Meyers Nave Elevates Russell E. Morse to Principal

January 3, 2024

Meyers Nave has elevated Senior Of Counsel Attorney Russell E. Morse to Principal of the Firm, effective January 1, 2024.

Managing Principal David Skinner emphasizes that “Russell is a go-to counsel for cutting-edge real estate and land use projects throughout California. His distinctive blend of creativity, experience, and business acumen in addressing complex legal challenges sets him apart and positions him as a genuine business collaborator with our clients. We are fortunate to welcome Russell as a Principal with the Firm, and we look forward to his leadership in the years ahead.”

Russell earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (B.A., political science and anthropology) and his J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. He is a deeply experienced attorney in real estate transactions and land use, uniquely able to support clients from the property acquisition stage through entitlements and environmental review. His practice focuses on land use and zoning, CEQA, housing development and real estate law. Private developers, hospitality companies and public entities benefit from his experience and skill to complete complex initiatives, including large affordable housing projects and projects using the Housing Accountability Act and Builder’s Remedy. Also recognized for his pro bono work, Russell has helped Native American tribal-affiliated groups with land back transactions, the first of their kind in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

Russell explains, “Meyers Nave has given me the opportunity to work on the most exciting land use, CEQA and real estate projects in California alongside a team of exceptional attorneys who are also genuinely good people. I am excited to become a Principal and leader with the Firm and support its continued growth.”

California Employer’s Legal Update: Summary of New Laws Effective January 1, 2024

Following our annual Employment Law Update webinars for Private Sector and Non-Profit Employers, and Public Entity Employers, our Labor & Employment Team provides a summary of their 2024 Employment Law Update detailing new and evolving laws for all types of employers.

This 2024 Employment Law Update covers the following new laws effective January 1, 2024:

Season’s Greetings from Meyers Nave

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As we reflect upon the year’s achievements and look ahead to a bright new year, we are thankful to serve our incredible clients and to work with our wonderful colleagues. We wish everyone health & happiness this holiday season and all year long!

As a gesture of our appreciation, we are pleased to support the following food banks located throughout California in the communities that we serve and call home:

  • Alameda County Community Food Bank
  • Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
  • San Diego Food Bank
  • Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Our attorneys and staff are always available should you need us.

Happy New Year!

Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team Continues its Successful Partnership With LA Metro on the Westside Purple Line Subway Extension Project

Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team is proud to continue its partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on its property acquisition needs to extend the Westside Purple Line Subway Extension Project from Downtown Los Angeles to Westwood/UCLA. We successfully concluded another eminent domain jury trial on the value of a subsurface subway tunnel easement located in the City of Beverly Hills — on Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from the “Golden Triangle.” The landowner’s appraiser valued the subsurface easement and alleged severance damages at $25,620,000. LACMTA’s appraiser concluded that the total appraised value was $90,000. The jury verdict was in the sum of $235,000.

This jury trial follows another successful jury verdict for Meyers Nave’s Eminent Domain Team on behalf of LACMTA. In July 2022, our Team partnered with LA Metro to secure a favorable jury verdict for a subsurface subway tunnel easement beneath the Beverly Hills High School. (See article here.) These trial results bolster LA Metro’s ongoing initiatives to reduce traffic, congestion and carbon emissions from automobile use, and to provide affordable public transportation options to all in Los Angeles.

David Skinner was lead counsel in both trials. The Meyers Nave Team also included Associate, Kristof Szoke.

What Public Employers Should Know About Liability for Employee Work-From-Home Expenses

By Kelsie E. Russell, Associate

A recent California Court of Appeal case (Krug v. Board of Trustees of the California State University) has implications for public agencies regarding employee reimbursement for work-from-home expenses.

Even though Labor Code Section 2802 does not explicitly or implicitly mention that it applies to government agencies, public employers should know they could still be responsible for an employer’s necessary expenditures to work from home.

