Bruno W. Katz Partner




Bruno Katz maintains a diverse business litigation practice with an emphasis on labor and employment, corporate litigation and complex multi-party litigation. Bruno represents a wide variety of clients, including hospitality, transportation, pharmaceutical/ health care and construction companies, as well as insurance brokers and agents, attorneys and utilities. He is a strong litigator, trial attorney and advocate.

Bruno believes in resolving cases quickly. He partners with his clients to understand the facts and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each case, advancing to trial only when it is mutually agreed that this represents the best approach. He moves proactively to put the plaintiff on the defensive, always respecting his client’s bottom line.

A captain in the Navy Reserves with the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG), Bruno has nearly 30 years of service in both an active and a reserve capacity. Currently serving as a Pre-Trial Hearing Officer, Bruno’s past duties include serving as the Staff Judge Advocate for Commander, Navy Region Southwest Reserve Component Command (NRSW RCC), which is the headquarters command for approximately 12,000 selected reservists administered by 19 Navy Operational Support Centers throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and the Territory of Guam. He also served as Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for Reserve Affairs and Operations. Bruno has been the commanding officer of two reserve legal units, both of which were awarded the Rear Admiral Gilbert Cup as the best reserve unit in the nation. He also is the 2010 recipient of the Judge Advocate Generals Association's Outstanding Senior Officer Award.

Areas of Focus

Employment & Labor
Bruno has successfully defended trials in State Superior Court and the various U.S. District Courts of California. He also has conducted arbitration and administrative hearings for clients. In defense of clients, he has tried or arbitrated cases involving violations of Title VII; race, age, sexual or gender discrimination; retaliation; breach of contract; non-solicitation enforcement; negligence; federal preemption; and wage-and-hour class actions.

Bruno also regularly represents his clients in administrative matters before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the California Labor Commissioner, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board. Additionally, he provides training to both his clients and industry professionals on employment practices, liability issues and other risk management matters.

Bruno is sought after for his experience in employee relations, offering sound advice on hiring practices, training and “employee audits,” ensuring that his clients are prepared. He strongly advocates a clear understanding between employer and employee that is well-documented and mutually agreed in order to establish relationships free of claims and unwanted lawsuits.

Bruno anticipates and helps to prevent situations that could result in lawsuits or administrative actions. With extensive trial experience and knowledge of business and industry, Bruno is prepared to defend against a wide array of claims. He currently serves on several industry boards and associations specifically focused on the challenges facing the hospitality community. He is one of the legal partners of the California Restaurant Association where he contributes white papers, webinars and assistance through its legal center hotline, and he is a member of the San Diego Chapter’s Board of Directors and the Allied Member of the Year for 2019.

Insurance Agents & Brokers Liability
Bruno handles cases regarding professional liability, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, errors and omissions, non-solicitation agreements and written or oral contracts. He provides risk management advice and defense to one of the largest surplus lines carriers in the nation.

Representative Matters

Obtained a favorable ruling from the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) in a case in which the plaintiff alleged sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Wilson Elser then obtained dismissal of the case after bringing summary judgment in Riverside County Superior Court.

Represented a regional hotel company against class action allegations from suite attendants claiming failure to pay premium wages based on a municipal “living wage” ordinance only applicable to large hotels. The result was the application of an ordinance found to have violated hotel’s due process rights.

Represented a large insurance broker/agent company in prosecuting a non-solicitation agreement against former employee who used client lists developed by company to start a new job. The result was a favorable resolution for the client.

Represented a major waste management company in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representative election involving use of a putative class action as leverage. This resulted in a published NLRB decision in favor of client overturning the election results due to improper benefits given by labor union.

Represented a large quick-service restaurant chain in a punitive wage and hour class action claim alleging improper classification of managers. The result was a published decision dismissing class claims and upholding individual settlements.

Represented a large regional insurance agency against allegations of fraud and negligence. The case dismissed on summary judgment.

Represented a dental corporation against allegations of pregnancy discrimination. The case dismissed and resolved for significantly less than the cost of defense.

Represented the interest of a large multinational insurance company as to labor/employment claims involving French law. The cases were resolved at less than cost of defense in a pro-employee favorable forum.