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Representative Cases

(Melanie Ross)

California Supreme Court

Suzanne Hughes v. Chris Pair, 46 Cal. 4th 1035 (2009) The California Supreme Court unanimously held that a few verbal comments alone, even if inappropriate and offensive, cannot create liability for sexual harassment in a business relationship under Civil Code Section 51.9 absent an objective threat of physical harm.  Ms. Ross litigated this case at the trial court, Court of Appeal and ultimately the California Supreme Court, each one granting and affirming summary judgment in favor of Ms. Ross' client in reaching its conclusions.  

California Court of Appeal

Sherry Buchanan v. Anthem Blue Cross.  (2017).  Plaintiff, a customer service representative, alleged she was wrongfully terminated based on her age and in retaliation for complaining about her manager.  Ms. Ross argued there were legitimate business reasons for termination based on the company's call audit.  After extensive briefing and two hearings for oral argument, the court granted Ms. Ross' motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case.  The Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal.   


Destinations to Recovery v.  Evolve Growth Initiatives (2016).  Case No. B259011.  In this unfair competition and trade secret case, Ross & Silverman worked together to convince the Court of Appeal to vacate two provisions in a preliminary injunction which prohibited their clients from communicating with their former employer's patients and employees on the grounds that these provision were over broad and violated the First Amendment.  

Rickards v. United Parcel Services and Robert Esqueda, 206 Cal. App. 4th 1523 (2012).  In this discrimination and wrongful termination case, Ms. Ross represented the individual defendant-manager, Robert Esqueda,  The trial court granted her motion for summary judgment and awarded her client $40,000 in fees and costs for plaintiff's failure to dismiss the discrimination case against the individual manager on the grounds it wsa frivolous.  Both the dismissal and attorney fee award were affirmed by the Court of Appeals.    

Lockhart v. MVM, Inc. 175 Cal. App. 4th 1452 (2009), Ms. Ross successfully argued before the California Court of Appeals that the Customs and Immigration Corrections Facility at Terminal Island was a federal enclave.  This legal designation required the court to dismiss all of plaintiff's state law claims on summary judgment prior to trial. 


Angie Garcia v. La Guadalupana Market.  (2014).  Case No. BC487701.  Ms. Ross obtained a defense verdict from a Los Angeles jury in a case where the former employee alleged that she was terminated due to her age.  The owner testified plaintiff was terminated for time card falsification.  Ms. Ross successfully impeached the former employee's testimony and her friends' testimony at trial, securing a defense verdict.  

Suzanne Hughes v. Chris Pair (2011).  Case No. BP063500.  Ms. Ross obtained full indemnification for her client, a Trustee of the Mark Hughes Family Trust, following a bench trial in Probate court regarding allegations of willful misconduct made by the Trustee's mother.  After witness testimony, the trial court held that Ms. Ross' client did not engage in misconduct and was entitled to full indemnification for Trustor services from the assets of the Trust.  

Long Beach Mortgage a.k.a. Ameriquest v. NovaStar Financial Inc. and Novastar Mortgage, Inc.  (1999)  Court of Appeals, Fourth DistrictCase No. G025646.  Ms. Ross was lead counsel in an Orange County jury trial where a start-up mortgage company was accused of unfair competition after hiring several of its competitor's employees..  Plaintiff's counsel requested millions of dollars at trial, but the jury awarded plaintiff less than $22,000 in damages.  Ms. Ross' client also received fees from plaintiff's counsel as sanctions for abuse of the discovery process during pre-trial proceedings.  The jury's verdict was affirmed on an Appeal filed by the opposing party.     

Summary Judgment Success

In employment litigation, summary judgment motions are difficult to win.  Often, there are disputed facts that stand in the way of a court dismissing the action prior to trial.  Through creative strategizing, an thorough understanding of the client's business and the facts, and seasoned deposition skills, Ms. Ross has been successful in obtaining numerous summary judgments dismissals over the years.  The following are just a few examples.   

Robin Willis v. LeFiell Manufacturing Co. Inc., (2017).  BC 611788. Ms. Ross was successful in dismissing a PAGA representative action against a client with approximately 100 employees based on her arguments that plaintiff counsel's letter to the  LWDA was insufficient to exhaust the required administrative remedies under the statute.

Kathy Saigeon v. The Fuller Foundation.  (2014).  LA Superior Court Case No. BC506990.  In this gender discrimination case filed by the Foundation's former CEO, the court granted summary judgment based on Ms. Ross' argument that the Foundation was exempt from liability under the FEHA because it was a religious organization not organized for private profit and because the Foundation demonstrated legitimate business reasons for its actions.    

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