In a case that has drawn widespread interest, intervenors, and respondents, YES! Yoga for Encinitas Students, represented on appeal pro bono by Snell & Wilmer and trial counsel Coast Law Group, prevailed in an Establishment Clause challenge to yoga being taught in Encinitas public schools. The Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One, upheld the trial court’s determination that the yoga taught in Encinitas schools was “devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings” and therefore neither impermissibly promoted religion nor excessively entangled the school in any religious activity. “We are gratified that the appellate court agreed there is no impediment under the state constitution to these yoga classes continuing to be taught in Encinitas,” said IADC member and lead appellate counsel M.C. Sungaila, a partner in Snell & Wilmer’s Los Angeles and Orange County offices. Lead trial counsel Dave Peck, a founding partner of Coast Law Group, added: “I’m pleased the Court again got it right and hope this is the end of the controversy.” The Snell & Wilmer team, led by appellate partner M.C. Sungaila, included associates Brian Daluiso and Jenny Hua. The Coast Law Group team, led by Dave Peck, included associate Livia Borak.
News outlets from the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, San Diego Union Tribune and Washington Post to The Guardian and the Times of India have published news articles covering the appellate decision.
Ms. Sungaila has consistently briefed and argued appeals raising cutting-edge 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.” Clients call on her to craft winning approaches to emerging legal issues across multiple cases and jurisdictions. Clients also value her strategic approach during pretrial and trial consultations in cases where an appeal by either side appears inevitable or a “key case” outcome might impact a whole series of cases for a client.