Professional Experience

Thomas Madruga is a Senior Partner with Olivarez Madruga Lemieux O’Neill. Mr. Madruga oversees the firm’s litigation practice. His litigation experience includes a broad range of clients and issues and provides a unique ability to proactively counsel and advise private and public clients away from costly litigation. Mr. Madruga has resolved cases through mediation, arbitration, dispositive motions, jury trials and appeals on behalf of clients in employment matters, catastrophic injury matters, product liability, excessive force and police practices, premises liability, discrimination claims, civil rights violations, asbestos exposures, legal malpractice, general liability, construction law, wage and hour class actions, administrative disciplinary matters and appeals and insurance law.

Mr. Madruga also serves as general counsel to several school districts and Assistant City Attorney to municipalities and routinely provides legal advice on administrative and disciplinary personnel matters, grievances, contract and labor negotiations, and representation before the federal state and regulatory agencies, including the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Mr. Madruga has an “AV” Attorney Rating from Martindale Hubbell. An “AV” rating is the “highest level of legal ability” and “very high adherence to professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence.” The rating is the product of review and evaluation by lawyers and judges with personal knowledge of the skills, ability, and standards of the individual. He has also been selected as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007. Mr. Madruga’s trial skills have been recognized by state and national peer groups, bar associations and media outlets.

Mr. Madruga frequently lectures and presents at seminars, associations and law schools. He is also an approved MCLE Provider by the California State Bar.

