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KELLY A. KNIGHT, ESQ.

  • Available in Los Angeles, Central Coast, Orange County
  • Mediation Only

Introduction

Kelly A. Knight has in-depth experience in matters involving employment law, including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, wage-and-hour, class actions, and Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) claims; all types of personal injury; professional malpractice; and business/contractual matters. He started his litigation career in a high-profile law firm representing both plaintiffs and defendants in complex business and employment matters. Kelly also gained valuable insights as a claims professional for a national carrier.

While in private practice, he successfully resolved a high-profile, complex dispute after he was sought out by community leaders to mediate based on his proven people skills and legal acumen. This kindled his passion for mediation, and he went on to join the L.A. Superior Court PI CRASH program and U.S. District court mediation panel and began privately mediating matters, gaining invaluable experience and continuing to fuel his growing enthusiasm for resolving disputes as a neutral. With an expanding record for success and growing reputation, Kelly decided to make the transition to full-time mediator.

Heralded for his quick study habits and calm demeanor, Kelly has a knack for mastering cutting-edge legal issues and utilizing a multitude of strategies and approaches to help bring closure for all parties. One attorney commented, “I’ve never seen a mediator as well-prepared as Kelly. He conducted a pre-mediation call and knew the facts (and the law) like the back of his hand. He arrived at the mediation with a multi-page outline, which included his own research, and that included both sides’ strengths, weaknesses and pressure points. Kelly effectively used those pressure points on both sides all day long and was aggressive and tenacious.”

Specialties

Hobbies & Interests

Kelly is a fan of NBA basketball, jazz music, and strategy board gaming.

Website

https://www.kknightmediation.com/

Testimonials

"I wanted to thank him for staying late, for helping get a highly contentious case settled, and for being a stand-up guy. His approach to mediating was refreshing, engaging and enlightening."
- Attorney on an Employment Sexual Harassment Dispute

"Kelly is a combination of aggressiveness, tenacity, and knowledge (very knowledgeable in employment law)."
- Attorney on an employment wrongful-termination and wage-and-hour matter

"Thanks for all your support in getting it done for us. Most of all, thank you for listening to the law and taking the time to test the accuracy of what I was claiming. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when a full day mediation goes by with little discussion on the actual case law. "
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination & Discrimination Dispute

"Mr. Knight was knowledgeable about employment."
- Attorney on an Employment Wage & Hour Matter

"I’ve never seen a mediator as well-prepared as Kelly. He conducted a pre-mediation call, and knew the facts of our case (and the law) like the back of his hand. He arrived at the mediation with a multi-page outline, which included his own research, and which included both sides’ strengths, weaknesses and pressure points (he wouldn’t let me see it though). Kelly effectively used those pressure points on both sides all day long, and was super aggressive and tenacious (not in an offensive way, but a mild-mannered tenacious way, if that makes sense)."
- Attorney on an employment wrongful-termination and wage-and-hour matter

"Mr. Knight was very patient and methodical with regard to the complicated legal and factual issues. He was also very respectful to the client."
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination & Discrimination Dispute

"Mr. Knight was knowledgeable about employment."
- Attorney on an Employment Wage & Hour Matter

"You went way, way above and beyond. We can't thank you enough."
- Attorney on a catastrophic personal-injury case

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Links and Articles

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Full-time Mediator at Judicate West (2018-Present)
  • MSC Settlement Officer, L.A. County Superior Court CRASH Settlement Program (2017-Present)
  • Panel Mediator, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (2018-Present)
  • Sole Practitioner, Law Offices of Kelly A. Knight, practicing employment, personal injury, medical malpractice, business litigation, class action, and more (2009-2014; 2016-2018)
  • Shareholder/Partner, The deRubertis Law Firm, APC, practicing complex employment, personal injury, class action, and more (2014-2016)
  • Litigation Associate, Miller Barondess, LLP, practicing complex business litigation (2006-2009)
  • Claims Professional, Liberty Mutual (2002-2003)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., University of Southern California (2006)
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley (1998-2002)
  • Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Mediating the Litigated Case (2018)
  • Member, Southern California Mediation Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section (Current)
  • Member, Korean American Bar Association of Southern California (2004-Current), Board of Governors (2006-2014)
  • Member, Japanese American Bar Association

