She has argued more than 35 cases in the state and federal appellate courts, and has been the principal brief-writer in at least 90.
In October 2021, the San Diego Law Library Foundation recognized Johanna with the prestigious Bernard E. Wtikin Award for Excellence in the Practice of Law and Community Changemaker.
She has participated in cases on subjects ranging from business torts to healthcare law to employment, insurance, contract, probate, and intellectual property disputes. She has also represented clients in anti-SLAPP, unfair competition, securities, and public entity appeals, as well as administrative law and consumer class action litigation.
It is an honor reserved for the top 5% of appellate attorneys and awarded based upon merit selection criteria in addition to review by peer attorneys. Super Lawyers has also named her one of San Diego’s “Top 25 Women Attorneys,” and among the “Top 50 Attorneys” overall in the San Diego region, every year since 2018. In 2020, she was recognized by SD METRO Magazine as one of 10 “Women of Influence” in San Diego.
The Appellate Lawyer Representatives are a small group of attorneys selected by the Circuit’s judges to work on improving the administration of the court and to advance the interests of the appellate bar and clients who appear in the Ninth Circuit. In August 2020, she was appointed to serve as a member of the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, which provides high-quality programming, information, training and resources to leaders of state, local, and specialty bar associations across the country. And, in 2021, she began a three-year term on the California Lawyers Association’s Committee on Appellate Courts, which promotes excellence, professionalism, and civility among appellate practitioners, and provides opportunities for connection, education, and pro bono representation in appellate practice.
She has served as a member of the Airport Authority’s Board since her nomination by the Mayor and unanimous confirmation by the San Diego City Council in 2018. As a member of the Board, Johanna routinely evaluates multi-million-dollar contracts, oversees implementation of a multi-billion-dollar terminal renovation project, and makes decisions on complex legal matters for the Airport Authority. She has served on the Audit Committee, Capital Improvement and Oversight Committee, and on the Advisory Committee working with external stakeholders in the community and as the Airport’s representative on the Board (ex officio) and Transportation Committee of the San Diego Association of Governments. She also Chaired the Airport’s Executive Personnel and Compensation Committee, overseeing the three top executive employees. She currently serves as Chair of the Finance Committee.
She was honored for her commitment to advancing the interests of women and girls, her work on leadership development, and her commitment to supporting the performing arts. Notably, when elected as the 113th President of the San Diego County Bar Association, Johanna became only the fourteenth woman to serve in that role in the organization’s history. Johanna’s service to the Community also was recognized by Lawyers Club of San Diego with its 2018 Community Service Award. She served as President of that organization from 2013-14, helped it grow to its highest membership levels to date in its prior 42-year history, and hosted the Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) as the speaker at the organization’s Annual Dinner in 2014.
She clerked for Judge M. Margaret McKeown on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Diego and Judge Christina Snyder on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.
Judge M. Margaret McKeown
Judge Christina Snyder
UCLA School of Law
Bernard E. Wtikin Award for Excellence in the Practice of Law and Community Changemaker San Diego Law Library Foundation
Top Rated Appellate Lawyer in San Diego Super Lawyers Magazine
Top 50 Attorneys in San Diego Super Lawyers Magazine
Top 25 Women Attorneys in San Diego Super Lawyers Magazine
Women of Influence in San Diego SD Metro Magazine
Top 20 Attorneys in San Diego SD Metro Magazine
Community Service Award San Diego County Bar Association
Community Service Award Lawyers Club of San Diego
U.S. Court of Appeals Second, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits
Obtained reversal of an anti-SLAPP order and accompanying judgment that had awarded nearly $275,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs against her client in a dispute arising out of a lease of a commercial lease.
Won affirmance of the trial court’s disposition in a probate matter with more than $600,000 at stake.
Achieved reversal of a summary judgment in a sexual harassment and hostile work environment case, which resulted in a significant settlement for the client upon remand.
Defended a district court’s class certification order in a case where the class is litigating claims arising out of California’s consumer protection laws.
Successfully opposed a writ petition in a commercial lease dispute, positioning the case for settlement.
Obtained reversal of a summary judgment of damages claims and had reinstated a previously dismissed claim for injunctive relief; upon remand, her client received a favorable financial settlement for the client bringing seven years of litigation to a close.
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