People: Dana D. Howells, Senior Counsel

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Dana D. Howells

Senior Counsel

Los Angeles - Downtown
Direct: (213) 270-9678
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Ms. Howells is senior counsel in the Labor and Employment Department, California Workplace Solutions Group,  in the Los Angeles office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  Ms. Howells advises businesses on all aspects of employment relationships from pre-hire screening to terminations and reductions-in-force.  Areas of concentration include employee benefits, discrimination, wage and hour, contacts, severance, executive compensation, FMLA and mandated leaves, disability/reasonable accommodations, harassment/internal investigations, privacy and workplace violence prevention.  In addition to advising employers on compliance and problem-solving, Ms. Howells has represented employers before administrative agencies, self-regulatory agencies, in jury and bench trials, and before state and federal appellate courts.  Depending on client goals, she has resolved many disputes through arbitration, mediation and negotiation. She served as Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section, July 2010-July 2011.

Following graduation from law school, Ms. Howells served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry Pregerson, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, from 1983 to 1984. Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw, she specialized in employment law and ERISA litigation, then served in-house as Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Capital Group Companies, Inc. from 1993-2010.

Ms. Howells is senior counsel in the Labor and Employment Department, California Workplace Solutions Group,  in the Los Angeles office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  Ms. Howells advises businesses on all aspects of employment relationships from pre-hire screening to terminations and reductions-in-force.  Areas of concentration include employee benefits, discrimination, wage and hour, contacts, severance, executive compensation, FMLA and mandated leaves, disability/reasonable accommodations, harassment/internal investigations, privacy and workplace violence prevention.  In addition to advising employers on compliance and problem-solving, Ms. Howells has represented employers before administrative agencies, self-regulatory agencies, in jury and bench trials, and before state and federal appellate courts.  Depending on client goals, she has resolved many disputes through arbitration, mediation and negotiation. She served as Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section, July 2010-July 2011.

Following graduation from law school, Ms. Howells served as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry Pregerson, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, from 1983 to 1984. Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw, she specialized in employment law and ERISA litigation, then served in-house as Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Capital Group Companies, Inc. from 1993-2010.

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law
    Order of the Coif
    UCLA Law Review
    Moot Court finals
    Eleanor Klein Award (top woman graduate)
  • B.A., University of Texas
    with highest honors and special honors
    Phi Beta Kappa
    debate
    Ferguson Prize (top History graduate)

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California

Affiliations

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association (Executive Committee, Labor and Employment Law Section (1996-present); Chair, Labor and Employment Law Section (2010-2011); Amicus Brief Committee (2010-2011);  Outstanding Jurist Committee (2010))
  • State Bar of California (Labor and Employment Law Section)

Representative Engagements

  • Capital Group Cos. v. Armour, 2005 Del. Ch. LEXIS 38 (March 13, 2005) (upholding privately-held company’s stock restriction agreement against challenge by nonemployee spouse)
  • Gregory Lyndon House v. American Funds Service Co,. Orange County Superior Court Case No. 804093 (disability discrimination with market timing twists)
  • Gary Ray v. Lodgco, Inc. and J.E. Kettler Trust, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. YC034743  (as in-house counsel, coordinated 200 plaintiff personal injury action against trust for alleged oil-drilling related contamination brought by Girardi firm; obtained insurance coverage and cost-effective settlement preserving trust assets)
  • Kane v. Capital Guardian Trust Co., 145 F.3d 1218 (10th Cir. 1998) (case of first impression holding that mutual fund transfer agent could honor IRS levy by redemption of shares with no auction process)
  • McDonald v. Pan American World Airways, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, 856 F.2d 742 (9th Cir. 1988) (upholding plan administrator’s discretion to interpret ESOP plan language about  distributions timing; entertaining ”ham or eggs” dissent by Hon. Alex Kozinski)
  • Gilchrist v. Jim Slemmons Imports, Inc.,  803 F.2d 1488 (9th Cir. 1986) (as appellate counsel) (admission of EEOC ”letter of violation” in age discrimination jury trial more prejudicial that EEOC probable cause determination)
  • American Hospital Association v. NLRB, 499 U.S. 606 (1991) (challenging Board’s bargaining unit rule for hospitals)
  • Roberts v. College of the Desert, 870 F.2d 1411 (9th Cir. 1989) (public sector discrimination and retaliation case where large reduction in damages was achieved post-trial)
     

Presentations

  • "New California FEHA Regs Effective 4/1/16: Update Policies & Training Now," Webinar, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 30, 2016)
  • “California Legislative Update 2014”  Firm Webinar (November 13, 2014)
  • “How to Avoid Common Pitfalls When Using Criminal Background Checks,”  Firm Webinar (November 12, 2014)
  • “Ten Traps for Unwary Employers 2013,” The Entrepreneurship Institute, The President’s Forum, Southern California (April 24, 2013)
  • “2013 California Labor & Employment Legislative and Regulatory Update” Firm Webinar (January 23, 2013)
  • “California Recordkeeping Requirements:  Practical Strategies to Ensure Compliance and Protect Your Organization,” Center for Competitive Management Webinar (October 18, 2011)
  • “Planning International Relocations: Legal and Practical Considerations for U.S. Employers,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, International Law Section (June 21, 2011)
  • “Health Care and the Cost,” The Entrepreneurship Institute, The President’s Forum, Southern California (April 7, 2011) 
  • “For Your Benefit: 2011 Benefits Law Developments for Employment Law Practitioners,” Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law 2011 Symposium (March 31, 2011)
  • “The Reasonable Accommodation Dialogue: What You Need to Do and Say,” Webinar (February 24, 2011)
  • “Privacy in the Workplace: A Need-to-Know Checklist for California Employers” (November 18, 2010)
  • “Into the Future, The Next Decade of Employment Law,” 2010 Advance Labor and Employment Law Conference for In-house Counsel (social media panel) (November 10, 2010)
  • “I Spy: an Update on Surveillance, Monitoring and Rights of Privacy,” Employers Roundtable of  Southern California (November 4, 2010)
  • “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Social Media in the Working Place,” Breakfast Briefing Series (October 13, 21 and 26, 2010)
  • “What Labor and Employment Lawyers Need to Know about Healthcare Reform,” Webinar (July 2010)

Honors

  • 2007 President's Volunteer Service Award, from Council on Service and Civic Participation