Selected Representative Matters

  • Compton Unified School District v. UC Regents.  Counsel for Compton Unified School District, involving a challenge to the use of the SAT / ACT within the California public school system.
  • Lead counsel for City of San Buenaventura in the Thomas FireConsolidated Cases.  Defended the City of San Buenaventura in the largest California wildfire costing more than $2.2 billion in damages caused by the fire.
  • Lopez v. City of Inglewood. Defended City and four police officers in a wrongful death/civil rights (42 U.S.C. § 1983) / battery action in the death of a suspect under the influence of Methamphetamine involving allegations of restraint and positional asphyxiation. The case settled after seven days of a jury trial.
  • Lynch v. Los Angeles Community College District.Defense verdict on behalf of the District in an age discrimination, failure to prevent age discrimination matter, and allegation of retaliation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act matter involving an 89 year old adjunct professor. The case was tried to a defense verdict.
  • Burnside v. Compton Unified School District.Represented the District and obtained favorable summary judgment in a matter where former Superintendent alleged breach of employment contract, and claims of race, age, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and creation of hostile work environment.
  • LACCD v. HOK / SDI, et al.  Defended, and obtained a favorable result, on behalf of the Los Angeles Community College District in a $44 million construction project/dispute involving architectural design issues and delay damages.
  • APM v. EMUHSD.  Defended the El Monte Union High School District in a construction bond project involving multiple construction and design issues and alleged delays.
  • S. (Sanchez, B.O. (Ortiz) v. Compton Unified School District.Defended the District in an alleged sexual abuse of minors matter where plaintiffs sought $20 million in damages. The case was settled favorably for the District.
  • Espinoza v. Compton Unified School District.Represented School District, District police department, and individual board members and officers in federal court proceeding involving allegations that plaintiffs were deprived of federal and state civil rights on the basis of race and ethnicity. Plaintiffs sought $42 million in damages for causes of action that
    included 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, Title VI 42 U.S.C. § 2000d claims, and Monell liability claims.
  • Belser v. City of Inglewood, LASC Case No. BC 538285.Obtained summary judgment for the City in this action where Plaintiff’s finger was amputated. Plaintiff, a minor, alleged that a swing-set at the City’s park constituted a dangerous condition in violation of Gov. Code § 835 when her finger was caught in the link and was amputated when she dismounted.
  • Henry v. Los Angeles Community College District.Negotiated settlement for waiver of costs where Plaintiff alleged personal injuries as a result of negligent grounds keeping.
  • Skarr v. Los Angeles Community College District, et al.Defended District in lawsuit alleging harassment and retaliation by athletic director and coaches at the District. Obtained favorable settlement despite concerns related to liability at trial.
  • Sanusi v. Los Angeles Community College District.Defended District in Federal Civil Rights litigation related to discrimination in admissions process and procedures.
  • Payan v. Los Angeles, Community College District.Defending District in civil rights matter claiming disabilities arising from vision impairment.
  • Nourmohomadian v. Beverly Hills Unified School District. Represented District in personal injury matter where a student was injured during physical education class.
  • Morales v. Los Angeles Unified School District.Represented School District in personal injury matter where a student was stabbed and assaulted on campus.
  • Mohan v. Los Angeles Unified School District.Defended District in matter where student alleged bullying claims and personal injury. Won on summary judgment.
  • Gallegos v. Compton Unified School District, et al.Represented the District in an employment discrimination dispute based on race. Through persistent negotiation, our attorneys mediated the case and obtained a favorable settlement short of trial.
  • Carter v. Inglewood Unified School District, et al.Defended District in a breach of settlement action involving allegations of defamation and due process violations against District administrators. Obtained favorable settlement and resolution.
  • Okamura v. Los Angeles Community College District. Represented District and District faculty members in race, age, sex and disability rights discrimination and retaliation dispute. Obtained dismissal of the matter during the discovery stage.
  • Persley v. Lennox School District, et al.Obtained dismissal with prejudice in discrimination and
    intentional infliction of emotional distress matter where middle school student and her mother alleged wrongful expulsion, harassment, and discrimination based on race against school district, school employees and charter academy.
  • T. (Thomas) v. Compton Unified School District.Defended the District in an Americans With Disabilities Act case. The matter was resolved at mediation.
  • Logan v. Lynwood Unified School District.Obtained pre-litigation settlement for School District with teacher alleging she suffered an involuntary transfer due to her age and in retaliation for previous discrimination complaints.
  • Hopper v. Lynwood Unified School District.Represented School District in negligent supervision and premises liability personal injury dispute where student suffered head injury during an extracurricular dance recital audition.
  • De Gracia v. Lennox School District.Defended School District in negligence and dangerous condition of public property case where elementary school student’s mother suffered multiple fractures when a cafeteria bench was dropped on her foot.
  • Littles v. Los Angeles Community College District.Represented Community College District in premises liability personal injury dispute where prospective student suffered injuries when his arm was closed in the doors of an elevator.
  • Carrillo v. Lynwood Unified School District.Represent School District in assault, battery and civil rights violations case where student was involved in a physical altercation with a campus security guard.
  • Zambrano v Lynwood Unified School District.Obtained favorable settlement in personal injury case where student was struck on the foot by a falling gate surrounding the school’s tennis courts.
  • Eddie Garcia v. Lennox School District.Defended Lennox School District against a former employee who alleged he experienced an improper layoff in contravention of California and federal law and that actions by the District deprived him of his due process rights.
  • Blackwell v. Lynwood Unified School District.Defended School District in EEOC proceeding with teacher alleging age discrimination in response to investigation by School District into accusations of sexual battery on a student.
  • Stealth F-117 Bomber Lockheed Consolidated Litigation.Served on the defense trial team for the Stealth F-117 Bomber Lockheed Consolidated Litigation involving injuries including cancer, brain damage and death claimed by 435 aerospace workers. The test trial lasted six months.
  • Served as subrogation counsel for the prosecution of catastrophic losses to Fortune 500 companies.
  • Represented police officers in all aspects of internal affairs investigations and Skelly hearings before the city managers, city and county counsel, including the handling of all administrative appeals.
  • Dresser v. Disaster Kleenup.Defended vendor in chemical injury case resulting in a five week trial.
  • Smith v. Fischer.Defended supplier in a chemical leukemia personal injury action.
  • L-Tryptophan Multi District Coordinated litigation.Defended pharmaceutical manufacturer in national drug injury cases.
  • Heintz v. Ethyl Corporation.Defended Ethyl in a chemical injury case.
  • Gandy v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceutical.Defended Merrill Dow in a clomid birth defect case.
  • Garcia v. Cytec Industries.Represented employer in a double amputee forklift injury.
  • Stahovich v. City of Long Beach.Represented contractor in a soil collapse death case.
  • White v. Wella Corporation.Represented manufacturer in a product liability hair dryer burn case.
  • Bautista v. Universal Studios.Represented Universal in a child de-gloving escalator injury.
  • Aguilar v. Foothill Aircraft. Represented aviation mechanic in an aircraft engine failure and forced landing.
  • TDIC v. Airlift Corporation.Represented a helicopter company in defense of a multi-million dollar property loss during an air lift.
  • Aero Propeller v. Hemet Ryan Aviation.Represented airport in a five million dollar hangar fire loss.
  • Scharf v. Lycoming.Represented supplier in an aviation accident injury caused by aircraft engine failure.
  • Hughes v. Trojan Gasket.Represented product supplier in an aviation accident injury and death case.
  • Hansult v. Owens.Represented pilot in wrongful death aviation accident injury case.
  • Darling v. Clark.Defended attorney in a probate legal malpractice action.
  • Webb v. Twin Palms Aviation.Defended FAR Part 61 flight school in a serious aviation accident injury and death case.
  • Bailey v. Fitzgerald.Represented pilot in defense of a catastrophic aviation accident injury case.
  • World Savings v. Sprink Inc.Prosecuted a two million dollar product liability water damage subrogation action.
  • Hughes Aircraft v. Herzog Electric.Prosecuted a $1 million fire damage subrogation action caused by a faulty buss bar.
  • Holmes v. Long Beach Yacht Sales.Represented plaintiff in product liability wrongful death action/trial.
  • Sparling v. Cedars Sinai Medical Center.Represented Plaintiff in baby burn medical malpractice action.
  • Point at Malibu v. Rogers.Represented HOA in a $22 million soil/septic contamination action.
  • Larson v. United Airlines.Represented plaintiff in a case involving a nerve injury.
  • Metrolink Consolidated Cases.Represented three plaintiffs injured in the Burbank train derailment.
  • Select Limozine Service v. Garrett Motors.Prosecuted a fraud case involving an e-bay purchase.
  • Reddy v. Allstate.Represented plaintiff in a breach of insurance contract for fire loss case/trial.
  • SLS v. Vigil.Represented company in a breach of contract/ trade secret case.
  • LAX Hotels, Inc. v. Air New Zealand.Represented plaintiff in a business tort case.
  • Village Woodcrafts v. Compton Unified School District.Represented School District in a $1 million contract action.
  • Compton Unified School District v. General Electric.Represented School District in a $5 million contract/ construction dispute involving low voltage computer systems installations.
  • Inglewood Unified School District v. California IBA.Defended School District in a $1 million contract/defect case.
  • Reycrest Roofing v. USC.Prosecuted a major water damage/ defective construction subrogation case.
  • Media Professional Cases.Defended multiple actions involving violations of the Fair Debt Collection Act.
  • Avina v. Krispy Kreme.Defense of a wage and hour class action involving Krispy Kreme retail stores throughout California.
  • Romero v. Krispy Kreme.Defense of wrongful termination case action.
  • Houser v. Krispy Kreme.Defense of a wage and hour class action case for Krispy Kreme retail stores in California.
  • Jimenez v. Hilton Hotels, Inc.Defense of a wrongful termination/discrimination case.
  • Gillette v. La Mode Inc.Prosecution of a wrongful termination/ gender discrimination case.
  • Representation for labor unions on behalf of Police officers for Cities of Montebello, Santa Monica, Santa Maria, Oxnard, Gardena, Huntington Park, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Upland, Realto, San Bernardino, Riverside, Pomona, Malibu, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Simi Valley and El Monte.
  • Penso v. Wild Rivers Water Park.Defense of personal injury case on behalf of water park.
  • Accosta v. Circus Vargas. Defense of a tiger attack in a personal injury action.

