Paul M. JonnaPartner
Paul M. Jonna has successfully represented clients in hundreds of complex and high-stakes civil litigation matters. His practice areas include complex business, real estate, and investment litigation; serious personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and insurance bad faith litigation; and high-profile constitutional litigation. Mr. Jonna has an exceptional track-record – recovering millions of dollars for clients – and he tailors his approach in each case to the specific needs and goals of his clients.
Mr. Jonna obtained considerable trial and arbitration experience early in his legal career, including multi-week jury and bench trials and complex arbitration proceedings. He has handled state and federal appeals and has argued before numerous state and federal courts, including before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Court of Appeals. His cases have resulted in published decisions in state and federal appellate courts – including the United States Supreme Court. He was selected by the San Diego Business Journal as one of the “Best of the Bar” for 2016 and 2017, and he was named to Super Lawyers’ 2019, 2020, and 2021 San Diego Rising Stars list. Avvo rates Mr. Jonna 10.0 out of 10.0. In 2021, Mr. Jonna was one of 35 lawyers in California (out of 190,000 active lawyers) selected for the CLAY award (“California Lawyer Attorney of the Year”) by the Los Angeles Daily Journal – in recognition of his work in South Bay v. Newsom, where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s indoor worship ban, which was imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Jonna represents corporate and individual clients in the areas of complex business, real estate, and securities litigation – reaching successful conclusions at trial, through summary judgment and other dispositive motions, and through confidential settlements. A significant portion of his practice also focuses on representing plaintiffs in serious personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and insurance bad faith litigation – where he has recovered millions for clients. Mr. Jonna also devotes a significant portion of his practice to handling high-profile, complex Constitutional litigation, serving as Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm based in Chicago. Mr. Jonna has also authored many articles that have been published nationally, and he is frequently interviewed by local and national media outlets.
Mr. Jonna began working with Charles LiMandri in 2013 and became a named partner in 2016. He was previously an associate at the national law firm of Gordon & Rees, where he represented a broad range of clients, including major Fortune 500 companies, small and large businesses, and leading national and international insurers in complex commercial litigation and class actions in state and federal courts throughout California. Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Mr. Jonna was an associate at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, where he represented institutional investors in complex litigation and securities class actions, including Public Employees Ret. Sys. of Mississippi vs. Merrill Lynch & Co. ($315 million recovery); In re Wells Fargo Mortgage Pass-Through Certificate Litigation ($125 million); and In re AXA Rosenberg Investor Litigation ($65 million).
Mr. Jonna earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, where he was Comments Editor of San Diego Law Review and published “In Search of Market Discipline: The Case for Indirect Hedge Fund Regulation,” 45 San Diego Law Review 989 (2008). During law school, he earned a CALI Award for the highest grade in Complex Litigation as well as a merit scholarship. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, where he was invited to Beta Gamma Sigma, named to the Dean’s List, and earned a merit scholarship.
Mr. Jonna is also active in the community. He currently serves as the President of the San Diego Chapter of Legatus, an international group of Catholic business leaders. Additionally, Mr. Jonna serves on the Board of Directors of the Ruth Institute and he is also a former three-term President and current member of the Board of the St. Thomas More Society of San Diego, an association of Catholic lawyers, judges, and public servants.
Mr. Jonna is also a legal advisor to the Diocesan Board for the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle, and he also sits on the Parish Council of St. Anne’s Catholic Church. A San Diego native, Mr. Jonna resides in Rancho Santa Fe with his wife and six children.
REPRESENTATIVE BUSINESS, REAL ESTATE, AND SECURITIES LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
- Reached a seven-figure settlement in 2019 on behalf of the plaintiff in a case asserting claims for Interference with Contract – after defeating the defendants’ Anti-SLAPP motion.
- Prevailed in 5 week bench trial before the Honorable Richard Strauss in a derivative action asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty against directors and officers of the Neighborhood Market Association (A&B Market Plus Inc., et al. v. Neighborhood Market Association, Inc. et al., Case No. 37-2015-00032389-CU-OE-CTL). For more information, see: San Diego Union Tribune Article, Voice of San Diego Website Article 1, Voice of San Diego Website Article 2, and LiMandri & Jonna Official Press Release
- Obtained complete dismissal of claims via Anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of clients in Neighborhood Market Association v. Arkan Somo, et al, Case No. 37-2017-00020544 – a case asserting claims for violations of the California Corporations Code, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. Click here to read more.
- Obtained complete dismissal of claims for clients via summary judgment in a hotly contested business litigation matter – Fiber-Tech Manufacturing, Inc. v. Fiber-Tech Engineering, Inc., et al., San Diego Superior Court
- Obtained complete dismissal of claims for corporate client via Anti-SLAPP motion
- Obtained complete dismissal of claims for individual clients via Anti-SLAPP motion in action brought by a corporation asserting claims for inducing breach of contract and intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.
- Represented Finch Aerospace Corporation in a state court bench trial against Lancair Corporation and won the Court’s agreement that Finch’s airplane hangars are removable trade fixtures
- Represented plaintiffs asserting numerous claims on behalf of a class of commercial tenants at Brown Field Municipal Airport, which resulted in a favorable settlement before class certification.
- Represented plaintiffs in a derivative action addressing mismanagement by the board of directors of a local nonprofit Museum, which reached a successful resolution before trial.
- Obtained $420,000 settlement on the eve of trial in a complex business and real estate litigation dispute involving multiple defendants.
