When it came to choosing a profession, Sarah Youngblood-Bates took care of that matter early, deciding at the age of seven that she was going to become a lawyer. In putting herself through college and law school, Sarah’s perseverance was tested at times, but she never faltered. Today, Sarah is described by her colleagues, friends, and even opposing counsel as a strong-willed, yet compassionate attorney. Sarah has never been known to back down from any challenge and enjoys tackling the toughest ones together with her colleagues.
As a litigator, Sarah has tried and arbitrated a wide variety of cases, focusing primarily on labor and employment, commercial law, catastrophic personal injury, and environmental litigation. As an employment litigator, she has defended claims for failure to accommodate disabilities, sexual and racial harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination, as well as age, disability, gender, and religious discrimination. She has defended commercial and catastrophic personal injury cases in state and federal courts, and she possesses a deep background in employment law, offering extensive experience in civil trials, arbitrations, and administrative hearings.
Although she doesn’t back down from a battle and is excited and ready to take any case to trial, Sarah has a proven track record of resolving matters before trial so as to limit her clients’ exposure and save them money.
- Sarah successfully represented a client in two back-to-back cases filed by a former employee turned serial plaintiff. The employee initially sued for harassment and discrimination, and Sarah resolved that case on summary judgment in California State Court. The resolution included an award of costs of defense to Sarah’s client. The second lawsuit was a multi-million-dollar claim in Federal Court for wage and hour violations (including issues of on-call time, overtime, and a misclassification claim). Sarah successfully resolved the second case at mediation with her client paying no money to the employee and the employee signing a full release agreeing to never sue the company again.
- Sarah successfully represented her client in a California lawsuit brought by a former employee who alleged that his termination was the result of disability discrimination. Despite a $1.5 million demand, Sarah was able to negotiate a $50,000 settlement of the case at a mandatory settlement conference on the eve of trial.
- Sarah successfully represented her client in a federal lawsuit filed by a former employee alleging sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and emotional abuse. In the suit, the plaintiff alleged that her supervisor raped her during a company outing. Sarah was able to prove through depositions and investigation that the plaintiff completely lacked any credibility, and Sarah subsequently threatened the plaintiff and her attorney with sanctions. As a result, Sarah resolved the matter on behalf of the client for a nominal four-figure settlement amount.
- Sarah has handled and successfully negotiated various Cal. OSHA investigations and notices of intent to issue serious citations. Most recently, Sarah negotiated a serious citation to a general citation and received a finding of no violation related to injury related to a fatality at one of her client’s locations.
- Sarah has counseled and assisted clients with reviews and updates of HR policies, including a large-scale review and correction of an outdated California vacation policy that resulted in a multi-million-dollar payment to employees to correct past deficiencies and reduce future liabilities.
- Sarah represented a Fortune 500 company in a catastrophic personal injury case in Atlanta, Georgia. In that case, Sarah and her partner, Kate Stimeling, were brought in as new counsel for the company just a few months before the case was set for trial. With the assistance of many key experts and through strong litigation strategies, Kate and Sarah were able to reach a very favorable settlement of the case just a few short months after being brought on board.
- Sarah has handled several fatality/catastrophic injury investigations for several large and small companies from the date of the accident through litigation. These experiences have helped Sarah developed contacts with key experts, which is crucial to a fast and accurate assessment of a major accident. Sarah has successfully resolved many of these claims, which often involved catastrophic injuries, for very low settlement amounts based on contested liability and/or inflated damages claims.
- Sarah recently handled the defense of a multi-million-dollar action filed by a franchisee against a manufacturer and distributor regarding claimed food contamination. The case was successfully resolved with a dismissal of all claims.
- Sarah represented public university administrators and campus police in a Section 1983 case involving allegations of improper search warrant for an on-campus activist group that had sent threatening communications related to animal testing.
- Sarah defended university administrators and police against First Amendment claims in a Section 1983 case brought by students after they were arrested in conjunction with a week-long sit-in.
- Sarah defended university regents and police department against First Amendment claims brought by a reporter following a protest that turned violent near the chancellor residence.
EducationUniversity of California - Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 2006, with honors, Hastings Moot Court Student of the Year
University of California - Berkeley, B.S., Environmental Sciences, 2003
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Honors & Awards
Northern California Rising Star, Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers (2013-2017)
“Protecting your company, your job, your capital and your IP: understanding how the legal ecosystem affects your start-up,” (presenter) (November 30, 2016)
“Compliance Across the Supply Chain – CA’s Supply Chain Transparency Act and Other State and Federal Requirements,” (panelist) LexisNexis Emerging Issues Webinar Series (May 9, 2012)