Legal Experience

  • All types of employment matters including class action and PAGA, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, disability accommodations, and more
  • Personal Injury including auto, premises liability, and more
  • Business/Contractual
  • Professional Negligence
  • Real Property

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases

Business/Commercial

Contractual

  • Post-trial mediation of business investment-fraud and breach-of-contract case, mediated before post-trial motions and appeal.
  • Business dispute over funding of investment projects and related repayment obligations, validity and enforceability of debt instruments, and lien claims.

Employment

A D A

  • Pregnancy-discrimination, failure-to-accommodate, and retaliation case alleging failure to accommodate medical visits after miscarriage and major alleged after-acquire-evidence issue.

Breach of Contract

  • Unpaid-commissions/breach-of-contract case brought by highly compensated outside sales representative.

Disability Access Discrimination

  • Disability-accommodations case where Plaintiff alleged exacerbation of preexisting medical condition as a result of failure to accommodate medical restrictions, resulting in need for surgery

Discrimination

  • Constructive-discharge case where plaintiff claimed failure to remedy discrimination and obtained new employment before leaving the defendant's employment; additional complicating factor of employer's admitted prior failure to accommodate plaintiff's disability that preceded the alleged constructive discharge and that was finite in duration given that plaintiff was released without restrictions before the alleged constructive discharge.
  • Pregnancy discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and constructive-discharge case brought by employee where employer closed business soon after receiving constructive-discharge letter
  • Pregnancy-discrimination case where plaintiff alleged employer hired temp worker to cover pregnancy/maternity leave but ultimately decided to keep the temp worker on after leave and ultimately to terminate plaintiff's employment.
  • Disability-accommodations/wrongful-termination case where plaintiff was accommodated for four years and then laid off as part of a reduction in force just before starting a newly offered accommodations/light-duty position.
  • Transgender-discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case brought by restaurant worker.

Hostile Environment

  • Mental-disability harassment case brought by current employee still working for employer.

PAGA

  • PAGA action on behalf of truck drivers involving question of federal preemption.
  • Statewide wage-and-hour action class action against public company including claims of auto-deducted meal-period time, meal-period timing issues, on-premises rest-period requirements, Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act, and more.
  • PAGA action involving claims of unpaid on-call time and drive time.
  • PAGA representative action for airport baggage handlers raising on-call meal-/rest-period Augustus issues.
  • Class and PAGA action brought by rail vehicle operators involving claims of on-duty/on-call meal periods and more.

Pregnancy Discrimination

  • Pregnancy-accommodations/discrimination case involving employee told not to return on the last day before starting maternity leave.
  • Plaintiff alleged constructive discharge based on pregnancy after plaintiff's hours were reduced down to zero over a period of time as part of defendant's reduction in force.

Sexual Harassment

  • Sexual-harassment, retaliation, and wrongful-termination case involving graphic text messages and images exchanged between owner of company and employee and allegedly retaliatory layoff after employee sought to end the exchanges, with additional alleged post-termination retaliation.
  • Sexual-orientation discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case brought by company executive.
  • Case involving multiple alleged sexual assaults including rape against employer and its CEO with related FEHA sexual-harassment and constructive-discharge claims, high emotional issues, large alleged general damages including alleged diagnosed PTSD, and insurance coverage issues.
  • Sexual harassment, retaliation, and constructive-discharge case against employer and employer's managing agent with claim of fully disabling psychiatric injury as a result.
  • Multi-plaintiff harassment and constructive-discharge case after change of ownership of business
  • Quid pro quo sexual-harassment case in the entertainment industry
  • Sexual-harassment, constructive discharge, and disability-accommodations case where employee went on medical leave due to being scheduled to work on same shift as alleged and reported harasser while investigation was still pending and despite prior complaints.
  • Wrongful-termination, sexual-harassment, retaliation, and failure-to-accommodate case where former employee alleged retaliation for opposing sexual harassment and wrongful termination while on medical leave for cancer.
  • Sexual-harassment case brought by employee alleging physical harassment occurring at overseas locations during international travel.
  • Sexual-harassment case brought by hotel worker with numerous disciplinary write-ups alleging harassment by multiple coworkers.
  • Sexual-harassment and discrimination case brought by medical-office worker.
  • Sexual-harassment case with egregious allegations brought by restaurant worker and settled on eve of trial.
  • Sexual-assault/rape case alleging supervisor forced sexual encounter under duress and threat of losing job.

