Bob is the founding member of Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer. Bob’s varied litigation practice includes defending personal injury, habitability, construction defect and other insurance defense litigation. Current and past representation includes protecting the individuals and businesses of all sizes including store owners, drivers, contractors, and nonprofits in a broad range of general liability and construction claims.
His trial and binding arbitration experience includes everything from neighbor disputes, automobile accidents, construction cases involving everything from single-family homes, to tracts of homes, multi-family type dwellings and hotels.
Bob graduated from San Jose State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics. He then worked for CNA, Farmers, and Zurich in claims before earning his Juris Doctorate. He was admitted to practice law that same year. He is licensed to practice in both state and federal courts. While at CNA, Farmers, and Zurich, Bob held positions of increasing responsibility in both liability and property claims including claims representative, claims examiner, and claims manager. Following his claims career, it was a natural transition to staff counsel for Travelers where he managed a varied defense practice and established the Construction Defect practice group for that Sacramento office.
Bob resides in Roseville, California (Sacramento area) and is the proud father of three daughters. Bob has served on several youth soccer boards and been active in Girl Scouts. All three of Bob's daughters have graduated from the University of Arkansas. Bob, who was born and raised in Arkansas, is a faithful Razorback fan.
Woo Pig Sooie!
Originally from a small town in southern Norway (where all the towns are small), Fred proudly became a United States citizen in 1995 and has lived up and down the West Coast including Seattle (where he attended University of Washington), San Francisco, Las Vegas, Hawaii (where he received his undergraduate degree), and San Diego, where he attended California Western School of Law and graduated in 2000. After taking and passing the California, Nevada, and Washington Bars, Fred started his legal career with a prominent Nevada firm, focusing on developer and general contractor defense.
After several years, he was lucky enough to meet his wife Jennifer and moved to California to propose marriage. She accepted and his legal profession shifted slightly to the defense of subcontractor and developer entities with a particular focus on the areas of Construction Defect actions, but also includes Insurance Defense Litigation, Personal Injury, and General Litigation Matters from inception to post trial.
Fred travels back to Norway every couple of years to restock on great chocolate and visit his family. He enjoys anything outdoors ranging from water and snow sports to finding the latest hiking spots.
He loves salty black licorice.
AMANDA F. BENEDICT was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law & Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1992, and was a member of their NCAA women's soccer team. Ms. Benedict obtained her Juris Doctor in 1998 from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Ms. Benedict is admitted to practice in California, the United States Federal District Courts in the Southern, Central and Northern Districts of California, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
Ms. Benedict is an experienced litigator and appellate advocate. Prior to joining SLB, Ms. Benedict’s litigation practice included both defense and plaintiff representation in a variety of legal matters including business litigation, premise liability, automobile liability and indigent criminal appellate representation. At SLB, Ms. Benedict is a member of the Human Services defense litigation team. Ms. Benedict is proud to advocate on behalf of non-profit entities who are committed to selflessly serving persons in need.
As an appellate advocate, Ms. Benedict has represented clients before the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and successfully obtained Cert. review at the United States Supreme Court. She has authored in excess of 300 appellate briefs in a wide range of matters including human services, maritime, criminal, professional liability, personal injury, and civil rights. Ms. Benedict’s appellate advocacy has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2011, 2014 - 2023.
Ms. Benedict loves the San Diego outdoors and has successfully completed an Ironman triathlon and several half‑Ironman triathlons. Today, Ms. Benedict remains active mountain biking, running with her dog, and golfing.
Meighan is a seasoned litigator and trial/appellate attorney with extensive experience defending
commercial insureds (including WRAPS) and municipalities in construction defect, catastrophic injury,
premises liability, habitability, subrogation, property damage and professional negligence cases, among
others. Her trial, binding arbitration and appellate experience includes everything from subrogation
claims to negligence in property management, complex construction claims running the gamut from $12
million spec homes to tract homes, multiuse high rises to hotels and condominiums throughout the
State of California. Her clients have included real estate developers, construction contractors, and
various private business entities in insurance and non-insurance matters in both state and federal courts.
Meighan continues to aggressively protects her clients’ interests in the courtroom while negotiating
strategic business solutions that provide optimal value to the client.
Meighan graduated California State University at Northridge in 1999, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Having discovered organic chemistry is a language unknown to man, Meighan realized a career in law, or anything except medicine, was calling. Meighan earned her Juris Doctorate in 2003, and was admitted to practice the following year. She is licensed to practice in both California state and federal courts. Over the course of her career Meighan has held positions with ever increasing responsibility and continued successes. Meighan’s most recent accomplishment was successfully defending a writ petition in the Third District regarding an HOA’s standing to press SB800 (Right to Repair Act) claims on behalf of its members culminating in a published opinion. (River’s Side at Washington Square Homeowners Association v Superior Court of Yolo County (River’s Side, LLC) (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 1209).
Shelly graduated from Heald Business College in 1998 from the paralegal program. After working in various insurance defense law firms, she began working with Bob at the inception of this firm back in 2008. Starting as the first legal assistant, she worked her way up to managing the circus we call our work family at Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer.
When away from the office, she and her family spend time remodeling their home, camping, boating and spending time together.
Marc graduated from Sacramento State University with a B.A. in Philosophy. He then went on to attend McGeorge School of Law, graduating Order of the Coif and a member of the Traynor Society. He is licensed in California and has been a civil trial litigator with a focus on insurance defense since 1989.
Marc specializes in complex litigation including Personal Injury, Contract, Product Liability, Premises Liability, Commercial Litigation, Trucking Litigation and construction-related matters. Personal Injury damages that Marc deals with frequently include traumatic brain injury, psychological / psychiatric injuries, spinal injuries, burns and wrongful death. Marc was a partner at Borton, Petrini & Conron, Senior Trial Attorney at Travelers Staff Counsel, and Senior Trial Attorney at Farmers Staff Counsel before joining Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer.
Marc is a Sacramento native, and when he is not spending time with his wife, Victoria, Marc is heavily involved in the music scene, attending numerous concerts throughout the year, in and out of state, and working on the crew of a number of music festivals in other states
Bill was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. He came to the US in 1975 to pursue a college degree, initially at Hillsdale College in Michigan and then to Sacramento. He earned his BA in Art and Graphic Design from California State University, Sacramento in 1979. Bill enjoyed a career as an art director in the advertising and publication fields before pursuing a law degree.
Bill obtained his JD from Lincoln Law School in 1988 and has been in the insurance defense field ever since. As an AV rated attorney, Bill has successfully defended a wide variety of matters including construction defect, premises liability, habitability, product liability, professional liability, motor vehicle/transportation-related matters and toxic tort matters for insurance carriers and third-party administrators as well as private clients.
Before joining Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer, Bill was a Managing Partner and shareholder with Ericksen Arbuthnot where he practiced for over 30 years. Bill’s interests include travel (especially anywhere tropical), kayaking, hiking, classic movies and WWII history.
Mitchell Leverett has 30 years of litigation experience. His background encompasses the handling of a variety of liability claims through Trial, including wrongful death, automobile and truck accidents, slip and fall, medical malpractice, sexual assault, first amendment, construction law, construction defect, and various personal injury matters.
Mitch graduated from UC Irvine (Go Eaters!) in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology with emphasis in Criminal Justice and Psychology and Human Behavior. He attended Law School at Western State University College of Law and received his JD Cum Laude in 1993. He is licensed to practice in both State and Federal Courts. He is also a certified rape crises counselor and served for several years as a Board Member and Past President of the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center.
Mitch resides in Corona, California and is a proud papa to seven children. When he is not practicing law, he can usually be found at a local soccer field coaching a girl’s travel soccer team (Go Arsenal!) or at the local rink playing Ice Hockey.
Laurie was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Communications Minor from Sonoma State University in 1988.
Ms. Marquis was in-house counsel for Financial Pacific Insurance Company and also worked for USAA. For most of her career, she has worked for insurance defense firms. Her specialty areas include personal injury auto and slip and fall cases. She also defends human services entities in pre-litigation and litigation matters.
When not working, Laurie is an enthusiastic world traveler and explorer. As a former long-time resident of Sonoma County, she enjoys wine tasting and long walks on a beach. She also enjoys snorkeling, swimming and relaxing with family and friends at her condo in Belize.
Leslie was admitted to practice law in 2016 after graduating from law school as Salutatorian. Her practice
includes representing both individuals and businesses in insurance defense, complex tort, general
casualty, general civil litigation, transportation and Transportation Network Company defense.
She has first- and second- chaired jury trials in Sacramento County, Placer County, Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County and Butte County and has defended civil lawsuits throughout California. Prior to joining Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer, Leslie worked primarily as in-house counsel for Mercury Insurance and Farmers Insurance.
Before attending law school, Leslie was a claims representative for Farmers Insurance where she gained residential property, casualty, first- and third-party liability, and subrogation experience. As a claims representative, she also handled claims in litigation in Nevada and California.
Leslie is proud Chico State and Pi Beta Phi alumna. As an undergrad, she participated in competitive debate (CEDA) and Chico State’s student-run volunteer program and its legal clinics. In law school, Leslie helped organize and run the Student Bar Association, eventually becoming its President; she also represented her law school in local legal events and organizations. As a law student, Leslie participated in her local Collaborative Court program and taught a Constitutional Law course for college credit.
In her free time, Leslie enjoys shoe/jewelry shopping, Pilates (reformers > mats), spending time with her family and checking off her ever-expanding travel bucket list.
Nicole secured her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1988. After spending several years with a general practice firm handling different types of civil matters, Nicole gravitated to dispute resolution of employment-related claims. She assisted employers by resolving claims against them through settlement or trial. She has also recouped money for her clients by subrogating against third party wrong-doers.
During her time away from work, Nicole enjoys her family, camping, swimming, reading and exploring the Northern California coast with her canine.
Nike joined the firm in 2018 as a rescue dog and rose through the ranks to be Chief of Security for the firm. He cuts an intimidating visage to ensure all delivery persons are on the up and up and no visitor escapes a thorough sniff, and if necessary a stern warning bark. The crime from the local turkey mafia and gangsta squirrels has been virtually eliminated under his watch. He can be bribed with treats, ear scratches and belly rubs. Sadly, he would likely hold open the door and provide the keys to the safe for chicken bites. For the price, he’s the best Chief of Security ever.
