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.
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.
Represented construction manager in obtaining dismissal from construction defect litigation.
Represented an owner and founder of company against investor claims of breach of fiduciary duties and breach of contractor arising out of failure to repay conditional loan.
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.
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.
Defended a general contractor against labor compliance program wage and penalty assessment in administrative hearings before Department of Industrial Relations.
Defended a general engineering contractor against claims by electrician union and related trust funds for contributions and employees' dues on behalf of workers performing work on the MTA Exposition Line light rail and related projects.
Defended a non-profit performing arts center against employee claims of retaliation and wrongful termination arising from claims of unsanitary conditions at work place.
Defended a payroll company against Employment Development Department assessments for State unemployment insurance contributions.
Obtained complete dismissal by demurrer of wrongful termination and tort claims brought by dozens of employees against hotel developer and operator.
Represented and coordinated defenses of a building owner against workers' compensation claims and civil negligence and wrongful injury claims arising from injury to employee of painting contractor.
Represented a commissioned sales employee in claim for unpaid commission compensation.
Represented a developer/owner in arbitration proceedings for interpretation and enforcement of project labor agreement terms.
Represented an industry association in multiple appeals before the California Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court as amicus curiae in relation to application and interpretation of California's prevailing wage law and California Charter City Constitutional Exemption.
Defended a homebuilder against Fair Housing Act, unfair competition, and racial discrimination claims brought by prospective buyer.
Obtained closure of employees' EEOC and state administrative charges against separate employers in Hawaii and Texas, alleging unlawful sex and religion discrimination and hostile work environment.
Defended ERISA health and welfare trust funds against claims by hospital service provider of violations of ERISA, RICO violations, and interference with contract arising out of reimbursement re calculations.
Defended a general contractor against ERISA trust fund claims for contributions under project labor agreement.
Defended trustees of against claims by subsequent trustee of violations of ERISA, fiduciary duties and prohibited transaction rules.
Represented an ERISA pension plan in withdrawal liability case and on appeal to enforce judgment.
Represented ERISA trust funds as interested parties in Department of Industrial Relations enforcement action for non-payment of prevailing wages and fringe benefits under Los Angeles Unified School District project labor agreement.
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.
Defended against class action and certification of class of construction employees alleging nonpayment of prevailing wages for work performed on distribution center construction.
Defended the developer of former Fort Ord property against action by local building trades to impose prevailing wage requirements on all construction on former Fort Ord property based on deed covenants and development agreement requirements.
Defended a general contractor against employee class action claims for unpaid wages under California's prevailing wage law.
Defended a master planned community developer and general contractor against employee class actions claims for unpaid wages brought by employees of all contractors and subcontractors performing work on the master planned community and seeking to enforce prevailing wage law requirements.
Prosecuted action on behalf of employees against general contractor for failure to pay prevailing wages, violation of California's unfair competition law (B&P Code § 17200), and RICO violations.
Represented a developer in administrative appeal before the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations regarding application of prevailing wage law to commercial redevelopment project.
Represented an employee class on appeal in relation to interpretation and enforcement of prevailing wage law against public agency.
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.
Defended a general contractor against class action claims of employees seeking wages and penalties for meal periods and rest breaks.
Defended a general contractor employer against initial wage and hour class action under IWC Wage Order No. 16 and Labor Code §§ 510 and 514.
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.
Represented a contractor against wage and penalty assessment by Los Angeles Unified School District Labor Compliance Program for nonpayment of wages and delayed production of certified payroll records.
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.
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.
Counseled employer termination of employees and successfully obtained closure of subsequent EEOC and state administrative charges in multiple states.
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.
Defended a currency exchange company against employee claims of unlawful termination and unlawful discrimination based on disability, gender, medical condition, and for failure to accommodate and prevent discrimination.
Defended a developer/property manager against employee claims of unlawful discrimination based on religion.
Represented a homebuilder in conducting employment investigation and audit and follow up to claims of sexual harassment and/or gender discrimination.
Defended an ERISA pension plan against multiple actions seeking payment of participant pension benefits.
Defended an ERISA pension plan against participant class action seeking payment of pension benefits pursuant to terms of the Plan.
Defended an ERISA pension plan against participant suit seeking pension benefits and on appeal against novel interpretation of application of vacation hour contributions for vesting purposes.
Defended an insurance company as surety on public works payment bonds against employee class action claims for unpaid prevailing wages.
Represented the trustees of a fund against multiple carriers for breach of contract and of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing in refusal to provide a defense and coverage under officers and director's policy.
