Announcements

2020

Fern M. Steiner has been recognized in the 27th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

June 2020: SSV prevails at Fourth District Court of Appeal (4DCA) on local on-line newspaper’s attempt to collect substantial attorneys’ fees from public school teachers.

SSV successfully defended the May 2018 ruling by San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier denying attorneys’ fees to Voice of San Diego, (“VoSD”), which sought attorneys’ fees against five teachers who contested disclosure of their personnel records referencing allegations of denied misconduct. Redacted records were ordered released responsive to VoSD’s California Public Records Act (CPRA) request.  

An adverse holding would have linked a public employee’s statutory right to contest disclosure to a fee award that would mean financial ruin for the average teacher or public employee. We’re hopeful that this ruling will deter future fee threats against individuals who initiate good faith reverse-Public Records Act (CPRA) actions to protect their rights while respecting the public’s interest in government affairs.

First, the court refused to entertain a de novo standard of review and applied an abuse of discretion standard (limiting the ability to disturb the lower court’s decision unless it was clear error). Most importantly, the court picked apart the argument that the 2018 Pasadena Police Officers’ Association (PPOA) case “mandated a fee award” for any reverse-CPRA litigation decided in the requestor’s favor.

The court’s careful distinction of the PPOA case, which awarded fees against police officers and their union seeking to withhold an investigative report related to an officer-involved shooting, is impactful:  

Finally, PPOA does not persuade us that the trial court erred in denying Voice private attorney general fees. PPOA does not mandate that all requesters in reverse-CPRA actions be awarded attorney fees; it points out such a party “can recover fees under section 1021.5.” (PPOA, supra, 22 Cal.App.5th at p. 155, fn. 7.)” The court rejected the claim that “PPOA mandates a fee award.”

We’re proud to advocate for public-sector educators and continue our firm’s goal to provide affordable, effective representation for working-class individuals.

Link to unpublished opinion:  https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/D075148.PDF

April:  Ann Smith and Dyland Griffith represent Municipal Employee Association (MEA) members in federal litigation requiring the City of San Diego to pay $6.2M to MEA and other city workers to settle Fair Labor Standards Act overtime litigation. 

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/story/2020-04-08/san-diego-must-pay-6-2m-to-city-workers-to-settle-overtime-litigation

March:  The unprecedented impacts of COVID-19  continue to disrupt all aspects of our society, including employment rights and interests.  While our courts and administrative hearing venues remain closed now into May 2020, our firm remains operational as necessary to address the rapidly evolving demands of our clients.

The effects of this crisis upon employees are as diverse as the myriad of occupations, compensation and benefits applicable.  Many of our clients are advantaged by membership in public and private unions/associations that advocate for maximum protections.  But most employees must advocate for themselves by posing questions to their employers, such as confirming employment benefits available, whether your position may be “essential,” paid and other leave options, and asking for referrals to federal, state, county, or other information and benefit resources.  Here are a few links/memoranda that may be of assistance or comfort. 

Employer’s permissive inquiries of employees and prospective employees:   https://www.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/wysk/wysk_ada_rehabilitaion_act_coronavirus.cfm

Listing of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers in California:   https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf

U.S. Department of Labor Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Employee Paid Leave Rights:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave

Mayo Clinic doctors reminding us we need to lean on each other through this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NJJQiMaQHQ

If you have reasons to believe that an employer may be taking advantage of this crisis for its own benefit without affording yours, please email us at info@ssvwlaw.com.

March:  CTA California Educator magazine’s “What’s in a Name” story profiles precedent-setting outcome in Escondido USD vs. California Dept of Education, which affirmed 28-students per resource specialist cap prescribed by the Education Code.  Former EUSD special education teacher Alison Owen, who protested her employer’s non-compliance to the CA Dept of Ed, was represented by Jon Vanderpool

February:  Dyland Griffith and Jon Vanderpool present at annual California Teachers Association lawyers’ conference on California Public Records Act litigation, Special Education staffing requirements, and Commission on Teacher Credentialing issues.

January:  Jon Vanderpool addressed Escondido Union High School District certificated and site administrators about employment issues arising from recent developments in social media & technology utilized in the workplace.

January: SSV attorneys attend the annual All Peoples Breakfast sponsored by Alliance San Diego, celebrating the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., and recognizing community leaders for their contributions furthering his legacies of equality and justice.

2019

U.S. News has selected SSV among Best Law Firms

Fern M. Steiner has been recognized in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This is the 30th year Fern has been recognized.

 Fern M. Steiner has been selected to the 2019 San Diego Super Lawyers list

Fern M. Steiner has been recognized in the Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide

2018

U.S. News has selected SSVW among Best Law Firms

Jon Vanderpool addressed CTA/NEA San Diego and Imperial Service Center Council attendees at Fall Leadership Conference in Palm Springs, December 1-2, 2018, about Technology, Social Media Pitfalls, Employment Status, Performance Assessments and other Recurring Public School Workplace Issues.

“Best Lawyers” 25th Edition (2018) has again honored Fern M. Steiner as among the best individual employment and labor union lawyers in America

Fern M. Steiner has been selected to the 2018 San Diego Super Lawyers list, for the 11th year in a row.

Ann Smith hosts raffle during MEA’s General membership Meeting at Balboa Park Club on October 9, 2018.  Lucky MEA members were the winners of cash prizes!

Jon Vanderpool was guest speaker at the February 2018 Imperial County School Board dinner, addressing ways and means labor and management perpetuate constructive dialogue benefitting the broader community.