As good as Nike is on security enforcement, he excels at company morale. At least twice a day, he makes the rounds to everyone at the firm bringing smiles, goodwill or a toy for tug-o-war. Even the grumpiest employee cannot resist Nike’s charm, nor are they immune to a muzzle nudge and tail wag. There was a nasty rumor, since squelched, that Nike’s twice-daily goodwill tour was nothing more than him grubbing for treats and favors. And to be fair he’s been known to nap on the job. But as everyone says, “He’s a good boy!” which more than makes up for any shortcomings. Simply put, The. Best. Employee. Ever.
Cynthia is a founding member of the firm. Her practice focuses primarily on defending the Human Service Industry, large loss and complex general liability matters, and employment claims. She has an extensive background in Insurance Coverage adding significant value to complex litigation matters with coverage issues and with risk transfer opportunities. Cynthia manages the sensitive human service institutions in pre-litigation matters and she aggressively defends the entities when litigation ensues. She manages potential claim investigations, licensing issues, publicity issues and criminal issues.
Cynthia practices in California State Courts and all Federal District Courts. Her litigation experience includes jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, and mediations. She manages the firm’s main office staff in Sacramento.
Cynthia received her Juris Doctorate from McGeorge School of Law with Distinction. She is a published author in the Pacific Law Journal. She attended her undergraduate studies at the University of California Los Angeles.
During her time away from work, Cynthia enjoys riding her horse, wine tasting, and scuba diving. Riding her horse gives her wings, wine tasting makes her happy, she has jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, scuba dove in Bonaire, Turks & Caicos, Mexico, Jamaica, with whale sharks in the Galapagos and Manta Rays in Indonesia. She is married and is a proud mother of a son and daughter.
San Joaquin College of Law
Juris Doctorate ~ With Distinction 2009
California State University, Fresno
Bachelor of Arts, English Literature 2004
A product of the Central Valley, Aaron is an attorney with a blue-collar work ethic representing individuals and businesses in civil litigation matters throughout California. After briefly serving in the United States Navy, Aaron returned home and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Fresno State University, and Juris Doctorate with distinction, from the San Joaquin College of Law.
Before admission to the California Bar, Aaron worked as judicial extern for the Honorable Gary Austin at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. After being admitted, Aaron’s practice has focused on insurance defense, premises liability, personal injury, and general civil litigation.
Aaron is admitted before all the courts of the State of California, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California, and the Fresno County Bar Association.
In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, jazz music, and spending time with his wife, two adult children, and grand-daughter.
Kelly has practiced as a senior labor and employment attorney, acting as lead litigation counsel on complex wage/hour litigation for over twelve years, on some of the most noted employment class action cases in the country. She is experienced in all areas of labor and employment matters, including, but not limited to: complex wage/hour, class action cases, PAGA, prevailing wage, NLRB union elections, collective bargaining, discrimination, harassment, EEOC matters, wrongful termination, workers compensation, OSHA, FCRA, FMLA and ADA matters.
Kelly is also experienced with providing advice and counsel for business clients, including, but not limited to reviewing policies and procedures for compliance with current law, drafting employee handbooks, human resources policies and procedures, negotiating and drafting executive employment contracts. She has also developed and implemented effective HR compliance training programs for businesses.
Kelly is passionate about coming up with creative solutions that allow employers to maintain the integrity of their mission, while seeking to retain one of their most valuable assets, their employees, whenever possible. She has extensively studied active listening and mediation techniques, which she applies to her own practice.
During her time away from work, she enjoys hiking with her husband, children and dog, tending to her mini-orchard, beading, painting and rock carving.
Norma Pedroza Chavez is originally from Los Angeles, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and Italian culture in 1989 from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She received her Juris Doctor in 1992 from Boston University. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy.
Norma has been a civil litigator for over 23 years and is admitted to practice in California State Courts and the United States Federal District Courts in the Central, Northern and Eastern Districts of California. Her areas of practice include human services, premises liability, trucking, catastrophic accidents, employment, construction defects, construction accidents, and professional liability. Her litigation experience includes jury trials, arbitrations, and mediations.
Norma has five children, including two sets of twins. She enjoys cooking, baking, hiking, Pilates, and traveling. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe with her children. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian.
Norma was a Board member of the East Los Angeles YMCA from 2009 to 2011.
Greg Estabrook is a civil litigation attorney with over 20-years of experience. He has worked for AV-rated law firms, national insurance carriers, and public entities. He specializes in construction defect litigation and personal injury litigation. Mr. Estabrook is a 1995 graduate of McGeorge School of Law and a U.S. Army veteran.
He enjoys his family, motorcycle riding, fishing, reading, and a variety of interests. He finds lawn gnomes annoying.
John Hill is a senior litigation attorney at Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer. His practice focuses
primarily on construction defect, personal injury and general liability. His construction defect
clients include general contractors, subcontractors and design professionals. His personal injury
and general liability practice include defending business owners in all matters from slip and fall
accidents to wrongful death claims, and A.D.A. discrimination claims. John is also proficient in
handling litigation involving homeowners’ associations, property owners’ associations,
cooperatives and planned unit developments which involve not only personal injury claims but
also breach of fiduciary duties, negligence and breach of contract actions.
