Dawn Cushman

Dawn Cushman

Special Counsel

ph: 818-243-5200

fx: 818-243-5266


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Dawn Cushman

Dawn Cushman is a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law. Prior to joining the firm she achieved a broad background of civil and criminal experience, including jury trials, court trials, and appeals in a variety of litigation areas, and submitted over 80 appellate briefs in both state and federal appellate courts, resulting in over 10 published appellate court decisions. For nearly four decades, Dawn Cushman has utilized her broad background to provide representation and legal advice for insurance companies, employers engaged in the hospitality industry, small businesses, construction companies, hospitals, physicians, and nurses both in civil litigation as well as administrative hearings.

Practice Areas

  • Appellate Law
  • Employment Law – Employer
  • Business Litigation
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Dependent Adult and Elder Abuse
  • Personal Injury – Defense
  • Public Entity – Defense
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance Bad Faith Litigation
  • Construction Defect Litigation
  • General Civil Litigation

Professional and Community Affiliations (Past and Present)

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Appellate Courts Section Executive Committee, 2015 – Present
  • Southern California Association for Healthcare Risk Management, Past Board Member
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, member, 2005 – present
  • LACBA Appellate Courts Annual Supreme Court Luncheon, Liaison

Speaking Engagements

Ms. Cushman has lectured throughout California and nationwide at seminars for healthcare risk management (including City of Hope Medical Group, DaVita Healthcare, Southern California Association of Healthcare Risk Management and American Society for Healthcare Risk Management) and to various corporations and healthcare providers, on topics pertaining to employment, sexual harassment prevention, discrimination prevention, preventative documentation, long term care management, and dependent adult and elder abuse laws.

Published Opinions

  • Pasadena Republican Club v. Western Justice Center, et al. (9th Cir. 2021) 985 F.3d 1161

The Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of the City of Pasadena, relying on the Monell decision, requiring evidence that an alleged constitutional violation be caused by municipality’s policy, practice, or custom or be ordered by policy-making official.  No such evidence was presented.

  • Mountainlands Conservancy, LLC, et al. v. California Coastal Commission (2020) 47 Cal.App.5th 214

The California Court of Appeal held that the Coastal Commission’s 24-hour-notice of changes made to the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program did not deprive the Petitioners of a fair hearing and did not constitute an abuse of discretion.

  • Pasadena Republican Club. v. Western Justice Center (C.D. Cal. 2019) 424 F.Supp.3d 861

The United States District Court of Appeal granted the City of Pasadena’s Motion For Summary Judgment on the ground that no genuine material issue of fact existed and the City was entitled to judgment as a matter of law based on the absence of evidence of any municipal “policy” or “custom” that caused Plaintiff’s alleged injury from constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. section 1983.

  • Zhi An Wang, et al. v. Shimin Fang, et al. (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 907

The California Court of Appeal reviewed the trial court’s order dismissing the action on grounds of forum non conveniens. While determining sufficient evidence supported the defendants’ claim that China was an alternative forum, the appellate court held that a stay was warranted, rather than dismissal, to allow a viable claim in California in the event suit was rejected in China.

  • Drexler v. Petersen 4 Cal. App. 5th 1181:

The California Court of Appeal held that where the failure to diagnose a preexisting condition is involved, the statute of limitations does not commence until plaintiff becomes aware that the condition has developed into a more serious condition.

  • Arce v. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles 211 Cal.App.4th 1455:

The California Court of Appeal ruled that California’s absolute immunity from liability for reporters of child abuse does not apply to a federal Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cause of action but precluded all state law claims.

  • Neal v. Health Net, Inc. (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 831:

The California Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering disqualification of plaintiff’s attorney in employment discrimination claim.

  • Janes v. Wal-Mart, Inc. (2002) 279 F.3d 883:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the jury verdict in favor of plaintiff in wrongful termination claim, on the grounds that errors in excluding evidence were not prejudicial and trial counsel failed to preserve arguments by failing to seek nonsuit or directed verdict.

  • Hernandez v. California Hospital Medical Center (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 498:

The California Court of Appeal held that plaintiff’s evidence of payment by Medi-Cal and Medicare was sufficient to establish “damages” for medical malpractice claim, despite no out-of-pocket expense.

  • Logacz v. Limansky (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1149:

The California Court of Appeal held that trial court erred in failing to give concurrent causation instruction in a medical malpractice case where the jury found the defendant’s negligence was not a cause of the patient’s death.

  • Hongsathavij v. Queen of Angels Etc. (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 1123:

The California Court of Appeal held that the hospital’s Board properly reviewed the medical staff’s recommendation for physician reinstatement, where the final decision on physician staff privileges rested with the hospital board.

  • Cooper v. Superior Court (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 744:

The California Court of Appeal held that a woman patient claiming sexual battery against a physician must comply with Code of Civil Procedure, § 425.13 before pleading a cause of action for punitive damages.

  • Mary Medical Center v. Superior Court (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 1531:

The California Court of Appeal held that the defendant was entitled to depose a doctor whose declaration was relied upon to establish a triable issue of fact in order to determine the foundation upon which the declaration was based.

  • Twaite v. Allstate Insurance Company (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 239:

The California Court of Appeal held summary judgment for the insurer was proper and the insurer did not breach the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as a matter of law.

Publications and Press

  • “New California Case Law Regarding Admissibility of Medical Bills and Mitigation of Damages,” Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP Legal Update, Mary 2018
  • “When Disaster Hits, Where Does The Standard Of Care Go?,” ASHRM Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, 2011
  • “The Anatomy of Civil Litigation,” Psychiatric Monthly, 2013


  • Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition, National Best Brief, Second Place, 1979
  • ASHRM Journal of Healthcare Risk Management – Journal Author Excellence Award, 2012
  • Southern California Super Lawyers – Appellate Law
  • Los Angeles Magazine, Top Women Lawyers of Southern California 2018


  • J.D., California Western School of Law, San Diego, California, 1979
  • B.A. Liberal Arts, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 1976

Bar Admission

  • State Bar of California


  • State of California, All Courts – November 1979
  • Certified Specialist – Appellate Law, 2000 to the present
  • United States Supreme Court, 2003
  • United States District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California


  • Fine cooking and baking (and, of course, eating)
  • Pets, including dogs, cats, and fish