Law School/Year: McGeorge, 1983
College/Year: University of Chicago, 1979
California; Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California; Ninth Circuit; Federal Circuit; U.S. Supreme Court
Labor and Employment Litigation, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury
I have been focusing my employment practice on wage and hour matters and class actions, though I still stay busy with wrongful termination and related cases. A primary focus has been a large, hard fought, wage and hour class action involving a systematic scheme of misclassifying short-haul delivery truck drivers as independent contractors, Chavez, et al. v. 3P Delivery. The case has been in litigation for four years. It is anticipated to go to trial in November.
The most rewarding cases, however, are ERISA claims for disability, pension and other related employment benefits. Very few lawyers are willing to do these. While they are seldom lucrative, there is a high level of client satisfaction and appreciation that I rarely see in other work. These cases make a huge difference in people’s lives, typically in a time of need.
The most recent major case concluded in $9.2 million verdict in a complex wrongful termination case, involving various business and real estate claims, and cross-complaints. After the verdict, the court awarded fees, costs and a piece of property to my client, bringing the total value of the case to roughly $9.8 million. Punitive and emotional distress damages were later reduced on defendant’s new trial motion.
My legal career of more than 27 years has been entirely as a sole practitioner. From college forward, I planned to open my own office, obtaining experience in college by working for the ABA Committee on Professional Discipline, as well as a workers’ compensation and patent law firm. Through law school, I worked for an attorney who did labor law. I have been practicing in that area ever since.
Member and director of CASD; member of San Diego County Bar Association; arbitrator, San Diego Superior Court business panel; North County Court two-attorney panel; judge pro tem, Clairemont Mesa Small Claims; speaker on various topics in tort and employment law.
Actively involved in local community activities, fundraising and all of my kids’ sporting events!
My family immigrated to this country in 1961, after the Cuban Revolution. I became a citizen in 1968. From age 7, I set my sights on becoming an attorney. With hard work and a strong education ethic, my family was able to realize the American dream, and put me through private school and college, though I worked to help pay my way through college, and attended law school on a fellowship. I am very happily married to Susanne, the love of my life. We have three awesome boys, ages 27, 18 and 13.