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Lauren J. Katunich

lkatunich@raineslaw.com
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Phone: (310) 730-4387
Fax: (310) 860-2624

1800 Avenue of the Stars, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067

Lauren J. Katunich represents employers in all areas of labor and employment matters, including trade secret misappropriation, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and individual and class action wage and hour claims. Lauren also conducts employee training classes and webinars, drafts employee handbooks and other personnel forms and documentation, prepares employment-related agreements and audits wage and hour compliance. She directly advises human resources professionals and business owners on issues ranging from sexual harassment training and prevention, wage and hour compliance, and the complexities of navigating state and federal medical leave laws.

Lauren has successfully represented clients in federal and state court proceedings, including summary judgments, arbitrations, and jury trials in employment and business litigation matters.

Education

J.D., Loyola University School of Law
cum laude

B.A., Brigham Young University

Admissions State Bar of California
United States District Court for the Central District of California
United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
United States District Court for the Southern District of California
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Significant Engagements
  • Chaired and successfully obtained a complete defense verdict in a pregnancy and wrongful termination jury trial brought against a real estate owner and developer where the jury reached its decision in less than 30 minutes.
  • Chaired and successfully obtained a complete defense verdict in an arbitration action brought against a prominent plastic surgeon sued for numerous claims, including pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.
  • Chaired and successfully obtained a complete defense verdict in an arbitration brought against a restaurant client sued for misappropriation of server tips and missed meal and rest breaks.
  • Chaired and successfully obtained a complete defense verdict in an arbitration brought against a well-known restaurant chain sued for various wage and hour claims. Matter was initiated by a delivery driver and filed as a representative action under California Private Attorney General Act, which also included an individual claim for wrongful termination. Defeated the representative claims and had the wrongful termination claims dismissed, and the action proceeded to arbitration as a single-plaintiff wage and hour action. The arbitrator ordered claimant to pay respondent $25,000 in fees and costs as part of the final arbitration award.
  • Chaired and successfully obtained a complete defense verdict in an arbitration brought against high-profile travel agency accused by the executive vice president of age discrimination and wrongful termination brought.
  • Chaired and successfully obtained a complete defense verdict in an arbitration brought against a popular hotel flag by its former general manager for wage and hour misclassification.
  • Second chaired and obtained complete defense verdict in six-week long jury trial brought against the president and general manager of a concert video production company with claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty. Plaintiffs sought over $13 million at trial with request for punitive damages.
  • Successfully defeated class certification in a claim for missed meal and rest breaks and numerous wage and hour violations against a retail establishment with 13 California locations.
  • Gained a $1.3 million arbitration award for business development manager on a claim for unpaid commissions.
  • Achieved a victorious summary judgment win for a Southern California parts manufacturer in a national origin discrimination and wrongful termination case resulting in award of costs for the employer.
  • Negotiated numerous speedy and advantageous class action settlements for employers across various industries in complex, multi-location wage and hour lawsuits in which hourly workers claimed failure to pay wages and overtime.
  • Brought appeal to the California Court of Appeal, and later to the California Supreme Court, achieving complete dismissal for law firm and attorney in an anti-SLAPP action. Vafi v. McCloskey (2011) 193 Cal. App. 4th 874.
Professional Recognitions

Lauren’s experience has led to her selection for inclusion in Southern California Rising Stars in the area of Employment Litigation: Defense for 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Top Women Attorneys in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Lauren was recently named one of the Up-and-Coming 100 in the list of Southern California Rising Stars. Lauren believes firmly in the principle of giving back, and devotes significant time to charitable endeavors, including, most notably, her active involvement with Special Olympics and various animal rescues throughout Los Angeles.

Publications / Awards
  • Order of the Coif, Cum Laude – Loyola Law School
  • Recipient of Michael W. Harahan Award for Outstanding Adult Volunteer to honor efforts as a coach for Special Olympics, Tri- Valley
  • Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship for Academic Excellence
  • Law Review: Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, Chief Note and Comment Editor
  • Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society – Brigham Young University
  • “Time to Quit Paying the Payola Piper: Why Music Industry Abuse Demands a Complete System Overhaul,” 22 Loy. L.A. Ent. L. Rev. 643 (2002)