Admissions & Associations

  • State Bar of California (1992)
  • District of Columbia Bar (1994)
  • United States District Court, Central, Northern, Southern Districts of California
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • Member, American Institute of Trial Lawyers, Litigator of the Year 2020
  • Member, Southern California Civil Defense Litigation Association, Top 100
  • Advisory Board Member, Mychal’s Learning Center, 2006-present
  • Board of Directors Member, Mychal’s Learning Center, 2002-2005
  • American Bar Association, 29-Year Member
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, 29-Year Member

Speaking & Publications

  • Police Officers On Trial: “Protect and Serve” or “Protect and Survive”, California Litigation Journal, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2018
  • Aviation:  The Doctrine of Superseding Cause: When Can It Be Used To Escape Liability, Skywritings, the Defense Research Institute (Fall, 2008)
  • When A Lawyer Commits Malpractice During the Course of Legal Representation, When Is the Statute of Limitations Tolled?
  • Defending the Trending Wage and Hour Class Action

Honors & Awards

  • Selected as a California “Super Lawyer,” 2007-Present, Law and Politics Magazine, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. Selections for Super Lawyer are made only after significant peer review and survey of more than 65,000 practicing lawyers in Los Angeles and Orange Counties
  • Selected to Cambridge Who’s Who as attorney member; named Professional of the Year 2009-2010
  • Selected as top litigator by the American Institute of Trial Lawyers
  • American Jurisprudence Award, Trial Advocacy, University of Notre Dame Law School

Related News

February 24, 2021

OMLO Partner Thomas Madruga Receives Highest Peer Rating for Ethics and Professional Excellence

Olivarez Madruga Lemieux O’Neill, LLP is proud to announce that our Partner Thomas Madruga has been rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell. The AV Preeminent rating is Martindale-Hubbell‘s highest rating for ethics and professional... Read More

February 3, 2021

Tom Madruga Named to 2021 Southern California “Super Lawyers”

OMLO is proud to announce that Tom Madruga has been named to the 2021 Southern California “Super Lawyers” list by Thomson Reuters. The “Super Lawyer” distinction honors attorneys who have... Read More

September 2, 2020

Judge rules University of California System can’t use SAT and ACT tests for admissions

Today (September 1, 2020,) a judge in Alameda County announced a groundbreaking decision in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California, granting a preliminary injunction that requires the... Read More

February 20, 2018

Thomas M. Madruga and Deborah Lee-Germain Obtain Favorable Settlement After Seven Day Trial

Congratulations to Thomas M. Madruga and Deborah Lee-Germain who argued successfully for Settlement in the matter of Gabrielle G. Lopez v. City of Inglewood.... Read More

January 7, 2015

OM Attorneys Win Big

Congratulations to Thomas M. Madruga and Elliot R. Field who argued successfully for Summary Judgment in the matter of Kaye E. Burnside v. Compton Unified School District, et al., thus... Read More

February 10, 2014

Congratulations Super Lawyer Thomas M. Madruga

Olivarez Madruga is pleased to announce that Tom Madruga has been elected for the 2014 Super Lawyers list, marking the 7th year of this achievement for Tom. We’re proud to... Read More

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