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WB&S Files Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Marin School District Over Superintendent’s Misconduct

The attorneys at WB&S represent Janet DB Roe, a district clerk, who is suing the Shoreline Unified School District for alleged negligence in hiring and supervising Robert Raines, the former superintendent convicted of lewd conduct with her child.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of her son, John JB Roe, contends that the district failed to investigate Raines’ history of sexual misconduct adequately and neglected proper background checks, allowing him to work with children.

“Our children deserve a learning environment free from fear and harm. When a school district fails to thoroughly vet and supervise its employees, especially those in leadership roles, it is a failure not just to the individual involved but to the entire community that relies on the safety of its educational institutions”, said lead plaintiff attorney John Winer.

Roe shared her experience of speaking out against the inappropriate behavior she witnessed with the Point Reyes Light. The article sheds light on the district’s inadequate response to this public safety issue.

{Click PDF below for full article: Point Reyes Light }


















WB&S’s John Winer Appears on KGO TV News – Solage Resort Lawsuit in Napa

WBS’s John Winer Filed a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in the Wake of Litigation Involving Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims

A Calistoga resort and spa, part of the prestigious Auberge Resorts Collection, is now at the center of a new civil lawsuit involving a guest who claims a massage therapist sexually assaulted her during a spa session. The incident has brought to light a series of prior sexual harassment allegations against the same massage therapist, raising concerns about the resort’s handling of its workers’ complaints that put the safety of resort guests at risk.

ABC7 profiled the story of Alisha Eastwood, a regular visitor of the Solage, Auberge Resort, who recounted the harrowing experience she faced in September when, during a massage, she alleged Eliot Ferrer touched her inappropriately. Despite previous sexual harassment claims by former employees, Ferrer continued working until Eastwood’s accusations prompted action.

Eastwood reported the incident to the spa manager and resort manager, expressing her discomfort, but she claims they failed to respond appropriately. The lack of support left her with no choice but to leave the resort early and file a police report.

Eastwood also filed a civil lawsuit against Solage, Auberge Resorts, and Ferrer on November 20. The Calistoga Police Department confirms an ongoing investigation.

Eastwood isn’t the first to report Ferrer. In April, four former employees settled a lawsuit accusing Ferrer of sexual harassment, stalking, and unwelcome advances. Despite the settlement, Solage kept Ferrer as an employee, a decision now under scrutiny. Eastwood wonders why the massage therapist wasn’t dismissed earlier, especially given the prior harassment allegations.

Eastwood’s attorney, John Winer, also represented the four former Sologe employees.

“Alisha’s case, to me, represents a company not taking responsibility for what it needed to do,” said Winer. “He just goes on his merry way,” he told ABC 7.

Following Eastwood’s allegations, Ferrer was removed from the schedule and no longer works at Solage.

“I’ve had thousands of cases, and I can’t remember a case where we had plaintiffs bring cases and the perpetrator not being fired during the case or even after it,” Winer told the Los Angeles Daily Journal. ” By the time our client was sexually abused, they knew so much about what a predator he was and let him continue working there even after we settled the case,” he added.

Eastwood told ABC7 she’s sharing her story out of concern for others. “I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” she said.


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WB&S Attorney John D. Winer Quoted in VallejoSun Article About Decades-Old Allegation of Sexual Abuse

VallejoSun Article:  Change in state law reveals decades-old allegation of sexual abuse by Vallejo high school wrestling coach

John Winer, a senior partner at Winer, Burritt & Scott, who specializes in sexual abuse cases, said coaches are often in a position to take more control over kids’ lives under the guise of taking care of them. “Schools will create policies that are pretty good, but there’s nobody enforcing them,” Winer said. “Most of the policies seem to have to do with teachers and classrooms, and [when] you get to after-school sports at the school, it’s like the wild, wild west.

{click here to read the full article}

WB&S Partners Quoted in Daily Journal Article on AB 218 Sexual Assault Law

“Roes” and “Does” Clog Court Dockets as Attorneys Race to Beat Expiring Sex Assault Law.  WB&S Partners John Winer and Erika Scott were recently quoted in the Daily Journal.

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WB&S Files Lawsuit Against Berkeley School District, John Winer Quoted in The Daily Californian

“It is my understanding that there was a looseness of enforcement of appropriate standards of behavior,” alleged John Winer, senior partner of the plaintiff’s representing firm Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP. “Teachers were able to get away with things they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to with a structured environment.”

