Martin Bern is a partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. He focuses his practice on complex commercial and class action litigation, including labor and employment, construction defect, contracts and unfair competition.
Employment Class and Collective Actions
- A major international contractor, as co-lead counsel, in a complete defense victory against a certified class of more than 7,000 employees alleging failure to pay overtime following a nearly three-month arbitration involving several dozen witnesses.
- A major financial services institution in obtaining dismissal of the FLSA claims in a putative nationwide collective action and California class action asserting the misclassification of sales representatives.
- A national manufacturing company in defeating class certification in a multi-million dollar wage and hour action.
- A national security services firm in:
- obtaining a precedent-setting victory before the Ninth Circuit (and a significant attorney fee award) in a California wage and hour class action despite unfavorable (and now reversed) administrative guidance.
- defeating class certification and obtaining summary judgment and attorney fees in a statewide wage and hour class action alleging rest period and uniform maintenance claims.
Product Defect and Construction Litigation
- A manufacturer of window spacer bars in successfully defending numerous product defect actions.
- A sealant manufacturer in defeating a homeowner association in a product liability and tort action.
- An engineering and construction firm in obtaining a multi-million dollar jury verdict against Continental Insurance for failure to indemnify insured in underlying construction defect litigation.
Consumer Class Actions and Unfair Competition
- Philip Morris USA in a three-month California consumer class action trial relating to the marketing of “light” cigarettes; plaintiffs recovered nothing on their claims.
Mr. Bern has also provided pro bono representation and advice to national and local environmental organizations on natural resource, legislative and environmental issues, as well as to impoverished individuals in the San Francisco area in areas of debt collection, landlord tenant disputes, civil rights and immigration.
Mr. Bern received his J.D. degree from University of California, Berkeley where he graduated Order of the Coif, was awarded the J. Edgar Hoover Prize and published an article in the Ecology Law Quarterly on environmental ethics. He received his B.A. degree from Tufts University, where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned an M.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Following law school, Mr. Bern served as a law clerk to Judge Charles A. Legge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and to then-Chief Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.