In The News


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot won an important land use ruling protecting the rights of a private property owner and the traveling public for client Grand Central West at the world’s busiest port of entry, the San Ysidro Border Crossing. For more information about this ruling, click here to view the Voice of San Diego article.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner and trial attorney Dick Semerdjian will join Richard D. Huffman Associate Justice, Fourth District, Division One of the California  Court of Appeal, San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Lewis and Certified Appellate Specialist David Niddrie of Niddrie Addams Fuller LLP on a panel of speakers sponsored by the  Civil Litigation and Appellate Practices  Sections of the San Diego County Bar Association in CLE program entitled: “Trial Practice that Impacts Appellate Review”. The program will take place at the San Diego County Bar Association Conference Center (located at 401 West  Street Suite 120 San Diego CA) on November 29, 2017 from 5-7pm. Click here for event info and registration.

In this program, the panel will help identify common mistakes and learn how to avoid them during trial, and share information on what needs to be included in trial proceedings in order to properly preserve the record. The emphasis of the panel will be to have attorneys learn trial practices that maintain the record and protect your client when it comes to appellate review.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions," second edition, is now available from the American Bar Association. Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sarah Evans and associate Kristen Bush authored the “Employment Cases” chapter about class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, and statutes prohibiting employment discrimination. You can order your copy of the two-volume set online at the American Bar Association book store. A Kindle edition will also be available soon.


Schwartz Semerdjian recently added an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) win to its portfolio with a client in Hillcrest. Residents in the area for more than 40 years, were sued by a developer when they reported disregard of appropriate permitting practices for a neighboring property. The developer sued them for losses after the property failed to sell, and they retained SSCM attorneys Dick Semerdjian, Mark Bale and Alison Adelman because the clients believed the lawsuit was a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” an impermissible attempt to chill their free speech and petition.

After extensive briefing and oral argument, the Court granted the anti-SLAPP motion, and the victory will result in the dismissal of five causes of action against firm’s clients, to their great relief and the reimbursement of the attorney’s fees and costs they spent relative to hiring the firm to defend them. For more information concerning the California anti-SLAPP statute, contact us at (619) 236-8821.


Honored with recognition from the leading survey of lawyers worldwide, Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot LLP has been named a top tier law firm in two practice areas for the eighth annual U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" rankings.  Well-known for its work on large, complex matters where an entire business may be at risk, Schwartz Semerdjian was chosen as an exceptional firm in San Diego for tort and labor and employment litigation.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot, who has a land use practice, represents the property owner, Grand Central West, in a dispute with the Metropolitan Transit District at the San Ysidro Border Crossing. Click here to read the Voice of San Diego article regarding the case.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Kevin Cauley to present an ASA workshop, “Protect Your Right To Payment...What you need to know about Mechanic’s Lien and Stop Notice Remedies.” The workshop is hosted by the Associated Subcontractors Alliance and will take place at Division 23 Brewing. Click here for event information and registration.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sarah Evans was unanimously elected to Friends of Balboa Park Board of Directors. Congratulations, Sarah! We are so proud.

The Friends of Balboa Park was born out of the same commitment to civic-minded philanthropy that motivated San Diego’s leaders in the early part of the last century. Founded in 1999 by a group of longtime park volunteers, the Friends of Balboa Park is dedicated to Balboa Park as a whole, initiating park-wide projects that transcend individual institutions and address human-scale needs.

Friends of Balboa Park's vision is measured in acres and decades, manifested in activities that honor Balboa Park’s celebrated past, enhance its current place in the life of San Diego, improve access and lay the groundwork for a secure future. Friends of Balboa Park's greatest successes are not always the most conspicuous: quietly identifying and meeting a need, seamlessly integrating a new feature into a historic setting, partnering with other organizations and public agencies to raise the park’s profile and give its interests a voice in city government.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sarah Evans is presenting today The Ins & Outs of an Employee Handbook, along with presenter Andrea Morgan, Human Resources Consultant with BBSI. The program is hosted by the Associated Subcontractors Alliance (ASA). Click here for event information and registration.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Dick Semerdjian has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© (2018 Edition) in the fields of Labor & Employment and Personal Injury. This is the 9th straight year that Dick has been selected for this honor. Congratulations, Dick!


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sierra Spitzer has been appointed Vice-Chair for the Business Litigation General Committee and the Employment and Labor Law General Committee. In addition, Sierra has been appointed to the TortSource Editorial Board Standing Committee, Law in Public Service Standing Committee, Women Trial Lawyers Task Force & Outreach to Young Lawyers Committee. All of these committees are within the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association (ABA). Congratulations, Sierra!


Schwartz Semerdjian associate Kristen Bush has been appointed Vice-Chair for the Business Litigation General Committee. In addition, Kristen will serve on the Ethics and Professionalism Standing Committee. Both of these committees are within the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association (ABA). Congratulations, Kristen!

The Ethics and Professionalism Standing Committee examines issues of ethics and professionalism for attorneys. The committee identifies potential changes to the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct and provides comments to the ABA’s governing body with respect to ethics related issues.


