Education

  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1997
  • University of California at Berkeley, A.B., with highest distinction, 1985

Admissions

  • California, 1998
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: egalvan@rbgg.com

Ernest Galvan is a partner at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  He assists clients in difficult and complex matters involving actual or potential litigation.  Mr. Galvan has worked with clients to resolve a wide range of problems, including business formation and dissolution, commercial disputes, employment law matters, disability access compliance, and attorney fee disputes.

Mr. Galvan’s practice includes both trial and appellate matters.  He has successfully briefed and argued cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of California. Full bio »

vCard icon

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

Ernest Galvan is a partner at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  He assists clients in difficult and complex matters involving actual or potential litigation.  Mr. Galvan has worked with clients to resolve a wide range of problems, including business formation and dissolution, commercial disputes, employment law matters, disability access compliance, and attorney fee disputes.

Mr. Galvan’s practice includes both trial and appellate matters.  He has successfully briefed and argued cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of California.

Mr. Galvan is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and of Yale Law School.  He served as a law clerk to Judge Dean D. Pregerson of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Mr. Galvan has spoken on constitutional law and policy issues at hearings, seminars and conferences presented by the California State Assembly, the American Constitution Society, George Washington University Law School, Boalt Hall School of Law, Georgetown Law Center, and Yale Law School.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Sterling Park v. City of Palo Alto: The California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision cementing our land developer client’s rights to proper notice and an opportunity to be heard when local governments impose special requirements on housing developments. See Sterling Park, L.P v. City of Palo Alto, 57 Cal. 4th 1193 (2013). We later represented the same client in a writ petition to the Court of Appeal arising out of the trial court’s subsequent denial of summary judgment on a statute of limitations issue. The case then settled for a significant sum.
  • Retired Employees Association of Orange County v. Orange County: Mr. Galvan argued this case, in which the court ruled in his client’s favor by holding that government employers must abide by their contracts for retirement benefits. See Retired Employees Assoc. of Orange County v. Orange County, 52 Cal. 4th 1171 (2011).
  • Fabio Petrolino v. City and County of San Francisco:  RBGG represents the children, mother, and siblings of Alberto Petrolino, who was arrested after threatening to commit suicide and taken to the County’s jail, rather than a psychiatric hospital, where, despite his family’s warnings, he was placed in regular housing with no suicide precautions and denied access to mental health treatment.  Three days later, Alberto committed suicide by hanging himself in a shower stall.  On June 2, 2016, we filed a federal civil rights action alleging that Alberto’s death was preventable were it not for the deliberate indifference of the arresting officer and jail personnel, and inadequate policies and practices at the jail.
  • Blanks v. AMC Entertainment, Inc.:  The firm represents the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the California Council of the Blind, and five blind individuals in a class action challenging AMC’s failure to provide reliable and effective access to audio description services at its theaters across the United States as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Audio description is provided through an audio track that provides verbal descriptions of key visual aspects of films during pauses in dialogue and is synchronized with playback of the movie.  Many AMC theaters are equipped to provide audio description services, but blind and low-vision individuals are often unable to access the service at AMC theaters due to poor staff training and malfunctioning equipment.
  • Valdivia v. Davis: RBGG secured a permanent injunction against the State based on a federal court’s finding that delays in its parole revocation process violated due process protections. See Valdivia v. Davis, 206 F. Supp. 2d 1068 (2002). Mr. Galvan convinced the Ninth Circuit to affirm a subsequent district court order holding that federal due process rights concerning admission of hearsay evidence apply to state administrative procedures. See Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 548 F. Supp. 2d 852 (E.D. Cal. 2008), aff’d 599 F.3d 984 (9th Cir. 2010), denied, 131 S. Ct. 1626 (2011).
  • Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger: RBGG established its publisher client’s First Amendment right to send books and magazines into state institutions. We also secured a substantial fee award for our work, which we successfully defended on appeal. See Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger, 561 F. Supp. 2d 1096 (N.D. Cal. 2008), and 608 F.3d 446 (9th Cir. 2010).
  • Prison Legal News v. Sacramento County: The firm secured its publisher client’s First Amendment rights to reach readers in county jails.
  • Prison Legal News v. Ventura County:  We established our publisher client’s First Amendment rights to reach its readers by successfully challenging an unlawful jail policy limiting incoming mail to postcards.
  • Fry v. City of Los Angeles: Since 2012, the firm has represented the Los Angeles Retired Firefighters and Police Association in a writ proceeding to restore adjustable retirement health benefits that the City of Los Angeles froze by ordinance in 2011. After prevailing in the trial court, partner Ernest Galvan and associate Jenny Yelin briefed and argued the case in the Court of Appeals. In 2016, the Court of Appeals ruled that the City Council should revisit adjustments to the health benefit annually, and remanded the matter to the superior court for further proceedings.
  • In re E.J.: Mr. Galvan briefed and argued this challenge to a ballot initiative under California constitutional law. See In re E.J., 47 Cal. 4th 1258 (2010).
  • Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Company: RBGG secured a unanimous affirmance of our clients’ entitlement to a substantial award for workplace harassment, including a punitive damages award. See Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 137 Cal. App. 4th 204 (2006).
  • Armstrong v. Brown: In a series of appeals, RBGG established that California is responsible for taking steps to ensure the rights of prisoners and parolees with disabilities are accommodated when it chooses to house them in third-party county jail facilities. See Armstrong v. Brown, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013), cert denied, 134 S. Ct. 2725 (2014), and 622 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2010). We also secured an order finding that a rate increase for work performed by RBGG and its cocounsel on behalf of the plaintiff class was reasonable and awarding the full amount of requested fees with interest. See Armstrong v. Brown, 805 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal. 2011).
  • Coleman v. Brown/Plata v. Brown: In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that overcrowding in California’s prisons resulted in cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court affirmed a January 2010 order issued by a three-judge federal court after an extensive trial directing California officials to reduce the State’s severe prison overcrowding down to 137.5% of design capacity. The order was issued after the judges found that overcrowding is the primary cause of ongoing unconstitutional conditions in California’s prisons, such as the system’s inability to provide minimally adequate medical and mental health care for prisoners.  See Brown v. Plata, 131 S. Ct. 1910 (2011).
  • 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.
  • Estate of Nunuha v. State of Hawaii: RBGG represented the mother and son of Bronson Nunuha, a young Hawaii prisoner who was brutally murdered at a Corrections Corporation of America private prison in Arizona, when two prison gang members entered his unlocked cell and stabbed him to death. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the death was preventable were it not for the prison’s inadequate security policies and practices, and the State of Hawaii’s lack of oversight. We obtained a confidential settlement in the case.
  • Estate of Medina v. State of Hawaii: RBGG represented the mother, sister, and two aunts of Clifford Medina, a young developmentally disabled Hawaii prisoner who was murdered by his cellmate at a Corrections Corporation of America private prison in Arizona, less than four months after Bronson Nunuha was killed in the same housing unit. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that custody staff ignored clear warning signs that Clifford Medina was in danger, including threats made by the killer the day before the murder. We obtained a confidential settlement in the case.
  • Software Consulting Vendor v. Fortune 500 Technology Company:  We provided advice and counselling to a software consulting vendor in confidential disputes over deliverables and payments under a complex set of consulting agreements.

