Declues, Burkett & Thompson, LLP

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Firm Overview

Main Office

Main Office
17011 Beach Boulevard Suite 400
Huntington Beach  CA  92647

Phone
  • 714-843-9444
Fax
  • 714-843-9452
Employment
Huntington Beach, California, attorneys committed to enforcement of the law
Employment and labor laws govern all aspects of the relationships between employers and employees. While many have been designed to protect the rights of employees, these laws maintain a balance of fairness and equity between employers and employees that is vital to the health of all businesses. They require attorneys to be knowledgeable about such issues as human resource guidelines, wage and hour statutes, occupational safety and health, workers compensation, and anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws.

Knowledgeable and experienced California lawyers:
At Declues, Burkett & Thompson, LLP, our attorneys are available to provide assistance in employment and labor law mediation and arbitration sessions as well as in courtroom litigation. We have a thorough understanding of California and Federal labor and employment laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, the Taft-Hartley Act, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and handle a broad range of cases. Our firm represents clients in labor and employment law matters including:

-Discrimination claims associated with national origin, religion, sex, age or disability
-Wage and hour disputes
-Harassment in the workplace
-Workplace safety issues
-Class action litigation
-Collective bargaining
-Pension and salary negotiations
-Non-competition and non-disclosure agreements

Personalized attention:
We are committed to ensuring that every client receives personalized attention, including regular updates regarding case progress and options. While achieving a swift resolution is our goal whenever possible, our attorneys do not hesitate to take cases to court when a better outcome can be achieved in that way. Our attorneys have more than 275 years' combined experience representing clients in employment and labor law issues.

J. Michael Declues

Managing Partner

Mr. Declues is a founding managing partner of the firm. He received his B.A. in 1972 and his J.D. in 1975, both from the University of Southern California. He was admitted to the California Bar, the U.S. District Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal that year. Mr. Declues worked from 1975 to 1982 with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, initially in the Criminal Division as a prosecutor and then in the Tort Litigation Section of the Department of Water and Power.

In 1982, he joined a major civil defense firm in Los Angeles where he became a partner in 1984 and opened its Orange County Office in 1985. Under his leadership as managing partner and senior trial counsel, the office grew from two to twenty-two attorneys in seven years, encompassing civil litigation and worker's compensation.

Mr. Declues gained extensive experience in handling primarily complex and potentially large exposure cases, including catastrophic injury, wrongful death, civil rights, sexual molestation, sexual harassment, products liability and construction site accidents. He has tried over seventy-five cases. He is a charter member of the Warren H. Ferguson Inn of Court which is associated with Chapman University School of Law and which emphasizes legal ethics.

Practice Areas:
-Public Entity Defense
-Insurance Defense
-Education Law
-Civil Rights Defense
-Employment Law

University:
University of Southern California, B.A.

Law School:
University of Southern California, J.D.

Admitted:
1975, California, U.S. District Court, Central District of California and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Memberships:
-Orange County and American Bar Associations
-State Bar of California

Biography:
Finalist, Hale Moot Court Honors Competition. (Managing Partner)

ISLN:
907952365
Education
  • University of Southern California
    Juris Doctorate

Jeffrey P. Thompson

Partner

Mr. Thompson is a partner and heads Declues, Burkett & Thompson's Labor and Employment Law Department. Mr. Thompson received his B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Claremont McKenna College in 1983 and his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1988. Mr. Thompson was admitted to the California Bar that year and has practiced exclusively in the area of labor and employment law.

In 1996, Mr. Thompson left a national employment law firm to join the firm at its inception. Mr. Thompson's practice focuses on representing private employers and public entities in all aspects of labor and employment law, with particular emphasis on employment-related litigation. He also advises clients with respect to employment-related issues.

Mr. Thompson is a frequent lecturer and instructor on labor and employment issues for various business and governmental groups and has authored a manual entitled "Defending Wrongful Discharge Claims Under California Law" for the National Business Institute. Mr. Thompson also conducts seminars for various business associations, public entity groups and clients.

Practice Areas:
-Labor and Employment Law
-Education Law

University:
Claremont McKenna College, B.A., 1983

Law School:
Loyola Marymount University, J.D.

