Education

  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), J.D., 2008. Executive Editor, California Law Review
  • University of California, Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy, M.P.P., 2004
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.A., with Highest Honors, in Government, 1999

Admissions

  • California, 2008
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T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: vswearingen@rbgg.com

Van Swearingen is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP. His practice focuses on complex civil litigation, employment law, civil rights issues, attorneys’ fees applications, and appellate matters. He has litigation experience in a variety of substantive areas, including constitutional law, business disputes concerning breach of contract, fraud, trade secrets, unfair business practices, malpractice, and employment disputes. Full bio »

vCard icon

Download vCard
T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: vswearingen@rbgg.com

Van Swearingen is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP. His practice focuses on complex civil litigation, employment law, civil rights issues, attorneys’ fees applications, and appellate matters. He has litigation experience in a variety of substantive areas, including constitutional law, business disputes concerning breach of contract, fraud, trade secrets, unfair business practices, malpractice, and employment disputes.

Mr. Swearingen previously worked as a litigation associate at Sidley Austin LLP, where his practice focused on complex civil litigation, internal investigations, securities matters, and antitrust issues. He was also active in the firm’s pro bono efforts, including its representation of death row prisoners.

Mr. Swearingen received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2008, where he was Executive Editor of the California Law Review. He participated on Boalt’s moot court team, and won the Best Brief award at the 2008 National Animal Advocacy Competition. Mr. Swearingen holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a B.A. in Government, with Highest Honors, from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to entering legal practice, Mr. Swearingen conducted statistical and public policy analysis for the Public Policy Institute of California, the Congressional Budget Office, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Swearingen received a California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) award in 2016, and was named a Northern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016.  He is an Associate Member of the Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Sassman v. Brown and Berman v. Brown:  RBGG brought two Equal Protection Clause challenges to California’s Alternative Custody Program (ACP), a voluntary program that allows certain female low-level prisoners to serve up to the last 24 months of their sentences in the community in lieu of confinement in state prison.  RBGG demonstrated that allowing qualified male inmates to also participate in the ACP is not only required by the Fourteenth Amendment, but will also benefit children and families, reduce recidivism, and save the State money.  In 2014, the Sassman court found it likely that California illegally discriminates on the basis of gender by excluding males from the ACP.  See Sassman v. Brown, 73 F.Supp.3d 1241 (E.D. Cal. 2014).  In ruling for RBGG’s client on cross-motions for summary judgment, the court in 2015 permanently enjoined the State from enforcing the female-only provisions of California Penal Code § 1170.05(a) and ordered Defendants to immediately accept male applicants if they are otherwise eligible.  Mr. Sassman and a number of other male former prisoners are now free and participating in the ACP.  See Sassman v. Brown, 99 F. Supp. 3d 1223 (E.D. Cal. 2015). 
  • Public Records Act Client v. County Government: RBGG obtained a favorable settlement for a client who was entitled to attorneys’ fees arising out of its successful California Public Records Act litigation against a county government.
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey: We sued the County of Monterey and its private medical provider, California Forensic Medical Group, challenging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the County’s Jail, a system plagued by severe overcrowding, outdated facilities, and chronic understaffing.  In 2014, we defeated the defendants’ motions to dismiss and obtained a unique ruling holding that our clients could assert ADA Title III claims against the Jail’s private medical provider.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014).  The federal court subsequently certified a class of the approximately 950 prisoners in the Jail, along with a sub-class of prisoners with disabilities.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  On April 14, 2015, the court granted a sweeping preliminary injunction on behalf of the class and sub-class, finding rampant violations of the Constitution and federal law.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  The court approved the parties’ settlement on August 18, 2015, which requires defendants to comply with the requirements of the preliminary injunction and to develop and implement a comprehensive set of plans to enhance services at the Jail.  In November 2015, the Court approved a $4.8 million dollar award of fees and costs to counsel for the plaintiff class.
  • Start Up v. Law Firm: RBGG secured a confidential settlement for its client, a start-up company, for claims that its patent counsel had failed to protect its intellectual property rights by missing a major filing deadline.
  • Ramirez v. Ghilotti Bros.: In this complex class action on behalf of laborers alleging wage and hour violations against a major construction company, we obtained final approval of a $950,000 settlement with injunctive relief for the class. We also defeated company supervisors’ claims that they should share in the settlement, even though they had perpetrated the alleged wage and hour violations against class members. Before the settlement was reached, we obtained a conditional certification of Fair Labor Standards Act claims and a published decision striking all of the defendant’s affirmative defenses. See Ramirez v. Ghilotti Bros., Inc., 941 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (N.D. Cal. 2013).

Honors & Awards

  • California Lawyer of the Year, 2016, California Lawyer Magazine
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2015-2016 Rising Star

Admissions

  • California, 2008

Professional Experience

  • Associate, Sidley Austin LLP, 2008-2014

Van Swearingen is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP. His practice focuses on complex civil litigation, employment law, civil rights issues, attorneys’ fees applications, and appellate matters. He has litigation experience in a variety of substantive areas, including constitutional law, business disputes concerning breach of contract, fraud, trade secrets, unfair business practices, malpractice, and employment disputes.

Mr. Swearingen previously worked as a litigation associate at Sidley Austin LLP, where his practice focused on complex civil litigation, internal investigations, securities matters, and antitrust issues. He was also active in the firm’s pro bono efforts, including its representation of death row prisoners.

Mr. Swearingen received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2008, where he was Executive Editor of the California Law Review. He participated on Boalt’s moot court team, and won the Best Brief award at the 2008 National Animal Advocacy Competition. Mr. Swearingen holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a B.A. in Government, with Highest Honors, from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to entering legal practice, Mr. Swearingen conducted statistical and public policy analysis for the Public Policy Institute of California, the Congressional Budget Office, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Swearingen received a California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) award in 2016, and was named a Northern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016.  He is an Associate Member of the Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Sassman v. Brown and Berman v. Brown:  RBGG brought two Equal Protection Clause challenges to California’s Alternative Custody Program (ACP), a voluntary program that allows certain female low-level prisoners to serve up to the last 24 months of their sentences in the community in lieu of confinement in state prison.  RBGG demonstrated that allowing qualified male inmates to also participate in the ACP is not only required by the Fourteenth Amendment, but will also benefit children and families, reduce recidivism, and save the State money.  In 2014, the Sassman court found it likely that California illegally discriminates on the basis of gender by excluding males from the ACP.  See Sassman v. Brown, 73 F.Supp.3d 1241 (E.D. Cal. 2014).  In ruling for RBGG’s client on cross-motions for summary judgment, the court in 2015 permanently enjoined the State from enforcing the female-only provisions of California Penal Code § 1170.05(a) and ordered Defendants to immediately accept male applicants if they are otherwise eligible.  Mr. Sassman and a number of other male former prisoners are now free and participating in the ACP.  See Sassman v. Brown, 99 F. Supp. 3d 1223 (E.D. Cal. 2015). 
  • Public Records Act Client v. County Government: RBGG obtained a favorable settlement for a client who was entitled to attorneys’ fees arising out of its successful California Public Records Act litigation against a county government.
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey: We sued the County of Monterey and its private medical provider, California Forensic Medical Group, challenging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the County’s Jail, a system plagued by severe overcrowding, outdated facilities, and chronic understaffing.  In 2014, we defeated the defendants’ motions to dismiss and obtained a unique ruling holding that our clients could assert ADA Title III claims against the Jail’s private medical provider.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014).  The federal court subsequently certified a class of the approximately 950 prisoners in the Jail, along with a sub-class of prisoners with disabilities.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  On April 14, 2015, the court granted a sweeping preliminary injunction on behalf of the class and sub-class, finding rampant violations of the Constitution and federal law.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  The court approved the parties’ settlement on August 18, 2015, which requires defendants to comply with the requirements of the preliminary injunction and to develop and implement a comprehensive set of plans to enhance services at the Jail.  In November 2015, the Court approved a $4.8 million dollar award of fees and costs to counsel for the plaintiff class.
  • Start Up v. Law Firm: RBGG secured a confidential settlement for its client, a start-up company, for claims that its patent counsel had failed to protect its intellectual property rights by missing a major filing deadline.
  • Ramirez v. Ghilotti Bros.: In this complex class action on behalf of laborers alleging wage and hour violations against a major construction company, we obtained final approval of a $950,000 settlement with injunctive relief for the class. We also defeated company supervisors’ claims that they should share in the settlement, even though they had perpetrated the alleged wage and hour violations against class members. Before the settlement was reached, we obtained a conditional certification of Fair Labor Standards Act claims and a published decision striking all of the defendant’s affirmative defenses. See Ramirez v. Ghilotti Bros., Inc., 941 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (N.D. Cal. 2013).

Education

  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), J.D., 2008. Executive Editor, California Law Review
  • University of California, Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy, M.P.P., 2004
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.A., with Highest Honors, in Government, 1999

Honors & Awards

  • California Lawyer of the Year, 2016, California Lawyer Magazine
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2015-2016 Rising Star

Publications