Nicholas J. Ferraro focuses on employment litigation and counseling, high-stakes business disputes and class action lawsuits. He is experienced in virtually all stages of arbitration and federal and state litigation, from TROs and preliminary injunctions to class certification and appeals. Nick’s active litigation practice informs his ability to advise private companies and corporate clients on employment and business decisions, conduct workplace trainings and prepare effective agreements and policies.
Nick is a frequent author and lecturer on a variety of legal topics. He is a graduate of Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego School of Law, where he was a member of the San Diego Law Review and a judicial extern for a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Nick was born and raised in Trail, British Columbia.
Areas of Practice
Employment Law. Nick’s employment practice is all-encompassing. He advises on employment decisions and policies and prepares employment agreements involving compensation and commission plans; nonsolicitation and nondisclosures; strategies to mitigate employment claims and class action risks; and legal instruments to protect trade secrets, inventions and confidential information.
Business Litigation. Nick has a track record of representing clients in their most important commercial litigation. These cases include trademark and trade dress infringement; contractual disputes; tortious interference; breach of fiduciary duty; unfair competition; and partnership, joint venture and corporate control litigation as well as other business lawsuits.
Employment Litigation. Nick’s litigation experience includes individual suits, wage and hour class actions, PAGA representative claims, and charges before the DLSE, DFEH and EEOC. Nick has successfully litigated cases involving executive compensation and breach of contract; trade secrets and non-competes; failure to pay overtime; misclassification of employees; failure to provide meal and rest breaks; whistleblower issues; and claims for retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination.
Corporate Transactions. Nick advises on the unique employment and labor issues that arise in various corporate, real estate, bankruptcy and financial transactions.
General Counsel. Nick advises on employment and business planning issues, particularly with respect to emerging companies.
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- University of San Diego School of Law, J.D.
- Member, San Diego Law Review
- Gonzaga University, B.A., cum laude
Lawyers Club of San Diego, Sexual Harassment Task Force
- San Diego Chamber Young Leaders
Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Leadership Development Committee
- San Diego County Bar Association
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Gonzaga Alumni Association, San Diego Chapter, Treasurer/Secretary
- San Diego Torero Club
- Obtained final approval of class settlement from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in a wage and hour class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all California exempt and nonexempt employees against a private post-secondary school.
- Represented corporation and board of directors in series of actions against former CEO and CFO in the Superior Court of California and in arbitration involving claims for unpaid bonuses and compensation, breach of employment contract and counterclaims for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Completed wage and hour employment audit and report for national diversified property management company and developed strategies to mitigate employee litigation and class action risks.
- Obtained summary judgment for an automotive company in a discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a disgruntled former employee in the Superior Court of California. The case was dismissed.
- Obtained summary adjudication of a plaintiff's punitive damages claim for a military training company and its chief officer in a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California for negligence, assault, battery, conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The parties agreed to a settlement of the litigation after the court dismissed punitive damages.
- Represented companies in various industries in lawsuits involving trade secret misappropriation, confidential and proprietary information, unfair competition, covenants not to compete, trademark infringement, and non-solicitation agreements.
- Obtained complete dismissal for a privately-held company in the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry of a charge filed before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discriminatory hiring practices.
- Obtained complete dismissal for a solar company of a wage claim for unpaid sales commissions filed before the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
- Obtained complete dismissal at the demurrer stage for a restaurant group in a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.
- Represented a restaurant group in a wage and hour lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California for claims of unpaid overtime, meal and rest period violations, wage statement violations, and representative claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). The parties agreed to a settlement at a mere fraction of the initial demand. The court approved the settlement and the case was dismissed.
- Completed comprehensive audit of employment practices for out-of-state contractor doing business under a contract with a public utility company to ensure compliance with California employment laws.
- Completed audit of employment practices of commercial real estate company to ensure compliance with applicable wage and hour laws.
Co-author, "New California Employment Ordinances to Take Effect This Summer," Duane Morris Alert, June 29, 2018
Contributor, Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Blog
Co-author, "TCJA Creates Catch-22 for Sexual Harassment Settlements," HR Daily Advisor, April 3, 2018
Co-author, "New Tax Law Creates Catch-22 for Sexual Harassment Settlements," California Employment Law Letter, March 12, 2018
Author, “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Settlement Payment Deductions and Paid Family Leave,” Duane Morris Alert, January 9, 2018
- Author, "A New Wave of California Employment Legislation for 2018," Duane Morris Alert, October 31, 2017
- Co-author, "California Now Among States Banning Salary History Inquiries," Duane Morris Alert, October 18, 2017
- Co-author, "Mid-Year Changes for California Employers," Duane Morris Alert, August 15, 2017
- Author, "Federal Salary Threshold for Exempt Employees to Increase on December 1, 2016," Lexology, November 1, 2016
- Author, "Employment Counsel: Inaccurate Wage Statements Remain a Significant Area of Liability for California Employers," Lexology, September 28, 2016
- Author, "Employment Law Update (March 2016)," SDG Client Update, March 17, 2016
- Author, "Employment Law Update (December 2015)," SDG Client Update, December 3, 2015
- Author, "Employment Law Update (September 2015)," SDG Client Update, September 7, 2015
- Author, "Employment Law Update (May 2015)," SDG Client Update, May 20, 2015
- Author "Drafting and Litigation Strategies for California Landlords," California Business Practice, April 8, 2015
- Author, "Employment Law Update (March 2015)," SDG Client Update, February 24, 2015
- Author, The US Senate Immigration Reform Bill and the Need for Amendments Before Passing, 36 U. LA VERNE LAW REV. 17 (2014)
Selected Speaking Engagements
Panelist, Duane Morris' Developments in Workplace Law and Practice, San Diego, May 15, 2018
Speaker, "Seismic Shift in Employment Law in 2018," Duane Morris and BB&T’s Executive Briefing, January 18, 2018
Speaker, SDHR Forum Annual Employment Law Update (2018), January 16, 2018
Panelist, Duane Morris' Developments in Workplace Law and Practice, San Diego, May 16, 2017
- Lecturer, "Employee Privacy in the Workplace," Employment Law & Technology, University of San Diego School of Law, March 30, 2017
Lecturer, 'California Employment Law," American Business Law, San Diego State University College of Extended Studies, February 14, 2017
- Presenter, "Glancing Back but Staying Ahead of the Curve in 2017," Monitor Liability Managers MyHRHelp Webinar Series, January 17, 2017
- Presenter, "Glancing Back but Staying Ahead of the Curve in 2017," Gordon & Rees National Webinar Series, January 10, 2017
- Presenter, "Avoiding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Gordon & Rees Client Training Seminar, November 1, 2016
- Presenter, "How to Conduct Workplace Investigations," Gordon & Rees National Webinar Series, September 13, 2016