Published Decisions

  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015)
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015)
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014)
  • Brown v. Plata, 131 S. Ct. 1910 (2011)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013), cert denied, 134 S. Ct. 2725 (2014)
  • Sterling Park, L.P v. City of Palo Alto, 57 Cal. 4th 1193 (2013)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 939 F. Supp. 2d 1012 (N.D. Cal. 2013)
  • Coleman v. Brown, 938 F. Supp. 2d 955 (E.D. Cal. 2013)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 857 F. Supp. 2d 919 (N.D. Cal. 2012)
  • Valdivia v. Brown, 848 F. Supp. 2d 1141 (E.D. Cal. 2011)
  • Retired Employees Association of Orange County v. Orange County, 52 Cal. 4th 1171 (2011)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 805 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal. 2011)
  • Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger, 608 F. 3d 446 (9th Cir. 2010)
  • Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 599 F. 3d 984 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 1626 (2011)
  • In re E.J., 47 Cal. 4th 1258 (2010)
  • Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 548 F. Supp. 2d 852 (E.D. Cal. 2008)
  • Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 137 Cal. App. 4th 204 (2006)

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers of America, 2013-2017, for Appellate Practice and Civil Rights
  • California Lawyer of the Year, 2012, California Lawyer Magazine
  • Top Verdicts of 2011, San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2010-2016

Education

  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1997
  • University of California at Berkeley, A.B., with highest distinction, 1985

Admissions

  • California, 1998
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Experience

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 1997-1998

Ernest Galvan is a partner at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  He assists clients in difficult and complex matters involving actual or potential litigation.  Mr. Galvan has worked with clients to resolve a wide range of problems, including business formation and dissolution, commercial disputes, employment law matters, disability access compliance, and attorney fee disputes.

