Nora Wetzel is a commercial litigation attorney at Sedgwick’s San Francisco office with a focus in commercial real estate and data privacy matters. Nora handles real estate litigation involving purchase and sale, leaseholds, land-use litigation, and eminent domain, as well as general commercial matters. Nora advises clients regarding their compliance with U.S. federal and state privacy and information laws, data security, breach responses and state and federal security breach notification laws.
Nora provides prompt and efficient legal service to healthcare entities and related businesses, retailers, commercial landlords and tenants, business owners, property owners, developers and public utilities on litigation matters involving commercial real estate disputes, cybersecurity and privacy, eminent domain actions, breach of contract claims and product defect claims.
Nora has jury trial and mediation experience, as well as regulatory compliance experience in connection with state attorneys general and the Office of Civil Rights.
Nora has been designated as a Certified Information Privacy Professional, United States (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).
- Plaintiff v. Home Goods Store – March 2016 – Summary Judgment. Sedgwick obtained summary judgment in a lease dispute for a major corporate client after the client’s landlord asserted two years into the option term of a long-term lease that the exercise of the option had carried with it a rental adjustment that would result in almost $13 million in additional rent over the option term. The landlord asserted a novel theory that CPI rental increases accrued through the original lease term carried over into the option term — a position seemingly at odds with industry standards and inconsistent with the parties’ initial handling during the commencement of the option period. The court found that the landlord estopped to assert the novel theory based on the landlord’s failure to raise the theory when the parties were determining option rent in a fair market rent arbitration at the outset of the option term.
- Plaintiff v. Home Goods Store – March 2015 – Other. Sedgwick obtained an attorneys’ fee award for its client after obtaining a defense verdict in an eight-day jury trial of a complex unlawful detainer case. Landlord asserted that Sedgwick’s national retailer tenant was not paying required rents under a complex and unusual rental formula and that tenant should be removed from the premises in the 25th year of a 40-year lease. The jury found for the tenant. The lease provided for attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party and Sedgwick made an application for all fees incurred. After extensive briefing, evidentiary objections from landlord and hearing, the court awarded 100 percent of the fees incurred by the tenant in defending against the eviction proceeding.
- Plaintiff v. Home Improvement Retailer – July 2015 – Trial Verdict – Jury. Sedgwick obtained a defense verdict for our client, an international home improvements retailer that faced eviction from a property where it operates a major retail store under a long-term lease. Our client was sued by its landlord in unlawful detainer for allegedly failing to pay the correct rent under a complex formula disputed by the parties for many years. After an eight-day trial, the jury found that the rent claimed by the landlord was an unreasonable estimate of the amount due, and rendered a defense verdict.
- Plaintiff v. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer – November 2015. Gained appellate victory for our client, a manufacturer and seller of a consumer product, by obtaining a reversal of the trial court’s denial of our motion to enjoin restitution claims under the False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws of California. Published opinion, The People of the State of California v. IntelliGender, LLC, No. 13-56806, D.C. No. 2:10-CV-04210-ABC-VBK, before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Tenant v. SF High Rise Owner and Manager – April 2014 – Appellate Ruling. Sedgwick won an appellate victory for our clients, the owner and manager of a San Francisco high-rise office building, in California state court. The plaintiff, a tenant that operated a restaurant in the building, sued our clients on a number of claims, seeking millions for fraud, breach of contract, nuisance and trespass. Most of the claims related to our clients’ lease of an adjacent space in the building to another restaurant and the use by that restaurant of equipment that allegedly allowed odors to enter the plaintiff’s space. Sedgwick obtained dismissals of all claims through a series of motions in the trial court, and the plaintiff appealed the dismissals of six claims. The Court of Appeal affirmed all the trial court’s rulings. The court held that the alleged odors, and alleged cooking grease in an exhaust duct, could not constitute a trespass, and that the terms of the lease precluded the nuisance claim. The lease terms were also held to preclude the plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract based on the leasing of space to a competing restaurant, the refusal to allow the use of a “sandwich board” sign on the property and the alleged delay in installing an exterior sign that the landlord had no contractual duty to install.