John's experience includes jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, mediations and appeals. John has successfully resolved multi-million-dollar construction defect cases for design professionals, contractors and building product suppliers. John has successfully argued several cases in the 1st and 3rd California District Courts of Appeal and resolved numerous matters to his clients’ satisfaction before litigation ensued.
John graduated from The College of Idaho in 1986 and thereafter attended the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, graduating in 1991. While at McGeorge, John worked as a law clerk for several Sacramento firms focusing on general liability, real property and homeowners’ association matters. John is licensed to practice in both state and federal courts.
John began his career with a Sacramento insurance defense firm defending personal injury and construction defect cases. He has also served as staff counsel for Zurich American Insurance Company and Continental Casualty Company, “CNA”. John’s practice has always included construction defect and personal injury defense, but he has also done coverage work, handled insurance bad faith claims, and even obtained a defense verdict for a veterinarian in a veterinary malpractice action.
John is married and lives in Elk Grove, California. He has two daughters. One is a graduate of Cal Poly who is now living and working in Kentucky. The other is in middle school, and she is a member of the Elk Grove Aquatics Club. When John is not at work, you’ll probably find him on the pool deck supporting the team or enjoying the outdoors with his family.
Brad is an AV - rated trial attorney whose practice focuses on large loss/catastrophic injury and wrongful death matters. He has tried over 70 cases to verdict throughout California in both state and federal courts – primarily on the defense side but also on behalf of plaintiffs. He has mediated and arbitrated over 500 cases and serves as an arbitrator and judge pro tem in several state courts.
Specializing in transportation and common carrier litigation, Brad has represented many of the country’s largest trucking and railroad companies. He has been a CEB presenter/ moderator on topics ranging from digital evidence presentation at trial, to common carrier representation in complex/catastrophic loss cases, to defense of premises liability claims; the latter extending to counseling the loss prevention departments of several national retailers.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Brad graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, then earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.
Brad enjoys tournament bass fishing and together with his wife, Kristi, likes spending time with their children and grandchildren. Both are expert snow skiers, road cyclists, kayakers and are very attached to their two Australian Shepherd dogs.
Mark is a graduate from St. Mary’s College in Moraga with B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History in 1986. He then attended San Francisco Law School and graduated with J.D. degree in 1991. Mark has been admitted to the California State Bar since December 1991.
Mr. Lobre worked two years at the civil defense firm of Strickland and Haapala in Oakland, before joining Allstate Insurance Company as an in-house trial attorney. Mark worked on all aspects of Allstate matters including, third party, first party, SIU, and homeowner’s matters. He tried over 14 cases to jury, arbitrated over 25 matters, and tried at least 10 bench trials. He was promoted to the role of Lead Counsel with Allstate in 2008 and worked over a total of 27 years handling matters on behalf of Allstate insureds.
Mark specializes in general civil insurance cases, involving personal injury matters currently. Mark enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons when not working, and is an avid sports fan ( Giants, 49ers, and Warriors) enjoys trying new restaurants and going to concerts in San Francisco.
Mary I. Melton graduated from Santa Clara University (B.S. 1989, cum laude) and UC Davis, School of Law (J.D. 1992) and is admitted to the California State Bar and U.S. District Courts (Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern).
Ms. Melton’s practice focuses on defending personal injury, general liability, construction defect and employment law claims.
Ms. Melton has substantial experience in litigation, both in state and federal court. Her practice has spanned three decades and she has successfully defended cases in appellate court, including arguing in the Third District Court of Appeal of California. In addition to personal injury claims and general liability claims, Mary’s experience includes employment law and public entity defense. As an employment attorney, Mary has provided a wide array of counseling and training to employers.
Away from the office, Mary enjoys going to baseball games and comedy shows with her twin sons. She is an avid sports fan and roots for all Northern California teams.
Todd A. Schaffer represents owners, developers, design professionals, general contractors, trade
contractors, and sureties in a variety of contract and business litigation matters. His practice emphasis
includes the interpretation and enforcement of real estate and construction contracts, mechanics’ liens,
stop notices, and related litigation including bankruptcy matters, construction defect litigation, crafting
and negotiating construction contracts, commercial landlord/tenant disputes, risk management, and
insurance coverage matters. Mr. Schaffer also handles a variety of general liability matters, including
personal injury, premises liability, public entity defense, defamation, class actions, environmental
contamination, toxic mold litigation, patent infringement, agricultural crop loss, and product liability. Mr.
Schaffer has mediated over 1000 cases to successful resolution on behalf of his clients.
Mr. Schaffer graduated from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific in May of 2000, with Distinction. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Sacramento, School of Business Administration: Finance & Insurance, in December of 1989.
Mr. Schaffer began his career in the insurance industry, including property and casualty investigations, litigation management, and catastrophe claim handling and estimating, prior to and while attending law school.
Kim is an experienced litigator who assists her clients by identifying problems, providing sound legal advice, and crafting solutions. She focuses her practice on school and education law, as well as human services and personal injury defense. Kim has a proven track record of getting successful results in both State and Federal courts.
Kim is passionate about her local community. She has served on the Rescue Union School District Board of Directors for over a decade, including multiple years in the role of President. She is also a member of the El Dorado County School Board Association, the El Dorado County Schools Finance Authority, and a past member of the Oak Ridge High School Site Council and Boys Team Charity (with her two sons.)
Meera Sims joined the firm in late 2020 after being discovered as a puppy starlet in a small town in Idaho. She dreamed to be the next star under the bright lights in the Capital city. Alas, like all cute-as-a-button Schnauzer puppy stars, she discovered as she grew up grey-bearded ladies only have a home in the circus … but she did not want to be in politics, so she drifted from odd job to odd job—herding chickens, chewing on chair legs, barking at the wind, soiling carpets—anything to get by. But then fate shined upon her, and she was discovered again this time by Nike Lawrence, Chief of Security for the firm.
Meera was up to no good near the dumpster out back conspiring with varmints of ill-repute and Nike sought to lay down the law. Living on the mean streets of Roseville and with her stout German heritage,
Meera was not intimidated in the least by Nike, and despite the size difference, Meera used her wits and speed to quickly gain the upper paw in the tussle. Nike recognized talent and proving to be a plucky, energetic go-getter and with the firm growing quickly, Meera was brought on as Assistant Chief of Security for Internal Affairs where she thrived.
Daily she investigates each employee ensuring pats and scratches are not withheld. She’s discovered many hidden stashes of contraband treats in various offices though curiously she never seems to fire any of the scofflaws always saying more investigation is necessary. She can bring grown men to heel with four simple words: “Let’s take a walk.” With a piercing stare, eyebrows to shame a grizzled Soviet premier, and “the beard” you know she means to do her business once outside.
Yet, despite her wiry exterior and gruff look, she’s a wonderful, sweet puppy on the interior and we love her to death. “What a good girl, you are Meera!” is usually all that ever needs to be said to win her over.
John is an attorney specializing in insurance coverage disputes and the representation of design professionals. He completed both his undergraduate and legal education at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, graduating with honors at both levels.
Following admission to the California Bar in 1990, his practice area has focused on Civil Litigation with a particular emphasis on the representation and defense of architects and engineers in construction defect litigation, the defense of general contractors in construction litigation, and the defense of human service entities and schools. John advises and counsels design professionals in all aspects of contract preparation, risk allocation and insurance issues.
John has given countless seminars, presentations and webinars nationally, regionally and locally on design professional’s risk allocation, contract formation and negotiations, and construction defect litigation. He effectively (and with humor) teaches his clients the law on standard of care, insurance, scope of work issues, risk understanding and risk transfer, and contract negotiation techniques. John has served as an expert witness in the area of design professional litigation.
John currently represents many of the area’s preeminent architectural and engineering firms. He also actively represents prominent insurance carriers in insurance coverage disputes and bad faith actions. His emphasis is on the defense of carriers in environmental coverage disputes. He has litigated coverage for contamination sites involving the laws of many states including California, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Virginia and numerous others.
John has aggressively litigated, arbitrated and mediated countless disputes for his clients in virtually every county in Central and Northern California. His goal is litigating actions in a manner that fully protects his clients’ interests in a business-conscious and cost-effective manner. He practices aggressive representation with attention to his clients’ current and long-term business and community interests. John has substantial trial experience and always remains prepared to protect his client’s interests at trial, if required.
John was born and raised in the Midwest and brings his Midwest work ethic to the representation of his clients. He is married and has two wonderful children.
Deborah joined Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer in 2020. Her practice includes Insurance Defense, Construction Defect Litigation, Personal Injury, and General Litigation matters. Deborah has worked on numerous complex litigation matters from inception through conclusion.
Prior to working at Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer, Deborah worked in the insurance defense personal injury area with Powers Miller. She also worked for many years in both personal injury and construction defect insurance defense with United Fire Group in-house counsel.
Deborah graduated from Lincoln Law School, Sacramento where she was instrumental in the formation of the Women’s Justice Society and was a published author in the Voir Dire. She is admitted to practice in the State of California and the United States District Court, Eastern District of California.
Deborah is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution which allows her to become involved in many activities benefiting the community and our local Veterans. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, wine tasting, cooking, gardening, traveling and genealogy.
Sharonrose has been legal counsel to businesses, realtors, owners, contractors, medical groups, individuals, and religious non-profits for over 25 years. She has recently joined the firm as Of Counsel. She has successfully represented her clients in state and federal courts and a wide variety of disputes and legal matters. Before joining the firm, Sharonrose managed a legal team in her own law firm for the last 20 years in a variety of real estate, construction, business, mortgage lender, church, personal injury, products liability, and other matters. She has been first chair in over 50 jury and court trials and numerous binding arbitration cases.