Mr. Galvan’s practice includes both trial and appellate matters.  He has successfully briefed and argued cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of California.

Mr. Galvan is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and of Yale Law School.  He served as a law clerk to Judge Dean D. Pregerson of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Mr. Galvan has spoken on constitutional law and policy issues at hearings, seminars and conferences presented by the California State Assembly, the American Constitution Society, George Washington University Law School, Boalt Hall School of Law, Georgetown Law Center, and Yale Law School.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Sterling Park v. City of Palo Alto: The California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision cementing our land developer client’s rights to proper notice and an opportunity to be heard when local governments impose special requirements on housing developments. See Sterling Park, L.P v. City of Palo Alto, 57 Cal. 4th 1193 (2013). We later represented the same client in a writ petition to the Court of Appeal arising out of the trial court’s subsequent denial of summary judgment on a statute of limitations issue. The case then settled for a significant sum.
  • Retired Employees Association of Orange County v. Orange County: Mr. Galvan argued this case, in which the court ruled in his client’s favor by holding that government employers must abide by their contracts for retirement benefits. See Retired Employees Assoc. of Orange County v. Orange County, 52 Cal. 4th 1171 (2011).
  • Fabio Petrolino v. City and County of San Francisco:  RBGG represents the children, mother, and siblings of Alberto Petrolino, who was arrested after threatening to commit suicide and taken to the County’s jail, rather than a psychiatric hospital, where, despite his family’s warnings, he was placed in regular housing with no suicide precautions and denied access to mental health treatment.  Three days later, Alberto committed suicide by hanging himself in a shower stall.  On June 2, 2016, we filed a federal civil rights action alleging that Alberto’s death was preventable were it not for the deliberate indifference of the arresting officer and jail personnel, and inadequate policies and practices at the jail.
  • Blanks v. AMC Entertainment, Inc.:  The firm represents the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the California Council of the Blind, and five blind individuals in a class action challenging AMC’s failure to provide reliable and effective access to audio description services at its theaters across the United States as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Audio description is provided through an audio track that provides verbal descriptions of key visual aspects of films during pauses in dialogue and is synchronized with playback of the movie.  Many AMC theaters are equipped to provide audio description services, but blind and low-vision individuals are often unable to access the service at AMC theaters due to poor staff training and malfunctioning equipment.
  • Valdivia v. Davis: RBGG secured a permanent injunction against the State based on a federal court’s finding that delays in its parole revocation process violated due process protections. See Valdivia v. Davis, 206 F. Supp. 2d 1068 (2002). Mr. Galvan convinced the Ninth Circuit to affirm a subsequent district court order holding that federal due process rights concerning admission of hearsay evidence apply to state administrative procedures. See Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 548 F. Supp. 2d 852 (E.D. Cal. 2008), aff’d 599 F.3d 984 (9th Cir. 2010), denied, 131 S. Ct. 1626 (2011).
  • Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger: RBGG established its publisher client’s First Amendment right to send books and magazines into state institutions. We also secured a substantial fee award for our work, which we successfully defended on appeal. See Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger, 561 F. Supp. 2d 1096 (N.D. Cal. 2008), and 608 F.3d 446 (9th Cir. 2010).
  • Prison Legal News v. Sacramento County: The firm secured its publisher client’s First Amendment rights to reach readers in county jails.
  • Prison Legal News v. Ventura County:  We established our publisher client’s First Amendment rights to reach its readers by successfully challenging an unlawful jail policy limiting incoming mail to postcards.
  • Fry v. City of Los Angeles: Since 2012, the firm has represented the Los Angeles Retired Firefighters and Police Association in a writ proceeding to restore adjustable retirement health benefits that the City of Los Angeles froze by ordinance in 2011. After prevailing in the trial court, partner Ernest Galvan and associate Jenny Yelin briefed and argued the case in the Court of Appeals. In 2016, the Court of Appeals ruled that the City Council should revisit adjustments to the health benefit annually, and remanded the matter to the superior court for further proceedings.
  • In re E.J.: Mr. Galvan briefed and argued this challenge to a ballot initiative under California constitutional law. See In re E.J., 47 Cal. 4th 1258 (2010).
  • Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Company: RBGG secured a unanimous affirmance of our clients’ entitlement to a substantial award for workplace harassment, including a punitive damages award. See Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 137 Cal. App. 4th 204 (2006).
  • Armstrong v. Brown: In a series of appeals, RBGG established that California is responsible for taking steps to ensure the rights of prisoners and parolees with disabilities are accommodated when it chooses to house them in third-party county jail facilities. See Armstrong v. Brown, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013), cert denied, 134 S. Ct. 2725 (2014), and 622 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2010). We also secured an order finding that a rate increase for work performed by RBGG and its cocounsel on behalf of the plaintiff class was reasonable and awarding the full amount of requested fees with interest. See Armstrong v. Brown, 805 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal. 2011).
  • Coleman v. Brown/Plata v. Brown: In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that overcrowding in California’s prisons resulted in cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court affirmed a January 2010 order issued by a three-judge federal court after an extensive trial directing California officials to reduce the State’s severe prison overcrowding down to 137.5% of design capacity. The order was issued after the judges found that overcrowding is the primary cause of ongoing unconstitutional conditions in California’s prisons, such as the system’s inability to provide minimally adequate medical and mental health care for prisoners.  See Brown v. Plata, 131 S. Ct. 1910 (2011).
  • 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.
  • Estate of Nunuha v. State of Hawaii: RBGG represented the mother and son of Bronson Nunuha, a young Hawaii prisoner who was brutally murdered at a Corrections Corporation of America private prison in Arizona, when two prison gang members entered his unlocked cell and stabbed him to death. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the death was preventable were it not for the prison’s inadequate security policies and practices, and the State of Hawaii’s lack of oversight. We obtained a confidential settlement in the case.
  • Estate of Medina v. State of Hawaii: RBGG represented the mother, sister, and two aunts of Clifford Medina, a young developmentally disabled Hawaii prisoner who was murdered by his cellmate at a Corrections Corporation of America private prison in Arizona, less than four months after Bronson Nunuha was killed in the same housing unit. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that custody staff ignored clear warning signs that Clifford Medina was in danger, including threats made by the killer the day before the murder. We obtained a confidential settlement in the case.
  • Software Consulting Vendor v. Fortune 500 Technology Company:  We provided advice and counselling to a software consulting vendor in confidential disputes over deliverables and payments under a complex set of consulting agreements.

