In The News


We are proud to announce that U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" rankings have named Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot LLP a top-tier law firm in two practice areas for the 10th year in a row. As the leading survey of lawyers worldwide, the rankings honor Schwartz Semerdjian for our well-known work on large, complex matters where an entire business may be at risk, and rated Schwartz Semerdjian as an exceptional in San Diego for tort and labor and employment litigation. We applaud our whole team for this well-deserved accolade!


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Dick Semerdjian has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© (2020 Edition) in the fields of Labor & Employment and Personal Injury. This is the 11th straight year that Dick has been selected for this honor. Congratulations, Dick!


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot has been elected Vice Chair of the South County Economic Development Council.  South County EDC, the nonprofit organization responsible for economic development in South Bay, promotes education and encourages economic development in the South San Diego and Baja regions.  Board members will be tasked with helping to see the successful planning, promotion and implementation of South County EDC events and initiatives, including the annual South County Economic Development Council Summit. Congratulations, John!


During the Utility Consumer Action Network’s 35th Anniversary Celebration, Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot was honored as a distinguished alumni of USD School of Law and USD’s Center for Public Interest Law for both his community involvement and legal work in the public interest. Along with John, UCAN also honored USD School of Law Professor Bob Fellmeth and California State Senator Ben Hueso, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee. SSCM was the Public Interest Law Champion sponsor for the 35th annual awards event.  Congratulations, John!


On June 20, 2019, Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sarah Evans will present "Is Your Employee Handbook Ironclad?" to the Associated Subcontractors Alliance.  Sarah will speak to mandatory, recommended, and optional policies to include in your handbook; common mistakes employers make in their handbooks and how to avoid them; and how to be certain your policies and procedures comply with California's new harassment-prevention laws that require all employers with five or more employees to train all workers. Click here for the seminar flyer.


Schwartz Semerdjian partners Ross Schwartz and Dick Semerdjian are co- guest lecturers at the University of San Diego School of Law Negotiations Class.  Ross will address the topic of business and transactional negotiations from the perspective of a practicing business attorney while Dick will focus on the topic of the techniques required to effectively and ethically negotiate the settlement of lawsuits from the perspective of a trial attorney.


Schwartz Semerdjian partners Dick Semerdjian and John Schena have been named 2019 San Diego Super Lawyers, both in the practice area of Business Litigation. John was previously named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for 2016-2018. This is the 13th straight year that Dick has been recognized by Super Lawyers.

Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in San Diego via a patented multi-phase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The San Diego lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers Top Lists.

SSCM is proud to have two partners named to the 2019 Super Lawyers list. Congratulations, John and Dick!


On February 28th, the California Supreme Court published its opinion in the case argued by Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot late last year.  In a unanimous 7-0 opinion the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the firm’s client and in the process set forth new precedent for the admissibility of evidence in civil pre-trial motions.  Effectively overruling two, 30 year old cases, the Supreme Court held that the analysis presented and argued by Mr. Moot in reliance on authority from conflicting case law “is sound."  The case settled with a multimillion-dollar verdict in favor of the firm’s client.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Dick Semerdjian has co-authored, "Jury Selection: The Often-Overlooked Make-It-or-Break-It Phase of a Trial," with fellow California attorney, Janice Mulligan, of Mulligan Banham & Findley.  Their combined trial experiences provide for an insightful look into the importance of jury selection.  The article was publiished in the Winter 2019 issue of The Brief, the quarterly publication of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association. Click here to view the full article.


On February 13, 2019, the Associated Subcontractors Alliance will host their Annual Legal Update and Member Showcase, an information packed review of new and noteworthy employment and labor laws and regulations that affect those in the construction industry. Schwartz Semerdjian attorneys Kevin Cauley, Kristen Bush, and Sierra Palmer will present on various topics, including new requirements for competitive bidding on public projects, CSLB reporting requirements, employer communications about prospective employers, requirements for mandatory sexual harassment training and OSHA reporting.


SSCM is pleased to announce another client win by partner Kevin Cauley. Client McCullough Plumbing was recently on a federal project, and sued the prime contractor and payment bond surety, alleging it had not been paid in full.

In United States ex rel. McCullough Plumbing, Inc. v. Halbert Construction Company, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212121 (S.D. Cal. December 17, 2018), a subcontractor on a federal project sued the prime contractor and payment bond surety, alleging that it had not been paid in full.  The defendants moved for partial summary judgment with respect to the damages the subcontractor was seeking.  In particular, the defendants argued that the “no damages for delay” clause in the subcontract precluded recovery of delay damages.  The court analyzed whether the “no damages for delay” clause complied with the Miller Act.  The court rejected the defendants’ argument that such a clause concerned only the measure of recovery and was not a waiver of the subcontractor’s right of recovery.  The defendants asserted that the measure of recovery was limited to an extension of time.  The court stated, “The No Damage for Delay clause plainly affects McCullough’s right of recovery of increased out-of-pocket costs caused by construction delays under the Miller Act.”  The court held that the clause was an unenforceable waiver of the subcontractor’s rights under the Miller Act.  The court denied the motion for partial summary judgment. 

Congratulations, Kevin!


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot recently won a long-standing property right dispute, overturning a City of Chula Vista Planning Commission decision to put in a car wash that would have negatively impacted the neighbors and nearby business owners with the traffic and noise of the proposed project. The Chula Vista City Council voted 4-1 to accept the appeal and deny the Conditional Use Permit much to the relief of the 82-year-old neighbor who first opposed the project. Congratulations, John! To view KUSI News recent coverage of the story click here.


Schwartz Semerdjian partner Sarah Evans begins her two-year term as vice chair of the Friends of Balboa Park’s board of directors. The nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and enhance the park for future generations, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, during which Sarah will also serve as chair of its governance committee. For more information about the Friends and their latest projects, visit


Schwartz Semerdjian partner John Moot, after a three week land use trial, won a convincing verdict against the Metropolitan Transit Authority after a long battle over public access to an intercity bus terminal at the world’s busiest land port of entry in San Ysidro. The story has been followed by several news outlets including the San Diego Union Tribune which reported on the verdict. Congratulations, John! To view the San Diego Union Tribune article click here.