Her most recent success was to represent five churches to obtain emergency injunctive relief from the U.S. Supreme Court to reopen all houses of worship in Silicon Valley closed by the state and county throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. She is passionate about protecting the legal rights of churches and has unique insight into the internal affairs of religious organizations due to her personal and risk management background. Her father is the founding pastor of a church with campuses in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Her representative church clients include denominational and non-denominational religious non-profits. Her church litigation cases include child abuse, negligent supervision of minors, church splits, hostile takeovers, defamation, trustee and clergy malfeasance, mergers, constructions, real estate, and pastoral selection and succession. For over a decade she hosted www.protectthechurch.org, a legal resource for ministry leaders. She holds a Church Risk Management Certificate from Cambridge University, UK.
Sharonrose resides in the hills above the Town of Los Gatos and works at Sim’s downtown Los Gatos offices. In her free time she loves to travel, snow ski, and explore California’s coast. She has served on several local non-profits, including Chair of the Women Lawyers Section of Santa Clara County Bar Association, CASA (Community Against Substance Abuse) Under 21 Club, Los Gatos Youth Theater, and she was vocal director for local school musicals. Her three daughters are proud alumni of UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, and Brown University.
Mike joins the firm as Senior Trial Counsel. Mike is also a registered Civil Engineer in the state of California. He served three years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps (Seabees) between college and law school. A third-generation Californian, he was raised on a family peach and almond ranch near Turlock, California.
Mike has used his professional civil engineering degree and legal expertise to defend design professionals in the construction industry. He has extensive experience in the defense of product liability claims. He has defended Porsche, Volkswagen, BF Goodrich and Uniroyal. As lead trial counsel, he successfully defended Porsche in a wrongful death product liability case. This was the first time Porsche had ever gone to trial in the United States in defense of one of its automobiles.
Of late, Mike has been primarily engaged in the defense of engineers and design professionals. He has a broad background of trial work involving Commercial Liability and Personal Injury. He has tried cases in both state and federal courts. A member of the State Bar Association of California, he is also a member of ABOTA, American Board of Trial Attorneys, and has volunteered as a Judge Pro Tempore for the Superior Court of Sacramento and Placer Counties.
He has been active in the community for over forty years, volunteering as a lecturer in professional ethics and legal liability to engineering students at California State University, Sacramento, and other student groups. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Mike is also an attorney accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing veterans before the department.
Mike is married, with one daughter and two grandchildren. He enjoys cycling, tennis, and handball.
Amy Freeland has 16 years of litigation experience. Her background encompasses the handling of a
variety of liability claims, including trucking accidents, automobile accidents, premise liability claims,
wrongful death claims, contract claims, and construction defect.
Amy graduated cum laude from UCLA in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She attended Whittier Law School and graduated cum laude in 2006. She is licensed to practice in both State and Federal Courts.
Amy resides near Palm Springs, California. In her personal time, Amy enjoys reading, painting, and spending time with her husband and two pet parrots.
Eric grew up in California’s Sacramento Valley. After graduating from The University of Akron School of Law, Eric made the decision to practice law in California’s courts. During his career, he has handled matters in the areas of labor and employment, products liability, personal injury, insurance defense, premises liability, elder abuse, medical malpractice and general civil litigation. Eric is licensed to practice law in California, Texas, and Arizona.
When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his family, as well as his dog Biscuit and cat Sulla.
Meghan joined Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer in 2022. Her practice focuses primarily on defending the Human Service Industry, large loss and complex general liability matters, and insurance defense litigation. Meghan has worked on numerous complex matters, prepped for, and participated in, a two-month long wrongful death trial and extensively prepped for a complex alleged sexual assault trial which settled days before trial. Prior to passing the bar exam in 2022, Meghan worked as a paralegal with the firm, working on all aspects of civil defense litigation.
Meghan earned her law degree from Boston University School of Law in 2022. She worked as an editor on the Boston University Law Review and published her Note, Tinker Stays Home: Student Freedom of Expression in Virtual Learning Platforms, in December of 2021. Prior to law school, Meghan received her Bachelor of Science in 2017 from California State University, Sacramento, graduating magna cum laude.
When not working, Meghan enjoys scuba diving, hiking, traveling, and snowboarding. She has scuba dived off the coast of South Africa, Mozambique, the Galapagos Islands, and Komodo, among other places. In the summer of 2017, she successfully backpacked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. She enjoys horses, being outdoors, and her family. She does not like the book Wild.
Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, CA (Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1989)
University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV (Bachelor of Science, with distinction, 1986)
Bryan L. Malone graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno (B.S. 1986) and Pepperdine University School of Law (J.D. Cum Laude 1989), and was admitted to the California Bar, U.S. District Court (Central, Eastern and Northern Districts) and U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit in 1989. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada, DRI, and the Sacramento County Bar Association.
Mr. Malone’s areas of emphasis include medical/dental malpractice and other professional liability, premises liability, including entertainment venues, and products liability. Mr. Malone also advises and represents health care providers in both administrative actions and civil litigation.
Away from the office, Bryan enjoys traveling to Europe, spending time in his garden, and spoiling dogs at every opportunity.
Michael was admitted to practice law in California in 2015. He graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Statistics. He graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, earning a Juris Doctorate with a Tax Concentration. He was the Chief Managing Editor of the McGeorge Global Business and Development Law Journal, and a published author in the Journal. His areas of practice include General Civil Litigation, Construction Defect Litigation and Insurance Coverage Defense.
