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Education

JD, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College

BA, Loyola Marymount University

Did You Know

Laura is an avid hiker; one of her favorite hikes to date has been Half Dome in Yosemite.

S. v. City (2017 and 2018) – City Council upheld termination of police officer based on insubordination and failure of performance improvement plan.  Trial court then denied a writ of mandate and also upheld City’s decision to terminate.

S v. City (2015) – Hearing officer upheld the termination of a police officer based on dishonesty.

L v. City (2014) – Hearing officer and City Council upheld the termination of a police officer based on a pattern of poor judgment and neglect of duty.

R. v. City (2013 and 2014) – Hearing officer upheld the termination of dispatcher based on abuse of timekeeping and confidential database systems, as well as neglect of duty. Trial court then denied a writ of mandate and also upheld City’s decision to terminate.

E. v. City (III) (2012 and 2014) – Hearing officer and City Council upheld the termination of a police officer for abuse of CLETS and insubordination. Trial court then denied a writ of mandate and also upheld City’s decision to terminate.

P. v. Agency (2012) – Committee of Board of Directors upheld employee termination for theft of Agency resources and neglect of duty.

T. v. City (2011 and 2012) – Hearing officers and City Council upheld 3-day and 5-day suspension of an employee based on failure to follow City policies.

A. v. City (2011) – Hearing officer and City Manager upheld employee termination based on charges of driving under the influence and hit and run.

B. v. Agency (2010) – Committee of Board of Directors upheld employee termination based on excessive absenteeism.

L. v. District (2010) – After three days of hearing, Board of Trustees upheld employee termination based on falsification of time and work records, neglect of duty and insubordination.

E. v. City (2010) – Trial court denied police officer’s writ of mandate and upheld City’s imposition of 125-hour suspension based on police officer’s personal association with a known felon.

E. v. City (II) (2010) – After four days of hearing, the arbitrator upheld 160-hour suspension imposed by the City based on police officer’s failure to confiscate illegal drugs.

Employee v. County (2009) – Based on charges of driving under the influence, negotiated deputy sheriff’s resignation in lieu of pursuing discipline appeal of termination.

Employee v. County (2008) – Correctional officer terminated for an improper association and being under the influence during his investigative interview; correctional officer appealed the termination.  After two days of putting on the County’s case, the officer agreed to resign and waive appeal rights.

ALADS v. County (2007) – Deputy Sheriff’s grievance regarding entitlement to Bonus I pay based on performing certain duties of Bonus Deputy position denied.

Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre (2016) – John Ellins was a police officer with the City of Sierra Madre. He was investigated for conducting improper searches on CLETS (a highly confidential law enforcement database) for his ex-girlfriend and her family. Out of concern for his ex-girlfriend’s safety, the City delayed disclosure of the specific nature of the investigation until immediately prior to the interrogation. Following written and verbal interrogation admonitions, the City provided Ellins and his attorney time to discuss the specific charges. His attorney had requested this time prior to the interrogation. After meeting with his attorney, Ellins refused to cooperate in the investigation. The City terminated Ellins for the improper CLETS searches and for insubordination. At the Court of Appeal, Ellins argued that he should not have been terminated for insubordination because the City violated his rights under the Public Safety Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBR) because it did not provide him a meaningful opportunity to consult with his attorney. The Court of Appeal disagreed and held that the City did give him reasonable notice prior to the interrogation under the POBR and that it did provide him a meaningful opportunity to discuss the specific charges with his attorney.

Rivera v. City of Ontario (2016) – The City of Ontario terminated a dispatch supervisor. The employee appealed to a hearing officer, who upheld termination based on abuse of timekeeping and confidential database systems, as well as neglect of duty. Trial court then denied a writ of mandate and upheld City’s decision to terminate. The Court of Appeal affirmed trial court’s decision.

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.

Blythe v. County of Riverside (2010) – Court of Appeal reversed the trial court on an issue involving mitigation of damages. Court of Appeal found that County did provide evidence of comparable employment and trial court did not have sufficient evidence to support a contrary holding.

DHSPOA v. City of Desert Hot Springs (2014) – After declaring a fiscal emergency, the City enacted cuts to employee salary and benefits; the Police Officers’ Association then made a simultaneous request for factfinding and request for a preliminary injunction in an attempt to prevent unilateral implementation of terms and conditions of employment. The court denied the DHSPOA’s motion, finding that the City made a sufficient showing of the fiscal emergency which necessitated the salary and benefits adjustments.

O’Connor v. City of Desert Hot Springs, et al. (2012) – Court granted Motion to Dismiss entire action with prejudice following four amended complaints. Plaintiff could not articulate what he said that was “protected speech” and thus could not state a claim for 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

Farris v. County of Riverside (2011) – 150 deputy sheriff plaintiffs filed a lawsuit claiming unpaid FLSA overtime related to donning and doffing and off the clock claims. Once discovery commenced, approximately 60 plaintiffs withdrew from the case, and approximately 90 plaintiffs were left at the time of trial. Judgment was entered in favor of the County for FLSA retaliation claims following the jury trial, and judgment entered in part for the County (and in part for the Plaintiffs) regarding FLSA unpaid overtime claims.

SEIU v. County of Riverside (2011) – 131 employee health care workers from Riverside County Regional Medical Center filed an FLSA lawsuit claiming they were improperly classified as exempt employees. A motion for Partial Summary Judgment was granted in the County’s favor as the court found that the nurses met the salary basis test for the professional exemption.  The case ultimately settled.

Baron v. City of Ontario (2011) – After Plaintiff settled USERRA claims directly with the City, attorneys for Plaintiff refused to dismiss the action. District Court granted a motion to enforce settlement and dismissal of the entire case.

Tackett v. County of Imperial (2007) – Summary judgment was awarded in this lawsuit brought by a Sheriff Deputy claiming retaliation and race discrimination.

South Bay Regional Public Communications Authority – Two units, including Teamsters.

Metropolitan Transit Authority – Support for Five Units, SMART, ATU, AFSCME, Teamsters and TCU.

City of Lomita Two Units.

Orange County Sanitation District – Six Units, including OCEA.

Foothill Municipal Water District – One Unit, AFSCME, including Representation Process and Initial MOU Negotiations.

Yorba Linda Water District – General Unit.

City of Orange – Four Sworn Units; Four Miscellaneous Units; Two Factfinding Hearings.

City of Thousand Oaks  Three Units, Including SEIU.

City of Redondo Beach – CEA; PSA; Teamsters Units; Police; Fire, Police Management.

City of Desert Hot Springs – Teamsters; Police; Factfinding Hearing and Litigation.

City of Costa Mesa – Police and Fire.

City of El Segundo – Factfinding Panel Member.

City of Sierra Madre – POA.

City of Santa Monica – PAU and Health and Retirement Coalition.

City of Lake Elsinore – General Unit.

City of Ontario – Support for One Unit, Teamsters.

County of Riverside – SEIU.

No Publications

November 17, 2021
Labor Relations Game Show!
Monterey | California Public Employer Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA) 2021 Annual Training Conference

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