Deborah Fox to Serve as Final Round Judge for the Tournament of Champions Law School Trial Competition

On October 31, Deborah Fox, Chair of Meyers Nave’s statewide First Amendment and Trial & Litigation Practice Groups, will be a final round judge for the Tournament of Champions law school trial competition at UCLA School of Law. Sponsored by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and NITA, and limited to the top 16 trial advocacy schools in the country, this is among the most prestigious law school trial competitions in the country

Meyers Nave Represents the Tongva Community in Historic Reclaiming of Ancestral Land in Los Angeles Area After 200 Years

Meyers Nave represented the Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Conservancy in one of the first private land returns to Native Americans in the Los Angeles area. This historic event was widely reported by several Los Angeles media outlets and marks the first time in the nearly 200 years since the California mission system ended that land has been returned to the Tongva people.

Reclaiming ancestral land is rare for any Native American nation, tribe, or band. It is particularly complicated for the Tongva, who lack federal tribal status. Because the tribe was not equipped to process the bequest, Meyers Nave stepped in to provide legal support and advice to the Conservancy which resulted in the successful donation of the property, located in Altadena.

As noted in last week’s Los Angeles Times, “Tongva leaders said they hope the land can provide paths for the community to reconnect with its culture and promote healing from the centuries of trauma.”

Meyers Nave is proud to represent the Conservancy and to have helped secure this landmark victory for the Tongva people.

Meyers Nave Expands Labor and Employment Practice with Arrival of Neha Shah

Neha Shah has joined the firm as a senior associate in the Labor and Employment Practice continuing the group’s strategic growth and strengthening its client offerings. She is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

She handles a broad range of matters, including labor and employment with an emphasis on traditional labor relations, advice and counsel, and workplace investigations. She guides employers to minimize liability through preventative measures and providing practical guidance and training to executives and HR professionals.

Neha has significant first-chair experience representing the employer in arbitration, mediation, administrative proceedings, collective bargaining and negotiations. She has conducted several investigations, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, Title IX, hostile work environment, collective bargaining agreement violations, and health and safety violations.

She is also a frequent presenter and has shared her expertise at conferences and seminars on the topics of public sector labor law, practicing at PERB, equity and inclusion, and human resources best practices.

Prior to joining Meyers Nave, Neha was a senior labor relations manager and Public Employment Relations Board Lead at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor where she served as the lead for unfair practice charge proceedings for a university system comprised of 23 campuses, more than 60,000 employees and 13 bargaining units with a collective annual compensation cost in excess of $4.2 billion.

Learn more about Neha. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment lawyers represent corporations, public entities, non-profit organizations, and public-private partnerships throughout California. We provide day-to-day counseling, draft and review employee handbooks, and conduct internal training programs. Our lawyers also handle workplace investigations, administrative claims, grievances, unfair labor practices and employee relations issues, mediation, arbitration and litigation in state and federal courts.

In 2020, Meyers Nave merged with Brown Law Group, a prominent woman- and minority owned employment law firm based in San Diego serving many of the nation’s largest employers for more than 20 years. Combining Brown Law Group with Meyers Nave’s Labor and Employment Law Practice increased the size, state-wide reach and depth of capabilities for representing employers in high-impact litigation.

Learn more about our Labor and Employment practice.

Alicia Morrell to Speak on Allyship at the California Minority Counsel Program Business Conference

On October 12, Alicia Morrell will be a featured speaker at the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) Business Conference in Los Angeles at 3:30pm. CLE credit is available.

Alicia’s panel, “I’ve Got Your Back: Supporting Women of Color,” will explore allyship with women of color and other groups, including examining and cultural differences in how professional women of color and others are perceived, supported or hindered in their careers. This interactive session will also include opportunities to discuss recognizing and eliminating microaggressions and digging deeper into the part we can all play to create inclusive space for everyone.

CMCP is a three-day conference connecting 500+ attorneys of color from law firms and corporate/public agency legal departments.

Learn more and register.

 

Meyers Nave Obtains Dismissal of Two High-Stakes Federal Lawsuits Against the City of Los Altos Under the Telecommunications Act

Meyers Nave successfully obtained the dismissal of two high-stakes federal lawsuits brought by AT&T and Verizon, respectively, asserting claims against the City of Los Altos under the Telecommunications Act.

The carriers filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Davila) after their combined 13 small cell wireless facility applications were denied by Los Altos for allegedly failing to comply with the City’s 2019 wireless ordinance. The carriers each filed motions for summary judgment, contending that the City’s denials of their small cell sites were not supported by substantial evidence, and that the denials violated the Telecommunications Act for effectively prohibiting the provision of wireless services in Los Altos.

While the motions for summary judgment were pending, Meyers Nave led a team of land use and telecommunications experts to devise a state-of-the-art wireless ordinance for Los Altos that achieved the City’s land use policy objectives while avoiding provisions that were at a greater risk of being successfully challenged under the Telecommunications Act.

In addition to drafting the ordinance, the Meyers Nave team shepherded the ordinance through the complex CEQA process and approval by the Planning Commission and City Council after a series of public hearings. The process required for the development and adoption of a new wireless ordinance – while the prior wireless ordinance was the subject of federal litigation – was highly nuanced and strategic, requiring careful guidance of the City in the face of scrutiny from the carriers and the public alike.

Following the successful adoption of the new ordinance, the Meyers Nave team moved the Court to dismiss the carriers’ pending cases on mootness grounds. Although hotly contested by the carriers, Judge Davila sided with the City and dismissed both cases on the precise grounds articulated in the briefing.

Deborah Fox, who led the Meyers Nave team on this matter, said: “The rights of localities to regulate wireless facilities under the Telecommunications Act is a rapidly evolving area of the law where the advocacy of legal counsel plays an especially critical role in shaping the developing jurisprudence in this area. That, combined with simultaneously litigating an existing wireless ordinance while developing a new wireless ordinance, made this case particularly intellectually and strategically complex. We were happy to both defeat the two federal cases while at the same time assisting Los Altos with the adoption of a new state-of-the-art wireless ordinance.”

The Meyers Nave team included Deborah FoxDavid Mehretu and Kristof Szoke. Learn more about our Trial and Litigation capabilities.

New Pay Transparency Law Requires Private and Public Employers to Include a Pay Scale in Job Postings and Increased Pay Data Reporting

California public and private employers should begin preparing for significant new requirements for job postings and pay data reporting. On September 27, 2022 Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1162 (“SB 1162”), a “wage transparency law” that among other things, requires employers of 15 or more employees to include a pay scale in job postings, and for all employers to provide this information upon request. Large private employers also have new pay data reporting requirements.

The following changes will go into effect on January 1, 2023 under SB1162:

Pay Scale Information — for public and private employers:

  • Employers with more than 15 employees will be required to include a pay scale in salary and hourly job postings, including third-party postings.
  • All employers must provide current employees with a pay scale for their position upon request. Applicants are also entitled to this information upon reasonable request.
  • All employers must maintain a record of each employee’s job title and wage history during their employment period and for three years thereafter. If the employer fails to keep these records, it creates a rebuttable presumption favoring employee claims.
  • There is a new private right of action for injunctive relief or other relief.
  • New civil penalties of $100 to $10,000 are authorized for any violation of the requirements for disclosure, recordkeeping, and other requirements of Labor Code section 432.3.

Annual Pay Data Report – for private employers only:

  • Private employers with 100 or more employees must now submit an annual pay data report with new information on median and mean hourly rates by race, ethnicity, and sex within each job category, regardless of whether a federal EEO-1 form is required.
  • Private employers with 100 or more employees hired through labor contractors must now submit a separate pay data report for those employees.
  • Failure to provide the report can lead to civil penalties as high as $200 per employee.
  • This information must now be submitted on or before the second Wednesday of May, including May 2023.

Takeaways for Employers:

  • Pay Scale
    • Employers should prepare pay scales for each position, as this information may be requested by current employees and applicants.
    • For employers of 15 or more employees, establish policies and revise hiring processes to ensure compliance with new job posting requirements. Still to be clarified is whether employers seeking remote employees (who may or not work in California) must post pay scale information.
    • There may be more litigation because technical violations of the new pay scale requirements could lead to additional claims under the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).
  • Pay Data Report
    • Private employers of 100 or more employees (or contracted workers), should establish practices to collect and analyze the information for the pay data reports.
    • Consider whether your pay scale and pay data suggests adjustments are needed to increase pay equity.

Additional updates and information regarding these new requirements will follow. As always, please reach out to your employment counsel at Meyers Nave if you have any questions, concerns, needs for clarification or if you would like further assistance.

Meyers Nave Named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2022 Most Admired Law Firms List

Meyers Nave is proud to once again be named among the 2022 Most Admired Law Firms by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

The publication noted that the firms selected are “consciously working towards creating diverse, positive and supportive environments to help drive the success of their attorneys.”