Published Decisions

  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015)
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015)
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014)
  • Brown v. Plata, 131 S. Ct. 1910 (2011)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013), cert denied, 134 S. Ct. 2725 (2014)
  • Sterling Park, L.P v. City of Palo Alto, 57 Cal. 4th 1193 (2013)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 939 F. Supp. 2d 1012 (N.D. Cal. 2013)
  • Coleman v. Brown, 938 F. Supp. 2d 955 (E.D. Cal. 2013)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 857 F. Supp. 2d 919 (N.D. Cal. 2012)
  • Valdivia v. Brown, 848 F. Supp. 2d 1141 (E.D. Cal. 2011)
  • Retired Employees Association of Orange County v. Orange County, 52 Cal. 4th 1171 (2011)
  • Armstrong v. Brown, 805 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal. 2011)
  • Prison Legal News v. Schwarzenegger, 608 F. 3d 446 (9th Cir. 2010)
  • Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 599 F. 3d 984 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 1626 (2011)
  • In re E.J., 47 Cal. 4th 1258 (2010)
  • Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 548 F. Supp. 2d 852 (E.D. Cal. 2008)
  • Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 137 Cal. App. 4th 204 (2006)

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers of America, 2013-2017, for Appellate Practice and Civil Rights
  • California Lawyer of the Year, 2012, California Lawyer Magazine
  • Top Verdicts of 2011, San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2010-2016

Publications

Presentations

  • American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, UCLA, “The Constitution Behind Bars, The Case of California’s Overcrowded Prisons,” March 11, 2009
  • California State Assembly, Budget Subcommittee, February 24, 2009
  • Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, California, February 11, 2009
Full list of presentations »
  • American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, UCLA, “The Constitution Behind Bars, The Case of California’s Overcrowded Prisons,” March 11, 2009
  • California State Assembly, Budget Subcommittee, February 24, 2009
  • Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, California, February 11, 2009
  • Crosscurrents, KALW San Francisco, “Prison Overcrowding on Trial,” February 2, 2009
  • Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, California, December 22, 2008
  • George Washington University Law School, Prison Litigation Workshop, March 2008
  • “Which Way LA?, Unintended Consequences of a Crackdown on Sex Crime,” January 16, 2008
  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall, Prisoner Reentry Seminar, 2007
  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall, Seminar on Civil Rights Actions, 2007
  • Author and Presenter: “California Police Misconduct and Institutional Reform Litigation, Systemic Equitable Relief,” Lorman Continuing Legal Education Program, 2005