What Makes Alison Deliberately Different
One of the first summer clerks to both survive and become a partner in Sedgwick’s Los Angeles office, Alison wears the crown with pride and has settled very comfortably into her role managing high-profile, sexual abuse lawsuits without losing her mind. In these volatile and complex matters, clients love Alison because she is a guru in the legal field, strategic and honest in her evaluations, fierce in her advocacy and delightful to deal with. She also delivers brilliant results — whether at the negotiation table or trial.
Alison Beanum is a trial attorney who effectively defends public and private entities against claims of intentional and negligence-based torts alleged to have caused catastrophic injuries. Her cases range from single-plaintiff lawsuits to high-profile, multi-party consolidated actions.
Alison routinely goes toe-to-toe against the most prominent sexual abuse and harassment lawyers in California. She leads teams of attorneys through all phases of litigation, developing and applying creative and persistent strategies to achieve the clients’ objectives. She is a fighter who also firmly believes in professionalism and civility.
Beyond her work as a litigator, Alison provides counseling services to her clients, including the development of policies and training programs regarding the identification and prevention of child abuse, the mandatory reporting of suspected abuse and compliance with sexual harassment laws. She also advises her public entity clients on compliance with various state regulations, including the Tort Claims Act, Brown Act, Public Records Act, and Child Abuse Neglect and Reporting Act.
Alison also specializes in disability access law, focusing on the defense of claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act and applicable state and local regulations. She routinely defends “drive-by” accessibility claims, as well as more complex, cutting-edge lawsuits involving online, website and technology accessibility. Alison’s practice includes advising on landlord/tenant disputes regarding responsibility for common areas, implementing policies and procedures to train employees about accessibility laws and interacting with state agencies to facilitate hardship waivers.
Additionally, Alison has significant experience defending clients in cases involving allegations of product liability and exposure to asbestos and toxic torts. She also enjoys serving as co-chair of the Sedgwick Mentoring Committee and Working Parents Group.
- C.N. v. Public Entity and Principal: In this sexual abuse case, Alison moved for summary judgment on behalf of an individual defendant, the school principal, arguing that (1) she lacked final authority over the decision to hire/fire the alleged perpetrator; and (2) her decision to investigate and/or impose discipline in response to plaintiff's complaints was discretionary and, therefore, the doctrine of qualified immunity protected her from liability arising from those decisions. Following oral argument, the court agreed, granting summary judgment in full.
- A.D.M. v. Public Entity: In this sexual abuse case, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Alison’s client on the ground that plaintiff failed to timely comply with the mandatory deadlines set forth in California’s Tort Claims Act. Thereafter, plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that “newly discovered evidence” triggered an exemption from the Tort Claims Act. Following oral argument, the court adopted the arguments raised by Alison in opposition to plaintiff’s motion for new trial, and denied the motion in its entirety, resulting in a final judgment against the plaintiff.
- Settlements in Sexual Abuse Lawsuits: Alison played a key role in litigating and favorably resolving more than a dozen high-profile sexual abuse lawsuits, collectively filed by more than 150 alleged minor victims.
- John TDC Doe, et al. v. Public Entity: In this jury trial, plaintiffs alleged that they were sexually abused by their former teacher. Our client admitted liability, but challenged the nature and extent of plaintiffs’ alleged injuries. The jury awarded significantly less than plaintiffs’ pre-trial demands.
- Morales, et al. v. Premises Owner: In this wrongful death jury trial, plaintiffs alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos through fibers brought home on the clothing of her son, who previously worked as a carpenter in our client’s buildings. Plaintiffs demanded $900,000 before trial. The jury allocated minimal comparative fault against our client, resulting in a net judgment of only $15,000.
- Sanchez, et al. v. Apartment Owner and Management Company: The plaintiffs alleged that they developed respiratory problems as a result of exposure to mold and asbestos in their apartment. Plaintiffs demanded $1,000,000 before trial. The jury returned a defense verdict.
- Chappell v. National Home Improvement Retailer: The plaintiff alleged that she was injured when she tripped and fell over a piece of heavy machinery on our client’s premises. She sustained a torn rotator cuff requiring two surgeries. At trial, plaintiff’s counsel requested a verdict of $300,000. The jury returned a defense verdict.
- Hetrick v. National Home Improvement Retailer: The plaintiff alleged that, while sitting upon a secretarial chair on our client’s premises, the chair collapsed, causing her to strike her head upon the concrete floor. Plaintiff claimed that she suffered a brain injury and soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. She sued under theories of general negligence, premises liability, and strict products liability. At trial, plaintiff requested an award of $22,000,000. The jury returned a defense verdict.
Presentations and Publications
- Author, “An Overview of the Underlying Policy and Application of the Raw Material and Bulk Supplier Defenses,” DRI Toxic Torts Newsletter.
- Author, “Reclassification of Two Industrial Chemicals in New Report on Carcinogens May Increase Toxic Tort Litigation,” Daily Journal.
- Author, “U.S. Navy’s Fault Should Be Considered Despite Immunity,” Daily Journal.
- U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.)
- J.D. (2002) Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
- B.A. (1999) University of California at Irvine
- Southern California Super Lawyers, “Rising Star,” 2008-2017
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Award for Excellence in Preparation for Trial Practice of the Law
Memberships and Affiliations
- American Bar Association, Litigation Section
- California Bar Association, Litigation Section
- California Women Lawyers
- California Council of School Attorneys