- Plaintiff v. Multinational Automotive Company – March 2014 – Trial Verdict – Jury. Sedgwick obtained judgment for nonsuit for our client, a multinational automotive company, in San Francisco Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged that a four-hour motorcycle ride he took led to a permanent physical dysfunction. The court granted our motion for nonsuit on the fifth day of the jury trial. The court deferred ruling on our motions in limine to exclude the plaintiff’s experts from testifying as to causation as being too speculative and lacking foundation. Instead, the court heard the testimony with the jury during the trial, subject to a motion to strike. After striking testimony from two of the plaintiff’s experts, the judge ruled that the plaintiff’s evidence causally linking the motorcycle to his affliction was too weak to go to a jury.
Counseling and Advice
- Counseled and advised our client, a dental practice, regarding compliance with all state and federal regulatory schemes, including HIPAA and California state law, relating to a data breach in connection with a theft of an external hard drive affecting patients residing in over 36 different states, in conjunction with managing notification to all affected patients and pertinent government enforcement agencies. Successfully handled investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, without any fines or sanctions imposed on our client.
- Advised our client, a major university hospital, regarding compliance with all state and federal regulatory schemes relating to a spear-phishing attack affecting financial and personal health information of employees and their dependents.
- Navigated a regional hospital through a data breach caused by a break in and theft of paper and electronic records involving patient health information and financial information. Advised our client regarding compliance with all state and federal regulatory schemes, including HIPAA and California state law. Managed all required notifications including individual notice, substitute and media notice under HIPAA and California state law, notification to all pertinent state and federal regulatory agencies, and notification to card organizations and credit monitoring agencies.
Presentations and Publications
- Co-author, “New Jersey Bill Limiting Identity Card Scanning Signed Into Law,” Sedgwick’s Cybersecurity Today Blog (July 27, 2017).
- Co-author, “ALERT – FTC Issues Updated Guidance for Compliance with COPP,” Sedgwick’s Cybersecurity Today Blog (June 30, 2017).
- Co-author, “New Jersey Senate Passes Bill Limiting Identity-Card Scanning by Retailers for Limited Purposes,” Sedgwick’s Cybersecurity Today Blog (June 29, 2017).
- Co-author,“10 Tips To Avoid W-2 Phishing Attacks This Tax Season: Stay Safe,” HRIS Excellence Essentials (March 2017).
- Speaker, “2016 ABA Annual Cyber Panel Presentation,” ABA Annual Meeting (August 2016.)
- Co-author, “Nevada Broadens Definition of Personal Information for Purpose of Encryption and Breach Notices,” Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law Blog (May 2015).
- “Combating Women’s Initiative Fatigue,” Sedgwick’s Women Connect (Spring 2015).
- “New California Privacy and Protection Act Proposes Standards for Personal Information Encryption, Bans Sales of Voice-Recording TVs, Criminalizes Vehicle Hacking, and Slew of Other Privacy-Related Measures,” Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law Blog (February 2015).
- “California Passes New Data Breach Laws: Requirement to Offer Identity Theft Protection at No Cost, New Duties Imposed on ‘Maintainers’ of Personal Information, and Sale of Social Security Numbers Banned,” Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law Blog (October 2014).
- “Denial of Hulu’s Motion for Summary Judgment Paves Way for More Lawsuits Under the Video Privacy Protection Act,” Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law Blog (May 2014).
- “LinkedIn Sues Unknown Defendants Operating BOTS for Stealing Member’s Data,” Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law Blog (January 2014).
- “Ninth Circuit Upholds One of the Highest Ratios of Punitive Damages to Zero Compensatory Damages in a Title VII Gender Discrimination Suit,” Sedgwick’s Employment Law Blog (November 2013).
- “AB 370 Amends CalOPPA to Require Transparency Regarding Consumers’ ‘Do Not Track’ Requests to Websites, Online Services And Mobile Applications,” Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law Blog (October 2013).
- “New Case Holds Sophisticated Parties May Contractually Waive the Delayed Discovery Rule Applicable to Actions for Latent Construction Defects in California,” Sedgwick’s Construction Newsletter (July 2013), and Legal Insights (November 2013).
- U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.)
- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- J.D. (2012) University of California, Hastings College of the Law, magna cum laude
- B.A. (2007) Cornell University, cum laude
Memberships and Affiliations
- Sedgwick Women’s Forum Associate Committee
- Cornell Norcal Alumni Association Board of Directors