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JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

BS, Duke University

Did You Know

David studied quantum physics in college.

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.

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.

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.

Appellate Law – The Final Judgment Rule and its Exceptions
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...

The Next Landmark Case on Student Free Speech
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...

The First Amendment in Employment and Education – Five Issues for 2021
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,...

Ruling Says Unruh Act Does Not Apply to School Districts
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...

Issues Public Employers Face During Mass Protest – Q&A
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...

Review New Title IX Regulations, Effective This Month
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.

Public Employment Issues and the 2020 Election – From Employee Free Speech to Taking Time Off to Vote
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. ...

US Department of Education Releases Final Title IX Rules
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.

First Amendment Rights During Coronavirus – New Challenges For Government Agencies
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...

Government-Hosted Social Media and the First Amendment
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.

Title IX Ruling is Favorable Authority for Universities
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...

Garcetti and Academic Freedom

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...

Religion In The Public Sector Workplace
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...

Religion in the Public Sector Workplace
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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