What We Do

At Dannis Woliver Kelley, our litigation attorneys have handled hundreds of lawsuits in state and federal court. Our collective experience includes numerous trials, and countless arbitrations and administrative hearings.

Litigation is never anyone’s first choice, but when that time comes, you need a law firm on your side that you feel confident has the experience, resources, and expertise to solve your problems, not perpetuate them. The breadth and depth of Dannis Woliver Kelley’s litigation practice sets us apart from other firms.

Our litigation attorneys advise and represent clients in many areas of law, including:

  • School finance
  • Constitutional law
  • Breach of contract
  • Construction
  • Public contracting
  • CEQA
  • Eminent domain
  • Personal injury
  • Special education and disability law
  • Student issues
  • Civil rights
  • Charter schools
  • Teacher dismissal and discipline
  • Labor and employment law
  • Wage and hour law
  • California Public Records Act
  • Brown Act
  • Conflicts of interest

Litigation – the DWK Way

  • The litigators of Dannis Woliver Kelley focus on finding solutions first. If litigation becomes necessary, we go into court fighting—we go in to win.
  • Our 40 years of experience helping clients successfully navigate the maze that is California education law gives us, and our clients, an advantage when taking education law matters to court.
  • Not only are we adept at all aspects of general civil litigation, but we also possess a unique expertise in the special claims and defenses afforded public entities and the special procedures that govern them.

Successful Outcomes for DWK Clients

Below is a sampling of recent and reported cases where we have represented clients before trial and appellate courts:

  • Obtained reversal from the Court of Appeal resulting in validation of a school district parcel tax providing the district with millions in annual proceeds. (Traiman v. Alameda Unified School District (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 89.)
  • Successfully challenged the State Board of Education’s decision to grant a charter petition, over the objections of a school district and county board of education, in the first case applying a new statutory scheme.
  • Secured a multi-million judgment for a school district against a charter school operator for failure to provide it an equitable share of special education funding.
  • Attained affirmance from appellate court allowing school district to retain $14 million in fees to mitigate the impacts on school facilities from development. (CP V Walnut, LLC v. Fremont Unified School District (Cal. Ct. App., 2022) 2022 WL 794799.)
  • Prevailed in special education litigation before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals with finding that appeal was frivolous and school district was entitled to recover fees. (W. v. Capistrano Unified School District (9th Cir. 2015) 784 F.3d 1237.)
  • Represented a school district in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the inclusion of questions about citizenship on the 2020 census. (Department of Commerce v. New York (2019) 139 S.Ct.2551.)
  • Defended against a petition to compel arbitration filed by a teacher’s union regarding approval of a charter petition. The California Supreme Court held the was not subject to arbitration. (United Teachers Los Angeles v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2012) 54 Cal.4th 504.)

In addition to representing education agencies, DWK attorneys regularly author amicus briefs on behalf of statewide associations in appellate cases with important implications for education law.

Sample Trainings and In-Services

Dannis Woliver Kelley prides itself on its preventative and problem-solving approach to litigation.  Our attorneys have provided practical and timely trainings to our clients in the areas of law that affect their decision-making on a day-to-day basis and help reduce their exposure to liability.  These topics include:

  • Understanding Immunities and Protecting Employees
  • Responding To Government Code Claims
  • Handling Subpoenas for Student or Employee Records
  • Litigating Under the False Claims Act
  • Avoiding Liability for Violation of Student and Employee Constitutional Rights
  • Litigating Special Education Appeals
  • How to Effectively Handle Stop Notice Claims
  • Contractual Indemnity: Protection from Liability
  • Litigating a Facilities Dispute Under Proposition 39

Interested in scheduling a training for your team?