Dwayne McKenzie

Partner

Overview

Dwayne represents employers, trade associations, owners, public agencies, and labor-management trust funds in employment law, traditional labor relations, ERISA matters, and litigation in state and federal courts.   

Employment Litigation And Counseling

Dwayne represents employers across various industries in a wide range of litigation, including class action claims, wage and hour violations, wrongful termination, sex, race, religious, and other forms of discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair competition, trade secret infringement, breach of contract, company founder and director liability, and various other employment, and business-related issues. He routinely defends employers against charges brought before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

He also counsels employers in their day-to-day activities, such as structuring new company employment practices, managing and negotiating employment issues in merger and acquisition transactions, negotiating employment and severance contracts, establishing and maintaining employment policies and documents, responding to employee claims of violations of state and federal law, and advising on risk management issues.

General Counsel Experience

As former general counsel for a privately held technology company, Dwayne was responsible for all legal affairs including patent and copyright, trade secret, and contracting issues. He was active in investor development and relations, giving him practical insight into the needs of employers and growing companies.   

Labor Law, Prevailing Wage Law, And Public Contracting

Dwayne has been involved extensively in prevailing wage law legislation, interpretation, and litigation for over fifteen years and is active in public works, prevailing wage, and other labor-related issues. He regularly represents developer, contractor, and property owner trade associations and individual developers and contractors before the Department of Industrial Relations and in the courts. He also has unique experience with enforcement of public bidding requirements and representation of labor compliance programs mandated on public works under California law.

Employee Benefits, ERISA And Fiduciary Counseling, And Litigation

A substantial portion of his practice involves benefit plan and fiduciary law issues that affect benefit plans, plan sponsors, plan trustees, and plan service-providers. He counsels trustees of multi-employer, employment-benefit-related trusts with respect to the fulfillment of their fiduciary and statutory duties, represents such trustees in their dealings with third parties, and is highly sophisticated in benefit plan technology and intellectual property matters. 

Representative
Matters

Employment Law

Represented a multi-state employer against class action claims for unpaid wages, overtime, meal and rest period violations, and related penalties and claims on behalf of California employees.

Defended a large general contractor/builder of heavy construction – including infrastructure, highway, bridges, dams, etc. – against class action claims for unpaid meal period, waiting time penalties, and violation of California's Unfair Competition Law.

Obtained complete dismissal by demurrer of wrongful termination and tort claims brought by dozens of employees against hotel developer and operator.

Defended against class action and certification of class of construction employees alleging nonpayment of prevailing wages for work performed on distribution center construction.

Labor And Employment Counseling

Advised in establishment of U.S. platform for real estate development and property management by foreign institutional investment manager, including creation of national employment policies, practices and agreements.

Represented a Canadian corporation in acquisition of a series of heavy equipment dealerships with respect to employment issues, compliance, risk management, and consolidation of workforce and employment practices.

Counseled employer termination of employees and successfully obtained closure of subsequent EEOC and state administrative charges in multiple states.

Prevailing Wage Law

Obtained an appellate decision establishing the immunity of developers to class action prevailing wage claims through representation of general contractor, developer, and surety of master planned commercial and residential community against class action claims by employees seeking to represent all employees of all construction employers on the master planned development and claiming alleged underpayment of wages under California's Prevailing Wage Law.

Represented a master developer of former military property against claims that prevailing wages requirements be imposed on all commercial and residential construction to be performed in the redevelopment, which claims were based on alleged deed covenants, development agreements, and California's Prevailing Wage Law.

Represented developers, contractors, and contractor associations before Department of Industrial Relations in various project determination and administrative appeals determining application and interpretation of California Prevailing Wage Law to construction projects.

Litigated individual and class action prevailing wage claims and authored numerous briefs submitted to California's Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal addressing the interpretation and application of the prevailing wage law.

ERISA

Represented health and welfare trust funds and trustees against hospital provider claims for non-payment of services to participants.

Successfully defended and maintained trustee and sponsor interpretation of vacation plan structure through federal trial and appellate courts, obtaining a decision which protected trustee interpretations of ERISA benefit plans nationwide

Defended plan trustees against claims of breach of fiduciary duties and prosecuted subsequent action and settlement on behalf of trustees against carrier for failure to provide coverage under fiduciary liability policies.

Counseled a multiemployer health and welfare plan on compliance with health care reform.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

Contributing Author, Construction Contracts And Disputes, The California Continuing Education Of The Bar (CEB) (2007-2016)

Awards &
Affiliations

Professional Affiliations

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • UCLA Law Review, Production Editor

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 1994, Order of the Coif
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1991