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Laurie E. Sherwood

Partner

E lsherwood@wfbm.com
T (415) 781-7072
| F (415) 391-6258

Overview

Laurie Sherwood focuses her practice on employment; travel, tourism & hospitality; and life sciences and product liability. For over 25 years, Laurie has successfully represented corporations, employers, manufacturers, and distributors in complex federal and state litigation. She has tried cases to defense verdicts, arbitrated and mediated numerous cases, and engaged in effective law and motion practice.

Her employment practice includes handling of EEOC and DFEH complaints and litigating discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and other employment claims. Laurie also advises employers on employee discipline and terminations. Her employment successes include motions for summary judgment and negotiating favorable settlements.

Laurie’s travel, tourism, & hospitality practice encompasses representation of travel agencies and companies, tour operators, travel insurance companies, and hotels in a wide variety of federal and state court cases ranging from disgruntled travelers to catastrophic injuries. Laurie also advises clients on their various travel documents including waivers/releases, marketing materials and various contracts, and situations in the field. Successes include dismissals, demurrers, motions for summary judgment, and favorable settlements.

Laurie’s science background lends itself to her life sciences and products liability practice. She has successfully represented manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in litigation involving pharmaceutical products, herbal and dietary supplements/products, medical devices, and other related products. She takes a proactive approach to this litigation, and seeks the most effective and beneficial resolution for her clients.

Representative Successes
  • Bennett v. Various Defendants – Motion for summary judgment granted based on a lack of causation in a products liability case involving diet products claimed to cause multiple injuries including cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Bey v. City of Richmond – Secured a defense verdict in favor of the City of Richmond and the defendant officers in a civil rights/excessive force case following a three-week trial.
  • Burkhardt v. City of Berkeley – Secured a defense verdict on all claims being made against the City, except emotional distress, in which the plaintiff alleged racial and sexual (same sex) harassment and discrimination.
  • Claimant v. Car Dealership – Claimant filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging disability and age discrimination, and a wage and hour claim before the Labor Commissioner. Both were resolved favorably through EEOC mediation before any lawsuit was filed.
  • Gonzalez v. Various Defendants – Dismissal of a drug manufacturer in a personal injury product liability action at the outset of case in response to a planned filing of a demurrer.
  • Heffel v. The Presley Companies – Secured a unanimous defense verdict for client roofer after a six-week jury trial in a case brought by the owner of a large single family home who alleged a variety of construction defects, water intrusion and mold. The jury also awarded our client over $160,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Lawrence v. City of Richmond, et al. – Motion of summary judgment granted by state court on plaintiff’s racial discrimination and wrongful termination claims in favor of all defendants. Motion of summary judgment granted by federal court as to her section 1983 claim as it was barred by the statute of limitations. Plaintiff alleged racial discrimination, violation of her civil rights (section 1983 claim), and wrongful termination. Both the Ninth Circuit and California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial courts’ granting of summary judgment in favor of defendants.
  • Lhotka v. Geographic Expeditions – Successfully negotiated a settlement for a fraction of the original demand in a wrongful death case involving a climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • Trigg-Wright v. Various Defendants – Dismissal of a drug manufacturer from a wrongful death action relying on an expert declaration filed in support of another defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Pascubello v. Urban Strategies, et al. – Motion of summary judgment granted as plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under the California Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Tort Claims Act, and defendant SFHA did not employ Ms. Pascubello. Plaintiff alleged hostile environment harassment based on race.
  • Plaintiff v. Company (confidential) – Claimant, who was laid off and then returned to her employment, alleged sexual harassment during both periods of employment, negligent hiring, retaliation, assault & battery, and constructive discharge. Before arbitration, defendants obtained a favorable settlement that was less than 10 percent of the original demand.
  • Prickett v. Multiple Defendants – Complex maritime case involved claims arising from incomplete paraplegia and related decompression injuries plaintiff suffered while filming underwater footage for an advertising video. The case resolved on the second day of jury deliberations to the client’s satisfaction.
  • Remboldt v. Multiple Defendants – Motion for summary judgment granted in Contra Costa County Superior Court based on lack of causation in this products liability/toxic exposure case. Plaintiff alleged he suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to various toxic chemicals including benzene.
  • Sarkisyants v. Various Defendants – Motion for summary judgment granted in favor of a medical product distributor in personal injury product liability action.
  • Sweatt v. J.E. Moore – Dismissal of subcontractor in construction defect matter.
  • Tasei Corporation v. Rex Moore – Dismissal of subcontractor in multi-million dollar, multi-party complex construction litigation involving the San Joaquin Community College District.
  • Adekunjo, Demps, and Block v. Housing Authority – Summary judgment granted in favor of the Housing Authority in three separate employment discrimination claims involving a former employee. Appeal by Demps affirmed by the appeals court.
Industry Involvement

Professional Affiliations:

  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
  • Loyola Marymount University Alumni Association Board of Directors, President
  • Loyola Marymount University Seaver College of Science & Engineering, Executive Advisory Board

Speaking Engagements:

  • “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace”
  • “Litigation and Claims Trends for the Life Sciences Industry: The 2017 Year in Review and Forecast for 2018”
  • “Big Brother is Watching: Do Employers Have the Right to Police Employee Off-Duty Conduct?”
  • “Employment Practices: What Every Risk Manager Needs to Know”
  • “We’re Watching You: Privacy In The Workplace”
  • “Managing the Challenging: Mental health and Behavioral Travelers”
  • “What’s Your Travel Scenario?: What Happens When Things Go Wrong”
  • “Balancing the Interests of Multiple Carriers in Time on the Risk Cases”
  • “Ethics 101 For Insurance Carrier Selected Defense Counsel”
  • “Effective Management Tools for Avoiding Litigation”
  • “Uppers, Downers and News from Our Courts and the FDA”
  • “The Nuts and Bolts of Construction Litigation”
  • “What the Tweet?! Collecting and Using Social Media Evidence to Investigate Claims”
  • “The Art of the Tender”
  • “He Said/She Said: Workplace Harassment & Retaliation – What Every Claims Representative Needs To Know”
  • Authored: The Child Care Tax Credit: An Investment in the Future, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review (1991)
Beyond the Office

When away from the office, Laurie enjoys traveling, cooking and reading.  She also enjoys politics and sports.

Laurie volunteers for many organizations, including:

  • The University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Mock Interview Program, 2000 – Present
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
  • The City of Vallejo, Human Relations Commission
  • Loyola Marymount University National Day of Service
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