During his time away from work, he enjoys spending time with his spouse and child. He lives in Folsom, California and is an active board member of Kicks 4 Kids, a non-profit that provides athletic wear to children. He is also a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters Sacramento. When time allows, he enjoys competitive flag football, traveling and reading.
Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA, Juris Doctor (2013)
Pennsylvania Western University, California, PA, Bachelor of Science, Business (2010)
Sean M. Speciale was admitted to practice law in 2013. His practice includes insurance defense, construction litigation, personal injury, and general civil litigation matters. Sean maintains an active practice representing and counseling clients in all aspects of civil litigation, including discovery, motions practice, hearings, mediation, arbitration, and trials. Sean’s construction law experience includes construction defects, mechanics lien and stop payment claims, and contract disputes.
Sean also has litigation experience representing public schools and other public entities in harassment, employment, and general liability cases. Additionally, he practiced in the energy industry by preparing oil, gas, and mineral title opinions. This practice included facilitating due diligence and review of assets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio for mergers and acquisitions of private companies and publicly traded energy producers.
During time away from work, Sean enjoys spending time with family, hiking, golfing, and playing baseball.
Sean is admitted to practice law in California and Pennsylvania.
Michelle successfully represents clients in contract-based litigation, construction defect claims, human service files, subrogation, and agriculture.
Prior to joining Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer, Michelle’s experience rested in the areas of Personal Injury, Construction Defect, Real Estate, Business Formation, and Employment Law. During that time, Michelle effectively managed her cases, negotiated settlements, and garnished experience in pre-trial discovery. Michelle has arbitration experience, trial preparation, and the appellate process, particularly with regard to employment, wrongful death, and construction defect lawsuits.
Michelle has a strong record of academic and professional achievements, most recent of which was graduating from McGeorge School of Law with certificates in Governmental Affairs and International Law. Prior to attending law school, Michelle obtained her Master of Science from Iowa State University and Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Davis, both in Animal Science. At Iowa State University, her masters concentrated on periparturient disorders for calving difficulty and other calf-related traits in Holsteins, with an emphasis in statistical analysis. Michelle is licensed to practice in California and Washington.
While attending McGeorge School of Law, Michelle worked as a volunteer law clerk in the Attorney General’s Office - Department of Justice, Public Rights Division. While volunteering, Michelle was paired with the Agricultural Law section. She assisted with employment law issues and agricultural commissions, in addition to administrative law pertaining to the California Air Resources Board. She aided in a positive verdict for the Air Resources Board by researching and presenting a unique argument in favor of the board.
Most recently, Michelle was successful in Arbitration. The first of which Michelle navigated a $3.2 million dollar claim against her clients, and had a judgment returned for less than $200,000 (judgment based on unpaid promissory notes). The second, Michelle worked along side Bob Sims to diminish Claimant’s $5.3 million dollar claim, primarily pertaining to the client, obtaining a defense verdict.
In her spare time, Michelle and her wife, Erica, love to take family trips, travel, and enjoy adventures with their four kids. She is Treasurer of Cub Scout Pack 57 (her son just bridged to Troop). She is also active in her son’s soccer and baseball teams. Michelle is an avid sports fan, as she used to own, manage, and play on the local women’s tackle football team, the Sacramento Sirens. She loves the Green Bay Packers, Iowa State Football, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mark graduated from Arizona State University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science and attended University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, obtaining his Juris Doctorate in 1979. He is licensed in Arizona and California and has been actively practicing Insurance Defense Litigation since 1982.
His practice has included all areas of Insurance Defense (excluding Professional Malpractice defense) including Personal Injury actions ranging from simple to complex auto injury cases, Premises Liability, construction accidents, and Products Liability. He also has extensive experience defending developers, general contractors and subcontractors in Construction Defect Litigation.
He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Association of Defense Counsel. He was a partner in the defense firm of Lea and Arruti from 1986 to 2003, when he started Arruti and Associates. In November of 2015, he merged his practice with the firm, and is now a named partner with this firm and heads up the firm's Personal Injury Practice Group. In addition to an active defense practice, he has conducted ADR activities over the last 20 years as a Pro Tem Judge in multiple local counties, and has conducted private mediations and binding arbitrations for selected members of the local bar for the last several years.
Celia relocated to California from a small town in the Texas Panhandle over 35 years ago.
She obtained her
undergraduate degree from Cal State East Bay, and her Law Degree from Monterey College of Law. At law
school, Celia participated in the moot court competition and received her Juris Doctorate in 1990, having graduated with honors.
While attending law school, Celia worked for the Monterey County Superior Court where she was fortunate to clerk for skilled and experienced jurists. During her 31 years of practice, Celia has garnered experience in multiple areas of practice from both a defense and plaintiff perspective (i.e., administrative law, complex litigation, mass tort, professional negligence, personal injury and probate) with a concentration on civil litigation. Her diverse background allows Celia to bring a unique perspective and wide range of knowledge to each client’s legal needs.
In addition to the California State Courts, Celia is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts, Northern and Eastern Districts of California; as well as the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Division. Her civil litigation practice has encompassed bench trials, jury trials, federal adversarial proceedings, administrative proceedings, arbitration and mediation.
