JEANNE L. ZIMMER

 

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JEANNE L. ZIMMER
Of Counsel

Direct Dial:  (310) 242-2212
E-mail

EDUCATION

University of San Diego, School of Law – J.D., 1985

  • Semi-Finalist, John M. Winters Moot Court Competition, 1983
  • Member (1983-1985) University of San Diego Law Review
  • Lead Articles Editor; University of San Diego Law Review  1984-1985

The George Washington University – B.A., 1982

State of Connecticut Scholar, 1977 – 1981

BAR/COURT ADMISSIONS

California U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern California

PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC INVOLVEMENT

State Bar of California

Member of ACA International: The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (“ACA”)

  • Member Attorneys Program (“MAP”)
  • Collection Notice Review  (“CNR”) Attorney for ACA

Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Board Member, Secretary, Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, Southern California, 2011 – present

Board Member, Secretary, Redondo Beach Youth Football, 2006-2008

Attorney Coach, Mock Trial Team, Redondo Union High School, 2013

Board Member, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, 1991

Editor of Green Sheets

EXPERIENCE SUMMARY

Ms. Zimmer practices primarily in the fields of torts and personal injury, governmental liability and public entity defense, premises liability, employment, environmental and toxic torts matters and financial services defense.

Torts and Personal Injury

Ms. Zimmer has defended numerous personal injury lawsuits on behalf of individuals, corporations, and business and public entities in California state and federal courts.  The cases range from complex automobile, pedestrian, motorcycle and premises accidents to employment issues and products liability maters. Alleged injuries include neurological deficits, wrongful death, closed head trauma, loss of eyesight, severe burns, emotional distress, fractured limbs, soft tissue injuries, lost earnings and loss of consortium.

Governmental Liability and Public Entity Defense

In the area of governmental liability and public entity  defense, Ms. Zimmer’s practice includes representation of schools, colleges, school districts and college districts and their employees.   She is experienced in extricating these entities from lawsuits based on governmental immunities and has successfully obtained many summary judgments and defense arbitration results.

Recently, Ms. Zimmer, Jeffery Carlson & Stephen Watkins obtained a nonsuit at trial for Los Angeles Unified School District and its employee, in a wrongful death action involving the death of a 15 year old boy, based on a cutting-edge application of a Daubert approach to the admissibility of scientific evidence.  Immediately following plaintiffs’ counsel’s opening statement, Jeffery Carlson made the motion for nonsuit based on the fact that plaintiffs could not prove a prima facie case of negligence in a multi-vehicle sequence of collisions due to the fact that plaintiffs would proffer no expert testimony on the issue of causation.  The judge did not rule on the motion immediately, allowing plaintiffs to file opposition to the motion.  The trial began and witnesses were called.  Plaintiffs’ counsel urged the court to allow plaintiffs to finish their case in chief prior to hearing the motion for nonsuit.  Plaintiffs had begun their damages case; the father of the decedent was on the witness stand in the morning when the lunch recess began. After lunch, but before the jury was ordered back, argument on the motion for nonsuit was heard, Jeffery Carlson, Ms. Zimmer and Stephen Watkins argued plaintiffs did not have any expert testimony as to how or when the bus lost steering control such that the bus driver could not control it and could not avoid the accident nor the impact with the decedent, so the defense experts on causation were uncontroverted.  Since these are areas of expertise beyond the understanding of the common person, expert testimony (accident reconstructionist testimony) was necessary, urged LAUSD’s counsel. All parties had retained accident reconstructionist experts, but plaintiffs and co-defendant de-designated their experts prior to taking of expert depositions. The defendants’ motion for nonsuit was a very creative application of a Daubert approach (although California has not adopted Daubert; rather California uses the Kelly-Frye approach) to the admissibility of scientific evidence. Defendants urged in the motion, the gatekeeping function of the trial court in keeping out “naked opinions” not based on reliable scientific standards.  The judge granted the motion for nonsuit in favor of defendants Los Angeles Unified School District and its employee. The case continued forward against defendant Smith, who was found 100% liable.  Plaintiffs appealed the granting of the nonsuit.  Our response in the Court of Appeal was based on the recent California Supreme Court decision in Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. University of Southern California (2012) 55 Cal. 4th 747, and Ms. Zimmer successfully  argued the appeal to the Second Appellate District, California Court of Appeal, which upheld the granting of the nonsuit on October 9, 2013.

Ms. Zimmer recently handled a matter involving a paraplegic who claimed personal injuries resulting from the negligence of a public entity’s employee who improperly assisted her in disembarking from a van in her wheelchair.  Ms. Zimmer obtained several thousands of dollars in discovery sanctions and resolved the matter for a nuisance amount.