- News, Los Angeles Business Journal, 10.23.23
- News, Los Angeles Times B2B, 6.26.23
- News, The American Lawyer, 6.21.23
- News, GlobeSt.com, 1.19.21
- Dwayne McKenzie Interviewed for Commercial Observer Article - Calif.’s New Landscape: Q&A With Attorney Dwayne McKenzieNews, Commercial Observer, 6.4.20
- News, Daily Republic, San Francisco Chronicle, 5.23.20
- Dwayne McKenzie and Cathy Moses Featured In Builder Article - New California Laws To Affect Home BuildersNews, Builder, 1.16.19
- News, GlobeSt., 1.18.18
- News, GlobeSt., 1.16.18
- Dwayne McKenzie Featured In GlobeSt. Article - New CA State Workforce Laws Affect Workplace OperationsNews, GlobeSt., 1.12.18
- News, Daily Journal, 1.6.15
- News, Law 360, 4.25.14
- Press Release, CCN Press Release, 1.1.13
- Webinar, 3.9.21
- Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Sonoma, CA, 01/25/18-01/26/18
- Reception, SmokeHouse Restaurant, Burbank, California, 6.22.16
- Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2.12.15
- Client Alert, 12.5.23
- Governor Signs Legislation Enacting Significant Amendments to SB 35, Increasing Opportunities for Development of Multi-Family Housing (Part III)Client Alert, 11.28.23
- Governor Signs Legislation Enacting Significant Amendments to SB 35, Increasing Opportunities for Development of Multi-Family Housing (Part II)Client Alert, 11.21.23
- Governor Signs Legislation Enacting Significant Amendments to SB 35, Increasing Opportunities for Development of Multi-Family Housing (Part I)Client Alert, 11.17.23
- Governor Signs Important New Housing Legislation Allowing Residential Development on Commercial PropertiesClient Alert, 10.3.22
- Client Alert, 12.14.21
- Client Alert, 3.24.21
- Article, The Mann Report, 3.16.21
- Client Alert, 10.29.20
- Client Alert, 9.18.20
- Client Alert, 8.17.20
- Client Alert, 6.20.20
- Article, Daily Journal, 6.1.20
- Executive Order Establishes Rebuttable Presumption Regarding COVID-19 For Workers’ Compensation ClaimsClient Alert, 5.13.20
- Client Alert, 4.24.20
- Client Alert, 4.8.20
- Client Alert, 3.31.20
- Client Alert, 3.27.20
- Congress Passes Major COVID-19 Legislation Providing Emergency Family Medical and Sick Leave Rights to EmployeesClient Alert, 3.19.20
- Client Alert, 12.23.19
- Article, Hotel Executive, 12.15.19
- Client Alert, 9.25.19
- Client Alert, 9.12.19
- Dwayne McKenzie and Cathy Moses Featured In Commercial Property Executive Article - New California Laws To Affect CRE EmployersArticle, Commercial Property Executive, 3.12.19
- Article, 2.1.19
- Article, The Mann Report, 2.1.19
- Client Alert, 12.11.18
- California Supreme Court Adopts Simplified But Expansive “ABC Test” In Classifying Workers as Employees or Independent ContractorsClient Alert, 5.8.18
- Client Alert, 12.13.17
- Client Alert, 12.22.14
- Article, The Associated General Contractors of California, 11.24.14
- Client Alert, CCN Alert, 12.4.13
- Client Alert, CCN Client Alert, 11/21/2013
- Article, CCN Client Alert, 12.4.12
- Article, The Institutional Real Estate Letter – North America, July/August 2012
- Article, SCCA Magazine, July/August 2012
- California Supreme Court Issues Brinker Decision, Providing Much-Anticipated Guidance on Meal and Rest Period RequirementsArticle, California Centers Magazine, 5.9.12
- California Contractors State License Board Now Accepting Contractors License Applications By Limited Liability CompaniesClient Alert, CCN Client Alert, 2.1.12
- Client Alert, CCN Client Alert, 12.15.11
- A Watershed Expansion of California's Prevailing Wage Law Places Privately-Funded Developments and Construction at RiskArticle, Law Journal Newsletters: Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy (Volume 24, Number 3), September 2011
- U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Class Action Waivers In Arbitration Agreements - How This Ruling May Impact Arbitration Provisions In Your Employment, Sales And Other AgreementsClient Alert, CCN Client Alert, 5.2.11
- Court of Appeal Expands Reach of California’s Prevailing Wage Law to Cover Privately-Financed ConstructionClient Alert, CCN Client Alert, 1.4.11
- California Legislature Amends California’s Contractors’ State License Law To Allow Limited Liability Companies To Be Licensed As ContractorsClient Alert, CCN Client Alert, 10.18.10
- Client Alert, CCN Client Alert, 7.23.09
- American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 - Important COBRA Benefit And Administration AmendmentsClient Alert, CCN Client Alert, 2.26.09
Awards & Affiliations
Honors & Recognitions
LABJ's "Leaders in Law", Labor & Employment 2021 Attorney of the Year, Finalist
State Bar of California
Los Angeles County Bar Association
UCLA Law Review, Production Editor
Bar & 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
J.D., University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 1994, Order of the Coif
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1991