Admitted:
-1988, California
-1989, U.S. District Court, Central and Southern Districts of California and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
-1992, U.S. District Court, Eastern and Northern Districts of California
-2001, U.S. Supreme Court

Memberships:
State Bar of California

Biography:
-Member, St. Thomas Moore Honor Society
-Recipient, American Jurisprudence Award, International Law. (Partner)

Reported Cases:
Kirchmann v. Lake Elsinore Unified School District (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 1098, 100 Cal. Rptr.2d 289

ISLN:
903169149
Education
  • Loyola Marymount University
    Juris Doctorate

Glenn S. Goldby

Partner

Mr. Goldby received his B. S. from Northern Arizona University in 1975. He received his J. D. from Southwestern University School of Law and was admitted to the California Bar in 1979. For 11 years, he practiced in the areas of motor vehicle, products, premises and construction liability defense, as well as business and real estate litigation, at Tucker, Goldby & Freeman.

He served as an arbitrator for the Los Angeles and Orange County Superior Courts and as Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles County Superior and Municipal Courts. He also participated as Judge Pro Tem in the Settlement Officer Program of the Orange County Superior Court.

He is a member of the American and Orange County Bar Associations, and the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel. He is admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California. Since 1991, he has also been a member of the Arizona Bar.

He became a partner of the firm in 1997 and continues to handle all types of general liability defense, business tort and commercial litigation matters for private and public entities.

Mr. Goldby holds the highest individual rating for ethics and legal ability with the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory.

Practice Areas:
-Public Entity Defense
-Insurance Defense
-Construction Law
-Construction Defects
-Business Litigation
-Business Torts
-Products Liability Defense
-Premises Liability Defense

University:
Northern Arizona University, B.S., 1975

Law School:
Southwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1978

Admitted:
-1979, California
-1980, U.S. District Court, Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California
-1991, Arizona

Memberships:
-Orange County and American Bar Associations
-Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
-State Bar of California
-State Bar of Arizona
-Association of Business Trial Lawyers

Biography:
Phi Alpha Theta
Blue Key
Judge Pro Tem: Los Angeles County Municipal Court and Los Angeles County Superior Court. Arbitrator: Los Angeles County Superior Court; Orange County Superior Court.
Settlement Officer: Orange County Superior Court.

Reported Cases:
West American Ins. Co. v. Chalk (1989) 213 Cal. App.3d 825, 261 Cal. Rptr. 837
Jones v. Humanscale Corporation (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 401, 29 Cal.Rptr.3d 881
Johnson v. Rancho Santiago Community College District (9th Cir. 2010) 623 F.3d 1011

ISLN:
907028244

Jeffrey A. Smith

Partner

Mr. Smith attended Emory University in Atlanta, and the London School of Economics. He received his B.A. in English from Emory University in 1975. He attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, and received his J.D. in 1978. He became a member of the Florida Bar in 1979 and the California Bar in 1980. He was admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Central District of California, in 1982.

Since the early 1980's, Mr. Smith has both handled and tried complex and high level cases in a variety of fields. His litigation experience includes extensive products liability defense work for numerous nationwide corporate manufacturers, and trial work in the fields of land subsidence, personal injury, public entity issues, insurance coverage, and subrogation. He has also defended Student Rights and First Amendment cases. His work in the public entity area has also included the defense of sexual molestation and wrongful death cases. He has represented several private companies, and has handled and tried cases involving transportation, building/ grounds maintenance, and water rights. Mr. Smith has taught legal courses at the college level.

In 1986, Mr. Smith joined a major civil defense firm, becoming a partner in that firm with Mr. Declues and Mr. Burkett and handled complex cases for both private and public clients while engaged in helping to direct a statewide firm.

Mr. Smith is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an organization of experienced trial lawyers dedicated to the promotion of civility, integrity and professionalism in trial advocacy. He is also a member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel.

Practice Areas:
-Insurance Defense
-Personal Injury
-Products Liability Defense

University:
Emory University and London School of Economics, B.A., 1975

Law School:
University of Florida, J.D., 1978

Admitted:
-1980, California and Florida
-1982, U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Memberships:
-State Bar of California
-State Bar of Florida
-American Board of Trial Advocates
-Association of Southern California Defense Counsel

ISLN:
903616513

Gregory A. Wille

Associate

Mr. Wille received his B.B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from Loyola Marymount University in 1984 and his J.D. degree from the University of Southern California in 1987.

He was admitted to practice before California State Courts, all the United States District Courts within California, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. His practice focuses on law and motion and appellate matters before these courts.

