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KELLY A. KNIGHT, ESQ.

  • Based in Los Angeles, available in 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.”

Practice Areas

Hobbies & Interests

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

Website

https://www.kknightmediation.com/

Kelly A. Knight Law Blog

Testimonials

"Kelly was great. Virtual was great. It is the wave of the future. "
- Attorney on an Employment PAGA matter

"Was very sympathetic to my client. Took the time to listen and understand how she was feeling. Good discussion about legal and damages issues"
- Attorney on an Employment Sexual Harrassment Matter

"He was tenacious. He knew the risks and explained them well. He had a great attitude."
- Attorney on an Employment Sexual Harassment Dispute

"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

"Kelly Knight is the best of the best; professional, knowledgeable, creative, compassionate, and a pleasure to work with. "
- Attorney on an Employment Misclassification case

"Just wanted to reiterate what a great job you did today. I really appreciate all your efforts, and I’m sure [opposing counsel] does, too. Thank you for saving our clients from themselves."
- Attorney on a multi-plaintiff wage-and-hour matter

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

"You handled the tough personalities and disparate interests expertly, and achieved a result that no party liked, but both would accept. A perfectly handled mediation. "
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination and Discrimination Dispute

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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

Banking/Finance

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act class action involving alleged improper background-check disclosure forms.

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.
  • Wage-hour and whistleblower-wrongful-termination case where employer's HR manager alleged exemption misclassification and termination for raising issues of HR noncompliance to the employer

Breach of Contract

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

Disability 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
  • Disability-accommodations/termination case where plaintiff alleged that application of strict attendance policy led to negative points for medical absences resulting in termination.
  • An interactive-process/accommodations case brought by a former employee alleging constructive discharge due to failure to accommodate disability and comply with doctor's restrictions.

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.
  • High wage-earning professional alleging culture of discrimination against racial minorities leading to termination.
  • Wrongful termination case brought by former employee alleging employer termination after requesting at-home work during COVID-19 pandemic due to compromised immune system and heightened susceptibility to viral infection.
  • Case involving alleged violation of California Government Code section 12952 (Fair Chance Act) where plaintiff alleged wrongful revocation of employment offer based on impermissible information and violation of procedural requirements of the Act.
  • Disparate-impact-theory class action alleging company's facially neutral hiring criminal-background-check hiring practices overexcluded minority applicants based on criminal history
  • Religious discrimination and retaliation case brought by an employee alleging coworker disapproval of religious headwear and retaliatory termination for complaint.

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.
  • PAGA action on behalf of janitorial-service workers involving claims of improper rounding, on premises rest periods, and more.
  • PAGA case brought by law-firm paralegal premised on exemption misclassification.
  • PAGA action premised on the employer's alleged failure to provide tools for technicians without paying double minimum wage.
  • PAGA action alleging failure to reimburse for known expenses including home internet and mobile phones
  • PAGA action on behalf of nurse supervisors alleging that they were on call during meal and rest periods and had to respond to phone calls and emergencies without proper premium pay and wage compensation

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.
  • Mediation of an employment sexual-harassment case brought by an auto-dealership worker which included claims of alleged sexual text messages, cat-calling, touching, and more.
  • Harassment and a constructive discharge case involving alleged male-on-male inappropriate touching by the business owner.

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.
  • Mediation involving a salary-exemption case brought by restaurant chefs.
  • Mediation of disputed outside-sales-exemption case brought by multiple plaintiffs.
  • Mediation of an exemption-misclassification case involving dispatchers.
  • Case challenging outside-sales exemption where plaintiff alleged that the job responsibilities including traveling to third-party stores within designated geographic market to promote purchase of products did not constitute "selling" within meaning of outside-sales exemption.

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.
  • Class and PAGA action on behalf of manufacturing, shipping/receiving, and warehouse workers alleging unlawful rounding system and security check-in/check-out system resulting in underpayment of seconds to minutes each day for each employee.
  • Mediation regarding a Class and PAGA action on behalf of production-line employees alleging donning/doffing time that overlapped auto-deducted, stopped-production meal period, where the employer used bell system and stopped production without keeping track of meal periods.
  • Mediation of a wage and hour class and PAGA action involving issues of rounding, auto-deducted time for meal periods where time records were not kept based on the reliance of manufacturing facility stopping production during meal periods using a buzzer system, meal- and rest-period timing, and on-premises issues, adverse-impact rounding, and tool- and equipment-reimbursement claims.
  • Class and PAGA action on behalf of warehouse and distribution-center workers alleging overtime and paystub violations and exemption misclassification.
  • Class-action and PAGA matter involving claims of failure to factor in commissions and bonuses into the regular-rate calculation for overtime purposes, failure to separately compensate for rest periods for commissioned salespeople in violation of applicable wage order and Vaquero, and more
  • Disparate-impact-theory class action alleging company's facially neutral hiring criminal-background-check hiring practices overexcluded minority applicants based on criminal history
  • Wage-and-hour class and PAGA action mediated while national employer debtor was in bankruptcy proceedings
  • Nationwide FLSA collective action on behalf of auto-damage appraisers alleging exemption misclassification and seeking unpaid overtime and more
  • Class/PAGA action on behalf of piece-rate aestheticians alleging failure to separately compensate for nonproductive time.

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.
  • Mediation involving an alleged disability-accommodations/wrongful-termination case where plaintiff alleged that he was homeless for a period of time after employer allegedly refused to allow plaintiff to return to work.
  • Wrongful-termination case where plaintiff alleged termination due to medical condition and related leave of absence and failure to reinstate when company's operations resumed after short-term Covid-19 pandemic-related shutdown
  • A two-plaintiff case where plaintiffs alleged their salaries were cut and employment ultimately terminated for taking medical leave and for protesting sexual-orientation harassment.
  • Disability-accommodations case where Plaintiff was put into a newly created, less-strenuous position after suffering a workplace injury, and later was laid off allegedly due to financial reasons and the employer closing that position.
  • Wrongful-termination and Labor Code 970 case where dismissed foreign national alleged inducement to move to California and become an executive in a U.S. startup based on alleged false promises, with allegations of pretextual termination to avoid triggering the contractual right to an equity stake in the startup.
  • Gender-identity discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case where transgender plaintiff alleged supervisor refused to call plaintiff by preferred name pronouns
  • Wrongful-termination and disability-accommodations case where an employee alleged he was taken off of the schedule and not reinstated after returning from medical leave following COVID-19 infection
  • Religious Accommodation case where an employee alleged company failed to accommodate observance of the Sabbath, and retaliation for complaints to HR re religious accommodation.
  • Wrongful Termination (gender discrimination) case against a large employer with mediation occurring during pending bankruptcy petition, with all parties stipulating the plaintiff was proceeding against the employer's insurance policy.

Intellectual Property

IP Copyright

  • Copyright and employment claims brought by the fine artist against former employer and former contractor-hirer in connection with the design and of the release of high-end-collectible sculptures.

Professional Malpractice

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Legal-malpractice action where plaintiff alleged her prior worker's compensation attorney failed to discuss ramifications of attachment to compromise and release that allegedly resulted in a waiver of pending wrongful-termination civil action

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.

Warranty of Habitability

  • Landlord-tenant dispute where tenants brought claims related to landlords attempts to have them vacate rent-controlled premises, plus claims related to habitability and maintenance and interference with quiet enjoyment

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 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.