Read Full Article HERE

“New Law Helps Sexual Harassment, Assault Victims Seek Justice” – Read John Winer’s Article Published by Daily Journal

Most companies nationwide have implemented mandatory arbitration agreements, requiring all employment-related claims to be arbitrated rather than go to a jury trial. Mandatory arbitration agreements are constitutional and enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). However, these secret deals have been criticized in light of the #MeToo movement. A new federal law that was recently signed is now changing how sexual harassment and sexual assault cases are handled in the workplace and employment law, helping victims get their day in court.

H.R. 4445, also known as the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021,” will allow people whose arbitration clauses have bound to take their harassers to court. H.R. 4445 amends the FAA to permit an employee alleging sexual harassment or assault to ban a “pre-dispute arbitration agreement” or “class-action waiver.”

According to the legislation, if an employee signs an agreement to arbitrate employment-related claims and later experiences sexual assault or harassment, they can now throw out that arbitration agreement and pursue their claims in court. It is important to note that the bill only applies to “pre-dispute” arbitration provisions and waivers and doesn’t affect agreements entered after a dispute has arisen. The legislation is also limited to sexual harassment and assault claims and doesn’t affect other employment-related claims.

Before passing H.R 4445, employers and companies could enforce pre-dispute arbitration agreements with employees concerning sexual assault and sexual harassment claims regardless of whether employees preferred to litigate their claims in court. Victims who had signed an arbitration agreement with their employers were left with no other option but to bring their claims to a private arbitrator, who decided what action would be taken. Advocacy groups stressed that this would be a considerable disadvantage since most arbitrators are picked and paid for by the defendant.

Victims’ rights advocates have long claimed that arbitration of harassment and assault claims helps companies cover up employee misconduct, discourages other people from coming forward with sexual harassment-related claims, and keeps them in the shadows. It also does nothing to stop the issue of workplace harassment from occurring again, as reported by former employees who have experienced such crimes. Last year, the New York Times reported on the case of four former employees of the medical-device technology company Afiniti. The employees shared their sexual harassment and abuse claims before the House Judiciary Committee, arguing they couldn’t talk because they had signed contracts with “forced arbitration” clauses. The testimony came as the Committee debated enforcing legislation that would eliminate forced arbitration related to these types of claims.

The legislation brought a significant change to employment law in how it helped victims of sexual harassment and assault have their voices heard. It also forced companies to improve how they handle sexual harassment and assault claims. Our firm has seen how these employers are the only ones that benefit from forced arbitration clauses and when it comes to matters of sexual harassment and assault, employees should not be the ones paying the price by being silenced.

The idea that arbitrations are more time and cost-effective than jury trials has turned out to be false. It regularly takes more time to complete an arbitration than a civil jury trial, and it takes longer from the date of filing for arbitration to begin rather than a trial. Most attorneys have had cases where the arbitration can drag out for over a year, and arbitrators delay making awards. We may see an influx of sexual harassment-related lawsuits in the coming months, and we look forward to seeing what other changes this legislation will bring to employment law.

Winer Burritt + Scott (DJ 3-16-22)

How the Department of VA Is Failing our Veterans

Life in the military can take its toll on the mental health and well-being of many veterans and active-duty members due to the trauma they may experience on and off duty. The significant challenges they encounter are described as the “invisible wounds of war.”

It’s not surprising that many service members experience mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and substance use disorders because of the pressures of war and can have devastating effects if left untreated. While many will seek out help for their issues, some will, unfortunately, fall into the hands of people who will create new scars.

A 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that the rate of depression among military service members was five times as high as civilians, and the rate of PTSD was nearly 15 times higher. According to another study by Very Well Mind, those with PTSD are five times more likely than those without to develop a major depressive disorder. The RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research estimates that approximately 20% of military members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan reported having had a TBI. With so many veterans dealing with mental and health issues, they look for assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which offers many services and programs for Veterans with specific needs, including those suffering from mental health problems.

