Jessica Heppenstall - Senior Counsel

Jessica Heppenstall is Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ San Diego office. Her practice focuses on general liability maters, including premises liability, automobile liability, and personal injury matters. Her representation of individuals and businesses includes high-exposure matters involving alleged catastrophic injury and wrongful death.

Ms. Heppenstall has successfully defended and resolved numerous matters for her clients. She successfully negotiated a settlement saving the insurer $1.5 million in a UIM claim involving a lost limb and alleged brain injury. She was part of the Tyson & Mendes litigation team who won several summary judgments motions, one involving over $100 million in damages.

Ms. Heppenstall earned her J.D. from California Western School of Law in 2008. She also earned her B.A., cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley in Legal Studies. She is a member of the San Diego Defense Lawyers.

In her free time, Ms. Heppenstall enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is a native San Diegan and fifth generation Californian who loves the beach and being outdoors.

Recent Posts

Did California Courts Rewrite the Independent Contractor Test?

In April 2018, the California Supreme Court fundamentally altered the test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor in Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (“Dynamex”), the court abandoned the multi-factor Borello test and adopted the ABC test instead.

The Unidentified Declarant: Admissibility of an Excited Utterance in California

One of the biggest hurdles at trial is getting evidence admitted. The Evidence Code is an unwieldy beast with lots of rules, exceptions to those rules, and maddeningly, exceptions to the exceptions. All evidence must be relevant and reliable. (Evidence Code §350.) Evidence may be relevant yet unreliable. Or, evidence can be relevant and reliable but unduly prejudicial. (Evidence Code §352.) Knowing the admissibility of your evidence before trial can make or break your case. Here we discuss the potential admissibility of a statement made by an unidentified declarant.

Tyson & Mendes LLP Announces Promotions in San Diego Offices

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 15, 2018) – Civil defense firm Tyson & Mendes LLP has announced four promotions in its San Diego headquarters, elevating Tracey Angelopoulos from Senior Counsel to Partner, Justin Evenson from Senior Counsel to Team Leader, Jessica Heppenstall from Team Leader to Senior Team Leader, and Kelly Denham from Associate to Team Leader.

Public Contract Code Section 7107 Does Not Apply If Retention Funds Are Not Withheld

In Blois Construction, Inc. v. FCI/Fluor/Parsons (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 1091, the Court of Appeal held a general contractor’s obligation to pay retention payments does not arise until the general contractor receives retention proceeds from a project owner. Specifically, Public Contract Code Section 7107, which requires public entities to release retention proceeds to contractors within 60 days of completion of the project, is not applicable if retention payments were not withheld.

Sexual Harassment Prevention 101: Critical Training for Employers & Employees

Many people recognize overt and blatant sexual harassment, but what about more subtle and covert instances? Sexual harassment is still a widespread problem that occurs across all sectors of employment. Sexual harassment violates a victim’s personal dignity, privacy, psychological well-being, and personal boundaries.

Unethical Coaching of Non-Party Witnesses: What is Your Recourse?

A zealous advocate has an ethical duty to prepare their client for deposition. But, how do you handle opposing counsel crossing the line and coaching unrepresented non-party witnesses to refuse to answer questions based on the deponent’s right to privacy? The right to privacy is not absolute and must be balanced against other important interests. Johnson v. Superior Court (2000) 80 Cal. App. 4th 1050, 1068.

California Case Law Update

COVERAGE Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange234 Cal.App.4th 1220 Facts:Jessica Gonzalez (“Gonzalez”) filed a complaint against Stephen Rebagliati (“Rebagliati”) and nine other members of the De Anza baseball team, asserting causes

Court Reverses Ruling on Terminating Sanctions

A case can be dismissed for failure to respond to discovery. Such a result is known as terminating discovery sanctions. The case outlined below held the statute requiring mandatory relief

Enforcing Settlements: How Enforceable is Your Release?

What happens when the parties reach a settlement, but one of the parties subsequently refuses to sign it? In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeal confirmed a settlement agreement cannot be enforced under section 664.6 unless it is signed by all of the parties.

Pleading the Fifth: How It Can Harm Your Civil Case

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Evidence Code §940 both provide a privilege against self-incrimination. However, there are pitfalls to pleading the fifth in a civil matter.

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