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Education

JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

BS, Duke University

Did You Know

David studied quantum physics in college.

Faculty Member v. Community College District – Represent district in 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by professor alleging his termination violated his First Amendment rights; obtained dismissal in District Court and the matter is on appeal.

Faculty Members v. Community College Districts – Represent districts in federal litigation over implementation of California’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) standards and their consistency with faculty First Amendment rights.

Students v. Community College District – Represent district in ongoing federal litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to accessibility of instructional materials and district and college websites.

Faculty Members v. Community College District – Represent district in 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by professors alleging infringement of their First Amendment rights based on campus talk; obtained dismissal of some claims under California’s Anti-SLAPP statute.

Craine v. AFSCME, et. al. – Obtained dismissal of employee’s lawsuit alleging that taking paycheck deductions after he withdrew from his union violated his First Amendment right to decide whether to fund political speech under Janus v. AFSCME.

Parde v. SEIU, et al – Obtained dismissal of former union member’s lawsuit claiming deductions were a result of forgery and violated her First Amendment rights under Janus v. AFSCME.

John Doe v. Private Art Institute – Successfully defended legal action in which student alleged invasion of privacy torts and alleged breach of contract based on interactions with administration.  Institute responded with an Anti-SLAPP motion under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code section 425.16 and prevailed, winning entitlement to attorney’s fees.

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 Standards 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 in the superior court as a defense.

Former Teacher v. Temple – Represented Temple in meal and rest break lawsuit brought under Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), in which First Amendment “Ministerial Exception” was successfully applied as a defense to resolve the case.

Tenured Faculty Member v. Community College District – Successfully represented district in federal court First Amendment lawsuit by a faculty member who claimed the right to use protected-status epithets in classroom instruction.

Student v. Community College District – Represented district in federal court First Amendment lawsuit by a student who alleged that free speech areas on campus were subject to 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. – 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 wage and hour litigation against the City.

City of Palmdale, et al. v. Antelope Valley Community College District – 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 National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to block union strike as prohibited secondary activity.

Plaintiff v. California Public Utilities Commission – Successfully defended California Public Utilities Commission against allegations brought in California Court of Appeal asserting supposed violations of the Bagley-Keene Act public meeting requirements.

Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) v. County – Successfully litigated writ of supersedeas in California Court of Appeal to prevent PERB from barring a County from implementing its last, best, and final offer in action involving four bargaining units of County employees, totaling over six thousand employees.

Meinhardt v. City of Sunnyvale – A public safety officer filed a petition for writ to challenge a 44-hour suspension that the City’s Personnel Board imposed. The trial court denied Meinhardt’s petition and upheld the discipline. Meinhardt appealed. The California Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s decision because Meinhardt’s Notice of Appeal was filed too late. This appellate victory clarified when an appeal is timely under the California Rules of Court.

Employee v. Public State Agency Successfully defeated former employee’s writ petition in the California Court of Appeal seeking further production of text messages exchanged between members of the Agency’s governing body under the California Public Records Act (“PRA”).  We successfully argued that the employee failed to exhaust the Agency’s internal processes prior to seeking relief from the Court of Appeal on her PRA request.

Court of Appeal Decision re Faculty Member Termination  In a case involving a college sociology professor charged with harassing students on the basis of their gender and LGBTQ status and for interfering with an investigation directive by contacting a student witness, the Court of Appeal issued a 2-1 unpublished decision in the District’s favor. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and ordered that it issue a writ instructing the arbitrator to terminate the faculty member’s employment. The decision emphasized that the unfit faculty member should not be reinstated, and that his lack of remorse further confirmed dismissal as the appropriate remedy. The majority opinion also recognized the harm the faculty member’s conduct had on students. LCW handled the disciplinary appeal arbitration, Petition for Writ of Mandate and the appeal.

Lopez v. Candaele – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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.

Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach – 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 – 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 – 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.

Religion in the Public Sector Workplace
02/06/2024
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

This article was originally published in July 2016.  The information has been reviewed and is up-to-date as of February 2024.
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are typically cited as the major religions of the world, although there are many others that have tens of millions of...

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The First Amendment and Political Expression in the Government Workplace – Election Year 2024
12/05/2023
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

With the approaching election year, we can anticipate a high level of political activity from the public to support their views of what should be the country’s future.  No doubt, at times this political activity will encroach on the workplace, and for public agency employers, this can create unique...

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The U.S. Supreme Court Hears Argument on Government-Hosted Social Media and the First Amendment
11/09/2023
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Last week, on October 31, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in two important cases concerning the First Amendment and government agencies.  Both cases present the question of when and how First Amendment free speech standards apply to government officials in curating public comments on...

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Public Safety Video Briefing: Peace Officer Speech in California: Will Kirkland v. City of Maryville Have an Impact Here? – January 2023
01/31/2023
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Our short Public Safety Video Briefings will tackle cutting-edge issues and core principles relevant to public safety employers. We hope you find these videos useful and thought-provoking.

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Ninth Circuit Provides New Guidance For Defining Protected Speech Under the First Amendment And The Permissible Scope Of Social Media Policies
08/23/2022
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Social media sites have become the new “public square” where individuals share opinions and information about all types of political and societal events.  Public sector employees, as much as anyone else, use social media to post viewpoints and to participate in public debate.  Problems arise,...

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Discontinuing A Business Relationship Can Raise First Amendment Concerns
08/03/2022
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

A recent case has made clear that a government agency’s ceasing doing business with a company based on the viewpoints of the company’s owners can lead to First Amendment liability for the agency.  Earlier this year, in Riley’s American Heritage Farms v. Elsasser, the United States Court of Appeals...

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Employer Takeaways From High Court Praying Coach Ruling
06/29/2022
Law360

LCW Senior Counsel, David Urban, authored an Expert Analysis published by Law360 entitled “Employer Takeaways From High Court Praying Coach Ruling,” which speaks on the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District ruling. In reference to free speech protection under the First Amendment, Dave states that...

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4 Key Employment Rulings In First Half of 2022
07/13/2022
Law360

LCW Senior Counsel, David Urban, shared his thoughts on the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District ruling in Law360’s “4 Key Employment Rulings In First Half of 2022,” which discusses Kennedy v. Bremerton, along with other hot-button issues that have arisen in 2022. Dave notes that “the ruling is...

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High Court Ruling: Football Coach’s Prayers Amount to Private Speech
06/28/2022
HR News by IMPA HR

In the wake of the seismic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade, the Court issued another decision Monday that has far-reaching implications for public employers.
In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Court decided that a public high school football coach was...

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Government-Hosted Social Media – How To Avoid First Amendment Claims
03/04/2022
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

This post appeared in April 2018.  It has been reviewed and is up to date.
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...

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New Year, New Updates
01/19/2022
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

The start of the New Year brought with it a new wave of labor and employment legislation that employers should note, including changes to many existing laws. In this blog we’ve summarized a few key new changes that went into effect on January 1, 2022.
1. SB 3: Minimum Wage Increase
The final step...

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Trouble-Shooting the Hiring Process for a Public Agency
08/03/2021
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

This article was reviewed in August 2021 and is up-to-date.

The stock market has reached all-time highs and the economy in general continues to be strong.  In this scenario, many public sector employers are hiring.  Although this is certainly welcome news, the hiring process does, however, carry...

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Give Me a $#@%—SCOTUS Bolsters First Amendment in Cheerleader Case
07/09/2021
Bloomberg Law

LCW Special Counsel David Urban penned the article “Give Me a $#@%—SCOTUS Bolsters First Amendment in Cheerleader Case,” which was published in the July 9 issue of Bloomberg Law. The piece explores the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding a public school that punished a...

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Justices Won’t Mute Athletes’ Social Media Megaphone
06/24/2021
Law360

LCW Senior Counsel David Urban was quoted in the June 24 Law360 article “Justices Won’t Mute Athletes’ Social Media Megaphone,” which explores the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision stating a public school overstepped by punishing a cheerleader for a “vulgar” social media...

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The U.S. Supreme Court Decides Landmark Case on Student Free Speech which has Implications for Public Schools
06/24/2021
LCW Special Bulletin

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., finding that a high school violated a cheerleader’s First Amendment rights when it disciplined her for a short, profane Snapchat post she created off-campus and on a Saturday. ...