Reported Cases:
-Johnson v. Rancho Santiago Community College District (9th Cir. 2010) 623 F.3d 1011
-Wells v. One2One Learning Foundation (2006) 39 Cal.4th 1164 (amicus brief)
-Jones v. Humanscale Corp. (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th
-Kirchmann v. Lake Elsinor Unified School District (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 1098

University:
Loyola Marymount University, B.B.A., 1984

Law School:
University of Southern California, J.D., 1987

Admitted:
1987

ISLN:
902753400
Education
  • University of Southern California
    Juris Doctorate , 1987

Cary K. Quan

Associate

Mr. Quan received his B.S. in Accounting from California State University at Northridge in 1980 and his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in 1987. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1987.

Mr. Quan practices in the areas of insurance defense and business litigation.

University:
California State University at Northridge, B.S., 1980

Law School:
Southwestern Law School, J.D., 1987

Admitted:
1987

ISLN:
904275962
Education
  • Southwestern Law School
    Juris Doctorate , 1987

Jennifer K. Berneking

Associate

Ms. Berneking received her B.A., Cum Laude, in Political Science from Wellesley College in 1990 and her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1993. Prior to being admitted to the California Bar in 1993, she served as a law clerk in the Los Angeles office of the United States Attorney Organized Crime Strike Force. Ms. Berneking joined the firm in 1996.

Ms. Berneking has practiced exclusively in the area of labor and employment law since being admitted to the California Bar. Since 1996, her practice has been limited to the defense of private employers in labor and employment related matters. Ms. Berneking is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California.

Practice Areas:
Labor and Employment

University:
Wellesley College, B.A., 1990

Law School:
Pepperdine University, J.D., 1993

Admitted:
1993

ISLN:
911393185
Education
  • Pepperdine University
    Juris Doctorate , 1993

Patricia A. Lynch

Associate

Ms. Lynch received her B.A. in Political Science from the University at Santa Barbara in 1977 and her J.D. from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific in 1981. In December, 1981, she was admitted to the California Bar. She is also admitted to the Central District of California, the Eastern District of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Lynch's legal career began in insurance defense. She had a solo practice consisting of civil litigation and criminal law while serving as house counsel to a commercial building contractor. She joined the firm in 1996. Ms. Lynch practices in the areas of personal injury defense, employment law, public entity defense and construction litigation.

Practice Areas:
-Personal Injury
-Public Law
-Education Law
-Civil Rights Litigation
-Construction Defects

University:
University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A., 1977

Law School:
McGeorge School of Law, J.D., 1981

Admitted:
1981

ISLN:
905299974
Education
  • McGeorge School of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 1981

Steven J. Lowery

Associate

Mr. Lowery received his B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accountancy at the California State University, Long Beach in 1989. In 1993, he received his Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from Southwestern University. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked as an auditor for the Unocal Corporation and the California Franchise Tax Board. He was a sole practitioner practicing in the areas of business litigation, taxation and personal injury prior to joining two Orange county firms, where he practiced construction defect, insurance defense and business litigation.

Since he joined the firm in 2002, he has focused primarily in the areas of public entity defense and insurance defense.

Practice Areas:
-Public Entity Defense
-Insurance Defense
-Real Property

University:
California State University at Long Beach, B.S., 1989

Law School:
Southwestern Law School, J.D., 1993

Admitted:
1993

ISLN:
911499344
Education
  • Southwestern Law School
    Juris Doctorate , 1993

Fernando A. Vicente

Associate

Mr. Vicente received his B.A. in Political Science in 1995 from UCLA and his J.D. in 2002 from Boston University. Mr. Vicente is an associate with Declues, Burkett & Thompson, LLP specializing in the defense of public entities in employment matters. Mr. Vicente's practice is focused on employment litigation of discrimination and harassment cases brought by single plaintiffs under state and federal statutory laws, including the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Mr. Vicente's practice also includes responding to charges of discrimination before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Mr. Vicente's previous practice also included the defense of private employers in both single plaintiff employment claims and multi-plaintiff wage and hour class actions arising out of alleged violations of the California Labor Code. He has also litigated consumer class actions in both state and federal courts. Mr. Vicente is fluent in Spanish and is admitted to the California Bar as well as admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California.

Practice Areas:
Labor and Employment Law

University:
University of California at Los Angeles, B.A., 1995

Law School:
Boston University, J.D., 2002

Admitted:
2003

ISLN:
917461796
Education
  • Boston University
    Juris Doctorate , 2002
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