Deanna J. Lucci


  • Deanna J. Lucci
  • Phone: +1 619 744 2206

    Deanna J. Lucci - LinkedIn Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    750 B Street, Suite 2900
    San Diego, CA 92101-4681
  • Duane Morris LLP
    865 South Figueroa Street, Suite 3100
    Los Angeles, CA 90017-5450

Deanna J. Lucci practices in the area of litigation, representing institutions of higher education as well as businesses large and small in trade secret and non-compete litigation, fraud claims, class actions, arbitration, consumer claims, employment law claims, banking, regulatory and administrative law matters.

As a member of the firm's Education Industry Group, Ms. Lucci counsels the firm’s higher education clients on regulatory and accreditation matters. She is also involved in the Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Group and represents cannabis and cannabis-related companies in litigation and regulatory matters. 

Ms. Lucci is a former judicial law clerk to Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal in the United States District Court, Southern District of California. She previously served as Assistant Deputy Counsel to the Hon. Deborah A. Kaplan, Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, Civil Branch. Ms. Lucci has served as a law clerk in five courts throughout New York City, and previously gained litigation experience at a family law firm in New York.

Ms. Lucci regularly provides pro bono legal representation to victims of domestic violence through the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program, has represented an asylum applicant from Afghanistan, and has volunteered with the California Innocence Project.

Ms. Lucci is a 2008 graduate of Hofstra University School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of The Conscience, the law student newspaper, and a cum laude graduate of California State University, Fullerton. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Lucci worked as a copy editor for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario, California.

Ms. Lucci is a member of the firm’s Associates Committee and also serves as an associate liaison to the firm’s Cannabis Industry Group.

Representative Matters

    Commercial Litigation

  • Member of trial team in business fraud dispute which settled on the eve of federal jury trial. Took key deposition and drafted several successful motions in limine, significantly limiting the plaintiffs’ claims.

  • Represented commercial real estate developer in products liability litigation concerning defective tiles installed in multi-unit apartment building in New York City.

  • Represented insurance company in trade secret litigation.

  • Contributed to expert witness report for trade secret litigation.

  • Represented Fortune 200 corporation in federal court litigation asserting breach of contract, breach of duty of loyalty and California Unfair Competition Law claims against former employees.

  • Represented major media corporation and magazine operator in copyright infringement litigation in federal court.

  • Counseled multi-media broadcasting and digital publishing company in regard to contract dispute.

  • Represented a multinational imaging and electronics company in a consumer warranty and negligent-repair litigation in Superior Court.

  • Represented credit card processing company in collections matter involving chargeback disputes.

  • Defended Fortune 200 national bank in mortgage litigation in California Superior Court and Court of Appeal.

  • Represented a private equity firm in contract dispute litigation.

  • Represented a multi-unit fast-food franchisee in a dispute with his business partners.

  • Represented licensee of grocery store chain in federal court litigation.

  • Defended a non-profit organization in lease dispute litigation, resulting in plaintiffs’ voluntary dismissal with prejudice after threatened motion to dismiss.

  • Represented non-profit alcohol and drug recovery agency in pre-litigation request for treatment records of former client, and counseled the agency on the appropriate process and fees to charge for medical records requests.

  • Represented skin-care corporation in federal court ERISA litigation involving injunctive relief.

  • Advised property management company in regard to its role as a witness in a criminal case resulting from damage to its property.

  • Advised landlord in dispute with commercial tenant.

  • Education Law Litigation

  • Obtained voluntary dismissal of arbitration mid-hearing after cross-examination of claimant in breach of contract and negligence case filed by former doctorate-level student who was dismissed for repeated violations of the university code of conduct.

  • Successfully compelled two former college employees to arbitration in employment discrimination case filed against the college in Superior Court.

  • Drafted Delaware Court of Chancery fraud complaint on behalf of medical school operators against investors in joint venture, resulting in a favorable pre-litigation settlement.

  • Represented college in discrimination lawsuit filed by former student.

  • Represented colleges in two related writ of mandate proceedings against a California state regulatory agency.

  • Represented college in writ of mandate and preliminary injunction action filed against California state agency, which resulted in successful resolution of relief sought in temporary restraining order.

  • Represented college in an arbitration proceeding brought by a former student asserting multiple tort claims.

  • Represented law school in Superior Court action alleging breach of contract by former student who was dismissed for violations of the code of conduct.

  • Represented a private school in federal court ERISA litigation.

  • Represented a private career college in misrepresentation litigation.

  • Advised an educational technology company on a personnel matter.

  • Represented college in arbitration alleging multiple tort claims.

  • Represented university in arbitration matter filed by former graduate student.

  • Filed writ of mandate petition and motion for temporary restraining order against two California state agencies challenging temporary order as abuse of discretion.

  • Represented college in arbitration filed by students alleging sexual harassment by instructor, which the students voluntarily dismissed after an investigation indicated their claims were false.

  • Represented college in misrepresentation litigation filed by former student. 

  • Education Regulatory Matters

  • Represented association of private colleges in underground regulation petition before the California Office of Administrative Law, resulting in state board’s withdrawal of purported regulation.

  • Represented cosmetology school in state attorney general investigation.