- Represented several real estate investors in partnership dispute which resulted in a satisfactory settlement at mediation
- Represented lender in real estate dispute which resulted in a seven-figure settlement
- Represented investor in a five-day FINRA arbitration which resulted in a $640,000 award for the client – including punitive damages and attorneys’ fees
- Represented institutional and individual investors in FINRA securities arbitration proceedings, in cases involving unsuitable trading, boiler room sales, complex real estate investments, and a broad variety of credit instruments – most of which resulted in substantial, confidential settlements
- Represented individual and institutional investors in securities class actions resulting in cumulative settlements exceeding $500 million
- Experience also includes representation of public and private companies in consumer class actions, securities litigation, and contractual disputes; directors and officers, brokers, financial planners, and investment advisors in securities litigation, including FINRA arbitrations; accountants in malpractice litigation and business disputes; real estate developers in commercial contract disputes; and homeowners associations in construction defect litigation
REPRESENTATIVE WRONGFUL DEATH, SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, AND INSURANCE LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
- Reached confidential seven-figure settlement in major medical malpractice case against doctor and pharmacy
- Represented plaintiffs in wrongful death action against fitness club for failure to apply an AED following a sudden cardiac arrest, which resulted in a seven-figure settlement shortly before trial
- Represented plaintiffs in dental malpractice action involving a catastrophic brain injury, which resulted in a seven-figure settlement shortly before trial
- Represented plaintiffs in negligent security action, which resulted in a substantial settlement shortly before trial
- Represented numerous victims of serious automobile accidents, most of which resulted in satisfactory settlements at policy limits – including seven-figure settlements
- Represented plaintiffs in premises liability actions, which resulted in satisfactory settlements
- Represented plaintiffs in products liability action against major drug manufacturer, which resulted in six-figure settlement
- Represented tenants in cases involving exposure to toxic mold, which resulted in satisfactory confidential settlements
- Represented numerous insureds in coverage disputes against insurance companies, all of which resulted in satisfactory confidential settlements
REPRESENTATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
- Successfully represent numerous churches in litigation arising out of the COVID-19 restrictions on houses of worship. One of those cases, South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al. v. Gavin Newsom, et al., which Mr. Jonna argued at the District Court level twice – resulted in an historic win at the U.S. Supreme Court on February 5, 2021, when the High Court struck down California’s indoor worship ban. The High Court ruling allowed nearly 40 million California residents to resume indoor worship. Prior to the Supreme Court’s intervention, Californians were forced to worship outdoors, in the cold, or from home, while at the same time many retail establishments were operating indoors with substantial capacity. The case settled with a permanent injunction against the State and payment of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $1,600,000. A similar case Mr. Jonna handled, Burfitt v. Newsom, also settled with a permanent injunction against the State and payment of $550,000 in attorneys’ fees. See article here.
- Successfully represented Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in litigation brought by the County of Los Angeles over the COVID-19 restrictions on churches. The case is ongoing.
- Successfully represented Children of the Immaculate Heart, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking, in constitutional litigation against the State of California. See article here.
- Represent Stephen Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., a Catholic watchdog group, in defamation action in Kern County.
- Successfully represented David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by StemExpress, a broker in aborted baby body parts. The lawsuit unsuccessfully sought to prevent Mr. Daleiden from publishing a damning undercover video featuring Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress. As a result, StemExpress ultimately dismissed its case and walked away with nothing.
- Represent David Daleiden and other parties in federal lawsuits brought by the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood.
- Represent Tastries Bakery after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sought to force it to make custom wedding cakes for same-sex couples. In a precedent-setting ruling, the Court sided with Tastries and held that the State could not force bakers to violate their consciences by making wedding cakes that express views that are contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.
- Represented parents and organizations in a federal lawsuitagainst the San Diego Unified School District, arising out of its “anti-Islamophobia” initiative.
- Successfully represented a devout Catholic employee of Loyola Marymount University who was suspended by LMU after being accused of committing a “hate crime.” The “hate crime” consisted of engaging in a dialogue with a “gender neutral” woman about basic tenets of the Catholic faith. LMU ultimately restored that employee to her position without any loss of pay or benefits.
- University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California, J.D. (2009)
- Comments Editor, San Diego Law Review
- Authored: “In Search of Market Discipline: The Case for Indirect Hedge Fund Regulation,” 45 San Diego Law Review 989 (2008)
- Merit Scholarship Recipient
- Pro Bono Service Certificate
- CALI Award, Complex Litigation
- University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, B.S., Business Administration (2005)
- Betta Gamma Sigma
- Dean’s List
- Merit Scholarship Recipient
AREAS OF PRACTICE
- Complex Business Litigation
- Serious Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, and Wrongful Death
- Securities and Investment Litigation
- Real Estate Litigation
- Insurance Bad Faith Litigation
- Constitutional Litigation
PROFESSIONAL HONORS AND AWARDS
- San Diego Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2016 & 2017
- San Diego Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2019, 2020 & 2021
- Los Angeles Daily Journal, California Lawyer Attorney of the Year, 2021
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
- President, San Diego Chapter of Legatus (2021-Present)
- Member of Board of Directors, Ruth Institute (2019-Present)
- St. Thomas More Society of San Diego
- Member of Board of Directors (2018-Present)
- President 2015 – 2017
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- San Diego County Bar Association
- Catholic Bar Association
- State Bar of California
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- United States District Court for the Central District of California
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
- United States District Court for the Northern District of California