The publication noted that Meyer Nave has “tallied numerous wins in pro bono and land use matters with a strong public interest, including the new Los Angeles Clippers stadium and the site for the City of Anaheim’s “Big A 2050” mixed-use plaza for the Los Angeles Angels.”

Meyers Nave aims to distinguish itself by the meaningful work it does for its clients, the difference it makes in its communities and the leadership roles its attorneys hold in the legal profession. The firm is also committed to improving diversity and inclusion throughout its offices, in the legal profession and California’s communities.

Meyers Nave Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15, honoring the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

At Meyers Nave, we are committed to increasing and promoting diversity among our employees while improving the inclusion and belonging experience.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked our Latinx and Hispanic employees to share what this month means to them and the impact of their culture on their careers.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Meyers Nave

Brenda Quezada, Legal Secretary

Why is your heritage important to you?
Heritage is part of my herencia de vivir and being connected so deeply to my roots and the culture from my parents’ life and history in Mexico has always been important to me. I always remind myself not only of the struggles and sacrifices my parents had in Mexico as well when they came to the United States.

Keeping our heritage and traditions alive is an important way to honor and to show our pride in our culture. Speaking Spanish, appreciating Mexican culture when it comes to music, food and art are part of my everyday life, and I hope to pass that appreciation to my son as he continues to learn and grow.

What impact has your heritage had on your career?
My parents always stressed the importance of working hard, being humble but also offering what you can and learning what you don’t know. I think about the sacrifices they made and the opportunities those sacrifices have opened for me, which makes me proud of my contributions at work.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists or authors?
Sandra Cisneros, Frida, Cesar Chavez and Lin-Manuel Miranda to name a few.

Any favorite Latinx/Hispanic local businesses?
There are many great shops in Downtown Sacramento I like to visit such as Casa De Mercado, Kulture Imports and Chulo Baby. When it comes to food, I love Cantina Alley or locating Jefitaz Menudo, a local food truck that does pop-up events.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
In terms of cultural traditions, I enjoy Dia de Los Muertos altar and family gatherings where we make weekend carne asadas and tamales during the holidays. When it comes to food, I love chiles rellenos, albondigas and buñuelos during the holidays.

 

Viviana Heger

Viviana Heger, Of Counsel

Why is your heritage important to you?
It’s important to hold on to the history that shaped my grandparents, parents and extended family.

My parents carried on the traditions of their parents and so did I with my children. We grew up with a “Yes you can” (“Si, se puede”) type of upbringing where achievement was viewed as always possible. For my parents to immigrate from Argentina to the United States – without knowing English – took a lot of courage and determination. This type of heritage is important because it helps me remember to strive as much as they did for the benefit of my children and theirs.

What impact has your heritage/culture had on your career?
My parents were very expressive and passionate, and the active level of communication we shared led all of us to excel in school and particularly in language arts. Family discussions could turn to disagreements quickly and then to resolution. This was very different from my American friends, but it helped us appreciate the importance of expression, being candid, being honest and striving to sharpen each other. This level of communication shaped my career immensely because it allowed those communication traits to be honed into skills and later into legal tools.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists/authors?
Honestly, Spanish literature is just too wildly complicated having studied more Jorge Luis Borges than I wanted in Spanish Lit; nonetheless, I did enjoy Isabel Allende “House of the Spirits” and “Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Marquez.

Any favorite Latinx/Hispanic local businesses?
My family’s: Grand Casino bakery in Culver City! Any Argentine steakhouse that is authentic, probably Lala’s and Carlito Gardel’s.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
Empanadas, faturas (pastries), milanesa, flan and the list goes on.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Not surprising my best career advice was from my parents. My dad could easily see law school made sense for me because I loved legal studies during college. Then, as I started to become more senior in my career, my mother – a strong businesswoman – taught me not to stress over slow periods of workload because work would come. Their advice has greatly helped me.

Tell us about any volunteer activities.
In the past, I volunteered with Christian Legal Aid where many clients were Latinos or low-income and needed legal advice. That was quite rewarding and tearful at times. I’ve also been able to handle special education cases, most notably one matter that kept me busy for about six months and resulted in a successful Individualized Education Program (“IEP”).

My most rewarding volunteer activity was providing volunteer income tax assistance to mostly Latino populations. Volunteering with elementary school-age reading programs has been rewarding. Most recently, most of my volunteer activities are at church with the funeral team, which is really more uplifting than it sounds.

