Education

  • University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, Comments Editor, UCLA Law Review, 2016
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. summa cum laude, Anthropology and French, 2013

Admissions

  • California, 2016
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T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: ctrapani@rbgg.com

Cara Trapani is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  She works on complex litigation and prelitigation matters, with an emphasis on civil rights, disability rights, employment, and business at the trial court and appellate levels in federal and state court. 

Prior to joining RBGG, Ms. Trapani served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2016-2017).  Full bio »

vCard icon

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

Cara Trapani is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  She works on complex litigation and prelitigation matters, with an emphasis on civil rights, disability rights, employment, and business at the trial court and appellate levels in federal and state court. 

Prior to joining RBGG, Ms. Trapani served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2016-2017).  Ms. Trapani received a J.D., Order of the Coif, from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, with specializations from the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and the Critical Race Studies Program.  

During law school, Ms. Trapani served as a Comments Editor on the UCLA Law Review.  She also participated in UCLA Law’s Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, where she advocated on behalf of prisoners in Los Angeles County jails, and the Youth and Justice Clinic, where she worked to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline.  Ms. Trapani received a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Coleman v. NewsomRBGG represents a class of the more than 38,000 men and women in California’s prison system with serious mental illness. After a contested trial, the district court held that the prison mental health delivery system violates the Eighth Amendment and ordered systemwide injunctive relief. See Coleman v. Wilson, 912 F. Supp. 1282 (E.D. Cal. 1995).  The court determined that the constitutional violations remain ongoing in 2013 after the State attempted to terminate the injunction. See Coleman v. Brown, 938 F. Supp. 2d 955 (E.D. Cal. 2013). Through hard-fought litigation over the last two decades, RBGG has secured a number of significant systemic changes on behalf of the class, including reforms to policies and practices regarding the use of force against prisoners with mental illness, as well as the overuse and misuse of solitary confinement. See Coleman v. Brown, 28 F. Supp. 3d 1068 (E.D. Cal. 2014). On November 28, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued two unanimous rulings affirming lower court decisions on behalf of the class.  The Court dismissed the State’s appeal of an April 2017 order because the district court had not granted or modified an injunction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1) in requiring the State to comply with prior orders to transfer class members to inpatient care in a timely fashion, nor had it issued a final order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 because contempt proceedings remained ongoing.  See Coleman v. Brown, 743 Fed. Appx. 875 (9th Cir. 2018).  The Court separately upheld a  October 2017 order on the merits, ruling that district court complied with the Constitution and the Prison Litigation Reform Act in holding the State to its twenty-four hour timeframe to transfer patients in mental health crisis to licensed hospital settings, as longer waits “create ‘a substantial risk of serious harm’” in violation of the Eighth Amendment.  Coleman v. Brown, 756 Fed. Appx. 677 (9th Cir. 2018) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 828 (1994)).  These appellate victories ensure timely access to critically needed psychiatric inpatient hospitalization for the members of the Coleman class, and the State’s compliance with the inpatient transfer timelines has dramatically improved in the wake of the rulings.  For more information see Coleman v. Brown: Court Orders, Reports, Photos, Expert Declarations and Media Coverage.
  • 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.
  • Rena Wyman v. High Times Productions, Inc. and California Exposition and State Fair:  RBGG filed this federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of California in September 2018 (Case No. 18-cv-02621-TLN-EFB) on behalf of a wheelchair user who has experienced accessibility barriers at High Times’s Cannabis Cup festivals.  We seek damages and injunctive relief under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and California disability access laws.  

Honors & Awards

  • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award, 2020
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2019-2021 Rising Star

Admissions

  • California, 2016

Professional Experience

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Harry Pregerson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2016-2017

Cara Trapani is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  She works on complex litigation and prelitigation matters, with an emphasis on civil rights, disability rights, employment, and business at the trial court and appellate levels in federal and state court. 

Prior to joining RBGG, Ms. Trapani served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2016-2017).  Ms. Trapani received a J.D., Order of the Coif, from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, with specializations from the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and the Critical Race Studies Program.  

During law school, Ms. Trapani served as a Comments Editor on the UCLA Law Review.  She also participated in UCLA Law’s Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, where she advocated on behalf of prisoners in Los Angeles County jails, and the Youth and Justice Clinic, where she worked to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline.  Ms. Trapani received a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Coleman v. NewsomRBGG represents a class of the more than 38,000 men and women in California’s prison system with serious mental illness. After a contested trial, the district court held that the prison mental health delivery system violates the Eighth Amendment and ordered systemwide injunctive relief. See Coleman v. Wilson, 912 F. Supp. 1282 (E.D. Cal. 1995).  The court determined that the constitutional violations remain ongoing in 2013 after the State attempted to terminate the injunction. See Coleman v. Brown, 938 F. Supp. 2d 955 (E.D. Cal. 2013). Through hard-fought litigation over the last two decades, RBGG has secured a number of significant systemic changes on behalf of the class, including reforms to policies and practices regarding the use of force against prisoners with mental illness, as well as the overuse and misuse of solitary confinement. See Coleman v. Brown, 28 F. Supp. 3d 1068 (E.D. Cal. 2014). On November 28, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued two unanimous rulings affirming lower court decisions on behalf of the class.  The Court dismissed the State’s appeal of an April 2017 order because the district court had not granted or modified an injunction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1) in requiring the State to comply with prior orders to transfer class members to inpatient care in a timely fashion, nor had it issued a final order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 because contempt proceedings remained ongoing.  See Coleman v. Brown, 743 Fed. Appx. 875 (9th Cir. 2018).  The Court separately upheld a  October 2017 order on the merits, ruling that district court complied with the Constitution and the Prison Litigation Reform Act in holding the State to its twenty-four hour timeframe to transfer patients in mental health crisis to licensed hospital settings, as longer waits “create ‘a substantial risk of serious harm’” in violation of the Eighth Amendment.  Coleman v. Brown, 756 Fed. Appx. 677 (9th Cir. 2018) (quoting Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 828 (1994)).  These appellate victories ensure timely access to critically needed psychiatric inpatient hospitalization for the members of the Coleman class, and the State’s compliance with the inpatient transfer timelines has dramatically improved in the wake of the rulings.  For more information see Coleman v. Brown: Court Orders, Reports, Photos, Expert Declarations and Media Coverage.
  • 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.
  • Rena Wyman v. High Times Productions, Inc. and California Exposition and State Fair:  RBGG filed this federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of California in September 2018 (Case No. 18-cv-02621-TLN-EFB) on behalf of a wheelchair user who has experienced accessibility barriers at High Times’s Cannabis Cup festivals.  We seek damages and injunctive relief under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and California disability access laws.  

Education

  • University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, Comments Editor, UCLA Law Review, 2016
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. summa cum laude, Anthropology and French, 2013

Honors & Awards

  • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award, 2020
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2019-2021 Rising Star

Publications

  • A significant blow to firms looking to arbitrate discrimination claims,” Daily Journal (January 21, 202)
  • Securities Law Techniques, Chapter 119: Internal investigations, Lexis Nexis Publishing Co. (Fall 2018)
  • “Police officer sexual misconduct: an urgent call to action in a context disproportionately threatening women of color,” 32 Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice 153 (2016)
  • A significant blow to firms looking to arbitrate discrimination claims,” Daily Journal (January 21, 202)
  • Securities Law Techniques, Chapter 119: Internal investigations, Lexis Nexis Publishing Co. (Fall 2018)
  • “Police officer sexual misconduct: an urgent call to action in a context disproportionately threatening women of color,” 32 Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice 153 (2016)