Daily Journal named Partner Matthew McNicholas to its 2018 list of Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, recognizing his work on behalf of Los Angeles Police Department officers who have faced harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
One case highlighted in Matt’s feature was Atkins v. City of Los Angeles, in which he obtained the largest employment verdict to date against the LAPD – $12.3 million on behalf of five LAPD Academy recruitment officers who were injured during training, and then fired. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals issued a published decision that affirmed liability and a majority of damages in this case, and set new employment law standards. The Court ordered that $6 million of the damages award for future lost wages be retried in 2019, and erased more than $1.6 million in attorney fees, an unprecedented situation, according to Matt, but one that will pay-out in the long run.
“No case has ever dealt with a situation like this,” said Matt. “We’re finding that 90 percent of recruits make it through from probation to retirement because the academy’s front-end vetting is so thorough. I’m going to be asking for a lot more than $6 million.”
Matt also commented on the reputation he’s earned from his experience handling law enforcement cases. “Clients tell me that the upper echelons [in the department] know who I am, and they know they don’t want to have to deal with McNicholas. That’s extremely gratifying – Litigation is supposed to create disincentives to ill behavior. I am a brake on the system.”