Founding partner Dick Semerdjian has been selected to the National Judicial College’s Board of Visitors. For more than 50 years, The National Judicial College (NJC) located on the campus of the University of Nevada Reno has remained the national leader in judicial education. The first to offer programs to judges nationwide, the NJC continues to work with the judiciary to improve productivity, challenge current perceptions of justice and inspire judges to achieve judicial excellence.  The College serves as the one place where judges from across the nation and around the world can meet to improve the delivery of justice and advance the rule of law through a disciplined process of professional study and collegial dialogue.  By offering an average of 100 courses/programs annually with more than 8,000 judges attending from all 50 states, U.S. territories and more than 150 countries, the NJC seeks to further its mission of education, innovation and advancing justice.

The NJC’s Board of Visitors is a nationally recognized and select group of individuals charged with furthering the quality of education offered by the NJC.  They are renowned professionals who bring a cross-section of perspectives to improve the administration of justice through education.  Members also serve as goodwill ambassadors of the NJC by enhancing awareness of the College and assisting with fundraising efforts.

In addition to his involvement with the National Judicial College, Dick is the current Chair of the State Court sub-Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the American Justice System, and past-Chair of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and ABA Commission on the American Jury.  He is on the board and faculty of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)/TIPS National Trial Academy which is named the country’s top “boot camp for lawyers” and takes place annually at the NJC.  Some of the country’s top trial attorneys serve as faculty for the academy, mentoring attorneys new to the profession and trial work.  In addition to other learning exercises, the academy features a mock trial in the NJC’s Model Courtroom.

For more information about the NJC – visit


Partner Sarah Evans has been recognized by her peers and named to the San Diego Business Journal Best of the Bar 2017. On April 10, 2017, the publication will showcase the top San Diego attorneys in private practice as nominated by their peers. Sarah specializes in employment law and business & commercial litigation. Congratulations, Sarah!


We are pleased to announce that the Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot Community Service Scholarship has been awarded to Ainslie Tarr, a third year law student at the University of San Diego School of Law. Ainslie’s goal is to practice non-profit immigration law. While studying at USD School of Law, Ainslie has worked with public and non-profit organizations providing immigration services to refugees, primarily women and children. Congratulations, Ainslie!

Schwartz Semerdjian joined the University of San Diego School of Law Named Scholarship Program in 2016. The $5,000 scholarship is awarded to a law student who has demonstrated commitment to community service in San Diego County.  The scholarship supports the firm’s efforts to encourage and promote voluntary community service by its attorneys and by future members of the legal profession.


Partners Dick Semerdjian, Kevin Cauley & John Moot have been selected as Top Lawyers in San Diego by Martindale Hubbell. The 2017 Top Lawyers List will be published in the March 2017 issue of San Diego Magazine. Lawyers featured in the Top Lawyers List have been selected by their peers as providing the highest level of professional excellence. Congratulations, Dick, Kevin & John!


This week, Schwartz Semerdjian associates Owen Praskievicz and Alison Adelman are participating in the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition. This year, participation is expected to include over 500 students in San Diego County and over 8,000 students statewide. The trial is a simulation of a criminal case, in which students portray each of the principals in the array of courtroom participants. Students participate as lawyers, witnesses, court clerks, and bailiffs, thus acquiring a working knowledge of our judicial system.


Target and playground equipment manufacturer KaBOOM! recently granted Border View Family YMCA an “Imagination Playground in a Cart”.  Schwartz Semerdjian partner/Border View board chair Sarah Evans attended the February 17th playground unveiling with her children.  Imagination Playground in a Cart is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication and collaboration in play, and children in the surrounding neighborhood are sure to have lots of fun times with this new equipment. 


Partner John Moot recently settled a civil anti-corruption case obtaining $8,250,000 for the Sweetwater Union High School District. The case was pending a decision in the California Supreme Court at the time of the settlement. Click here for the full Union Tribune article.


Partners Dick Semerdjian and John Moot have been named 2017 San Diego Super Lawyers. Dick has been recognized in the practice area of Employment Litigation Defense. This is the 10th consecutive year that Dick has been recognized by Super Lawyers. John Moot has been recognized in the practice area of Business Litigation. This is the 7th year John has been recognized by Super Lawyers. Congratulations, Dick & John!


Partner Dick Semerdjian will be in Santa Rosa, California to conduct sexual harassment prevention training for Columbia Distributing. A reminder that all California employers with 50 or more employees must provide sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors in California within six months of hire or promotion and every two years thereafter.


Partners Kevin Cauley and Sierra Spitzer will provide a review of new and noteworthy employment laws and regulations and how these impact the construction industry’s workforce at the Associated Subcontractors Alliance (ASA) Construction Law Update on January 11, 2017. The presentation will include information regarding minimum wage, itemized wage statements under Labor Code Section 226, fair pay amendments, and paid family leave benefits. They will discuss recent court decisions which impact contractors. These decisions will include the validity of a general contractor relying on a bid number while ignoring other material terms and conditions in a subcontractor's bid, interpretation of written indemnification provisions with respect to employee injuries on construction sites, and subcontractor entitlements to late payment penalties under the prompt payment statutes for past retention payments withheld by the project owner. Click here for the event flyer.