James (Jim) H. Berry is the co-managing partner of MWM’s Los Angeles office and a member of the firm’s executive committee. He is also a prominent member of the employment and labor and litigation practices.  He brings several decades of experience in employment law and guides employers through litigation and counseling related to California and federal law. He advises clients on discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, disability compliance, whistleblower claims, and wage and hour issues.

Jim practices before all California federal and state courts and is admitted to the Ninth Circuit.  Among the multiple matters handled by Jim are claims based on common-law tortious discharge theories, breach of express and implied contract, discrimination, harassment, wage and hour violations, including overtime, penalty pay, and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims, class and representative actions, and matters before the NLRB involving non-union employers. In commercial litigation, Jim represents clients on matters related to breach of contract, unfair competition, and a variety of IP infringement litigation disputes. He also represents advertisers in negotiating and documenting high-value celebrity endorsement contracts.

Since starting his career at Jones Day, Jim has represented a wide variety of clients, ranging from Fortune 100 companies to mid-sized businesses. Prior to joining MWM, Jim established his own boutique litigation and employment practice and continued to develop his commercial litigation and employment practice there and later at Landau Law LLP.

Representative Employment/Labor Experience:

  • Defended and successfully resolved multiple employment disputes on behalf of large, medium, and smaller employers, including claims alleging harassment, discrimination/retaliation, wrongful termination, disability compliance (leaves of absence, reasonable accommodations, and the interactive process), and whistleblower claims, through defense summary judgments, mediation/settlement, and other ADR processes
  • Defended and successfully resolved multiple claims of employment discrimination and wage claims made to state and federal enforcement agencies, including the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, the EEOC, and the California Labor Commissioner, through agency-initiated investigations, conciliation, and hearing processes
  • Defended and successfully resolved single-plaintiff, multiple-plaintiff, and class/representative/collective wage and hour actions, and penalty claims (e.g., claims re: overtime, meal/rest breaks, off-the-clock work, expense reimbursement, pay statement violations, waiting time pay, classification of employees as exempt/non-exempt), including through court-approved settlements of class, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims
  • Developed and assisted employers in implementing and administering ADR/mandatory mediation and arbitration programs

Representative Commercial Litigation Experience:

  • Tried/arbitrated various breach of contract/commercial claims producing 6-and7-figure awards to clients, including appellate affirmances
  • Lead counsel in trial of breach of $25 million contract for sale of oil properties, obtaining $9 million award
  • Lead counsel in key franchise cases obtaining substantial awards against breakaway franchisees represented by prominent Los Angeles counsel
  • Lead counsel in obtaining for trustee $1 million trial award for breach of fiduciary duty against management of securities firm
  • Lead counsel in arbitration resulting in $900,000 award against medical practice successors for breach of contract
  • Lead counsel in action concerning dissipation of assets of elderly businessman, resulting in recovery of $3 million+ property
  • Successful defense of claim for up to a 50% interest in a 40-store retail chain, resulting in a nominal settlement
  • Successful resolution of multiple actions by terminated beverage distributors
  • Counseling and litigation of “right of publicity” cases for consumer goods sellers
  • Led offensive discovery team in tender offer litigation
  • Experience in defense of trademark infringement cases, antitrust/unfair competition claims, and false advertising/deception claims
  • Successful resolution of putative class action under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Experience in litigation/resolution of various inter-shareholder disputes in closely held corporations

Representative Entertainment Experience:

  • Negotiation and documenting high-value celebrity endorsement contracts for major advertisers
  • Counseling advertisers on endorsement usage rights and issues regarding rights of publicity
  • Successful resolution of disputes between advertisers and Screen Actors Guild re: pension contributions and other sums allegedly due under SAG agreements

Client Alerts

CALIFORNIA COMPLIANT: New Complexities for California Employers in Managing Family/Sick Leave

Family Care Leave Currently, CFRA allows employees to take leave to care for several categories of family members who suffer from a serious health condition. “Designated persons” selected by the employee will join that list. That term is vaguely defined to mean “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the

2 minute read

Client Alerts

CALIFORNIA COMPLIANT: California Establishes Mandatory Bereavement Leave

AB 1949 grants to eligible employees a right to five days of bereavement leave after the death of a family member as defined in the act. Employees are eligible for such leave after just 30 days of employment. The list of family members whose passing qualifies the employee for leave is not as broad as

2 minute read

Press Releases

Munck Wilson Mandala Welcomes Employment Litigation Team James H. Berry, Jr. and Kate LaQuay

“This is the kind of growth we have focused on in our LA office since opening in 2018,” said managing partner William A. Munck.  “We started with a strong litigation team, adding corporate and transactional lawyers, and now we have a dynamic team of employment litigators who bring decades of experience representing clients in LA

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Client Alerts

CALFORNIA COMPLIANT: Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for California Employers in 2023

California employers may be challenged to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions in 2023, which has brought significant changes in various California labor and employment laws. Some of the most widely applicable new laws that will impact the workplace in 2023 include: Given that California law provides that overtime-exempt employees must receive a salary of at

6 minute read

Yale Law School, JD

Vanderbilt University, BA, 1974

Slavic Studies

California Bar Association

California Lawyers Association

Los Angeles County Bar Association

Leaders of Influence: Labor & Employment Attorneys
Los Angeles Business Journal, 2022

California, 1977

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit