David Urban

David Urban Senior Counsel

David Urban represents organizations, including public and private educators and public agencies, 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.  

David often advises educational institutions including colleges and universities and independent schools in matters ranging from faculty employment issues to student free speech rights, disability accommodation, and discipline.  He has substantial experience successfully representing clients in matters involving student misconduct litigation and student challenges to discipline, and serves as a member of the firm's Title IX and Private Education Strike Teams.  He is also a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys ("NACUA").  He recently presented at the June 2018 Annual NACUA Conference on the topic “Faculty and Employee Expression and Academic Freedom in a Time of Unrest,” at the March 2018 Employment Conference on the topic of the First Amendment and Academic Freedom, and at the January 2016 Workshop on Sexual Misconduct on Campus on the topic “Navigating the Intersection of Title IX and FERPA: Nuts and Bolts.”  He was recently quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the topic of discipline of faculty and the First Amendment.

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.  

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

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.

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BS, Duke University

May 12, 2016 Webinars on Demand
Advanced Wage & Hour and California Labor Code Issues for Private Educators

LITIGATION

John Doe v. Private Art Institute - Represent Institute in legal action in which student challenges expulsions for sexual misconduct and has asserted petition for writ of mandate alleging denial of due process.

John Doe v. Private Art Institute - Represent Institute in legal action in which student alleges invasion of privacy torts and alleged breach of contract based on interactions with administration.  Institute has responded with an Anti-SLAPP motion under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code section 425.16.

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 an agency on behalf of teachers, in which First Amendment "Ministerial Exception" was successfully invoked as a defense.

Tenured Faculty Member v. Community College District – Represent District in arbitration proceedings in which professor challenges his termination, based on Academic Freedom and First Amendment grounds, for his use of sexist and gender-biased statements in class.

Tenured Faculty Member v. Community College District - Represented Community College District in federal court First Amendment lawsuit by the 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 a student who alleged that free speech areas on campus were subject to an unduly restrictive procedures.  Lawsuit settled promptly upon District's decision to implement new free expression procedures.

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 Court granted nine separate motions for summary judgment, resulting in a defense victory on all claims.

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.

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.

APPELLATE

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 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.

O'Connor v. City of Desert Hot Springs, et al (2014) - The Ninth Circuit affirmed the 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 a 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 an 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.

AMICUS BRIEFS

Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach (2014) - Prepared amicus curiae brief for Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association in California Supreme Court case involving rights of media to identify 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."

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 the 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.

 

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BS, Duke University

May 12, 2016 Webinars on Demand
Advanced Wage & Hour and California Labor Code Issues for Private Educators

National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)

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

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BS, Duke University

May 12, 2016 Webinars on Demand
Advanced Wage & Hour and California Labor Code Issues for Private Educators

Selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers 2004

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BS, Duke University

May 12, 2016 Webinars on Demand
Advanced Wage & Hour and California Labor Code Issues for Private Educators
Oct 25, 2018

Appellate Law – The Final Judgment Rule and its Exceptions

Many times, parties to a lawsuit receive trial court rulings in the midst of the litigation that are unfavorable, oppressive, and seem to them to be demonstrably wrong.  The parties want to appeal immediately, but their counsel will say that cannot happen, citing the “Final Judgment Rule.”  The rule certainly sounds dark and fateful.  Perhaps courts intend it to be, because the rule serves to deter disgruntled litigants from appealing while the trial court case is ongoing, and typically requires those litigants to wait months, or even years, to appeal.  So what is this rule?  And perhaps more importantly, what are ways to gain access to an appellate court early without offending it?

Aug 14, 2018

Free Speech Rights at Private Colleges and Universities

Controversies over free speech, disruptive protests, sharp debates among faculty, withdrawal of invitations to controversial speakers, and interference with rights of expression happen just as much at private as at public colleges and universities. The difference, however, is that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution binds only public actors.  At a public college or university, students and employees can assert First Amendment claims against the institution if it tries to discipline or censor them for speech activities.  Students and employees at a private institution, however, do not have that option, because the institution is not bound by the First Amendment.

Apr 5, 2018

Government-Hosted Social Media – How To Avoid First Amendment Claims

Social media and the First Amendment is a fascinating and quickly-developing area of the law. All types of business organizations have a social media presence, for example, a Twitter page or Facebook account, and often on their own websites invite the public to comment.  The same is true for news sources, from the most well-established like The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, to personal blogs and very small media outlets.  Often public comments provide content that is just as interesting and informative as what the owner of the site originally publishes.  Indeed, the owners may have a hand in this, because (unless their terms of service provide otherwise) they are free to pick and choose comments without concern about legal claims of censorship.  The First Amendment does not apply to private organizations, only to the government, and these private organizations are free to curate comments on their sites.

Jan 30, 2018

Trouble-Shooting the Hiring Process for a Public Agency

The stock market is at all-time highs, and unemployment and inflation are low. For many California public sector employers, the strengthened economy means more hiring.  Although this is good news, the hiring process does carry legal risks, just as did downsizing and other similar matters in bad economic times.

Aug 31, 2017

Public Employers and Hate Speech

Violent and tragic events in Charlottesville, and the intense national debate that followed, have put the issue of hate speech at the forefront of the public’s attention.  A number of publications have addressed the issue of when a private employer can discharge an employee who, on the employee’s own time, participates in organized hate speech.  Publications have been careful to narrow their analysis to private employers because the issues for public employers are more complex.  There are some answers, however, and public employers can and do have the ability to take decisive action.

Jun 20, 2017

Final Judgment Rule – Four Exceptions to Keep in Mind

Many times, parties to a lawsuit receive trial court rulings in the midst of the litigation that are unfavorable, oppressive, and seem to them to be demonstrably wrong.  The parties want to appeal immediately, but their counsel will say that cannot happen, citing the “Final Judgment Rule.”  

Education

  • JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • BS, Duke University

May 12, 2016 Webinars on Demand
Advanced Wage & Hour and California Labor Code Issues for Private Educators
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