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Education

JD, University of California, Hastings College of Law

BA, University of California, Berkeley

Did You Know

Pilar studied photography and occasionally worked as an assistant photographer during high school. When applying to college, she submitted her portfolio to art institutes with the intention of earning a degree in photography. When she retires, Pilar intends on picking up where she left off in her photography studies.

Classified Employee v. School District (2017) – School District suspended and demoted a warehouse worker for multiple violations of safety protocol.  This included failing to safely operate warehouse equipment and for continually neglecting daily tasks. He also exhibited a pattern of dishonesty regarding his safety practices.  Following his demotion to a different position, he again violated safety standards and the School District terminated him.  The employee appealed.  Following a three-day hearing, a hearing officer upheld the termination.  The hearing officer found that although the employee served for many years without discipline, termination was appropriate because his conduct following administration of proper progressive discipline did not result in correction of the misconduct.

Joseph Salemi v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2012) – In an 11-day teacher termination appeal hearing, the Commission on Professional Competence upheld the Los Angeles Unified School District’s termination of a permanent certificated math teacher due to unsatisfactory performance under Education Code section 44932, subdivision (a)(4). The Commission on Professional Competence found good cause for the teacher’s termination upon the District’s demonstrating that the teacher failed to meet minimum reasonable requirements for teaching as measured by the District and that he had a sustained history of poor teaching and failed to make significant progress towards improvement, despite specific recommendations, coaching and accommodations provided by the administration. The teacher merely went through the motions of teaching by making PowerPoint presentations before his class, but did not engage the students or guide them through the lessons with any meaningful exchange.

Michael Wells v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2011) – Successfully defended a summary judgment in favor of the District in a case involving racial and sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

Jessica Jackson v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2011) – Successfully defended a summary judgment in favor of the District in a case involving racial harassment, discrimination, failure to prevent and retaliation.

Paulette Jackson and Alice Johnson v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2011) – Successfully defended summary judgment against two former employees in a case involving racial harassment, discrimination, failure to prevent and retaliation.

Chaffey Community College District v. Dale Tatum (2008) – Successfully defended summary judgment entered against a faculty member for breach of his sabbatical agreement.

Davis v. Los Angeles Unified School District Personnel Commission (2007) – Holding that an employee was not entitled to reinstatement if he could not return to active duty and that the employee was not entitled to back pay because the employee could not work due to his non-industrial disability.

Morrison v. Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (2003) – Court of appeal found substantial evidence that supported the trial court’s findings in support of the board’s decision to terminate an employee.  The Court also held that meetings that include fact-finding into charges and complaints against an employee require notice to the employee of the right to demand an open session under the Brown Act, Government Code section 54957, subd. (b)(2).

Bonner v. Occidental College, et. al. (2016) – Representing the College in a lawsuit involving 1) Age Discrimination; 2) Age Harassment; 3) Disability Discrimination; 4) Disability Harassment; 5) Failure to Accommodate Disability; 6) Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process; 7) Failure to Prevent Discrimination and Harassment; 8) Failure to Correct and Remedy Discrimination and Harassment; 9) Retaliation in Violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA); 10) Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy; 11) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; and 12) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. We successfully disposed of the disability-related causes of action via demurrer. The Plaintiff then agreed to settle this matter.

Skelton v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2015) – Obtained summary judgment in favor of the District in a case involving a teacher who alleged race discrimination, race harassment, failure to prevent, and retaliation.

Harris v. City of Baldwin Park (2013) – Successfully defended the City of Baldwin Park against a former public works supervisor who sought reinstatement after the City terminated her for dishonesty, insubordination, threatening behavior and interference with an ongoing investigation.

Breach of Contract (2012) – Obtained a victory for a private liberal arts and sciences college in a federal court case filed by a former student who after withdrawing, claimed the college breached contractual and other legal obligations. The college is located in Iowa and the case was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, in an attempt to “forum shop” and litigate the case in a forum more favorable to plaintiff for statute of limitations purposes. Prepared a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue and forum non-conveniens, and met and conferred with the former students’ lawyer, after which plaintiff outright dismissed the case. This is a victory for an out of state college that was the victim of forum shopping and an attempt to subject that college to litigation in California. A swift and comprehensive attack to the lawsuit saved the college from the burden of litigating a case half way across the country.

