Mary-Christine “M.C.” Sungaila, Partner in Snell & Wilmer's Orange County office, has been named to the Daily Journal’s 2014 list of Top Women Lawyers. Sungaila is making her fifth consecutive appearance on this list (her sixth since the list’s inception in 2005). In a special issue published on May 7, 2014, the Daily Journal recognized 75 litigators and 25 corporate transactions and regulatory specialists who exemplify excellent lawyering and leadership skills in California, and whose work is having a broad impact on the legal community, the nation, and society. Those named to the list were honored at a private awards reception in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
M.C. Sungaila has consistently briefed and argued cutting-edge appeals that raise core business issues and has helped secure important rights for women and girls, nationally and internationally. Twice named a “Notable Appellate Practitioner” by Chambers, she is described by clients in one Chambers listing as a “gifted appellate lawyer who consistently delivers bottom line results.” In 2014, Sungaila simultaneously leads appellate practice and amicus curiae committees at the local (Orange County Bar Association), national (ABA), and international levels (International Association of Defense Counsel). She is a Ninth Circuit Appellate Lawyer Representative, Lecturer in UCI School of Law’s Ninth Circuit Clinic, and Adjunct Professor of Advanced Appellate Advocacy at Whittier Law School. Previously, she received the inaugural Judith Soley Lawyer as Citizen Award from California Women Lawyers, named as one of the Women Leaders in the Law by The Recorder, and awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Women Lawyers' Association of Los Angeles.
The original listing by Daily Journal is below:
Mary-Christine "M.C." Sungaila
Snell & Wilmer LLP
Practice Type: Civil appellate litigation
Specialty: Toxic tort, product liability, women's rights Whether franchisors can be held liable for the conduct of their franchisee employees is at the core of one of Sungaila's closely watched cases.
She is serving as lead counsel for the Domino's Pizza defendants and petitioners in the matter.Patterson v. Domino's Pizza LLC, S204543 (Cal. 2013).
"Franchising is a special business arrangement, a form of trademark licensing," Sungaila said. "The franchise agreement may call for uniformity of menus, signage and restaurant store design, but that does not mean that day-to-day management of an individual location is the responsibility of the franchisor. That is the responsibility of the franchisee."
The case is expected to be heard this year.
Sungaila also served as lead counsel for amicus Multicultural Bar Alliance in an action involving UCLA law professor Richard Sander. Sander v. State Bar of California(2013) 58 Cal.4th 300.
He is seeking records from the State Bar of California, including documents that identify applicants' race or ethnicity, for every applicant over a 35-year period, in order to study the interplay between race, law school admission and bar passage rates.
Last year, the state Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court to consider whether the bar can provide the data without invading the privacy of the applicants - an issue argued in the amicus brief.
"The case has garnered attention primarily because of the purpose for which the bar data is being sought," Sungaila said. "But the case itself directly raises important questions about pubic record access and countervailing privacy interests."
She added, "Sometimes cases have subtexts beyond the actual issues being litigated. This is one of those cases."