Paul D. Knothe

Paul D. Knothe Associate

Paul Knothe is an associate in Liebert Cassidy Whitmore's Los Angeles office where he advises and represents public agency and private school clients in employment law, with an emphasis on public safety matters. Paul has extensive experience in handling employment litigation, grievance arbitrations, administrative hearings, and providing day-to-day legal counsel to the firm’s clients.

As a seasoned litigator, Paul has defended clients in state and federal courts, including appellate courts. He litigates the full range of employment and labor matters including alleged discrimination and retaliation, wage-hour issues, and issues surrounding collectively bargained Memoranda of Understanding. Paul has defended class-action and single- and multi-plaintiff employment matters.  He manages all aspects of litigation, from case assessment and pre-trial motion practice, through all forms of discovery proceedings, and settlement, to trial.

As a member of LCW’s Public Safety practice group, Paul is well versed in the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act and works on sensitive disciplinary issues and high-profile civil litigation cases regarding claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, off-duty misconduct, and excessive force issues. Paul advises public safety agencies on complex issues ranging from compliance with their obligations to disclose certain types of peace officer personnel records under SB 1421 and AB 748 to balancing their departmental policies with individual employees’ Constitutional and statutory rights where they come in conflict.   

Additionally, Paul regularly conducts thorough workplace investigations, with a focus on high-profile incidents or allegations against senior management personnel.

Paul regularly writes for LCW’s blog on how current legal trends affect LCW’s clients. He has also published several articles in leading legal publications in the areas of his expertise.

Prior to joining LCW, Paul practiced labor and employment law in both the private employment sectors, including for the California Department of Industrial Relations and U.S. Department of Labor.  Paul graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Paul is admitted to the California, New York, and District of Columbia bars.


  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

  • BA, University of Richmond, Virginia


Police Officers v. City (2015) - Prosecuted the termination appeals of multiple officers terminated in connection with an internationally renowned incident of excessive force resulting in the death of a citizen.


Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles (2015) - 234 Cal.App.4th 459 - Published Court of Appeal decision holding that deputy sheriffs' associations that were parties to five MOUs providing for individual arbitration of wage/hour disputes could not combine claims and proceed instead in court in an interest of "judicial efficiency."  This opinion arose out of the same matter as Los Angeles County v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission.


Moreno et al v. City of Beverly Hills (2019) – LCW defended the City in a lawsuit brought by four employees of the City’s police department. The four plaintiffs alleged that they were subjected to a number of different adverse employment actions that they contented were motivated by illegal discrimination and/or relation. Some of the plaintiffs also alleged they were subjected to illegal harassment. After a trial that lasted more than four weeks, the plaintiffs asked the jury to award them more than $20 million.  While the jury found some liability, the plaintiffs received just a fraction of the damages they claimed to have suffered. Paul drafted an argued a successful Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict which overturned the jury’s verdict as to one of the four plaintiffs, resulting in a defense judgment as to that plaintiff.

Doe v. Private School (2018) – Obtained dismissal of entire action following sustained demurrers to Plaintiff’s complaint and four amended complaints alleging negligence, breach of contract, and denial of due process where student-athlete withdrew from school after being required to attend classes remotely and prohibited from participating in football games during investigation of sexual assault allegation against him.

Munroe v. County of Riverside (2016) - Obtained summary judgment on claims on behalf of the County of Riverside in a lawsuit brought by a former Deputy County Counsel for violation of the California Equal Pay Act, FEHA gender discrimination and retaliation, discrimination for use of medical leave under the California Family Rights Act, and whistleblower retaliation under Labor Code section 1102.5.  The plaintiff alleged that her male counterpart was paid significantly more even though she had more experience and was performing comparable work and that her termination was retaliatory.  

Romero v. City of Barstow; City of Barstow v. Barstow Police Officers Association (2015) - Defeated a petition for writ of mandate and obtained an order confirming arbitration award where terminated police officer claimed that he was entitled to judicial review of binding arbitration award under the POBR and Constitutional due process.

Los Angeles County v. Los Angeles County Employee Relations Commission (2013) - Obtained a writ of mandate overturning the order of the Employee Relations Commission combining into one multi-class action approximately 10,000 wage-hour claims that were required to be brought individually under the terms of five Memoranda of Understanding between the Association and the County.


  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

  • BA, University of Richmond, Virginia

Feb 16, 2021

Peace Officer Certification Standards Have Changed, and Decertification is Likely on the Horizon

All California peace officers must meet initial standards set by the Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (POST).  Those standards have recently been expanded, and more change may be coming.

Sep 28, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from complications from pancreatic cancer on Friday, September 18, 2020.  Justice Ginsburg inspired millions and became a beloved icon in a way that is truly uncommon for a jurist.  She was the subject of a documentary, a biopic, and an opera.   She earned wide acclaim for her legendary octogenarian workouts and her courageous battle with cancer, and, befitting her Brooklyn roots, was bestowed the moniker “Notorious R.B.G.”    

Sep 15, 2020

AB 2147 Clears Career Paths for Formerly Incarcerated Persons Trained as Firefighters

While skies all over California were turned strange colors by fire and smoke on September 11, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 2147 into law. Passed by a 51-12 majority in the Assembly and a unanimous 30-0 vote in the Senate, this law creates new Penal Code section 1203.4b, designed to make it easier for inmates trained in firefighting in the Conservation Camp Program or on a county hand crew to gain employment as professional firefighters after release.

Apr 29, 2020

COVID Briefing: COVID-19 Testing and Law Enforcement

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, law enforcement professionals bravely continue to perform their duties and come in regular contact with the public, potentially exposing themselves to the virus.  Concerned for the safety of their officers and the communities they serve, law enforcement agencies are pondering the permissibility and wisdom of large-scale testing.  Is it permissible for agencies to require all officers to be tested for COVID-19?  Is it wise?  What about testing of officers who exhibit symptoms or were exposed to persons who are known to have tested positive?

Apr 24, 2020

COVID Briefing: Legal Issues with Taking Employee Temperatures

A fever, which is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as 100.4°F/38°C or higher, is a symptom and key indicator of COVID-19.  Many employers, including law enforcement agencies, are already taking or are considering taking employees’ temperatures before allowing them to begin work for the day. 

Mar 23, 2020

COVID 19: The Duty to Meet and Confer and Other Public Agency Obligations During A Public Health Emergency

With cities and counties scrambling to develop and deploy emergency plans in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, demands from employee organizations to meet and confer are increasing.  This fact sheet is offered to answer frequently asked questions regarding the duty to bargain and provide information to employee organizations during a public health emergency.


  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

  • BA, University of Richmond, Virginia

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