Wage and Hour

  • Wage-and-hour salary exemption case brought by high wage-earner plus allegations of harassment and battery.
  • Wage-and-hour action brought by former restaurant manager alleging improper exemption misclassification.
  • Salary/exemption and independent contractor misclassification case for long-term in-home caregiver with claims under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and other Labor Code wage-and-hour claims.
  • Wage-and-hour case involving alleged improper commission sales plan where minimum wages paid were allegedly credited against commissions owed.
  • Wage-and-hour class and PAGA action brought by welder/fabricator employee.
  • Gender-identity- and disability-discrimination/harassment/accommodations case.
  • Wage-and-hour off-the-clock case brought by auto mechanic who ultimately quit, with very personal animosity between the parties.
  • Unpaid-commissions and independent-contractor-misclassification case brought by former worker, with defendant threatening theft-of-trade-secrets case in response after worker left and set up competing business.
  • Wage-and-hour case brought by undocumented immigrant worker paid in cash without paystubs and without a time-clock system in place to track hours worked.
  • Multi-claimant outside salespersons alleging underpaid and unpaid commissions.

Wage and Hour Class Action

  • Wage-and-hour class action on behalf of agricultural workers with issues involving donning/doffing and other off-the-clock work, rounding, meal/rest timing and control issues, and more.
  • Wage-and-hour class and PAGA action brought on behalf of electricians alleging meal-/rest-break claims, including alleged improper auto-deduction for meal periods, and derivative unpaid-wage and pay-stub claims.
  • Wage-and-hour and PAGA case against grocery chain alleging unlawful rounding and meal- and rest-break violations.
  • Wage-and-hour class and PAGA representative action raising exemption misclassification claims on behalf of managers.

Whistleblower Wrongful Term

  • Whistleblower-retaliation case brought by employee alleging uncovering and reports of business fraud on customers.
  • Whistleblower-retaliation case involving current employee who alleged that supervisor sabotaged his transfer and job-change requests in retaliation for plaintiff's safety complaints
  • Whistleblower-retaliation where plaintiff alleged retaliatory termination for protesting involvement of foreign nationals in defense-contractor-related project.

Wrongful Term & Discrimination

  • Interactive-process and accommodations case with different liability and damage allegations tied to the these claims versus the accompanying wrongful-termination claim
  • Seven-figure executive wrongful-termination case involving disability, executive-payment, and other claims.
  • Wrongful termination case for high-earning executive alleging termination of employment to avoid company paying out employee's alleged entitlement to equity share of sale proceeds in connection with large private company's anticipated sale, with additional FEHA and other claims.
  • Disability-accommodations/wrongful-termination case against government-contractor employer involving undue-burden defense of contractual staffing obligations to satisfy government contract.
  • Constructive-discharge claim premised on alleged discrimination based on language requirement brought by employee passed over for promotion.
  • Disability-accommodations case where plaintiff alleged wrongful termination and failure to accommodate resulting in termination of employment one week after returning from psychiatric hospitalization.
  • Age-discrimination and harassment case involving alleged age-related termination of 25-year employee.
  • Wrongful-termination/disability-accommodations case brought by construction worker who was allegedly not called back for new job projects after suffering workplace injury.
  • Wrongful-termination and retaliation case including claims of race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation brought by salesperson who was sole person laid off as part of a redistricting/restructuring a few months after filing HR complaint.
  • Whistleblower-retaliation case brought by employee who raised complaints of illegal activity and was included in group termination.
  • Disability failure-to-accommodate case where employer severed plaintiff's employment after receiving another leave request after fifteen months of continuous medical leave and where plaintiff received disability benefits all the way through the date of the mediation.

