V. James (“Jim”) DeSimone
V. James DeSimone (“Jim”) graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1981 and earned his law degree from UCLA in 1985 He was admitted to practice law in California in 1985 and has dedicated his law career to providing vigorous and ethical representation to achieve justice and make a difference for those whose civil and constitutional rights are violated by corporations or government entities.
OVERVIEW OF EXPERIENCE
James DeSimone is one of the most highly regarded employment lawyers and civil rights advocates in Los Angeles. From 1987 to 1990, he was a staff attorney at Westside Legal Services, in Santa Monica, California where he was the lead trial lawyer representing lower income families and individuals who could not afford a lawyer. In 1990, DeSimone founded the cutting edge civil rights law firm Schonbrun & DeSimone. Later known as Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, the firm established a reputation as one of the most prestigious civil and employment rights law firms in the State of California and in the entire country.
After twenty-five years as a partner, Jim decided to carve out his own path by establishing V. James DeSimone Law, a California law firm dedicated to representing individuals in civil rights cases, with an emphasis on employment discrimination and harassment, employment wage and hour class action cases, police misconduct and brutality cases, including wrongful death, excessive force, and false arrest cases, and personal injury cases.
DeSimone also accepted an Of Counsel position with the Bohm Law Group, partnering with Lawrance Bohm to establish a team of lawyers dedicated to achieving justice for persons who are harmed by discrimination, harassment, excessive force or other damaging conduct. Bohm Law Group is renowned for bringing advanced technology into the court room to achieve justice. Coupled with DeSimone’s thirty plus years experience as a civil rights trial lawyer, the team of DeSimone Bohm vigorously advocate for the rights of their clients in and out of the court room.
TRIAL LAWYER FOR THE PEOPLE
A Trial Lawyer for the People
James DeSimone Law represents clients who cannot afford a lawyer on a contingency fee basis. Some of DeSimone’s recent trial victories include:
DeSimone represented Plaintiff Yowan Yang at trial where a jury awarded $7,393,540 in an employment retaliation case. The Defendant, a major corporation, terminated Mr. Yang because of his involvement in an incident where he was the victim of workplace violence. Plaintiff Yang proved that the assailant was acting in the course and scope of employment when he threatened and assaulted Yang resulting in a verdict under California civil rights law.
DeSimone was the lead trial attorney in the case of Harris v. City of Los Angeles, where a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded his client $1,686,000.00 in compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of a disabled man who was subjected to excessive force by the LAPD.
DeSimone was lead trial counsel in the case of Xue Lu et al. v United States America, and achieved a $1,200,000 verdict on behalf of the two Plaintiffs, where an asylum officer employed by the United States, demanded sex and money in return for approving asylum applications. DeSimone’s fifteen year legal battle on behalf of the two Plaintiff’s resulted in the California Lawyer Magazine, sponsored by the State Bar of California, naming him Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year in 2014.
DeSimone was lead trial counsel in the case of Alicia Benham v. Walgreens et al.,achieving a $2,100,000 jury verdict on behalf of a female customer of Walgreens for false arrest and civil rights violations. The $2,100,000 verdict is believed to be the largest verdict ever in a false arrest case involving one night in jail. This remarkable achievement resulted in the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles nominating DeSimone for Trial Lawyer of the Year.
DeSimone was lead counsel in the case of Roozrokh v. Loma Linda University Medical Center, venued in San Bernardino, where the jury awarded $1,500,000 in a defamation action on behalf of a transplant surgeon who made ethical complaints against the Director of Transplant Surgery. In the ensuing investigation, defamatory statements were made against Dr. Roozrokh also resulting in a punitive damage finding against the Director of Transplant Surgery.
In May of 2017, he was lead counsel in the case of “DG” v. City of Los Angeles and achieved a $885,000.00 judgment, with a finding that the off-duty police officer was acting under Color of Law and in the course and scope of employment when he assaulted Plaintiff while arresting him for an alleged kidnapping.
In December of 2018, DeSimone was lead counsel in Lopez v. Wheel Group Holdings Inc. and achieved a $515,000 verdict in a wrongful termination in violation of public policy case, when a corporation fired its employee because she had Cancer.
In Taylor Ewing v. City of Los Angeles, DeSimone achieved a $500,000 judgment where an LAPD officer handcuffed Ms. Taylor Ewing too tightly. The excessive force and civil rights verdict also resulted in a finding of punitive damages against the individual officer.
