Abigail W. Clark

Abigail W. Clark Associate

Abigail (Abby) Clark advises the Firm’s public agency clients regarding defense side employment litigation, and provides strategic advice and counsel to community colleges and schools in employment, education, and business and facilities matters. 

Abby’s litigation experience includes advice to senior management of California cities, counties, school districts, and public safety districts regarding complex pre-litigation and litigation employment issues.  She regularly drafts dispositive motions, and argues at the state and federal court level, successfully defending agencies and managers against claims of sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and wrongful termination, among others.  She conducts appellate work, and has prepared writs of administrative mandamus as well as Ninth Circuit appellate briefs.  She also advises clients regarding employee discipline and investigations, disability and leave issues, and represents clients in administrative proceedings. 

Abby’s Business and Facilities practice centers on advising community college districts regarding transactional matters, including surplus property sales, leases and facilities use, dual enrollment and apprenticeship program agreements, and goods and services contracts.  She helps community college districts manage risk in relationships with foundations, non-profits, and other community partners.  She also advises college boards and administrators regarding ethics and conflicts of interest, government transparency under the Brown Act and Public Records Act, discipline and student safety matters, and compliance with laws governing students with disabilities and privacy.  In addition, she helps manage discrimination complaints made to administrative agencies such as OCR, EEOC, and DFEH, as well as labor complaints before PERB. 

Abby was selected as a Northern California Super Lawyers - Rising Star in 2019.

Prior to joining Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Abby worked for almost five years at an international law firm where she represented corporate clients in bankruptcy cases, out-of-court restructurings, cross-border insolvency matters, and litigation.  Her experience in federal court and advising clients on complex transactional matters helps her spot issues and be attentive to detail, which provides clients with a strategic advantage. 

Abby has two stepchildren attending an Oakland public middle school, and for fun, enjoys teaching them how to ski.  

Abby received her BA, cum laude, from Dartmouth College and her JD, cum laude, from The George Washington University Law School. She is admitted to the California State Bar and the New York State Bar.  

Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers - Rising Stars (2019)

Mar 20, 2019 Business & Facilities

Labor Code Section 1072 Requires Public Agencies to Provide a Ten Percent Bidding Preference to Service Contractors Only if Contractors Expressly State They Will Retain Employees of the Prior Contractor for at Least 90 Days in their Respective Written..

Labor Code section 1072 creates a bid preference for service contractors that promise to retain employees in connection with their bid.  Specifically, Section 1072 subdivision (a) states:  “A bidder shall declare as part of the bid for a service contract whether or not the bidder will retain the employees of the prior contractor or subcontractor for a period of 90 days…if awarded the service contract.”  Section 1072, subdivision (b) states an awarding authority “shall give a 10-percent preference to any bidder who agrees to retain the employees of the prior contractor or subcontractor” under subdivision (a).  

Mar 7, 2019 Business & Facilities

California Court of Appeal Holds Prop 218 Did Not Repeal Voters’ Right to Challenge Local Resolutions and Ordinances by Referendum

The California Constitution contains express reservations of the voters’ initiative and referendum powers.  The initiative is the power of electors to propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject them.  The referendum is the power to approve or reject statutes or parts of statutes, subject to certain exceptions including statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual current expenses of the State.  In 1996, California voters adopted Proposition 218, adding article XIII C to the California Constitution, through which they expressly reserved their right to challenge local taxes, assessments, fees, and charges by initiative. Prop 218 makes no express reference to the voters’ referendum powers.

Feb 21, 2019 Business & Facilities

New Bid Limit of $92,600 for School and Community College District Contracts

As of January 1, 2019, the bid threshold over which community college district and school district governing boards must competitively bid and award certain contracts was raised to $92,600.  This threshold level applies to the following types of contracts:

Feb 7, 2019 Business & Facilities

California Court of Appeal Invalidates School District Board’s Imposition of $500,000 Fee on New Residential Development and Requires Refund

Education Code section 17620 authorizes a school district to levy a fee against any new residential construction within school district boundaries to fund the construction of school facilities.  Such fees are known as “Level 1” fees.  Under California Government Code section 66001, to impose Level 1 fees on a developer, the district must:  (i) identify the purpose of the fee; (ii) identify the use to which the fee is to be put and if the use is to finance public facilities, identify the facilities; and (iii) establish a reasonable relationship between the need for the public facility and the type of development project on which the fee is imposed. 

Aug 9, 2018 Business & Facilities

Ninth Circuit Upholds California Statute Requiring Public Works Employers to Obtain Employee Collective Consent before Contributing to Anti-Union IAFs to Meet Prevailing Wage Requirement

California Labor Code section 1770 requires contractors on public works projects to pay their employees a “prevailing wage.”  To satisfy the prevailing wage requirement, employers can either pay all cash wages or pay a combination of cash wages and benefits, such as contributions to healthcare, pension funds, and other fringe benefits, such as employer payments to third-party industry advancement funds.  (“IAFs”).  In 2017, the Legislature, in Senate Bill 954, amended the Labor Code to clarify that employers may take a wage credit to support their prevailing wage contributions to IAFs only if their employees consented to doing so through a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”).  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld SB 954 against Constitutional challenge.

May 4, 2017 Business & Facilities

General Contractor Entitled To Partial Indemnification From Subcontractor Despite Its Own Active Negligence

An employee of a plastering subcontractor suffered injuries when he attempted to erect scaffolding and he fell through an opening in a roof for the installation of a skylight that had been left covered in plywood by a General Contractor’s employee.  The plastering subcontractor’s (PS) employee sued the General Contractor (GC) for negligently cutting the skylight hole and leaving the hole inadequately covered.  The GC cross-claimed against an intermediate sub-contractor responsible for the interior design, which had hired PS as its subcontractor.  The GC sought full indemnification for damages resulting from the PS employee’s injury pursuant to the GC’s contract with interior design subcontractor (IDS).  That contract required IDS to (i) indemnify the GC for the acts or omissions arising out of the work of IDS or its subcontractors; and (ii) obtain the same signed indemnity from any of IDS’ subcontractors prior to any such subcontractor’s commencement of work.  PS had not executed the indemnity agreement at the time of its employee’s injury.  The indemnification provision applicable to IDS and any of its subcontractors provided that the indemnification provision would apply “except to the extent claims arise out of, pertain to, or relate to the active negligence or willful misconduct of the contractor parties…, or to the extent such obligation is inconsistent with the provisions of California Civil Code 2782.05.” 

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