Overview

Matt Sonne is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.  In addition to being one of the state’s leading authorities in defending employers against Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) and class actions, he is an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Matt is also fluent in Spanish and frequently advises employers on Spanish-speaking workforce issues.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Matt worked in the west wing of the White House as a writer for the President.  He is a frequent writer and commentator, most recently having appeared on Fox 11’s Good Day LA as a legal expert on Covid-19 workplace issues.   

Areas of Practice

Matthew concentrates his practice on labor and employment law representing employers. He litigates in multiple areas of employment law and defends against individual and class action lawsuits alleging violations of wage and hour laws, discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, breach of contract, labor code section 132a claims, and other related matters. Matthew represents employers in state and federal courts, as well as before the DLSE, EDD, and other administrative bodies. He also advises employers on handbook preparation, employment contracts and applications, and personnel policies. Matthew also has experience with the National Labor Relations Board and has represented employers in related investigations. He has experience in civil appeal practice, including briefing and oral argument before the California Court of Appeal and briefing to the California Supreme Court.  Matthew was recently elected to the Executive Board of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (“ABTL”) and currently serves as Secretary of the Board. 

(For more information about Matthew's experience, including his published articles, court decisions, and speeches, please click on the appropriate boxes above).

Experience

Experience

Published Decisions

Townley v. BJ's Restaurants, Inc., 37 Cal.App.5th 179 (2019) (Employer completely prevails on summary judgment in PAGA case alleging unreimbursed business expenses for slip-resistant shoes). 

Morgan v. Wet Seal, Inc., 210 Cal.App.4th 1341 (2012) (Court of Appeal affirms denial of class certification in its entirety in reimbursement claim brought against retail client). 

Chaaban v. Wet Seal, Inc., 203 Cal.App.4th 49 (2012) (After prevailing in a three-week jury trial in a wrongful termination case, retail employer prevails in seeking to recover its expert witness costs/fees from plaintiff.  In parallel case, employer also defeated class certification in its entirety).

Madrigal v. Tommy Bahama Group, Inc., 2011 WL 10511339 (C.D. Cal. 2011) (court denies class certification in its entirety in wage-hour case against retail/restaurant employer).

Corder v. Houston's Restaurants, Inc., 424 F. Supp. 2d 1205 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (held meal and rest periods violations were penalties subject to a one-year, rather than a four-year, statute of limitations).

Recent Victories

Achieved a complete dismissal of “suitable seating” claims under PAGA against a retail client in Santa Clara Superior Court.

Defeated class certification for a manufacturing company on all counts in a wage and hour class action before the Orange County Superior Court.

Successfully defended a national clothing retailer in a jury trial before Orange County Superior Court. The Plaintiff alleged wrongful termination and retaliation in violation of public policy. Won a complete defense verdict.

Achieved what may be the first trial court ruling in California enforcing a class action waiver after the California Supreme Court's Gentry decision made such waivers difficult to enforce.

Defeated class certification for a retail service company on all counts in a wage and hour class action before the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Honors

Honors

Labor and Employment, Legal 500, 2015

Southern California Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2009-2016

Insights

Media Mentions

Speaking Engagements

  • Mr. Sonne was the keynote speaker on "Case Law Updates" at the Employers Group's Workplace and Employment Law Update in Orange County.
  • Mr. Sonne lectured managers and owners in the food service/restaurant industry in a presentation entitled "Wage & Hour Crisis In The Food Service Industry."
  • Mr. Sonne was a presenter at a recent "Breakfast With Your Labor Lawyer" series.
  • Mr. Sonne delivered a lecture in Spanish to managers at a major construction and design firm in southern California entitled "How to Prevent Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation in the Workplace."
  • Mr. Sonne lectures for Castle Publications, Ltd. on Wage and Hour Laws.
  • Mr. Sonne has presented lectures for employer's organizations such as Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA).
  • Mr. Sonne frequently conducts seminars in sexual harassment prevention/training to supervisors and employees, in both English and Spanish. He also lectures at corporate retreats and annual meetings on employment law issues.

Events

Memberships

Memberships

Member, Orange County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section

Member, American Bar Association

Education

J.D., University of Virginia, 2005

B.A., Claremont McKenna College, 2000, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of California
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Languages

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