Wrongful Termination

  • Associational-disability-discrimination case brought by employee who required leave to pick up child from school due to child's health emergency.
  • Associational disability-discrimination case involving employee needing continued leave to care for father.
  • Wrongful termination (disability/accommodations) and wage-hour administrative-exemption case brought by worker terminated after suffering serious injury outside work.
  • FEHA disability-accommodations case involving worker's comp cross-over issues, collective-bargaining/union issues, and long-term medical restrictions over a period of years.
  • Retaliation and wrongful-termination case involving alleged retaliation for safety complaint.
  • Wrongful-termination, retaliation, and accommodations case involving alleged retaliation for harassment complaint and termination for medical-marijuana use.
  • Disability accommodations and interactive-process case with large emotional damages alleged as a result of employment termination.
  • Disability accommodations case brought by employee whose employment was terminated while on extended leave.
  • Ousted executive and co-founder of company brought share-buyback, wrongful-termination, breach-of-fiduciary-duty, and other claims against company and its co-owners.
  • Wrongful-termination/disability-discrimination case brought by employee who was fired shortly after medical leave due to alleged material omission on resume.
  • Constructive-discharge case brought by former employee alleging that employer's requirement to get a no-accommodations note from a doctor constituted improper medical exam/inquiry and disability discrimination after former employee disclosed disease.
  • Registered nurse fired after making patient-safety complaints.
  • Restaurant workers alleging race discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination
  • Age-discrimination case brought by aerospace employee.
  • Wrongful-termination case where former employee alleged failure to accommodate domestic-violence-related relocation.
  • Disability-accommodations/wrongful-termination case brought by employee who was soon after declared temporarily totally disabled in pending worker's compensation case and remained so for a year post-termination.
  • Constructive-discharge case brought by former charter-school staffer alleging employer failed to investigate and protect against ongoing harassment and retaliation
  • Wrongful-termination case brought by car-sales employee alleging age discrimination and whistleblower retaliation.
  • Construction worker alleging failure to accommodate and wage-and-hour violations.
  • Wrongful-termination case brought by car-sales employee alleging age discrimination and whistleblower retaliation.
  • Wrongful-termination case brought by executive employee hired to start US operation of foreign company.
  • Wrongful-retaliatory-termination case brought by employee where employee's HR complaint led to investigation that triggered a second investigation into the employee's alleged misconduct, resulting in termination of employment.
  • Retaliatory-termination case where employee was purportedly fired chronic tardiness; employee claimed retaliation for filing HR complaint and for other protected activity/characteristics, with multiple supporting witnesses allegedly corroborating that many other employees were also tardy without repercussion,
  • FEHA disability case (wrongful termination/failure to accommodate and engage, etc.) brought by dental-office worker based on alleged unlawful conduct after worker returned to work after cancer treatment.
  • Disability-accommodations case where dispositive question was whether employer properly searched for open positions at other locations before terminating employment after plaintiff employee was issued permanent work restrictions in worker's comp proceeding.
  • Religious-accommodation case brought by former employee alleging failure to accommodate religious observance of the Sabbath, leading to termination of employment for work absences.

Real Estate

Buy/Sell

  • Real property and business purchase-and-sale dispute over purchase of assisted-living facility. Mediation started with businesses lawyered up and attending mediation perfunctorily to satisfy contractual mediation clause as prerequisite to filing lawsuit; mediation ended with all parties in the same room closing the deal and discussing potential second major deal and future business together.

Tort

Personal Injury

  • Traumatic-brain-injury claim brought by customer after box fell on customer's head at retail store.

PI Auto

  • Personal-injury auto cases where plaintiff suffered two collisions a several months apart.

Premises Liability

  • Slip and fall on liquid left by customer at cashier checkout location of retail store.
  • Trip-and-fall case with large medical specials, loss of earnings, and fusion-surgery recommendation.
  • Slip-and-fall case involving concussion and knee and wrist tendon tears including surgical repair.