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JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

BA, University of California, Davis

Fire Inspector v. City (2023) – A fire inspector who received light duty and then returned to work without any restrictions sued his city employer alleging age and disability discrimination and failure to accommodate his disability.  James Oldendorph, Aleena Hashmi, and Lee Heard won a motion for summary judgment that dismissed all claims.  They convinced the judge that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, discriminatory animus, or any adverse employment actions.

Police Officer Association v City of San Bernardino (2021) – Obtained a defense judgment and prevailed on a motion for judgment in a bench trial involving a breach of contract action. Plaintiff, the Police Officer’s Association (POA), claimed the City breached an MOU provision regarding how the City’s salary survey was supposed to be conducted. In granting Defendant’s motion, the Judge found that the POA did not establish a prima facie case for breach of the 2015-2020 MOU and entered judgment in favor of the City and against the POA.

Todd Palombo v. City of Costa Mesa (2019) – A former firefighter brought claims against the City alleging he was not promoted to Captain due to his age. A prima facie case of age discrimination arises when the employee shows (1) at the time of the adverse action he or she was 40 years of age or older (2) an adverse employment action was taken against the employee, (3) at the time of the adverse action the employee was satisfactorily performing his or her job and (4) some other circumstance suggesting a discriminatory motive was present, such as replacement by a significantly younger worker with similar qualifications. Plaintiff argued that, because the testing process gave the Fire Chief discretion to promote the applicant he felt was best qualified from an eligibility list, it allowed the Fire Chief to discriminate against Plaintiff.  However, LCW demonstrated that the City had legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for promoting individuals other than Plaintiff. In fact, a majority of the candidates selected during the contested time period were over the age of 40 and outscored Plaintiff on the promotional examination.  Based on the foregoing, the Judge granted Motion Summary Judgement in favor of the City.

Applicant v. City (2023) – A job applicant who was not selected for a position sued a city for discrimination under state and federal law.  The U.S. District Court dismissed the applicant’s lawsuit on the city’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the applicant failed to raise a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether he was qualified for the position, or whether the legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons the city gave for failing to hire him were pretextual. The applicant appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the District Court’s ruling.

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