She represents clients in a variety of industries, but has particular expertise in the aviation industry. She was honored with the FordHarrison Promise Award given for excellence in client service. Michelle also serves as the liaison for the FordHarrison school in Cambodia.
Michelle's employment litigation experience includes defending against class action and individual claims for wage and hour violations, wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination. Her labor experience includes representing clients in grievance resolution and arbitrations.
Michelle frequently lectures on California and federal employment laws. She is a regular presenter at the Regional Airline Association (RAA) Summer Seminar. Her recent presentations include speaking at the Ius Laboris and FordHarrison Global Employment Symposium on "The Challenging Legal Landscape for California Aviation Employers," the Corporate Counsel Women of Color conference on "Managing a Data Breach," and the California Women Lawyers annual conference on "Transgender Issues: Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Expression."
Prior to joining FordHarrison, Michelle served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall in the Central District of California and worked as an associate on business and entertainment litigation matters involving contracts, torts, intellectual property, and real estate. Before practicing law, Michelle gained valuable work experience working as a union organizer representing employees in grievances and participating in union organizing drives. She also worked as a senior media buyer in the advertising industry while attending Loyola Law School's evening program. Her unique perspective allows Michelle to meet and exceed clients' expectations by providing practical, real-world employment advice.
Michelle serves on the Executive Committee for both the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles ("WLALA") and the Trial Practice Inn of Court, Los Angeles Chapter.
- Obtained dismissal of wage and hour class action against a national airline on Railway Labor Act preemption grounds in the Central District of California.
- Obtained dismissal of unpaid overtime claims brought on behalf of a class of union employees against an Airline Service Provider on Railway Labor Act exemption grounds in Los Angeles Superior Court.
- Prevailed at arbitration in contract interpretation case on behalf of an Airline Service Provider that involved a class of employees at LAX who alleged they performed duties belonging to a higher classification and sought back wages.
- Defeated motion for class certification on missed rest and meal period claims concerning proposed class of approximately 450 employees on behalf of a franchise owner with 35 locations in Los Angeles Superior Court.
- Prevailed at arbitration in discharge case on behalf of a Hospital that upheld termination of a Registered Nurse who committed health and safety violations related to patient care.
- Served as second chair during 18-day jury trial in Orange County Superior Court and obtained defense verdict on behalf of a national fitness franchise on claims for wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to pay overtime wages, and breach of an oral agreement for 10% equity in the company. Successfully defended against the plaintiff's post-trial motions and appeal.
- Obtained summary judgment in Santa Clara Superior Court on behalf of Hospital on claims for retaliation, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
- Obtained summary judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Casino on claims for interfering with CFRA rights, retaliation and wrongful termination for taking CFRA leave, and age discrimination.
- Obtained summary judgment in the Central District of California on behalf of Hospital on a union's petition to compel arbitration related to decision to reorganize its Engineering Department.
Recent Speaking Engagements
- Moderator, "The Sharing Economy and its Impact on Women," Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, November 11, 2015.
- Speaker, "The Challenging Legal Landscape for California Aviation Employers," Ius Laboris and FordHarrison Global Employment Symposium, Chicago, IL, May 7, 2015.
- Speaker, "Your Data has Been Breached – are you Ready to Respond?" Ius Laboris and FordHarrison Global Employment Symposium, Chicago, IL, May 8, 2015.
Honors and Awards
- FordHarrison 2012 FH Promise Award given for excellence in client service.