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The U.S. Supreme Court Decides Landmark Case on Student Free Speech which has Implications for California Private High Schools
06/23/2021
LCW Special Bulletin

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., finding that a high school violated a cheerleader’s First Amendment rights when it disciplined her for a short, profane Snapchat post she created off-campus and on a Saturday.  The...

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Appellate Law – The Final Judgment Rule and its Exceptions
03/30/2021
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

This article was reviewed in March 2021 and is up-to-date.

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...

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The Next Landmark Case on Student Free Speech
03/18/2021
The Daily Journal

Senior Counsel David Urban’s op-ed column “The next landmark case on student free speech” was published in the March 9 issue of the Daily Journal. The piece illuminates a U.S. Supreme Court case that questions whether the First Amendment prohibits public school officials from regulating off-campus...

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The First Amendment in Employment and Education – Five Issues for 2021
12/02/2020
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

This year saw perhaps the largest public protests in American history, one of the most contentious election years, vast public use of social media to achieve political and social goals, and harsh debate on whether government mandates designed to combat the pandemic infringe constitutional rights,...

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Ruling Says Unruh Act Does Not Apply to School Districts
12/02/2020
The Daily Journal

David Urban recently wrote “Ruling Says Unruh Act Does Not Apply to School Districts,” which was published in the Daily Journal on Nov. 27, 2020.  The piece explores whether public school districts constitute “business establishments” under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.  To read the article in its...

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Issues Public Employers Face During Mass Protest – Q&A
11/11/2020
California Special District's Magazine

Our nation has continued for months to react to the death of George Floyd, and this reaction includes the thousands who have participated in mass protests across the country in June 2020.  Many people feel compelled to speak openly and passionately about an issue of national importance.  Public...

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Review New Title IX Regulations, Effective This Month
09/02/2020
The Daily Journal

Partner Pilar Morin, Senior Counsel David Urban and Associate Anni Safarloo authored the Daily Journal article, “Review New Title IX Regulations, Effective This Month,” discussing the new Title IX regulations that went into effect August 14, 2020.

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Public Employment Issues and the 2020 Election – From Employee Free Speech to Taking Time Off to Vote
08/20/2020
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Election day, November 3, 2020, is only several months off.  Almost all agree the election will be historic, with a high-level of public activity anticipated, whether through donations, rally participation, letter writing, buttons, t-shirts, banners, yard signs, word-of-mouth, or social media. ...

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US Department of Education Releases Final Title IX Rules
05/19/2020
The Daily Journal

Partner Pilar Morin, Senior Counsel David Urban and Associate Jenny Denny authored an article for Daily Journal discussing new regulations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Read the full article here.

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First Amendment Rights During Coronavirus – New Challenges For Government Agencies
05/05/2020
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Lawyers at our firm have practiced constitutional law for many years, and the coronavirus pandemic has presented circumstances in this area that many of us probably thought we would never see.  Under normal principles of First Amendment law, speech in a traditional public forum such as a city park...

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Government-Hosted Social Media and the First Amendment
03/10/2020
The Daily Journal

This article discusses government-hosted social media, the First Amendment, and a recent Ninth Circuit decision that impacts both.
To read the full article, please view the Daily Journal’s website here.

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Title IX Ruling is Favorable Authority for Universities
06/13/2019
The Daily Journal

David Urban authored an article for the Daily Journal that discusses recent cases involving students accused of sexual assault at colleges and universities. This is a rapidly developing area of law, which has undergone major developments on different fronts simultaneously. In the article, Urban...

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Garcetti and Academic Freedom
12/03/2018
NACUANOTES

Members of campus communities often speak of a strong commitment to academic freedom. First emerging as a professional norm and then later established as a constitutional right through U.S. case law, academic freedom has become an expectation at American colleges and universities. What “academic...

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Religion In The Public Sector Workplace
04/11/2017
California Special District's Magazine

For many Americans, religion is an important part of their lives.  It is no wonder that, on occasion, religious beliefs and practices of employees will intersect with the workplace.  For a public employer, this can present special concerns, because it not only has a responsibility to carry out its...

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Religion in the Public Sector Workplace
12/21/2016
Western City Magazine & Public CEO

Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are typically cited as the major religions of the world, although there are many others that have tens of millions of adherents or more.  The United States has no official established religion, and instead since its founding has guaranteed its...

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