Karen E. Ford, Esq

Cases and Clients
    Ms. Ford became an attorney in 1979 and she handled her first trial a few months later in 1980 representing the plaintiffs in the legendary case of Seritis v. Lane. In that case she represented three waitresses who sued their former union leader for sex discrimination and sexual harassment. It was a landmark case and resulted in the largest award of general and punitive damages in a sex harassment case up to that time. The case was appealed and the decision was affirmed by  the California Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court.

     After that initial trial by fire, Ms. Ford embarked on a long career of litigation and counseling in the employment law field. The list of notable litigation  matters includes the following:



Snider v. Castrol.  This was a two-week jury trial in federal district court in Kansas City.  It was an age discrimination case involving the discharge of the salesman for poor performance. The case resulted in a defense verdict rendered within 2 hours of sending the case to the jury. (Federal District Court Kansas City, Missouri) 

            Kerstien v. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.  This was a two-week jury trial of an age discrimination case in federal district court in Denver, Colorado in October of 1998. The case involved the termination for misconduct of a high ranking executive of the company and the total damages demanded exceeded $3 million dollars.  The trial resulted in a defense verdict rendered only approximately one hour after submission to the jury. (Federal District Court)

             Jackman v. The McGraw-Hill Companies.  This was a jury trial in a disability discrimination case pursuant to California law tried in San Francisco. The plaintiff sought over two million dollars in actual damages and punitive damages. After a month-long trial all twelve jurors found for the defendant within four hours. (State Court, California)

            Davis v. Post Tension of Nevada.  Ms Ford defended an employer in a case claiming discrimination on the basis of a disability and retaliation for having filed a workers’ compensation claim. The majority of the case was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment and the single remaining claim was settled for less than $5,000. (State Court, Colorado)

Hopkins v. Seagate.  Ms. Ford obtained a jury verdict for the defense in a case alleging that an employee had been discharged in order to prevent her from obtaining long-term disability benefits, a form of discrimination actionable under ERISA. She also claimed that her discharge was retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim. Ms. Ford also successfully represented the employer on appeal from the defense verdict.  (Federal District Court in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.)

Rose v. Midwest Express Airline. Ms. Ford represented the airline in an action by a former flight attendant claiming her discharge was discrimination on the basis of religion. The case was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment. (Federal District Court, Nebraska)

    Crano v. Graphic Packaging.  Ms. Ford represented the employer in a disability discrimination case brought by an employee who had left work telling the employer he was too ill to ever return and then sought reinstatement over a year later following a liver transplant. The case was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment and that ruling was upheld on appeal. (Federal District Court, Colorado)

    Sauer v. McGraw Hill, Standard & Poors. Ms. Ford represented the employer against a claim that it had discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of her gender, her pregnancy and pregnancy-related leave of absence  in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act and Title VII. The Court dismissed the case on a motion for summary judgment by defendant. (Federal District Court, Colorado)


                Parsons v. Del Norte County. Ms Ford successfully defended against a claim that the County's no-nepotism rule violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. The judge ruled in favor of the County on a motion for Summary judgment and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.


    Confidential.  Ms. Ford represented defense contractor in highly sensitive litigation concerning a former employee who stole plans for a guidance system used on the stealth bomber and was seeking to sell it to an Israeli competitor. Ms Ford successfully represented the defense contractor and obtained return of the material in question.

     KLG Corporation v. Post Tension of Nevada.  in which Ms Ford successfully represented a construction company in an action brought against it by a former employer of one of its new employees. The suit claimed that the employee had possession of trade secrets. Ms. Ford successfully defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the employee from working for Post Tension of Nevada. The case was voluntarily dismissed shortly thereafter. (State Court, Colorado)

    Executive Wings v. Corporate Aircraft. in which a former employer sued a new employer and its investors contending that an employee who changed companies had taken trade secrets with him. Ms. Ford successfully defended the investor resulting in a jury verdict after a six week trial. (California State Court, Fresno)

    Post Tension of Nevada v. Valduga et al. in which Ms. Ford brought an action against a former employee who took company contacts and information and started his own competing company while employed by Post Tension of Nevada. The case resulted in a settlement and the former employee ceasing his competing business. (State Court, Colorado)



  Teamsters Local 439 (Tracy American Ready Mix) , NLRB v Teamsters Local 439. Ms. Ford brought unfair labor practice charges on behalf of an employer and an employee against the Teamsters union challenging the union’s fines levied on employees who had resigned union membership and returned to work during a strike. Eventually the NLRB ruled in favor of Ms. Ford’s clients and successfully defended an appeal of that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Ms. Ford continued to represent the charging parties on the appeal.  The decision made new law as to the application of the mailbox rule to written resignations of union membership. (NLRB Oakland, California and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.)