  • Counseled colleges on appropriate uses of CARES Act funding.

  • Represented school in matter before the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) and the California Office of Administrative Hearings.

  • Advised college on accreditation and state licensing issues.

  • Counseled college on accrediting agency’s annual reporting requirements.

  • Provided regulatory advice to school with respect to website.

  • Represented college in state attorney general investigation.

  • Counseled college with respect to financial aid issues caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Defended college against a complaint filed with an accreditation bureau by a former employee.

  • Counseled college on Department of Education College Scorecard data in connection with acquisition of school.

  • Counseled college as to eligibility for and proper use of .edu website domain name.

  • Counseled college on response to Congressional committee investigation.

  • Cannabis Industry Matters

  • Counseled service provider to cannabis industry in connection with Nasdaq registration.

  • Represented cannabis dispensary company in putative securities class action litigation in federal court.

  • Provided regulatory advice and counsel to publicly traded financial services company/broker-dealer in regard to accepting investment funds from individuals and entities involved in the cannabis industry.

  • Represented California non-profit corporation that operates cannabis dispensaries in dispute with one of its founding directors.

  • Class-Action Defense

  • Obtained an order granting a motion for reconsideration in a wage-and-hour class action case on behalf of the employer, significantly limiting the number of potential class members.

  • Represented a Fortune 100 Top 10 corporation in a putative class action case involving unfair competition, false advertising and Consumer Legal Remedies Act claims.

  • Represented a Fortune 100 Top 10 corporation in federal court class action wage-and-hour litigation.

  • Represented corporation in putative class-action matter involving alleged violations of California Proposition 65 with respect to product labels.

  • Represented college in federal court putative class action litigation.

  • Represented college in putative class action case seeking tuition refunds due to COVID-19 remote learning format.

  • Represented manufacturer of cleaning products in threatened putative class action litigation over product labeling.

  • Pro Bono Matters

  • Obtained grant of asylum for immigrant from Afghanistan who worked as a security guard supporting American military personnel during the U.S. War in Afghanistan.

  • Obtained a permanent three-year domestic violence restraining order on behalf of a pro bono client after a Superior Court hearing.

  • Conducted appellate analysis pro bono through the Family Violence Appellate Project for domestic violence victim whose request for a restraining order was denied by the trial court.

  • Represented local foster child pro bono in obtaining Individualized Education Program (IEP) from school district.

  • Assisted small-business owner in New York City with corporate formation, drafting articles of incorporation and provided advice on providing services to the cannabis industry upon New York State’s legalization of adult-use cannabis.

  • Successfully represented elderly disabled woman in connection with supplemental claim for pension survivor benefits from the Veterans Administration.


  • California
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California


  • Hofstra University School of Law, J.D., 2008
    - Editor-in-Chief, The Conscience
  • California State University, Fullerton, B.A., cum laude, 2003


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Associate, 2019-present

  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
    - Law Clerk to Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal, 2019

  • Caietti Law Group APC
    - Contract Attorney/Law Clerk, 2018-2019

  • Finlayson Toffer Roosevelt & Lilly LLP
    - Contract Attorney/Law Clerk, 2018-2019

  • Supreme Court, New York County, Civil Branch
    - Assistant Deputy Counsel to the Hon. Deborah A. Kaplan, 2015-2018

  • DiMascio & Associates LLP
    - Associate, 2012-2015

  • Civil Court of the City of New York
    - Senior Court Attorney to the Hon. Nancy M. Bannon, 2010-2012

  • Supreme Court, New York County, Civil Branch
    - Assistant Law Clerk to the Hon. Deborah A. Kaplan, 2008-2010

Professional Activities

  • International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy at Stanford Law School, August 2023
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh Inn

  • Lawyers Club of San Diego
    - Professional Advancement Committee
    - Bench Bar Committee

  • San Diego County Bar Association

  • San Diego Inn of Court 2019 Trial Program

  • National Association of Women Lawyers

Honors and Awards

  • DiMascio & Associates, LLP, Top Provider of Pro Bono Services, 2014, Nassau County Bar Association Access to Justice Committee 

Board Memberships

  • Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association
    - Board Member, 2011-2012

Selected Publications

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Attorney Scorer, San Diego County High School Mock Trial Program, 2022 and 2023
  • Interviewee, “Law Could Export California’s Ban on Non-compete Clauses,” Craig Anderson, San Francisco Daily Journal, September 18, 2023
  • Bradwell v State of Illinois, A Historic Reenactment in Honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Welsh Inn of Court, April 15, 2021
  • Presenter, "Love Thy Neighbor: How to ‘Win’ Your Case Through Early Mediation," American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh Inn, Inn No. 9, February 20, 2020
  • Moderator, "Q and A with a Guardianship Judge," An Evening Dedicated to Elder Justice Issues, sponsored by the Brooklyn Bar Association in collaboration with the Office of the Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Violence Cases, New York State Unified Court System Office of Court Administration, Brooklyn, New York, November 1, 2017

  • Presenter, "A New Case from a New Face," Nassau County Bar Association Matrimonial Law Committee, September 2014

  • Guest, "Your Money Show” WebTalk Radio Show, March 18, 2015