By Don DeBenedictis, Daily Journal – June 29, 2022 – J. Mira Hashmall handles employment litigation on behalf of employers, particularly Los Angeles County and other public entities. She also is a certified appellate law specialist and heads her firm’s appellate department.
Those facts make her practice unusual. “I could handle an employment matter from prelitigation negotiations through the trial court proceedings and then on appeal if need be,” she said.
And she has done just that more than a few times. For instance, in October 2020, she won summary judgment against 12,000 in-home caregivers seeking up to $50 million from L.A. County in unpaid overtime. Instead, a federal judge ruled the county wasn’t their employer. Hashmall defended the judgment at an oral argument before the 9th Circuit in November. “I am patiently awaiting the result,” she said. Ray v. California Department of Social Services, 20- 56245 (9th Circ., filed Nov. 25, 2020).
A high-profile case she handled for the county is also now on appeal. Hashmall won an injunction blocking Sheriff Alex Villanueva from reinstating a deputy who had been fired over allegations of domestic violence and stalking. She said the case makes clear that all county departments must follow county employment procedures. “There’s no end runs or exceptions for personal choices of department heads.” County of Los Angeles v. Villanueva, B310871 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist., filed March 10, 2021).
Early last year, she won a significant decision in an appeal about frequently litigated issues. The appellate court held that, unlike private employers, the county may recoup inadvertent overpayments of employee wages. “The decision shows that the rules for public employers must be different because taxpayer money is at issue,” she said. Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles, 60 Cal.App.5th 327 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist., decis. Jan. 29, 2021).
Currently, she also is representing the mayor of Inglewood against allegations that he harassed and wrongfully fired his former assistant. McDade-Dickens v. City of Inglewood, 21STCV02999 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Jan. 25, 2021).
Hashmall said she predicts several of her cases will go before juries in the next year. And before 2022 is over, “I would expect… I would have been up to the 9th Circuit or the California Court of Appeal at least half a dozen times for oral argument.”