    US v. Dan Caputo Inc.  Ms. Ford represented an employer in an action by the US Department of Labor claiming violations of the prevailing wage provisions for government contractors. The case was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment. Upheld on appeal. (Federal District Court, Northern California and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.)


Developers Insurance v. Northern California Carpenters Administrative Trust. in which Ms. Ford represented an insurance and bonding company successfully challenging the California statutory stop notice procedure on the grounds of ERISA preemption. (California Court of Appeals.)

    Felker, et al. v. American Airlines, et al., is a class action which Ms. Ford  represented a pension plan and the sponsors and trustees of the plan. The case involves a claim of breach of fiduciary duty and a demand for increased benefits by all beneficiaries.The case was resolved by summary judgment in favor of the plan. It is now on appeal. (Federal District Court, Northern District of Texas.)

Courtney v. American Airlines, et al. was a pending class action in which Ms. Ford represented a long-term disability plan and its sponsors and trustees.  The case involved a claim for breach of fiduciary duty and a demand for a distribution of plan assets by all plan participants.  It settled before trial on terms favorable to the plan. (Federal District Court, Northern District of Texas.)

     El Capital Development v. Carpenters Southern California Administrative Trust, in which Ms. Ford, representing a real property development company, successfully challenged the California mechanics lien statute used to collect employee benefit fund contributions on the grounds of preemption by federal law. (California Court of Appeals and California Supreme Court.)

    Hydrostorage v. Boilermakers JATC, in which Ms. Ford, representing a nationwide construction company, successfully challenged the California statutes making participation in union sponsored apprenticeship programs mandatory on public works projects. (Federal District Court Northern California and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.)

    Roofing Services v. Roofers JATC, in which Ms. Ford, representing a union sponsored apprenticeship program, successfully defended an antitrust claim by a nonunion employer.  The complaint was dismissed immediately after it was filed on a motion filed on behalf of the JATC. (Federal District Court.)

    Brennan, et al. v. Gann, et al., in which Ms. Ford successfully represented a manufacturing company in litigation claiming breach of fiduciary duty against an outside consultant hired to assist with management of its pension plan who had made secret profits from dealings with fund assets and embezzled from the fund. (Federal District Court., Northern California)

Deardon v. Unocal, in which Ms. Ford, representing the pension plan for Unocal, successfully defended a breach of fiduciary duty claim that a plan amendment offering early retirement to members of middle and upper management discriminated against lower level workers in violation of ERISA. (Federal District Court
, Southern California.)

    Schlissler v. Exabyte, in which Ms. Ford represented the employer who was the plan sponsor and named administrator in an action challenging a medical plan’s provision concerning pre-existing conditions pursuant to Colorado state insurance law.  Ms. Ford defended on the merits under the state law and on the grounds of ERISA preemption.  Summary judgment was granted in favor of her clients. (Federal District Court, Colorado)

    Jones v. American Airlines, in which Ms. Ford defended a pension plan against a claim that its division of community property benefits pursuant to a QUADRO that had been approved by a Texas divorce court constituted a violation of the plan terms. Dismissal was granted on motion by the employer. (Federal District Court, Wyoming)

    Hurd et al v. Ross. in which Ms Ford successfully represented the owners of Independent Electrical Inc., who were also the trustees of the company’s employee welfare benefit plan, to obtain restitution from a paid administrator who had bought insurance contracts to fund the plan and improperly earned a commission on the purchases and embezzled plan funds. (Federal District Court, Northern California)

    Patelco v. Sahni. in which Ms Ford successfully represented the benefit plan for the employees of the Patelco (pacific telephone) Credit Union in obtaining restitution for funds embezzled from the plan by an outside paid administrator. (Federal District Court, Northern California)


Public Service Company of Colorado (now owned by Xcel Energy)

TCI (Telecommunications Inc.)

Midwest Express Airlines

American Airlines


McGraw Hill Companies

Random House Publishing

Standard and Poors

Humana Healthcare

Public Storage

Seagate Technologies

Dow Chemical

Stafcor Employee Staffing

Employee Staffing Services

Target Stores

Sunrise Medical

POSCO Industries/US Steel

Encana Oil

Gates Rubber Company

Roadway Express

Rios Construction

Berry Construction

Worldspan LP

Tri Tech Construction

Dan Caputo Construction
Post Tension of Nevada, Inc.
American Post Tension, Inc.

Louisiana Pacific

The West Group (Thompson West Publishing)

UNUM Life Insurance

Independent Electric Inc.

PATELCO (Pacific Telephone employee credit union)


Pebble Beach Resort and Hotel

Spanish Bay Golf Resort

Highlands Inn (Carmel, CA)

Quail Lodge (Carmel, California)


Gallo Brothers

Franzia Winrey

Christian Brothers Winery

Three Way Transportation, Inc.

Del Norte County, California














 1 Please note that the casess listed above are examples of previous litigation. They are not intended as a representation of the result that you can expect.  The result you obtain may be different.