This article breaks down the key takeaways and offers guidance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Labor Code Section 2802: This section requires employers to reimburse employees for reasonable and necessary work-related expenses.
  • CSU Case: In August, a California Court of Appeal ruled that California State University (CSU) did not have to reimburse a professor for home-office equipment and supplies acquired during the pandemic. The court cited CSU’s sovereign power granted by the California Education Code, allowing it discretion over purchases and reimbursements.
  • Sovereign Powers Doctrine: Public agencies are generally exempt from Labor Code requirements unless specifically included. The Sovereign Powers Doctrine shields public entities unless their inclusion would infringe on their sovereign powers, often granted by other laws.
  • Three-Part Test: The court applied a three-part test to determine whether the Sovereign Powers Doctrine applied:
    (1) Does the Labor Code provision explicitly mention governmental agencies?
    (2) Is there legislative intent to exempt them?
    (3) Would applying the Labor Code provision infringe on sovereign powers?
  • Krug’s Case: In Krug’s case, Labor Code Section 2802 did not expressly mention governmental agencies, and the legislative intent was silent. However, CSU’s sovereign power over expenses, granted by the Education Code, led to the denial of reimbursement.
  • Potential Liability: This case implies that public agencies might be liable for employee work-from-home expenses if their governing legislation doesn’t explicitly grant discretion for such reimbursements.

Guidance for Public Agencies:

  • Review Governing Legislation: Public agencies should carefully review the legislation that grants them sovereignty. If it does not explicitly address employee work-from-home expenses, they may be at risk for potential liability.
  • Consult Legal Experts: It is advisable for public agencies to consult with experienced attorneys to assess their liability under this new court holding and ensure compliance with labor laws.

In summary, the recent court case has highlighted the potential liability for public agencies in reimbursing employees for work-from-home expenses.

Public agencies should assess their governing legislation and seek legal counsel to navigate this complex issue and determine their obligations under Labor Code Section 2802.

1L Diversity Fellowship Program – How to Apply

Please submit the following items via the application process outlined below:

  1. Current resume and complete undergraduate transcript.
  2. Copy of grades from the first semester of law school (if grades are not available at the time of application, please state so and email first semester law grades as soon as they are available).
  3. Legal writing sample, unedited by a third party.
  4. Personal statement (750-1,000 words) in narrative form, including:
    • Why do you want to become an attorney?
    • Why do you want to be a Meyers Nave Diversity Fellow?
    • Which Meyers Nave office (Oakland or San Diego) would you like to spend your 10-week summer in?
    • What are your eligibility qualifications based on the required criteria?
    • Significant academic achievements, personal accomplishments and life experiences that have shaped your values and professional goals. Information may include, but is not limited to, experiences and reflections based on:
      • First generation immigrant or child of immigrants
      • English as a second language
      • First in family to go to college
      • Child of a single parent or raised by grandparents
      • Socioeconomically disadvantaged background
      • Living with a disability
      • Supporting self/family through college
      • Working full time/part time while in college or law school
      • Race, gender, ethnicity and/or LGBTQIA+
      • Demonstrable experience supporting diversity, equity and/or inclusion initiatives

Application Process

  • The application period is December 1st through December 31st.
  • Completed applications must be emailed to diversity@meyersnave.com.
  • Interviews will be conducted by video.
  • The recipients of the 1L Diversity Fellowship Program will be notified by March 1st.

Meyers Nave Adds Principal Nadia Bermudez in San Diego

October 2, 2023

Meyers Nave announces the addition of Nadia P. Bermudez as a principal in the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice. With more than two decades of experience, Bermudez joins the firm’s San Diego office.

Bermudez represents businesses, public agencies, and individuals in state and federal courts in a wide range of employment matters, such as class and Private Attorneys General Act actions, wage and hour matters, harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, unfair competition and trade secret claims. She also has experience with workplace investigations, handling matters involving harassment, bullying and abusive conduct, workplace threats, retaliation, and fraud, among other allegations of misconduct. Bermudez is also highly sought after to counsel and advise clients on harassment prevention, reasonable accommodation and disability law, and diversity and inclusion.

