Overview

Lena K. Sims' practice focuses on the defense of private employers in litigation in state and federal court in the following areas: wage and hour class actions, representative actions under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), trade secret misappropriation, employee mobility, and wrongful termination. She has handled class action lawsuits alleging claims including:

  • Misclassification as exempt from overtime
  • Misclassification as independent contractor
  • Failure to provide meal periods and/or rest breaks
  • Failure to pay wages due to off the clock work
  • Failure to pay overtime wages due to failure to properly calculate regular rate of pay
  • Failure to pay earned and accrued vacation wages
  • Failure to reimburse business expenses including mileage and cell phone expenses 

Lena’s prior work includes the following results:

  • Complete defense verdict for a start-up video technology company accused by its larger competitor of trade secret misappropriation and unlawful solicitation of employees
  • Complete defense jury verdict in a class action independent contractor misclassification case involving the independent contractor status of approximately 1,000 delivery drivers, which was affirmed on appeal in an often cited California Court of Appeal opinion
  • Successfully defended employer in jury trial in which plaintiff alleged age and disability discrimination, retaliation, failure to provide meal and rest periods, and intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals order affirming the district court’s order granting summary judgment of employee’s claims for breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage
  • California Court of Appeal order reversing trial court order denying motion to compel arbitration
  • District court order granting summary judgment of individual plaintiff’s claims under Title VII for age and disability discrimination, retaliation, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • District court order dismissing representative action plaintiff’s PAGA claim for failure to provide sufficient notice to the Labor Workforce Development Agency
  • District court order denying plaintiff’s Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) motion to strike counterclaim alleging breach of an arbitration agreement
  • Often cited district court order denying motion to remand and setting the legal standard for calculating the amount in controversy
  • Numerous successes in enforcing arbitration agreements with class action and representative action waivers
  • Numerous successes in defending against motions for class certification 

In addition to her litigation practice, Lena advises clients on the handling of employee claims of wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination; wage and hour laws; and employee mobility.  She regularly presents client seminars and training on these topics to management and human resources professionals and California wage and hour training to small businesses.

Previously, Lena served as a judicial clerk to Hon. Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. and Hon. Nita L. Stormes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. She was also a judicial extern to Hon. Lawrence K. Karlton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Member

San Diego County Bar Association

Co-Chair

Labor and Employment Law Section

San Diego County Bar Association

2006-2008

Member

American Bar Association

Recognition

Order of the Coif

Named, Super Lawyer

San Diego

Super Lawyers

2015-2016

Speaking Engagements

Adapting to Change: New Developments in the Protection of Trade Secrets and Business Goodwill

June 24, 2010

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Davis School of Law, 2000
  • M.A., California State University, Sacramento, 1995
  • B.A., California State University, Sacramento, 1990

Bar Admission

California

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California