Fern M. Steiner has been recognized in the Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide

March 8, 2018 Fern Steiner was a panel member in a plenary session “Watch the Pendulum Swing” at the American Arbitration Association National Labor Program

Fern Steiner will be speaking at the Workers’ Rights Clinic regarding Union Rights on March 20, 2018

2017

U.S. News has selected SSVW among Best Law Firms

San Diego Magazine recognizes Ann Smith, Fern Steiner and Jon Vanderpool as Top Lawyers in Labor & Employment.
Best Lawyers® 24th Edition (2018) has honored Fern M. Steiner as among the best individual employment and labor union lawyers in America

Fern M. Steiner and Jon Cadieux have been selected to receive the 2017 SDEA Executive Director’s Award

Fern M. Steiner and Jon Y. Vanderpool – Employment & Labor Law – Super Lawyers

Fern M. Steiner – 2017 San Diego Super Lawyers – Ranked as One of the Top 25 Women Lawyers

2016

12/3/16:  Jon Vanderpool presented an interactive discussion at the 2016 CTA San Diego and Imperial Counties Leadership Conference in Palm Springs, addressing legal issues confronting teachers and their associations, including: social media and technology innovations in the modern-day classroom; medical marijuana, defamation, harassment/discrimination, public records act requests, pay uniformity, and retirement planning considerations.  To request the outline, email your name and association membership to ediaz@ssvwlaw.com

Jon Vanderpool addressed 100+ employees and administrators at Helix Charter School on August 9th about social media and other technology impacts on the public workplace
SSVW Website Post Feeding San DiegoSmith, Steiner, Vanderpool & Wax volunteered at Feeding San Diego, a local food bank which serves over 60,000 local children, families, and seniors in need each week.  Our team assisted with “reclamation” projects – checking, sorting, and repackaging quality sweet and savory snacks only rejected by retailers for slightly damaged packaging or decreasing shelf-life.  Feeding San Diego can now distribute these valuable snacks to more than 400,000 San Diegans who live in households where food is not always available.  SSVW had a great experience and we plan to continue supporting Feeding San Diego’s valuable work in our community. December 2016.
U.S. News has selected SSVW among Best Law Firms
San Diego Youth Services recognized Fern M. Steiner for 20 years of dedicated service and support for homeless, abused and at-risk youth.
“Best Lawyers” 23rd Edition (2017) has again honored Fern M. Steiner as among the best individual employment and labor union lawyers in America

Martindale Hubbell rates Fern M. Steiner and Jon Y. Vanderpool AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated Lawyer for 2016

June 2016, San Diego’s Louis. M. Welsh Chapter of the American Inns of Court bestowed its Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Superior Content to Jon Vanderpool’s group’s presentation on post-trial motion procedures

2015

U.S. News has selected SSVW among Best Law Firms

Mike Wax Discusses Workers’ Compensation with San Diego Chiropractors

Mike Wax Discusses Workers’ Compensation with San Diego Chiropractors

Tibble Affirms Employees’ Ability to Recover Excessive 401(k) Plan Fees against Employer

Fern M. Steiner – Labor and Employment Law – San Diego Best Lawyers

Fern M. Steiner spoke in Palm Desert on strikes and labor law to the California Labor Relations Officers (CALRO)

James Stern was again a presenter at the Sterling Education Services

“Time Worked” – Federal vs. California Standards

Andrew W. Lockard Joins SSVW as an Associate Attorney

Fern M. Steiner participated in a plenary panel at the National Academy of Arbitrators on “Workplace Drug Use; A New Generation of Issues.”

Fern M. Steiner and Jon Y. Vanderpool – Employment & Labor Law – Super Lawyers

Fern M. Steiner – Employment & Labor Law – The Top Women Attorneys in Southern California

2014

Fern M. Steiner – Employment & Labor Law – The Top Women Attorneys in Southern California

Ann M. Smith Joins Board of Cesar Chavez Service Clubs

Jon Vanderpool speaks to Encinitas students on Diegueno Middle School’s annual Career Day May 19, 2014, about tools for succeeding on their career journeys ahead.

James Stern presenting on a panel for the San Diego County Bar Association re “Hour and Wage Issues in Workers’ Compensation”

SSVW proudly sponsors MANA de San Diego, a national non-profit organization supporting educational, mentoring, and leadership programs for young Latina women, including scholarship and other financial assistance

Fern M. Steiner spoke in Palm Desert on strikes and labor law to the California Labor Relations Officers (CALRO), an organization of law enforcement officers who work strikes and labor disputes.

Fern M. Steiner participated in a plenary panel at the National Academy of Arbitrators on “Workplace Drug Use; A New Generation of Issues.”

2013

Message From Ann M. Smith: City Surrenders On “Sub-Equal” Pension Litigation

Discrimination Based Upon Access to Healthcare Coverage

Teacher Classification

Minimum 75% school-year work requirement to attain permanent status must be based on full work days.  Teachers cannot apply additional hours worked or round-up partial days.

Jon Y. Vanderpool is promoted to Master of Louis M. Welsh Chapter of the American Inns of Court

Fern M. Steiner – Labor Law – Union Lawyer of the Year

Appellate Review of Teacher Dismissal Decisions

Retaliation / Public Employment

Police officer’s placement on administrative leave after speaking with internal affairs was considered actionable retaliation for exercise of free speech right.  In determining whether subject matter of speech is related to employment, Courts must consider the employee’s practical job duties even where different from the job description.

Paralegal Shay Trias is asked to serve on the UCSD|Extension Advisory Board

New Law Prohibits Immigration Practices by Employers

Employment Discrimination / Failure to Accommodate Disability

Technology Issues in Public Education

County of San Diego Supervisor Dave Roberts presented a Proclamation to Fern M. Steiner honoring Smith, Steiner, Vanderpool & Wax for 30 years of outstanding service, leadership, and commitment to area residents