In Marcos Valdes v. Liberman Broadcasting, DeSimone prevailed in a jury trial based on violations of California Labor Code. The Jury found that Liberman Broadcasting misrepresented the length of employment to Marcos Valdes, a well-known Spanish speaking talk show host, to induce him to move from Mexico to Los Angeles resulting in a $156,000 verdict.
In DiGiandomenico v. City of Los Angeles, DeSimone prevailed in a civil rights case based on a false arrest where four Los Angeles Police Department Officer’s claimed his client was resisting arrest. The jury found the Officers acted negligently and awarded $175,000.00 in damages.
EXPERIENCED CLASS ACTION COUNSEL
DeSimone represents employees in class action cases involving labor code wage and hour violations having achieved $17 million, $16 million, $12.5 million, $10.5 million and $5 million class-action settlements for unlawful wage-and-hour practices on behalf of computer technicians, pharmacists, employees in the entertainment industry and other occupations.
In the disability rights case of Charlebois v. Angels Baseball on behalf of wheelchair users who attend baseball games at Angels Stadium, DeSimone prevailed on a contested motion for class certification and achieved beneficial injunctive relief so wheelchair users could enjoy equal amenities at Angels’ baseball games. United States District Court Judge David Carter awarded DeSimone the full amount of attorneys requested by, stating: “Moreover, Class Counsel’s firm reputation is prestigious and thus on par with its comparator firms. …. One of the members of Class Counsel, DeSimone, has been named by the Daily Journal among the Top 50 Employment Lawyers in the State of California, inclusive of lawyers from top international law firms, for three years in a row.”
ACHIEVING JUSTICE IN THE COURTS OF APPEAL
DeSimone was lead appellate attorney and obtained a 9th Circuit published opinion in the case of Xue Lu et al. v. United States of America, 621 F.3d 944 (9th Cir. 2010) reversing dismissal of the case against the United States of America while holding an asylum officer was acting in the course and scope of employment when he demanded sexual favors and money in return for approving asylum applications.
DeSimone was lead appellate counsel in the case of Johnson v. United Cerebral Palsey et al. 173 CA4th 740 (2009), a precedent setting case in which the Court of Appeal reversed a summary judgment and directed the trial court to admit evidence of other employees who contended they were subjected to discriminatory conduct similar to that alleged by the Plaintiff.
DeSimone was lead counsel for the plaintiff in the precedent setting case of Mogilefsky v. Silver Pictures, 20 Cal App. 4th 409 (1993) which was the first published California decision to recognize that same sex harassment violated the California Fair Employment & Housing Act.
In Griffith v. Davis, 161 F.R.D. 687 (1995), DeSimone compelled the United States of America to produce documents which pertained to the IRS investigation of the shooting death of a young man killed by an IRS special agent, which included the recorded statement of the IRS special agent.
REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
DeSimone was a regular guest on Bob McCormick’s Money 101 Radio Show on KFWB, speaking on the topic of employment law, is a guest contributor to KNX and KABC News and recently appeared on KABC’s Gurvey Law.
Jim has conducted legal seminars on Trial Tactics & Techniques, Discovery in Police Misconduct Cases, Nuts and Bolts of Settlement Agreements in Employment Law Cases, and Current Trends in California Employment Litigation.
- In 2003, Jim was the Keynote Speaker at Southwestern University School of Law’s Public Interest Week.
- In 2007, Jim was one of the featured speakers at the Los Angeles County Bar’s Seminar on Successful Trial Techniques in Employment Law Litigation.
- In 2007, Jim spoke at the California Employment Lawyers Association Annual Employment Law Conference on the topic of Winning Don’t Come Easy, Tales from Trial Lawyers in the Trenches.
- In January of 2010, Jim spoke on a panel hosted by the Los Angeles County Bar Association on the topic of Mastering the Mediation Process, Strategies and Secrets to Maximize Results.
- In September of 2010, he spoke at a meeting of the Orange County Employment Lawyers Association on the topic of Maximizing Emotional Distress Damages in Mediation and Arbitration.
- In March of 2011, Jim was a panelist for the National Employment Lawyer’s Association’s Seminar on Trial Advocacy for the Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyer on the topic of Direct Examination.
- In September of 2011, Jim was a featured speaker at the Consumer Attorney Association of Los Angeles Annual Conference on Hot Topics in Employment Law.