A love of all kinds of music keeps Celia motivated to learn new instrumental and vocal skills, and she also enjoys contributing to her faith community, spending time in the outdoors, traveling, and scuba diving with her husband and son.
McGeorge School of Law
Greg Estabrook is a civil litigation attorney with over 20-years of experience. He has worked for AV-rated law firms, national insurance carriers, and public entities. He specializes in construction defect litigation and personal injury litigation. Mr. Estabrook is a 1995 graduate of McGeorge School of Law and a U.S. Army veteran.
He enjoys his family, motorcycle riding, fishing, reading, and a variety of interests. He finds lawn gnomes annoying.
David William White is an experienced civil litigation attorney involved in general liability, personal injury and construction defect cases. Mr. White has tried many cases to verdict and argued before the California Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit.
He started his legal career in San Francisco, California in 1984, working in the areas of general liability,construction defect and business litigation. Mr. White has been involved in all aspects of construction defect litigation, including premises and product liability.
He has attended trials and argued motions throughout California. He has also participated in asbestos litigation since 1988. From 1992 to 2010, he represented the Fairmont Hotel in over 70 premises liability asbestos cases. He has also been involved in asbestos friction cases and participated in over forty trials, some which settled and others which went to verdict.
Mr. White received his J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, with honors, in 1983 in San Francisco, California. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, with honors, in 1972. He became a member of the State Bar of California in 1984. He is also a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He served in the United States Army from 1968-1970 in West Germany as a radio transmitter operator with the 3rd Infantry Division, also known as “The Marne Division.”
Ann’s practice focuses on Human Service Industry Defense, Construction Defect Litigation, and General Defense Litigation.
She graduated summa cum laude from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in Psychology and a Certificate in Legal Studies. Ann earned her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2002. While at Santa Clara, she volunteered at the East San Jose Law Clinic providing legal services to the area’s underserved. Ann is admitted to practice law in the State of California and U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California.
When Ann is not working, she enjoys watching her kids play sports, listening to her daughter play the flute, and paddle boarding on Folsom Lake with her husband.
Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer represents design professionals in all aspects of risk management from contract review and negotiation to trial. We are the preeminent Northern California law firm representing design professionals from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe and from Fresno to Redding/Eureka.
We adhere to the foundation that a “stitch in time, saves nine.” We draft prime and subconsultant agreements which manage risks and protect our client’s interests, but which are fair to all parties. We review owner and contractor supplied contracts for risk management, indemnity, standard of care, insurance requirements and a host of other tricky provisions. This is done with an eye toward protecting the interests of your business and your personal assets all while meeting the needs of your clients. We have successfully negotiated countless contracts ranging from a few thousand to many millions of dollars. We balance the critical legal concerns with the practicalities of putting food on your table.
The firm has relationships with most errors and omissions insurance carriers so when you find yourself in a tight spot, in front of your professional board, or in litigation we have the litigation and trial experience to successfully navigate the trouble. We are always mindful of protecting business relationships as too many law firms simply want to fight to the last man and go for a risky “win” rather than doing what is effective and smart. Many lawyers foolishly misunderstand what it means to “win” and place their own interests ahead of their client’s interests. That said, we will efficiently and aggressively protect your interests.
Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer has successfully represented carrier and private clients in hundreds of matters involving Coverage and Coverage-related matters (i.e. indemnity, contract, and additional insured interaction). Our lawyers’ years of experience allow for identification and evaluation of Coverage issues that most Coverage attorneys may not fully understand.Our Coverage Litigation experience includes first and third-party exposures. Our specialty is construction/contract-related indemnity and additional insured exposures. In these types of cases, we have successfully reduced the exposure through litigation and negotiations.
We have excellent working relationships with most carriers. Our methods of rebuttal to carrier positions are borne more of education and cooperation than of an adversarial relationship. We pride ourselves in our ability to quickly identify whether the client needs negotiation or litigation. This ability to quickly identify the potential outcomes early in the process allows the client to make considered and informed decisions as to whether a cases should be mediated, arbitrated, or tried.
We successfully protect the interests of owners, developers, builders, contractors, design materials manufacturers and suppliers in a broad range of construction-related claims.
The firm’s construction attorneys represent clients in disputes arising from single-family dwellings to large commercial buildings and industrial facilities, including hospitals, office buildings, warehouses and planned unit developments. Specific experience includes resolving claims in excess of $10M and class actions involving in excess of 550 single-family residences.
Trial and binding arbitration experience includes claims involving complex drainage systems, excavation and geotechnical issues, as well as prosecuting claims involving a defectively-engineered roofing system.
Construction cases often involve many different areas of law. The firm has considerable experience in related fields such as environmental, contract, and product liability law.
Additionally, Sims, Lawrence & Broghammer is unique because it has extensive experience in construction-related insurance matters, including the management and interpretation of Self-Insured Retentions, additional insured endorsements, “wrap-ups”/Owner Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIPs), and commercial general liability policies, because of this experience, we frequently represent contractors assigned by carriers where special care is needed due to significant reservations of rights issues.