief; and damages of $2 million. Based on our arguments of judicial immunity and res judicata, the court granted our motion to dismiss.
Rotolo v. City of San Jose. Plaintiffs filed suit following the death of their 17-year-old son at an exhibition hockey game for the San Jose Sharks. The City was dismissed following the Court’s sustaining of the City’s demurrer. The matter continued to proceed through the Court of Appeals for the Sixth District and the California Supreme Court, all of whom sustained the trial court’s judgment.
Martinez v. City of Fairfield. Plaintiff Martinez, a 13-year-old boy, alleged civil rights violations by Fairfield officers after being struck in the face numerous times during an arrest. The jury returned a complete defense verdict, finding that the officers acted appropriately.
Shepherd v. City of Modesto. The plaintiff filed suit alleging wrongful arrest, excessive use of force and false imprisonment following her arrest by Modesto officers. The federal jury returned a complete defense verdict.
Pascual v. City of Los Angeles. We obtained summary judgment in favor of all defendants, including the City of Los Angeles, LAPD and Police Chief on claims of civil rights deprivation, discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliatory discrimination.
Creal v. City of Fairfield. The plaintiff brought a federal civil rights / excessive force claim against the City of Fairfield and two individual officers. After deliberating for less than four hours, the jury came back with a complete defense verdict on all state and federal counts.