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Joanne Madden

44 Montgomery Street
Suite 3100
San Francisco, California 94104
Phone:  415.913.4912
Fax:  415.391.8766


Joanne Madden is a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office with broad experience in the labor and employment, commercial litigation, product liability and general liability. She advises and defends clients before the courts, arbitrators, special masters, and administrative officers such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Labor Commissioner. She also counsels a national product manufacturer on claim and litigation management, as well as provides advice on certain regulatory matters.

In her labor and employment practice, Joanne represents various service industry employers involved in wage hour disputes involving allegations of violations of meal and rest breaks, overtime and sick pay, wait time penalties, and wage statements, both in administrative hearings and in state courts. She also defends actions alleging wrongful termination, sexual harassment, disability discrimination, gender discrimination, and retaliation in state and federal courts. Joanne has also successfully guided clients through California Department of Fair Employment and Housing investigations. She has counseled and represented clients defending class action litigation in state and appellate courts, including those alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and the Legal Remedies Act.

Joanne represents and advises clients in contractual disputes involving goods and services as well as defends wrongful death and serious personal injury actions filed against transportation, construction, and private security companies. Recently, Joanne has successfully defended several companies involved in fatal accidents alleged to be liable under federal and state regulations imposing non-delegable duties. Joanne also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the San Francisco Superior Court.

Representative Experience

Labor & Employment

  • Joanne represented a local restauranteur alleged to have systematically violated overtime laws based on his erroneous calculation of the half time/double time rate rules. The action was filed in a local state court and a class action filing was threatened. She also represented a local service company in a wait time penalty action in which it was disputed whether the employee had been sent home as a disciplinary action versus a lay off/termination requiring immediate pay. The action began before the Labor Commissioner, and after the hearing officer ruled in the employer’s favor, the matter was appealed to San Francisco Superior Court, where it remains pending.

Commercial Litigation

  • Joanne provides counsel to companies involved in disputes with competitors concerning reports to state agencies on alleged improper practices, anti-SLAP suits and litigation, and first amendment protections. She also defends and advises on litigation arising out of vendor agreements.

Product Liability

  • Joanne counsels a national bicycle distributor in product liability claims and supervises non-litigated claims handled by third party administrators. She also has experience coordinating the defense of a U.S. distributing subsidiary of a computer manufacturer in warranty claims filed in the United States.

Premises Liability

  • Joanne’s experience includes defending public entities, and their business partners, in various property damage and personal injury cases. These claims involved allegations of disability discrimination under both state and federal statutes, nuisance, and inverse condemnation. She has also defended private entities involved in the management of hotels and golf courses in various premises liability actions.


  • Joanne has also represented individuals and corporations before the state and federal courts of appeal. She has defended defense jury verdicts and summary judgment grants on appeal. Additionally, she has appealed decisions involving indemnity agreements and liability findings based on consumer protection statutes. Her appellate experience includes writs, motions, and other filings in the state and federal courts.

Reported Cases

  • Lempert v. Superior Court (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 1161
  • Howard v. Omni Hotels Management Corp. (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 403

Published Works


  • Employee Satisfaction Surveys Value & Risks, iSenior Care, Vol 66, No. 3. Summer 2017.
  • When it Comes to Lawsuits, Small Businesses Who Snooze Will Lose - 01/10/2017; Authors: Brian Inamine and Joanne Madden
  • The values and risks of employee satisfaction surveys - 05/19/2017; Authors: Brian Inamine and Joanne Madden
  • "Did I Win? Who is the Prevailing Party When Statutory Settlement Offers are made by Jointly Liable Defendants?" California Litigation, Vol 24, No. 3, (2011)


  • Employee Surveys: Survey Its Risks First - April 11, 2017
  • You Snooze, You Lose: What an Employer Should First Do When Notified of a Legal Action - November 1, 2016
  • Reducing The Risks of Employment Claims Relating to Long-Term Care Facilities: Part 1 – Preventing Lawsuits - October 19, 2016

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, San Francisco, California, 2014 – Present
  • Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, San Francisco, California, 2007 – 2014
  • Sixth District Appellate Program, Santa Clara, California, 2002 - 2007
  • Newton Remmel, PC, Mountain View, California, 2005 – 2007
  • Law Offices of Timothy C. Cronin, San Francisco, California, 2003 - 2005
  • Law Offices of Dennis Alan Lempert, Santa Clara, California, 2001 - 2003


  • First Prize, Santa Clara History Workshop, Santa Clara University, 1997
  • Redwood Prize, Best Historical Essay, Santa Clara University, 1997
  • Best Brief, Moot Court, University of San Francisco School of Law, 1998

Related Industries


  • J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law, 2000, Articles Editor, Maritime Law Journal; judicial extern for the Hon. Martin J. Jenkins of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, Fall 1999
  • B.A., European History, Minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, cum laude, Santa Clara University, 1997

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit