Danielle Kono Lewis is a Partner in Selman Breitman’s San Francisco office, the Chair of the firm's Public Entities practice group, and a member of the firm’s General Liability, Commercial Litigation, and Trucking/Transportation practice groups. She represents public and private individuals and entities at both the federal and state levels, in matters involving municipal liability defense, employment, Americans with Disabilities Act, general liability, and business litigation. Danielle’s clients include public entities and employees, as well as private companies. She also defends insureds in disputes involving third-party claims.
Danielle’s extensive experience informs her proficiency in evaluating complex issues, investigating and assessing government tort claims, and defending cases through trial and on appeal. She works closely with clients, city attorneys, city managers, and city councils to manage their risk, to create solutions for present issues, and to provide advice and counsel to develop strategies to avoid potential future problems.
Danielle is called upon by clients and organizations to give presentations on various subject matters relating to claims and issues impacting public entities, including those specifically relating to dangerous conditions of public property, roadway design, detention and arrest, search and seizure, and use of force. She has been given the top rating of "AV Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell, and has also been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer/Rising Star 2013-2015, along with many other accolades.
Danielle is originally from Santa Cruz, California, and presently resides in San Francisco with her husband and their two young children.
- Summary judgment was obtained in favor of a public entity in a premises liability action, where the public entity had faced potential exposure in excess of $7,000,000 following a collision between plaintiff who had been riding a motorcycle, and the driver of a motor vehicle. The public entity had been sued on a theory of "dangerous condition of public property," due to an allegedly negligent and defective roadway design. The lawsuit also implicated the driver, two roadway design firms, two property developers and a construction company. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the public entity, finding that the public entity was immune from suit pursuant to California Government Code section 830.6.
- Summary judgment was granted, extricating a police department and its officers from an action involving the officers' response to a residence following plaintiff's prior threat to light himself on fire. Plaintiffs, a father and daughter, brought an action alleging their civil rights had been violated, and specifically that the officers had used excessive force in detaining plaintiffs, falsely arrested plaintiffs, and unlawfully entered the house where plaintiffs resided. The court granted summary judgment, finding that the officers' use of force to arrest the resisting plaintiffs was reasonable, plaintiffs' arrest was valid, and the officers entered the residence lawfully.
- Following the filing of a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a public entity in a premises liability action, plaintiff agreed to voluntarily dismiss the public entity from the lawsuit. The crux of plaintiff's allegations against the public entity was that the pathway on which plaintiff was traveling was in a dangerous condition, and that plaintiff was injured as a result of the dangerous condition. The motion for summary judgment argued that the public entity was immune from suit pursuant to California Government Code section 831.4.
- A complaint filed against a municipality was voluntarily dismissed after plaintiffs received a demurrer to complaint, which had alleged that a jogging track located within the municipality was in a dangerous condition, causing plaintiff to fall and sustain injuries. The demurrer argued that the municipality was not liable because of the immunity afforded to the municipality under the California Government Code.
- Represented property owner in action where plaintiff, a tenant, alleged he had sustained injuries as a result of the condition of the property. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the action after evidence was produced demonstrating that plaintiff could not have been injured in the manner alleged, and was in fact injured at a location blocks away from the property.
- Plaintiff, while riding a motorcycle, was involved in a motor vehicle collision with the defendant driver. As a result, plaintiff was permanently paralyzed from the lower back down. When the plaintiff commenced litigation, his medical special damages totaled over $600,000 and continued to mount with ongoing treatment. Additionally, plaintiff sued for past wage loss, loss in future earning capacity, future medical damages and the expense of a life care plan. The special damages alone, without even considering the exposure for general damages, appeared to approach $4,000,000. Selman Breitman filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that (1) the City was immune from suit pursuant to California Government Code section 830.6, and (2) a "dangerous condition of public property" did not exist at the accident location as a matter of law pursuant to California Government Code section 835. The court granted the City's motion, finding that the City was immune from suit pursuant to California Government Code section 830.6.
- Following a "911 hang-up" call, City Police Officers performed a welfare check at the residence. Using their discretion, the officers elected not to arrest the resident. Several hours after the incident, the resident committed suicide. Family members of the decedent sued the City and the two police officers on several theories of liability. The crux of the complaint was that the officers had a duty to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the decedent would not commit suicide, making the City and the officers liable to the decedent's family for special and general damages. On behalf of its clients, Selman Breitman filed a demurrer to plaintiffs' complaint on the grounds that the officers owed no duty to the decedent; that no special relationship was created from the officers toward the decedent; and, in any event, the officers were immune from liability. The Superior Court sustained the demurrer in its entirety without leave to amend, finding that the police officers owed no duty to the decedent, no special relationship existed between the parties, and that the officers were immune from liability. The Court then ordered the plaintiffs' case dismissed.
- Dismissal was obtained in an action against a police department and two of its police officers stemming from an incident where the officers responded to a residence to perform a welfare check following a "911 hang-up." The officers located the young woman who called 911 after attempting to terminate her relationship with a male at the residence, and ensured she was safely retrieved from the residence by her parents. In the meantime, the male requested that the officers arrest him, and take him into custody because all of his friends were in jail and he had nowhere else to go. After confirming that the young man did not intend to hurt himself or others, the officers used discretion and elected to not arrest the male. Several hours after the officers left the residence, the male committed suicide. The family members of the decedent sued the police department and two of its police officers, alleging that the officers had a duty to take the necessary precautions that would have ensured that the decedent would not commit suicide. The Superior Court sustained the demurrer to the complaint in its entirety without leave to amend, finding that the police officers owed no duty to the decedent, no special relationship existed between the parties, and that the officers were immune from liability.
Professional Associations And Memberships
- American Bar Association (ABA), Member
- San Francisco Bar Association, Member
- Super Lawyers Rising Stars: 2013-2015
- Volunteer of the Year, Asian American Bar Association
- Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell