- Class Action Defense
- Employment & Labor
- Miscellaneous Professions
- Product Liability
- Professional Liability & Services
- Toxic Tort
- Admiralty & Marine
- Employee Benefits
|Contact Info||Telephone: 415.625.9380|
|University ||Williams College, B.A., 1974, Tyne Scholar/honors|
|Law School||Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., 1980|
|Admitted||1981, California; U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit|
Memberships & Affiliations
Association of Defense Counsel, Northern California
Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS), Northern California Chapter Steering Committee
Ron Bushner heads a litigation team in the San Francisco office that handles a wide variety of cases. He has litigated cases throughout California in the state and federal systems, at both the trial and appellate levels. His practice focuses on defense of catastrophic bodily injury and death cases under negligence and product liability theories, of employers in individual and class actions asserting claims under employment laws, of professional liability cases, and the full spectrum of marine-related claims and environmental contamination cases. Ron has made many presentations to industry groups ranging from the Surplus Lines Association of California to claims handlers for various insurers to local business associations.
Ron's approach to defense is to rely on the good judgment he has acquired over more than 30 years of practicing law. He assesses which strategy will lead to the most direct, cost-efficient path to resolution. Whenever possible, resolution is by settlement, and when necessary, by trial. Ron has tried many cases to verdict with favorable results for his clients. Earlier in his career, Ron was a member of the Oakland Police Department in the Patrol Division and a frequent instructor in its highly regarded training section.
Awards & Distinctions
AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Rated by American Lawyer and Martindale-Hubbell as a Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment, 2013
Honorable Owen E. Woodruff, Jr., 1980-1981
Areas of Focus
In recent years, Ron's clients have encountered an escalation in employment-related claims, and his practice has expanded to include defense of employers in discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination cases, as well as wage and hour and whistleblower cases. In addition, Ron has represented his clients in employment class actions in federal and state courts. Throughout his practice, Ron makes every effort to resolve cases before trial by motion or negotiation. However there are instances where a case must be tried. In 2014, Ron obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in Alameda County in a case brought by an individual employee that presented claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process. A list of Ron's recent trials is at the bottom of this biography.
General / Product Liability / Transportation
Ron has defended personal injury and death cases under general and products liability theories in a wide variety of transportation, construction and other industrial settings. Early in his career, when San Francisco and Oakland were still leading West Coast ports, Ron was principally a maritime attorney whose practice included defending bodily injury and death cases in blue water and brown water settings, defending a shipping conference in an antitrust case, prosecuting cargo claims, defending salvage cases, and handling collision cases. The maritime practice naturally expanded into truck and rail transportation matters that included defending a major northern California regional LTL carrier in an antitrust case, to handling bodily injury and death cases for trucking companies and railroad shippers, and to resolution of cargo-related claims. Ron's practice in the construction industry includes defending both general and subcontractors of many trades, particularly cranes and riggiers and drilling companies, in the bodily injury and property damage/construction defect cases so prevalent in their industry.
Ron's practice includes professional liability defense ranging from traditional professionals (such as attorneys and real estate and insurance agents and brokers) to “new professionals” under miscellaneous professional liability policies. His client list includes lawyers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate agents and brokers, financial planners, plastic surgeons and dentists as well as businesses ranging from Internet services to landscaping and tree services to morticians to general and subcontractors in their roles as certifiers of equipment and personnel. In addition to handling professional liability cases at trial court level, Ron has defended trial court successes on appeal.
Ron's growing employment practice has spawned a related practice (that can be broadly described as commercial litigation) as clients who meet Ron through employment cases ask him also to handle a wide variety of non-employment matters. These cases include civil litigation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Telephone Communication Protection Act, the American's with Disabilities Act, Uniform Trade Secret Act and Unfair Competition claims as well as contract matters involving commercial real estate leases and uniform commercial code enforcement.
Litigation related to environmental contamination and toxins has grown at a rapid pace, as businesses come under greater scrutiny for their environmental practices and face potentially costly claims. Ron handles claims alleging ground water contamination from spills of MTBE, PCE, ethyl chloride and diesel oil, including contamination from underground storage tanks under both the California and federal environmental laws. Ron uses a well-developed and executed program of discovery that brings the majority of these cases to resolution during the pretrial stage, and he has tried CERCLA cases to judgment in the federal system.
