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Ernest Malaspina

Ernest M. Malaspina


The Letitia Building
70 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
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  • Bar Admissions
    • State Bar of California (1997)
    • Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • Court Admissions
    • All California courts, all United States District Courts in California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Education
    • Juris Doctor
      Santa Clara University
    • BA, Political Science
      University of California, Davis

Ernie served as the Chair of Hopkins & Carley’s Litigation Department for over 10 years, and is currently a member of its Employment Law Department.  Ernie advises private and public sector employers on a wide range of employment issues, including:

  • Hiring Practices
  • Employment policies and procedures
  • Wage and Hour compliance
  • Employee discipline
  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Wrongful Discharge
  • Unfair Competition and Protection of Trade Secrets, and
  • Effective strategies to avoid litigation

In addition to advice and counsel activities, Ernie represents clients in the litigation of a wide range of complex employment disputes involving claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, employee embezzlement, breach of contract, as well as single plaintiff and class action wage and hour controversies, among other disputes.

Client Successes
  • Wrongful termination/national origin discrimination/retaliation – Ernie won summary judgment in state court, a ruling that survived scrutiny through two appeals, after a public sector employee sued his former employer alleging wrongful termination, due process violations, and retaliation based on a variety of discrimination and “whistle-blower” theories.
  • Class action/wage & hour – In a complex case involving intricate issues of fact and numerous attempts to mediate, Ernie successfully resolved the matter after serving the company’s motion to defeat class certification on plaintiffs’ counsel.
  • Employee embezzlement/conversion/fraud/conspiracy – Ernie represented a local service provider in an action involving two former employees that embezzled a significant amount of company funds before their unannounced departure.  Ernie employed an aggressive litigation strategy that permitted his team to identify and lien assets, obtain a judgment in the amount of the embezzled funds, and eventually convince both state and federal criminal authorities to take action that resulted in incarceration and restitution orders.
  • Sexual harassment – Ernie developed a strategic defense for a publicly traded, global notebook computer and peripheral manufacturer/wholesaler sued by one of its marketing representatives who alleged harassment at the hands of a company vice president.  Ernie resolved the lawsuit successfully, and developed improvements in company-wide employment law training and practices to better protect against similar claims in the future.
  • Employee embezzlement/conversion/fraud – Ernie represented an industrial fabricator/manufacturer in an action involving a former employee that embezzled a significant sum of company funds over a period of several years.  Ernie obtained a stipulated judgment in the amount of the embezzled funds, and by identifying and convincing the federal authorities to utilize an obscure body of law, recovered otherwise protected retirement account funds which contributed to the satisfaction of the entire judgment.
  • Age discrimination – In a matter involving a pair of job applicants alleging that a local agency failed to hire them because of their age, Ernie developed and implemented a strategic litigation strategy that resulted in a successful resolution of the claims.  
  • Specialized training – Ernie developed and conducted comprehensive and engaging seminars directed to high level managers of a publicly traded, unified business communications company regarding pertinent employment law issues as part of the company’s ongoing risk management program.
  • Wrongful termination/race discrimination/retaliation/breach of contract – Ernie won summary adjudication for a clinical research services company which led to the successful resolution of a lawsuit brought by a former project assistant claiming race discrimination, fraud, retaliation, and breach of contract.  The remaining causes of actions were dismissed with prejudice soon thereafter.
  • Race discrimination/national origin discrimination/breach of contract – Ernie won summary judgment in state court for a technical measurement device company sued by a former employee terminated based on poor performance and financial impropriety in connection with claimed employment-related expenses. 
  • Age discrimination/intentional infliction of emotional distress – After successfully convincing a federal court to dismiss portions of an unsuccessful job applicant’s complaint against a cabinet manufacturer, Ernie brought a motion for summary judgment which caused the successful resolution of the remaining claims.

Why Hopkins & Carley?
Ernie’s experience in the corporate world gave him a good idea of what to look for in an organization when he switched to a legal career.

“I like the firm’s transparency and how the lawyers are genuinely friendly and proud of their clients and the work they do for them.  Everyone is pulling in the same direction, striving to be part of something that the community regards as good and fair."

“The focus of the firm centers around the concept of providing excellent, efficient, and effective legal services.  Achieving that goal every day is exceptionally satisfying.”

Other than Hopkins & Carley
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Ernie is committed to the local community, and served on the Board of History San Jose for over 10 years.

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