- In October of 2011, Jim spoke at the California Employment Lawyer’s Association’s Annual Conference on the topic of Social Media for Employment Law Firms
- In July of 2012, he spoke at California Employment Lawyer’s Association Employment Law Overview for employment law summer clerks.
- In February of 2013, DeSimone spoke at the Los Angeles County Bar’s seminar on the topic of employment law torts and contract causes of action.
- In May of 2013, DeSimone was a panelist at an event hosted by the Santa Monica Bar Association on the Secrets to Success at Trial.
- In February 2014, he was on a panel sponsored by the National Employment Lawyers Association Los Angeles Chapter speaking on trial tactics.
- In January of 2015, DeSimone was a panelist on the topic of civil rights trials in State and Federal Court hosted by the Mexican American Bar Association.
- DeSimone was a Speaker and Instructor at California Employment Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer College each year from 2015 through 2019.
In October of 2016, DeSimone was a panelist at the Disability Rights Bar Association on the topic of Disability Rights and Gun Violence.
In September of 2017, DeSimone was a panelist on an expert witness panel on the topic of Federal Expert Witness Discovery at the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles’ annual convention.
In March of 2018, DeSimone was on a panel on the topic of Focus Groups for the Los Angeles County Bar’s Annual Employment Law Symposium.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
- In 2017 and 2018, DeSimone was named to the list of Best Lawyers® and Best Law Firms
- In 2014, DeSimone received the prestigious CLAY Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year Award.
- In 2008 and 2017, Jim was nominated for Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.
- In 2017, DeSimone was honored as Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Westside Bar Association
- In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 , he was honored with inclusion in the list of California Super Lawyers®.
- In 2013, 2017, and 2018, DeSimone was honored as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Southern California by Super Lawyers®.
- In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 DeSimone was honored by the Daily Journal as one of the Top Ten and Top Twenty Plaintiff Employment Lawyers in the State of California and one of the Top Fifty or Seventy Five Labor and Employment Lawyer in the State of California
- In April of 2006, Jim authored an article in the Journal of Consumer Attorneys Associations of Los Angeles entitled “Discovery in Employment Civil Rights Cases: Finding Where the Bodies are Buried”
- DeSimone authored an article for the ABA Small Practice and Solo Practitioner Journal entitled “Employment Policies and Workplace Responsibility.”
- He co-authored an article for the California Employment Lawyer’s Association September 2009 Bulletin entitled, “CONTEXT MATTERS: EXAMINING THE ADMISSIBILITY OF ‘OTHER EMPLOYEE/SUPERVISOR’ EVIDENCE IN FEHA DISCRIMINATION CASES.”
- In May of 2013, DeSimone authored an op ed piece for the Daily Journal entitled “Sexual Harassment Bill is Necessary to Fix the Law” The article was used to persuade the California legislature and Governor to pass a law establishing that sex harassment could be hostile and need not be based on sexual attraction to the victim.
- In November of 2014, DeSimone’s article, “We need Peace Officers, its Time for Crisis Intervention Training was published in Truthout and CELA Voice
- In January of 2015, DeSimone’s article, “Non-Economic Damages: Destination to a Fair Outcome” was published in Consumer Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles’ Advocate Magazine
- In April of 2018, Consumer Attorneys of California’s Forum Magazine published DeSimone’s article entitled, “Using California’s Civil Code to Prosecute Civil Rights Cases.”
- DeSimone authored an article published on the AVVO web-site entitled “What is Sexual Harassment.”
- OTHER ATTORNEY BAR ADMISSIONS
- Supreme Court of the State of California
- S. District Court Central District of California
- S. District Court, Northern District of California
- S. District Court, Eastern District of California
- S. District Court, Southern District of California
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- BAR ADMISSIONS
- California, 1985
- S. District Court Central District of California, 1986
- S. District Court Northern District of California
- S. District Court Eastern District of California
- S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
- S. Supreme Court
- University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, Los Angeles, California – 1985
- Johns Hopkins University – 1981
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Member
- California Employment Lawyers Association, Member
- National Employment Lawyers Association, Member
- Santa Monica Bar Association, Member
- Trial Lawyers Charities, Honorary Board Member
- Venice Community Housing Corporation, Sponsor
PAST EMPLOYMENT POSITIONS
- Westside Legal Services, Staff Attorney, 1987 – 1990
- Schonbrun & DeSimone 1990-1999
- Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, 1999-2015