Managing Principal David Skinner states: “We are thrilled that Nadia is joining Meyers Nave as a Principal.  She is an outstanding addition to our Labor & Employment Practice Group, and we look forward to her leadership.”

Bermudez was recently appointed to the Advisory Board for the Ninth Circuit, serving a three-year term through 2026. She was also appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the Judicial Selection Advisory Committee for San Diego and Imperial Counties, serving as Vice Chair since 2019. Additionally, Bermudez has been a member of the Merit Selection Panel for U.S. Magistrate Judges, serving as chair on a pair of reappointment selection panels in 2019 and 2021. She is a member of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Advisory Committee for the Southern District of California, recommending nominees for the positions of U.S. District Court Judge, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Marshal since 2009. Bermudez served as a Lawyer Representative for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, including co-chairing the program from 2017-2019 and receiving the Distinguished Leadership and Service Award.

“Our labor and employment practice has seen tremendous demand, and we look forward to continuing our growth in Southern California. Nadia brings exceptional employment litigation and investigations experience and next-level client service, helping clients in a variety of industries navigate California’s complex business environment,” said Camille Hamilton Pating, Chair of Meyer Nave’s Labor & Employment Practice.

Bermudez is actively involved with the San Diego legal community. She has held numerous positions with the Lawyers Club of San Diego, including serving as president (2008-2009), vice president (2007-2008), advisory board member (2009-2010, 2013-2014, 2019-2023) and co-chair of the Diverse Women’s Committee (2013-2014). Bermudez is also a member of and has held leadership roles with the San Diego and California La Raza Lawyers associations, the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA), the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association. From 2020-2023, she served on the San Diego Superior Court’s Committee on the Elimination of Bias.

“For over two decades, I’ve been proud to know Nadia Bermudez as an ally, a friend, and a brilliant lawyer. Nadia’s partnership with Meyers Neve not only reunites us as partners, but also enhances the Meyers Nave brand as the go-to California-based firm for legal talent. Aside from having a deep legal bench throughout the state, Meyers Nave is a firm that doesn’t just talk about diversity but walks it too -with a legal bench of over 65% women and lawyers of color,” said Janice Brown, a principal in Meyers Nave’s Labor & Employment Practice.

Bermudez was named a “Leader in the Law” by the San Diego Business Journal in 2022 and 2019, as well as receiving “Best of the Bar” award in 2014 and a “Women Who Mean Business” award in 2009. The San Diego Daily Transcript has named her a “Top Attorney – Labor & Employment” in 2014, 2010 and 2007, as well as a “Top Young Attorney” in 2007. She also received the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association “Award for Service” in 2019 and the SDCBA “Service Award for Diversity” in 2014. Bermudez has been named to the San Diego Super Lawyers every year since 2015. She earned her J.D. from Stanford University School of Law (2001) and her B.A. from the University of California, Irvine (1998).

Meyers Nave Recognized as one of the 2023 “Most Admired Law Firms to Work For”

Meyers Nave is honored to be recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the Most Admired Law Firms to Work for in 2023.

Our firm takes great pride in our exceptional team, valued clients, collaborative accomplishments, and the diversity, principles, and professionalism that our firm embodies.

Read article here.

Eric Casher appointed to serve as the Ninth Circuit representative to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (FJC)

We are honored to congratulate Eric Casher on his recent appointment to serve as the Ninth Circuit representative to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (FJC).

The responsibility of the FJC encompasses a thorough assessment of the integrity, professional acumen, and judicial demeanor of the President’s nominees for Federal judicial positions. Eric’s pivotal role will encompass the meticulous review and evaluation of nominees to all Ninth Circuit courts.

Thank you Eric for your time and contributions to this significant organization.

Pictured: Mary Smith, incoming President of the American Bar Association (to be the first ever Native American woman to hold the position of President of the ABA), Eric Casher, Meyers Nave Principal, and Honorable Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (a retired U.S. Circuit and U.S. Court of Appeals judge from the Sixth Circuit).