AREAS OF PRACTICE
Business Advisement & Risk Management
Public Entity Representation
University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, J.D., 1982
University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., Communication Studies, 1979
A founding partner of Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick, Beth Dunn brings over 30 years of experience as a seasoned counselor and litigator to the firm’s individual and business clients. Beth’s practice focuses on complex business litigation with an emphasis on employment litigation, advisement and risk management. She regularly handles a wide range of business and employment matters including the defense of single plaintiff and class action wage and hour and consumer claims, as well as disputes involving fraud, contract, wrongful termination, trade secret theft, unfair business practices, whistle blower, union labor matters, discrimination, harassment and related claims. She has extensive experience representing clients in state and federal court and in proceedings before various federal administrative agencies and state agencies throughout the country.
Beth regularly counsels clients of all sizes who do business in California concerning compliance with federal and California’s ever-evolving – and often inconsistent – labor laws and regulations. Her experience encompasses handling issues specific to both private and public entities including the interpretation and application of governing statutes and regulations related to public agencies, the handling of pre-litigation and litigation matters, and the development of risk management strategies and solutions.
Beth’s clients include non-profit organizations as well as individuals and businesses in the sports, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare, education, technology, communication, law enforcement, hospitality, financial, building, transportation and professional service industries.
Also committed to community service outside of the legal profession, Beth has furthered her passion for sports and her belief that sports can positively impact today’s youth by her long standing service as an officer and outside general counsel for the San Diego Hall of Champions and the San Diego Sports Commission. She also volunteers her time to promote San Diego as a venue for wide-scale sporting events such as the U.S. Open, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, The Federation Cup, The Breeders Cup, and various adult and youth tournaments.
Business Advisement & Risk Management
- Provision of strategic counsel concerning retention, transition, and separation of employees in connection with business acquisitions, sales and mergers.
- Negotiation and drafting of client agreements concerning executive compensation, employee benefits, employee separation, risk waivers, arbitration, proprietary information and inventions, work from home and other business protection documents.
- Provision of management and employee training regarding equal employment opportunity issues, internal investigations, leadership methods, responding to complaints, the impact of social media in the workplace, performance documentation, and related topics.
- Development of risk management strategies for start-up and mature businesses concerning various employee and workplace matters
- Defended a national long-term healthcare provider against claims brought by a former employee arising out of her termination after she allegedly complained of and testified about numerous health and safety violations. The claims included wrongful termination in violation of public policy (whistle blowing), breach of implied employment contract, violations of multiple labor laws and defamation. Obtained a defense verdict in favor of client after a six-week jury trial in state court.
- Defended a public entity and its police department in an action brought by four female police officers alleging pervasive gender discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment and retaliation brought in state court. Successfully filed and argued a Motion for Summary Judgment brought as to every cause of action by each plaintiff; judgment was entered in favor of client on all claims shortly before trial.
- Defended a national medical billing company in a class action and Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) matter alleging multiple California wage and hour violations and violation of Labor Code section 2802 regarding voluntary work from home expense reimbursement. Successfully negotiated with the client’s carrier to participate in the defense of the claims and resolved the matter before class certification.
- Litigated binding union-initiated arbitrations and prevailed in separate matters in which union alleged collective bargaining agreement violations and sought to overturn client’s decisions to terminate employees.
- Retained to provide ongoing representation to clients to defend employment-related claims including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination, wage and hour issues, and other employment claims.
- Defended a national surplus lines insurance broker in a professional liability action involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentation and insurance code violations. Obtained judgment favorable to client after lengthy binding arbitration.
- Defended a mobile social gaming network in a state consumer class action removed to federal court concerning alleged unauthorized charges. Negotiated a dismissal of the action with no monetary payment by client.
- Represented a public entity against claims for breach of contract brought by a building contractor. The claims arose from the construction of a public works project at San Diego International Airport, and included allegations of misrepresentations contained in plans and specifications. Obtained a defense verdict for client after a jury trial.
- Represented an insurance carrier against claims of bad faith arising out of a first-party property insurance matter. The claims arose from the alleged improper investigation and evaluation of the loss and the insurer’s denial of coverage. Obtained a defense verdict after a jury trial.
- Defended a municipal agency against claims of civil rights violations, false imprisonment and assault and battery. Claims arose from the alleged improper conduct of the entity’s peace officers in arresting and transporting an individual to a detention facility. Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of client after a jury trial.
- Defended a business executive against numerous claims seeking in excess of $40 million and injunctive relief brought in federal court by an international manufacturing company. The claims arose from the executive leaving the company to allegedly start a competing business using propriety information for a new employer. Obtained a favorable settlement of all claims before trial including negotiation of favorable employment terms with new employer.
Public Entity Representation
- Defended a public entity and its police department in a Federal Court wrongful death lawsuit alleging Civil Rights violations, a Monell claim and discrimination-based claims arising out of an officer involved shooting death. Negotiated successful resolution of all claims before trial.
- Litigated claims of excessive force and civil battery against a public entity arising out of the handling of an arrest. Obtained a defense verdict in favor of client after a jury trial.
- Provision of continuing advisory services to a public entity concerning compliance issues involving the Brown Act, the California Public Records Act, the Police Officer Bill of Rights and other government statutory schemes.
- Ongoing representation of public entity interests in developing and negotiating communication plans to address local and national media coverage related to high profile litigated and non-litigated matters.
- Provision of ongoing representation regarding varied employment and labor claims, union matters, negotiation and documentation of executive retention and separation agreements, workplace investigations, employee training, and the development of risk management strategies.
- Representation of public entities concerning discrimination, harassment, assault, hostile work environment, failure to accommodate, leave policy violations, civil rights violations, retaliation, and other workplace claims.
- All Courts of the State of California
- United States District Court for the Southern, Central and Northern Districts of California
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Professional Recognition and Awards
- Martindale Hubbell rated “AV Preeminent” as the Highest Possible Peer Review Rating in Legal Ability and Ethical Standards for over 20 years
- Top Lawyer for Employment Litigation, San Diego Magazine, 2013, 2015-2016
- Top Lawyer for Employment Litigation and Advisement, San Diego Magazine, 2014
- Top Lawyer for Complex Litigation, San Diego Magazine, 2017-2018
- Super Lawyers, 2018
Memberships and Activities
- San Diego Sports Commission, Officer and Trustee (“Sportsman’s Banquet” 50th Anniversary Chair)
- Hall of Champions, Officer and Trustee (“Salute to the Champions” Event Chair)
- San Diego Regional Committee, The Centennial Campaign for UCLA
- USC Gould School of Law Center Alumni Association
- Gaslamp Quarter Foundation, Board of Directors
- Kids on Broadway, Board of Directors
- Health Ministries Association, Board of Directors
- Todd Inn of Court, Master of the Bench
- Lawyers Club of San Diego, Past Chair, Electoral Committee and Judicial Endorsement Committee
- San Diego Inn of Court, Past President
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
- San Diego Defense Lawyers
- State Bar of California, member since 1982
Presentations and Publications
Ms. Dunn is a frequent speaker on business and employment related topics. She has published numerous articles and has served as an expert witness in employment law matters.