Our People

David Urban

Senior Counsel, Los Angeles


David Urban represents organizations in all aspects of labor and employment law.  He has successfully defended employers in cases involving alleged discrimination and retaliation, disability accommodation, privacy, trade secrets, First Amendment, and alleged violation of wage and hour laws, including meal and rest break laws.  He is a member of the firm's Executive Committee on Wage and Hour law, and edits the firm's Wage and Hour Blog.

David often advises educational institutions including colleges and independent schools in matters ranging from faculty employment issues to student free speech rights, disability accommodation, and discipline.  He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys ("NACUA").  He is also a member of the firm's Title IX and Private Education Strike Teams.

David is an experienced appellate advocate.  He argued in the California Supreme Court in March 2014 on behalf of amicus curiae the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs' Association in the Public Records Act case Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach.  He has represented firm clients in amicus curiae briefing in landmark cases in the California Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court.  These include Jones v. Lodge at Torrey Pines, 42 Cal.4th 1158 (2008) (ruling that the Fair Employment and Housing Act provides no individual supervisor liability for retaliation), Engquist v. Oregon, 553 U.S. 591 (2008) (holding that no cause of action exists in the employment context under a "class of one" theory of equal protection), and San Leandro Teachers Ass'n v. Governing Board of San Leandro Unified School Dist., 46 Cal.4th 822 (2009) (holding that free speech principles did not grant unions a right of access to teacher mailboxes for certain political advocacy).

David has developed substantial expertise in the First Amendment as it applies to public employers and educators.  He has obtained defense wins and favorable results for organizations and officials in lawsuits involving alleged violation of free speech rights, and represented educators in published cases in this area, including Lopez v. Candaele, 622 F.3d 1112 (9th Cir. 2010) (dismissing student First Amendment claim on the basis of lack of Article III standing) , and Crosby v. South Orange County Community College District, 172 Cal.App.4th 433 (2009) (rejecting free speech challenge to college's electronic communications and internet policy).  He regularly advises clients on policies affecting constitutional and statutory free expression rights, and frequently publishes in this area, both in legal and education journals and on the firm's California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog.  He was quoted twice in 2013 by the Daily Journal in connection with the high-profile First Amendment case Dahlia v. Rodriguez, in the National Law Journal in 2014 in connection with the U.S. Supreme Court case Lane v. Franks, and in Law360 in 2015 in an article on current trends in Anti-SLAPP litigation.

In private sector work, David has successfully represented employers in matters before the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"), including election proceedings, unfair labor practice proceedings, both defense and prosecution, and responses to strikes and picketing, including successful proceedings to block unlawful labor actions.

David clerked after law school for the Honorable Pamela Ann Rymer on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He graduated Order of the Coif from the UCLA School of Law, where he served as Chief Managing Editor of the UCLA Law Review.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University in physics.

Representative Matters

Amicus Briefs

  • Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach (2014) - Prepared amicus curiae for Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association in California Supreme Court case involving rights of media to identity of officers in shooting incidents; argued in California Supreme Court on March 4, 2014.
  • Jones v. Lodge at Torrey Pines Partnership (2008) - Prepared an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the League of California Cities in the landmark California Supreme Court case Jones v. Lodge at Torrey Pines Partnership (2008) 42 Cal.4th 1158.  In that case, the Court held that under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, individual supervisors cannot be personally liable for retaliation.
  • Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture (2008) - Prepared an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties for the United States Supreme Court case Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture (2008) 553 U.S. 591, 128 S. Ct. 2146. There, the Court held that public employees cannot challenge employment actions as violating the Equal Protection clause under a "class of one" theory. Under such a theory, public employees could have argued that the United States Constitution's Equal Protection clause required virtually all employment actions to have a "rational basis." The Supreme Court's holding foreclosed what could have been a far-reaching theory of liability for the plaintiffs' bar.
  • San Leandro Teachers Ass'n v. Governing Bd. of San Leandro Unified School Dist. - Prepared amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Association of California School Administrators, the School Employers Association of California, and the California School Boards Association in the California Supreme Court case of San Leandro Teachers Ass'n v. Governing Bd. of San Leandro Unified School Dist. (2009) 46 Cal.4th 822. In that case, the Court held that teacher mailboxes at the district's schools constituted "equipment" under California Education Code section 7054, which prohibits use of school district funds, services, supplies or equipment to support or oppose political candidates or ballot measures. The Court held that the school district could properly prohibit teacher unions from distributing political materials in the teacher mailboxes. The Court rejected arguments by the appellant teacher unions based on federal and state constitutional free speech principles, statutory construction of section 7054, and unions' limited statutory right of access to the school premises.


