John Girarde

John P. Girarde

Senior Counsel


All the courts of the State of California

United States District Court, Northern, Central and Eastern Districts of California

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Recognitions
  • Affiliations
  • Publications
  • Education

As senior counsel in Murphy Pearson’s San Francisco office, John’s current practice consists of professional liability defense, business and complex litigation, construction litigation, and appeals. He is a Certified Specialist in the area of Legal Malpractice Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

John regularly defends attorneys and law firms, from solo practitioners to large national firms, in professional liability claims, including legal malpractice, malicious prosecution, fee disputes, State Bar issues, and third party tort claims arising from the practice of law.  He has represented clients in jury trials, as well as binding arbitrations, and appears extensively in both state and federal court.

In addition to representing lawyers, John has defended real estate professionals in professional liability actions with a high rate of success at winning dismissal in the pre-trial stage through dispositive motions.

John has brought more than 45 anti-SLAPP special motions to strike pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16 in both state and federal court, where he has enjoyed a high success rate on behalf of his clients. He has successfully handled dozens of appeals on anti-SLAPP motions, anti-SLAPP fee awards and motions to dismiss in both state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

With a broad general litigation practice, John has represented insurance companies and financial services firms in commercial disputes, hotel owners and operators in class action lawsuits involving claims arising from habitability violations and wrongful eviction, and general contractors in high-end residential and commercial construction in contract, lien, and construction defect disputes. For small- and mid-sized businesses across multiple industries, including construction, manufacturing, transportation and entertainment venues, John has handled disputes ranging from personal injury and premises liability to employment and breach of contact.

Representative Matters

  • Took over representation of landlord two months prior to trial in wrongful eviction class action involving 120 tenants of single-room occupancy hotel. After defeating class certification, proceeded with a two-week jury trial of individual claims in San Francisco Superior Court, with a favorable settlement achieved shortly before closing argument.
  • Defended a law firm and individual attorneys in a federal action alleging civil RICO, conspiracy, and fraud. After winning dismissal of the action through a series of motions to dismiss, defeated plaintiff’s appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. When plaintiff re-filed in San Francisco Superior Court, won dismissal of the action in the pre-pleading stage.
  • Defended the lessor/operator of a single-room occupancy hotel in a habitability class action involving 164 current and former tenants who sought more than $2 million in damages in San Francisco Superior Court. Negotiated a favorable pre-trial settlement for client during the class certification stage of the litigation.
  • Defended the nation’s largest equipment rental company in a civil rights action brought by a customer alleging anti-homosexual discrimination. Won summary judgment for client in San Francisco Superior Court, and then defeated plaintiff’s appeal in 1st District Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained a summary judgment for a general contractor in a construction litigation action. The cross-complainant, a sub-contractor, alleged an indemnity claim against the general contractor, contending that he was obligated to obtain and provide the subcontractor with accurate soil reports prior to commencement of work and bore responsibility for supervising and coordinating all project subcontractors regardless of whether the subcontractors were retained by the general contractor. Successfully argued that the indemnity claim did not owe a duty to the subcontractor because the responsibility and liability for work performed by an independent contractor remains at all times with the party who retained and controlled his activities.

Published Appellate Decisions

  • Trapp v. Naiman, 218 Cal.App.4th 113, 159 Cal.Rptr.3d 462, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, July 26, 2013
    [Attorney’s representation of client in post-foreclosure unlawful detainer action was protected under anti-SLAPP statute and litigation privilege]
  • Desert Outdoor Advertising v. The Superior Court of San Francisco City and County, 196 Cal.App.4th 866, 127 Cal.Rptr.3d 158, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division One, June 17, 2011
    [Attorney did not have duty to separately disclose and explain arbitration clause in engagement and fee agreement]
  • Ellis v. Toshiba Am. Info. Sys., Inc., 218 Cal.App.4th 853, Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division One, August 7, 2013
    [Affirming in part and reversing in part trial order regarding attorney fees in underlying class action]

Unpublished Appellate Decisions

  • Canatella v. Krieg Keller Sloan Reilly & Roman LLP (9th Cir. 2014) 575 F.App’x 795
    [Attorney reporting his opposing counsel’s misconduct the State Bar is protected by the Noerr-Pennington doctrine]
  • Hamilton v. Home Sales Inc. (9th Cir. 2014) 588 F.App’x 698
    [Affirming district court’s order granting attorney’s FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss FDCPA claims]
  • Lindquist v. Chapman (9th Cir. 2008) 263 F.App’x 559
    [Affirming district court’s order granting attorney’s FRCP 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss RICO action]
  • In re Ambac Bond Ins. Cases (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 4, 2016) No. A142632, 2016 WL 1304831
    [Granting appellate motion to dismiss appeal of trial court order on motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to CCP § 425.16(c)]
  • Sampson v. Nieto (Cal. Ct. App. June 15, 2015) No. A142947, 2015 WL 3658147
    [Affirming trial court’s order granting anti-SLAPP motion and fee award]
  • Velyvis v. MacConaghy (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 28, 2014) No. A141332, 2014 WL 5462288
    [Affirming anti-SLAPP fee award]
  • Jovaag v. Champion Mobile Notary (Cal. Ct. App. May 20, 2014) No. H039269, 2014 WL 2089939
    [Affirming trial court’s order granting anti-SLAPP motion and fee award]
  • Janus Servs. LLC v. Jovaag (Cal. Ct. App. June 18, 2013) No. H038232, 2013 WL 3009266
    [Affirming trial court’s order granting anti-SLAPP motion and fee award]
  • Jovaag v. Ott (Cal. Ct. App. July 22, 2013) No. H038468, 2013 WL 3811179
    [Affirming trial court’s order granting anti-SLAPP motion and fee award]
  • Fort v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2014) No. E056053, 2014 WL 4521594
    [Affirming trial court’s order granting anti-SLAPP motion and fee award]
  • Pahl & McCay v. Moody (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 9, 2011) No. H035365, 2011 WL 3524308
    [Affirming trial court’s order denying anti-SLAPP motion]
  • W. Bay Builders Inc. v. Standard Elevator Co. (Cal. Ct. App. July 22, 2011) No. A126187, 2011 WL 2976847
    [Affirming trial court’s order granting anti-SLAPP motion and fee award]
  • Selected for inclusion as a Northern California Super Lawyer in the area of Professional Liability Defense (2013 – present)
  • California Lawyers Association, Litigation Section
  • American Bar Association
  • West Coast Casualty conference, regular participant

J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law

B.A., Political Science, Minor in History, University of California, Davis