Po Waghalter is Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ Los Angeles office. Her practice focuses on general liability, premises liability, and personal injury defense. Ms. Waghalter specializes in developing legal strategies aimed at early dismissals and summary adjudication of high-exposure lawsuits. Ms. Waghalter is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Washington.
With over a decade of experience, Ms. Waghalter has successfully obtained numerous dismissals from motions for summary judgment and through tactical, discovery-based law and motion. Recently, Ms. Waghalter resolved a premises liability dispute with an initial demand of $3 million for just over $300,000. In other recent matters, she resolved a dog bite claim with exposure of $1 million for a waiver of costs, and a traumatic brain injury claim with exposure of $500,000 for $17,000.
Prior to practicing defense litigation, Ms. Waghalter served as a State-appointed attorney to protect and uphold the constitutional rights of people with mental illnesses within the criminal justice system. In this capacity, Ms. Waghalter represented over 3,000 indigents in hearings and trials before the California Board of Parole Hearings.
Ms. Waghalter earned her J.D. from University of San Diego School of Law, where she was awarded the Civil Clinic Intern Award upon graduation. She received her B.A. from U.C. Irvine in Political Science, where she was awarded the Merle Clifford Rabine Research Award from the Department of Women’s Studies for her research thesis “Cambodian-American Refugees post the Pol Pot Regime.” During her senior year at UCI, Ms. Waghalter attended the competitive international exchange program at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris) where she studied comparative politics within nations of the European Union and the anticipated effect on France with the then-upcoming transition to the Euro.
In her leisure time, Ms. Waghalter enjoys spending time with her husband and their two greyhounds, watching either CNN or reality TV, depending on who has the remote.
The end is near in the life of the Southern California Stipulation, aka “So Cal Stip.” Sometime in August 2019, and unbeknownst to many unsuspecting deposing attorneys, Southern California court reporters united and collectively decided to take a stand against the (infamous) So Cal Stip. All of a sudden, attorneys throughout So Cal were (mostly politely) told by court reporters that they would not comply with the So Cal Stip, and an…
The California Court of Appeal has made a recent ruling in a premises liability case that amounts to a victory for landowners: the Court ruled generalized knowledge of potential future crime does not meet the “heightened foreseeability” requirement for premises liability. In layman’s terms, just because a parking lot owner has some general idea that a random crime has the possibility of occurring at some random point in the future, does…
General Contractors and their defense counsel love the Privette doctrine, which generally provides an affirmative defense from liability to injured employees of their subcontractors. This is based on the rationale that the hirer indirectly paid into workers’ compensation (that should be furnished by the independent contractor for its employee) as part of the contract price. (Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689.) However, the Privette doctrine is not absolute and continues to be shaped, with the Court carving out exceptions, leading to increased verdicts against general contractors.
California Schools win lawsuit to keep guns off school grounds.
A clear result of the never ending school shootings in the United States, California took a long overdue step to prohibit further presence of guns in schools.
Prior to Senate Bill 707, California schools permitted two groups to carry guns within school zones (1000 feet of school grounds): 1) individuals licensed to carry concealed firearms under California law, and 2) authorized retired peace officers. After Senate Bill 707, only the second group was allowed, and concealed-carry weapon holders- the first group- were prohibited.
In a recent Court ruling, California showed its continued support for workers. Specifically, the Court of Appeals reinforced California’s preference against any contract, which would restrain the ability to work, and clarified not only are non-compete clauses void, but other contracts of similar nature may also be void. Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Med. Grp., 782 F.3d 1083 (9th Cir. 2015).
Can an owner lose their home simply because they do not pay their homeowner’s association (“HOA”) dues? The answer is: yes. It is only fair, after all. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. There are legal and technical hoops in place, and HOAs are mandated to comply with these hoops or be subject to attorney-driven lawsuits where attorneys’ fees can exceed the cost of the technical violation(s).