  • Rivera v. City of Ontario (2016) - The City of Ontario terminated a dispatch supervisor. The employee appealed to a hearing officer, who upheld termination based on abuse of timekeeping and confidential database systems, as well as neglect of duty. Trial court then denied writ of mandate and upheld City's decision to terminate. The Court of Appeal affirmed trial court's decision.
  • O'Connor v. City of Desert Hot Springs, et al (2014) - The Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a First Amendment retaliation case brought by a police officer under 42 U.S.C. section 1983.
  • Brumbaugh v. City of Torrance (2013) - The Court of Appeal found for the City in case involving the fitness hearing of a previously terminated officer, determining that the doctrine of law of the case applied, and that the fitness hearing provided to officer and formulated by City complied with due process.
  • Petersen Law Firm v. City of Los Angeles (2011) - The Court of Appeal affirmed the grant of a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 (the "Anti-SLAPP" statute) in favor of the City and individual defendants in a case challenging investigation of police officers. The Court decided further that the fee and cost award had to be re-evaluated on remand to determine if it should be higher. The Court also rejected a First Amendment right to petition challenge to the fee award.
  • Lopez v. Candaele (2010) - The Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of trustees and officials of the Los Angeles Community College District in an appeal of a preliminary injunction order issued by the Trial Court.  The Trial Court had precluded the District, on First Amendment grounds, from enforcing a sexual harassment policy which the Plaintiff, a student at the District, claimed chilled his expression of religious views on campus.  The Ninth Circuit issued a published decision ruling that the preliminary injunction was improper because the Plaintiff lacked standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to challenge to the policy.
  • Crosby v. South Orange Community College District (2009) - The Court of Appeal sustained a trial court ruling that a college could impose reasonable time, place and manner regulations on the use of internet access in a college library.


  • Batts et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al. (2010) - Successfully defended the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department, Chief William Bratton, and other high-level Police Department command staff in a retaliation action brought by nine police department sergeants who alleged they had suffered adverse employment actions because of their participation in a wage and hour litigation against the City. The alleged adverse actions included disciplinary investigations, relief from duty, suspension, transfer, and denial of promotion. Plaintiffs attempted to bring the matter as a class action, but the Court dismissed the class allegations. Following depositions of each Plaintiff, of Chief Bratton, and some individual defendants, LCW brought nine summary judgment motions, one for each Plaintiff. The Court granted all the motions, resulting in a defense victory on all claims.
  • Petersen Law Firm v. City of Los Angeles (2009 and 2013) - Represented City and individual defendants in action in which they prevailed on Anti-SLAPP motion in a case challenging investigation of police officers. After matter was appealed and remanded, the trial court reconsidered the City's motion for attorney's fees and ruled that the City was entitled to recover the entire amount of attorney's fees and costs it requested.
  • City of Palmdale, et al. v. Antelope Valley Community College District (2009) - Successfully represented the District in an action instituted by the City of Palmdale and a local resident seeking to invalidate the District Board's action to approve a substantial development project. The action sought invalidation based on Ralph M. Brown Act violations.
  • John Doe 2, 3, 4 v. Private College - Represented College in three separate legal actions in which students challenged their expulsions for sexual assault, and made allegations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  • Department of Labor Standard Enforcement v. Temple - Represented Temple in meal and rest break lawsuit brought by agency on behalf of teachers, in which First Amendment "Ministerial Exception" is being invoked as a defense.
  • Tenured Faculty Member v. Community College District - Represented Community College District in federal court First Amendment lawsuit by faculty member who claimed the right to use racial epithets in classroom instruction. Lawsuit settled favorably to District.
  • Student v. Community College District - Represented Community College District in federal court First Amendment lawsuit by student who alleged that free speech areas on campus were subject to unduly restrictive procedure.  Lawsuit settled promptly upon District's decision to implement new free expression procedures.
  • Rathbun v. County of Los Angeles, et al - Successfully represented County and officials in First Amendment retaliation lawsuit brought by Sheriff's deputies.
  • Channel Islands Logistics adv. Teamsters - Represented logistics companies in successful union elections, and in subsequent unfair labor practice proceedings; obtained relief from NLRB to block union strike as prohibited secondary activity.


National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)

National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) Committee on Web Page Legal Resources


Selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers 2004




  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • BS, Duke University
To Contact Liebert Cassidy Whitmore:
Los Angeles 310.981.2000 | Fresno 559.256.7800 | San Francisco 415.512.3000 | San Diego 619.481.5900 info@lcwlegal.com
© 2016 Liebert Cassidy Whitmore