According to the American Psychological Association, the role of health service psychologists, such as those offered by the VA, is to provide appropriate mental and behavioral health care services, including screening, psychotherapy, counseling, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, remediation, consultation, and supervision. The healthcare professionals should be skilled in collaboration with other health professionals and trained to conduct scientific research, especially practice-based outcomes research and program evaluation. According to the VA website, health service psychologists are to engage in evidence-based practice that is patient-centered, culturally competent, effective, and informed by population-based data across a variety of settings, including primary care, mental health, VA medical centers, community health centers, hospitals, and schools. We trust that these medical professionals are treating those that have fought for our country with dignity and respect, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Our firm currently represents three Bay Area military veterans who are struggling with severe mental health issues and are accusing their former Veterans Affairs (VA) psychiatrist of serious ethical and legal lapses. While seeking treatment, they fell into the hands of Dr. Ferda Sakman, whose job is to help the veterans overcome their serious mental health struggles and any trauma they suffered. Two of the plaintiffs had the opportunity to discuss how these events impacted their life with NBC News. “I was desperately seeking help,” said one of the plaintiffs, a former Army medic who suffers from alcoholism and says he often drinks from the time he wakes up until blacking out at night. “Biologically, I’m alive. But I’m not, you understand? It’s like a walking zombie is pretty much the way I can describe it.” But instead of helping them, the psychiatrist subjected them to sexual abuse, the use of potent psychedelic drugs, and astrology to make therapeutic decisions. A former Navy Master-at-Arms, the second plaintiff, described Dr. Sakman’s treatment practices as ‘bizarre.’ “She really pushed her feelings and thoughts onto me to where I learned not to trust myself anymore.” Not only did the doctor let them down, but the entire administration also turned a blind eye to the abuse.

Our clients’ case is not an isolated incident of therapist abuse involving the VA. In 2018, a veteran filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs after he alleged his therapist was allowed to make sexual advances towards him and punished him when he refused to marry her. Last year, Bloomberg Law reported on a former Marine Corps reservist who alleged his therapist at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center pressured him into a sexual relationship. While he was able to sue the government for negligent supervision, the Fourth Circuit ruled the U.S. could not be held responsible for the therapist’s actions.

At Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP we give a voice to people who have been disempowered, and we fight for their rights. Our attorneys aggressively pursue maximum compensation for damages our clients have suffered, and we build cases that are prepared to be successful in both trials and settlement negotiations. Our proven results and strategies strike fear into our opponents, and we capitalize on that fear to achieve the best possible results in our clients’ best interests.

by John Winer






NBA Bay Area’s Investigative Unit Profiles WB&S Lawsuit Against VA Psychiatrist

Our firm currently represents three Bay Area military veterans who are struggling with severe mental health issues and are accusing their former Veterans Affairs (VA) psychiatrist of serious ethical and legal lapses. Unfortunately, therapist abuse is not rare and our clients’ case is not an isolated incident at the VA.

“You need to vet the doctors for the vets,” Attorney John Winer said to NBC Bay Area. The investigative unit profiled our firm’s federal lawsuit that accuses a former Veterans Affairs (VA) psychiatrist of sexual abuse, dosing an unwitting patient with a potent psychedelic drug, and using astrology in her treatment of three Bay Area military veterans.




Read related article by John Winer: How the Department of VA Is Failing our Veterans


Update: Teacher in Sexual Assault Suits Will Have License Revoked

Effective March 20, former Berkeley High School teacher Matthew Bissell’s teaching credential will be revoked by the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing after facing allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Berkeley High School alumna Rachel Phillips filed the lawsuit in June 2021 alleging Bissell inappropriately touched and sexualized her from 1999 to 2003 when she was a minor. Bissell resigned from his position last year.

Phillips was unable to comment on the decision but John Winer, Phillips’s attorney, said in an email that the survivors of Bissell’s alleged behavior are thrilled that Bissell will lose his teaching credentials.

“This is a long time coming,” Winer said in the email. “However, there is still work to be done.”

Read full article below


More updates on this case:

Update: Teacher in sexual assault suits has license revoked




WB&S Files Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Chiropractor – John Winer Quoted in Merced Publication

Attorney John Winer told the Merced Sun-Star “what makes him even more dangerous is that he’s devious,” Winer said. “He managed to sexually abuse (her) under the guise of treatment to the point where she was initially confused about what he was doing. It’s very, very devious behavior.”

Click here to read the full article here:  Woman allegedly assaulted by Merced CA chiropractor speaks _ Merced Sun-Star

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