In a wrongful death case, Ms. Zimmer defended the district and several employees.  Plaintiff’s decedent, a school district employee, was forcibly (at gunpoint) removed from the premises of an early education center during school hours by her estranged boyfriend (and father of her 4 children) and killed by the boyfriend during a police shoot-out the next day.  Plaintiff’s claimed the premise was unsafe and the district had a duty to protect its employees because it should have known of the violent propensities of the employee’s boyfriend.  After extensive discovery, we filed a successful motion for summary judgment and disposed of this case prior to what would have been a lengthy and expensive trial.

Ms. Zimmer also defended a school district in an alleged civil rights class action suit by African-American students who claimed physical and verbal assaults by Hispanic school police officers and improper random searches of students in which we successfully opposed class certification, after which Ms. Zimmer was able to settle the matter for minimal amounts as to the two named plaintiffs.   She also defended a school district in a personal injury case in which plaintiff, a second grade girl, fell when she was running to the bathroom and lacerated her knee at the threshold of the bathroom door.  The matter was arbitrated and Ms. Zimmer obtained a defense award, after which she convinced plaintiff’s counsel to dismiss the entire action, thereby avoiding the expense of a trial.

Premises Liability

Ms. Zimmer has represented individual homeowners, business owners, corporations, and public entities against allegations of failure to provide safe premises.   She has successfully resolved hundreds of these cases to the satisfaction of her clients, either by summary judgment, defense at trial or arbitration, or successful mediation.

Employment

From employment discrimination or wrongful termination based on gender, race, age or ethnicity to sexual harassment, civil rights issues and retaliation, Ms. Zimmer has defended various employment matters and counseled clients on employment issues.   She has successfully extricated clients from lawsuits by way of summary judgment motions in several employment-related cases, and has co-tried an age discrimination case in downtown Los Angeles.  Along with Mr. Messer, she recently defended a college district and its supervising employee against allegations of assault and battery.  Ms. Zimmer successfully extricated the college district from the case.  Thereafter, plaintiff filed a related action against the college district for failure to accommodate a disability.  In defending the action, Ms. Zimmer worked closely with the Personnel Commission and other district staff members.

Environmental and Toxic Torts

Ms. Zimmer was involved in the Stealth Fighter cases from their inception in the mid-1980s and assisted in the development of the standard deposition outline for plaintiffs used in those cases. Recently, she has handled mold and mildew litigation matters with claims of substantial exposure, including a case involving 3 year-old twins whose developmental delays were blamed on exposure to mold and mildew in the home.

Financial Services Defense

Ms. Zimmer is a member of ACA International: The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (“ACA”) – Member Attorneys Program (“MAP”), and a Collection Notice Review  (“CNR”) attorney for ACA.

Ms. Zimmer handles FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, Recording Act matters, including class actions, defending collection agencies, collectors and creditors.  She also counsels collection agencies regarding preparation of consumer collection letters for compliance with federal and state statutes prior to use.  She also handles collection matters for many clients, both retail and commercial.  Frequently, Ms. Zimmer advises collection agency and creditor clients regarding compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act  (“FCRA”), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA),  issues relating to overshadowing, Mini-Miranda and validation notice requirements, least sophisticated debtors, as well as violations of the California Rosenthal Act and California Business & Professions Code Section 17200 matters.

She has lectured extensively on FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, Recording Act, and collection matters, as well as on evidentiary and discovery issues in litigated matters.

SPEECHES AND PUBLICATIONS

April 30, 2014 – Developer; “Telephone Collections: Dos and Don’ts”, sponsored by Lorman Education Services.

October 31, 2013 –  Developer; “Telephone Collections: Dos and Don’ts”, sponsored by Lorman Education Services.

January 19, 2012, “FDCPA, TCPA, FOTI, What Does The Collector Have To Do To Comply With The Law?,” an Online Webinar, Sponsored by California Association of Collectors (CAC).

June 8, 2011 – Developer and Presenter; “Anatomy of an Initial Dunning Letter & Subsequent Correspondence”, an Online Webinar, Sponsored by California Association of Collectors(CAC).

July 2009 – Author; “The ABC’s of a Dunning Letter”, Collector’s Ink, Vol. LIV, No. 6

February 26, 2009, Developer and Presenter, “Anatomy of an Initial Dunning Letter and Subsequent Correspondence”, an Online Webinar, sponsored by California Association of Collectors (CAC).

April 25, 2007 – Developer and Presenter; “Anatomy of an Initial Dunning Letter”, an Online Webinar, sponsored by California Association of Collectors (CAC).

December 2, 2004 – Invited Speaker; “Debt Collection from Start to Finish in California”, in Pasadena, California, sponsored by NBI.

August 24, 2004 – Invited Speaker; “Advanced Collection Strategies in California”, in Pasadena, California, sponsored by NBI.

June 4, 2004 – Invited Speaker; “FDCPA Compliance for the California Practitioner” in Los Angeles, California, sponsored by NBI.

June, 1992 – Invited Speaker; “How to Present and Attack Documentary and Demonstrative Evidence”, California Continuing Education of the Bar Author, “Green Sheets” in Verdict, a publication of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, 1991.