Michael C. Wenzel
Rutgers University, Camden School of Law
Michael Wenzel, a partner in the firm, devotes his practice to the representation of public entities. His practice is focused on the defense of cities, counties, water districts, and school and community college districts in complex litigation matters involving civil rights, employment law, tort liability, dangerous condition of public property, and inverse condemnation. He regularly represents public entities and their employees in cases alleging discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation; school districts in cases alleging negligent supervision, civil rights violations, and other student injuries; public entities in injury claims resulting from dangerous conditions of public property; and police departments in cases alleging excessive force, false arrest, and related civil rights claims. Mr. Wenzel further handles administrative proceedings, writs, and appeals. In his more than twenty-five years of practice, Mr. Wenzel has defended virtually every type of claim confronted by public entities, including high-profile and high-exposure cases covered in the media.
Mr. Wenzel earned his BA degree in History and Economics from Syracuse University in 1992 and his Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University – Camden School of Law in 1995, where he was awarded Dean’s List honors. Following law school, Mr. Wenzel completed a clerkship for the Honorable Edward R. Schwartz of the Superior Court of New Jersey and an externship for the Honorable Joseph E. Irenas of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Before joining the firm in 2002, Mr. Wenzel practiced civil litigation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His practice extends to all state and federal Courts in California, and he is admitted to practice in California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as the Northern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California; the District of New Jersey; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Mr. Wenzel has briefed and argued numerous cases in the California Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He argued the matter of Gordon v. City of Oakland before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the Court ruled that a public entity’s training reimbursement program for public safety employees did not violate the minimum wage standards of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The decision ratified the right of public entities throughout California to utilize training reimbursement programs for public safety employees.
Keenan Defense Counsel Summit – March 2016: “Defenses to Claims Arising from Speech & Matters of Public Concern: Common Interest Privilege & Anti-Slapp Motions”
California Association of Joint Powers Authorities (CAJPA) – April 2016: “Look Who’s Talking: How to Protect Workplace Conversations – Common Interest Privilege & Anti-Slapp Motions”
Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA) – February 2017: “Things That Go Bump in the Night: Streets, Storm Drains, and Other Dark and Scary Places”
Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA) – February 2018: “No More Deep Pockets! Defending Your Dangerous Condition of Public Property Claims”
Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA) – February 2019: “Avoiding the Danger Zone: Minimizing Risk and Defending Claims for Dangerous Conditions of Public Property, Inverse Condemnation, and Violation of Mandatory Duties”
Municipal Pooling Authority (MPA) – April 2018: “Defending Inverse Condemnation Claims”
California Association of Joint Powers Authorities (CAJPA) – September 2018: “Avoiding the Danger Zone: Minimizing Risk and Defending Claims for Dangerous Conditions of Public Property, Inverse Condemnation, and Violation of Mandatory Duties”
Public Agency Risk Sharing Authority of California (PARSAC) – November 2018: “No More Deep Pockets! Defending Dangerous Condition of Public Property and Inverse Condemnation Claims: Strategies to Avoid Liability and Minimize Exposure for Dangerous Conditions of Public Property and Inverse Condemnation Cases”
Bay Area City Attorneys (BACA) – April 2019: “Don’t Get Taken: Minimizing Risk and Defending Inverse Condemnation Claims”
California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority (CJPRMA) – May 2019: “How to Collaborate with CJPRMA, Your Legal Team, and Your Entity Departments to Successfully Resolve Litigation”
Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA) – February 2020: “Walking the Line of Dangerous Condition and Inverse Condemnation Claims”
Public Agency Risk Management Association (PARMA) – February 2021: “Rope Swings, Mountain Bikes, Hillsides, and Trees – What Possibly Could Go Wrong? Using Immunities and Other Risk Management Strategies to Minimize Exposure in Dangerous Condition and Inverse Condemnation Cases”