Admiralty & Marine
After clerking in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Ron started his career at one of the leading maritime firms in San Francisco. Although the marine influence in Northern California has lessened over the years, at that time San Francisco/Oakland/Sacramento were important West Coast ports and ship repair was a significant industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the past 30 years, Ron has worked on the full spectrum of marine-related claims from salvage and collision and marine casualty to COGSA, DOHSA, the Jones Act and OPA.
The largest volume of work that has continued over time involves bodily injury cases that occur on or near the shore. In such cases Ron has defended ports (usually as a result of contractual indemnity obligations) from CrescentCity near the Oregon border to San Diego and several in between, including Los Angeles and Long Beach. Ron has handled cases for marinas and other shore-side businesses with claims covered under marine policies.
When a case involves a plaintiff employed at a shoreline business or on a “brown water” vessel or platform (the so-called Twilight Zone), the civil action interacts with the federal (USL&H Act) and state compensation systems. This sometimes creates case management and insurance coverage issues due to the multiple jurisdictions involved in compensating the injury, but it also creates opportunities to provide innovative resolutions to cases with several participants.
California Peace Officer Standards & Training (Basic and Intermediate Certificates)
Bushner Obtains Jury Verdict in Favor of Employer by Properly Defining the “Major Life Activity” in a Disability Discrimination Case
April 2, 2014
Feeling the Heat in Florida: Could Canadian Insurers Be Exposed to Florida's Unfriendly Bad Faith Laws?
Could Florida's Long-arm Statute Reach across Borders?
February 10, 2014
A recent Florida intermediate appeals court decision suggests, by extension, that a Canadian insurer that only insures Canadian residents could be sued for bad faith in Florida for failing to perform certain duties that must be performed in Florida. The discussion focused on personal jurisdiction and Florida's long-arm statute.
|Reported Cases||Representative Matters: Lisa Edwards v. Michael D. Johnson, JBS USA, Inc., Miller Brothers, et al. Superior Court of California - County of Solano; No. FCS032472. (Severe bodily injury case with nearly a million dollars in past medical expense settled before verdict following a four week jury trial); Ameripride Services, Inc. v. Valley Industrial Services, Inc. (Petrolane), USDC, Eastern District Case No. Civ. 2:00-cv-00113 LKK JFM. (PERC contamination case on appeal in the Ninth Circuit following a bench trial the client deemed a success); Lucille M. Winston v. Victoria's Secret Stores, LLC, Stonestown Shopping Center, LP, Alliedbarton Security Services, LP, Pierre Washington, April Moffitt; Superior Court of California - San Francisco County Superior Court; Case No. CGC10501947. ( False imprisonment cases against mall and security company settled after jury trial for substantially less than verdict while motion for new trial pending); Michael Ingram v. Alex Karavan, AT Systems, Inc., Garda CL West Inc., Garda Cash Logistics, Garda Security Inc., Superior Court of California - County of Sacramento; No. 34-2009-00068760. (Hung jury following a 4 week trial in admitted liability case in truck/auto collision case; case settled before retrial for one-quarter of demand during trial); Eugenio Paul Feliciano v. Dunlop Tires, Inc., Toyota Industrial Equipment MFG., Inc., Mobile Fleet Services, Inc., Superior Court of California - County of San Mateo; No. CIV 431003. (Defense verdict following four week jury trial in products liability, leg-off case); Preston Benson v. Unity Courier Service, Inc., Superior Court of California - Alameda County, Case No. RG12641764 (Defense verdict following a four week jury trial in disability discrimination case involving claims of failure to accommodate or engage in the interactive process); Laura Darby M.D., an individual and Laura Darby M.D., a professional corporation v. Zurich America, Zurich Insurance Company, Zurich North America, Zurich Group S.A., Maryland Casualty Company, Vista International Insurance Brokers, Superior Court of California - Marin County, Case No. CV 061403 (Defense verdict following a three week jury trial in an insurance broker malpractice case); Cynthia Diane Smith v. Edward J. Conner, Amore Property Management, Superior Court of California - San Francisco County Superior Court, Case No. 411127 (Following the 10 week trial of a claimed injury premised on alleged long duration, low level carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of a defective gas fired wall heater in plaintiff's apartment, the case settled after the close of evidence and before closing argument).|
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