Christina Keegan, Receptionist

Why is your heritage important to you?
My heritage is important to me because simply put, it makes me who I am. My sister and I are first-generation Americans. My mother was born and raised in El Salvador; she grew up very differently than we did. Listening to stories of her past was always interesting to me. I wish I had asked more questions.

What impact has your heritage/culture had on your career?
My culture has absolutely helped my career in that I can communicate with people in Spanish (and German) when they call or visit our office. Our household growing up was trilingual, my parents would speak to us in their languages, and my sister and I would answer in English. Now that I am older, I wish I would have used my languages more, but I can get by pretty well with what I do know.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists/authors?
If I had to pick a favorite Latinx artist, it would be Carlos Santana. My husband and I enjoy going to rock concerts. I have yet to see Carlos Santana, so I will need to put him on our list.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
My all-time favorite tradition was on Christmas Eve. We celebrated Christmas and opened presents on Christmas Eve, not Christmas morning. After opening presents at our house, we would get in the car and drive one hour to San Francisco to my aunt’s house to visit our extended family, make tamales and stay up late into the night and then open our presents with our cousins at midnight.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best “life” advice I have ever received is from my dad. It’s actually in German, and it’s three words “Immer Weiter Machen,” which means “always keep going.” Often, he will just text me IWM. It’s short and sweet, and truly the best to me.

Richard Macias, Operations Manager

Why is your heritage important to you?
My heritage is important to me because it’s my identity and the foundation of who I am. Not until recently did I know I’m 51% indigenous American – Mexico and 25% Spanish – Spain. On my mother side our ancestors were “Called People of the Land,” on my father side we are descendants’ from the Apache Tribe. Growing up I didn’t know anything about where our family came from other then my grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side were from Baja California. Knowing this information now is very important to me because of some of the traits I have and can now understand from where they came.

Who are some of your favorite Latinx/Hispanic artists/authors?
A few of my favorite artists are Diego Rivera, Salvador Dali, Rita Moreno and Isabel Allende.

Any favorite Latinx/Hispanic local businesses?
I like Molcajete Cocina Mexicana on Webster Street, near our Oakland office, they make killer nachos.

What are your favorite cultural traditions/dishes?
My family makes the traditional tamales for Christmas and Menudo for New Year’s Day (helps with hangovers).

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Someone once wisely said to me, “Be confident in what you are doing and turn your mistakes into a learning experience.”

Tell us about any volunteer activities.
I volunteer for the Salvation Army and deliver food on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. My husband and I are big dog lovers and are always willing to foster them while they wait for a new home, we are considered “Foster Fails” as they wind up staying with us. in fact, we rescued our dog Frankie from Taiwan. He was with us for almost 14 years, and we couldn’t have asked for a better companion.

Catherine Carlisle Named One to Watch in the Commercial Litigation Category by Best Lawyers

Of counsel Catherine Carlisle was recently named a lawyer to watch by Best Lawyers in the Commercial Litigation category.

The Best Lawyers’ Ones to Watch recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in America. Learn more about Cathy and her background.

Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team Partners With L.A. County Metro to Acquire Property From the Beverly Hills Unified School District for the Westside Purple Line Subway Extension Project

Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team is proud to partner with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Metro”) on its property acquisition needs to extend the Westside Purple Line Subway Extension Project from Downtown Los Angeles to Westwood/UCLA. We recently concluded trials relating to subsurface subway tunnel easements located beneath the Beverly Hills High School and Beverly Hills Unified School District Administration Building.

David Skinner, lead counsel from Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team, explains, “Certainly, trials should be a last resort in eminent domain proceedings. Public entities should always try to resolve their property acquisition needs with landowners by settlement. This is particularly true where the landowner is another public entity.” But, here, there were two separate trials to resolve BHUSD’s legal claims. The first was a “bench trial” in December 2019 to confirm Metro’s legal right to acquire the subsurface subway tunnel easements (as a “compatible” and/or “more necessary” public use) by eminent domain. The second was a “jury trial” in July 2022 to resolve BHUSD’s claims for “just compensation,” including the fair market value of the subsurface easements and severance damages to the remainder property. Ultimately, while BHUSD asked the jury to award (for both cases) a total of $53,814,000, the jury verdict was $1,046,000.

These trial results support Metro’s efforts to reduce traffic, congestion and carbon emissions from automobile use, and to make affordable public transportation options available to all in Los Angeles.

In addition to David Skinner, the Meyers Nave team also included associate Kristof Szoke.