Liburd v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2011) – Successfully moved for judgment on the pleadings in favor of the District and individual defendants in a case involving various claims including failure to train and supervise, excessive force, and retaliation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Michael Wells v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2010) – Successfully defended the District and individual defendants in a case involving five Plaintiffs who were employees at three different schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and sued alleging various FEHA violations.  The court severed the cases finding they were not related and entered summary judgment against four of the Plaintiffs.

Yevnovkian v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2010) – Successfully represented the District against a petition for writ of mandate seeking reinstatement of a teacher who resigned and retired via a supplemental retirement program.

Coppi v. City of West Covina (2010) – Successfully obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court in a case involving disability discrimination.  Prior to trial, we obtained a summary adjudication on Plaintiff’s claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act for failure to engage in the interactive process and retaliation.

Alice Johnson v. LAUSD (2009) – Summary judgment in favor of LAUSD and against a special education teacher’s assistant alleging discrimination based on race, and failure to prevent discrimination under FEHA. Plaintiff claimed she was demoted and improperly and repeatedly disciplined due to her race. However, this plaintiff had a lengthy disciplinary history starting from 2000 and was repeatedly written up and disciplined for failing to adequately supervise her assigned student (who suffered from seizures), reporting late to her post after breaks, falsifying her time records, and insubordination, among various other performance issues.

Jessica Jackson v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2009) – Won summary judgment in favor of the District in a case involving racial harassment, discrimination, failure to prevent and retaliation.

Paulette Jackson v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2009) – Won summary judgment in favor of the District in a case involving racial harassment, discrimination, failure to prevent and retaliation.

Davis v. LAUSD (2006) – Obtained judgment in favor of the Los Angeles Unified School District in a case involving a petition for writ of administrative mandate where an employee claimed he was wrongfully separated him from his employment after he exhausted all available leave during his non-work related disability. The petitioner sought an order awarding him reinstatement, attorneys’ fees and costs, full back pay, restorations of benefits, reimbursement of PERS taxes, and other monetary damages.

Governor Issues Executive Order Revising Cal/OSHA Quarantine Guidance and Addressing Other COVID-19 Related Issues
12/17/2020
LCW Special Bulletin

This article was reviewed January 2021 and the information is up-to-date.
 
On December 14, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-84-20 (the “Order”), addressing a number of issues related to COVID-19 and the present public health emergency.
In this bulletin, we address several...

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Permissibility of Requiring That Employees at Public School and Community College Districts Receive the COVID-19 Vaccination
12/07/2020
LCW Special Bulletin

Given the recent news coverage concerning COVID-19 vaccines and the government’s distribution plan for such vaccines, many of our clients have inquired whether it will be permissible to require school and community college district employees be vaccinated for COVID-19. This question is important...

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Cal/OSHA Board Adopts Emergency Regulations Regarding COVID-19 for Public Educational Institutions
11/30/2020
LCW Special Bulletin

On November 19, 2020, pursuant to emergency rulemaking authority, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) adopted temporary regulations regarding measures that all employers must undertake in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace (“emergency...

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Investigations in the Time of COVID-19
09/09/2020
ACHRO/EEO The Communicator

Partner Pilar Morin authored the ACHRO/EEO’s The Communicator article, “Investigations in the Time of COVID-19,” discussing the obligations CCDs have to conduct legally compliant investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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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Schools Must Rely More Heavily on Legal Counsel to Navigate the New Title IX Regulations
08/17/2020
The Daily Journal

Partner Pilar Morin was quoted in the Daily Journal article, “Schools Must Rely More Heavily on Legal Counsel to Navigate New Title IX Rules,” discussing the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations that went into effect on August 14, 2020.

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Second Court Denies Preliminary Injunction against New Title IX Regulations; the Compliance Deadline Remains August 14, 2020
08/14/2020
LCW Special Bulletin

In a lawsuit involving sixteen states and the District of Columbia, including California, filed against the U.S. Department of Education challenging the new regulations governing how sexual harassment allegations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 must be adjudicated, U.S. District...

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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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Revised Special Bulletin: U.S. Department of Education Releases Final Title IX Rule
05/12/2020
LCW Special Bulletin

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education released new Title IX regulations.  They take effect August 14, 2020.  The new regulations  mandate how K-12 and postsecondary institutions that receive federal financial assistance must define,...

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U.S. Department of Education Releases Final Title IX Rule
05/11/2020
LCW Special Bulletin

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education released new Title IX regulations.  They take effect August 14, 2020.  The new regulations mandate how K-12 and postsecondary institutions that receive federal financial assistance must define,...

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