Blog : Consumer and Employee Rights Group

Aron Liang is Presenter on Trial Lawyers Panel; Sean Tamura-Sato Defeats Summary Judgment on Behalf of Wrongfully Terminated Employee

Minami Tamaki Senior Associate Aron K. Liang was a featured presenter at an April 21 panel on trial skills hosted by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.

This panel provided information on the rules governing discovery in complex litigation, both in state and federal court, as well as providing practice tips. Speakers touched upon all aspects of discovery from the initiation of litigation to the preparation for trial.

Topics included: developing a discovery plan, effectively and efficiently propounding and responding to discovery for maximum effect, discovery disputes, motion practice, depositions and using the information gained in discovery for trial.


Minami Tamaki Associate Sean Tamura-Sato defeated a motion for summary judgment for Joseph Smith, a former manager at Equinox gyms, with respect to his claims for wrongful termination, unpaid wages, unfair competition, and defamation. Mr. Smith was terminated by Equinox, one of the largest fitness center operators in the country, after complaining that the company was engaging in violations of California wage and hour laws.

Sean convinced the Court that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that Equinox’s purported reasons for terminating Mr. Smith were pretextual, that Equinox had misclassified him as an exempt employee (meaning that he was not paid overtime), that Equinox had engaged in unfair competition, and that Equinox had made false and defamatory statements about Mr. Smith.

With the denial of summary judgment, this case will now proceed to trial. One of the bedrocks of American jurisprudence is the right to have disputes adjudicated by a jury in a court of law. By denying Equinox’s motion for summary judgment, Mr. Smith will have his opportunity to have his case heard by a jury of his peers.

Bloomberg News covered the case in this article.

Aron and Sean are attorneys from our Consumer & Employee Rights Group, which litigates class actions and individual cases on behalf of consumers, investors, and employees who have been harmed by illegal or unfair business or employment practices. Minami Tamaki attorneys have a sterling record of success representing tens of thousands of individuals in class action and individual cases. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients.