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Christian M. Keiner
Mr. Keiner is a shareholder with more than 35 years legal experience. He represents community college districts, school districts, county offices of education, and other public entities in civil litigation, labor and personnel matters, and general governance and administrative law matters. He is a highly experienced litigator, having represented clients in numerous cases at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts. Many of Mr. Keiner's clients have been with him for more than two decades, a testament to his practice approach of accessible legal counsel and strong client advocacy.
Since he began his legal career in 1980, Mr. Keiner has focused on the representation of public education entities, providing general counsel and litigation services. Over the years, he has built on his practice and currently emphasizes the following three areas:
- General counsel on governance and administrative matters
- Governing board matters
- Open meeting laws, including the Brown Act
- Public Records Act
- Conflicts of interest
- Constitutional issues
- Labor and personnel matters
- All personnel matters involving education employees
- Collective bargaining
- Interest-based bargaining
- Civil writs and appeals
- Personnel and employment litigation
- Constitutional litigation
- Special education litigation
His litigation experience includes public and private sector cases in which he has represented both defendants and plaintiffs in employer-employee matters.
Prior to joining Kronick, Mr. Keiner was a partner with the Sacramento office of a Bay Area law firm where he lead the firm's litigation group and represented clients in aspects of general school law and collective bargaining. Before that, he was in private practice for several years.
During law school, Mr. Keiner clerked with Justice Edwin Regan on the California Court of Appeals, Third District; clerked with the California Attorney General's Office-Administrative Law section; clerked with the California Assembly Majority Consultants office; and served as a Staff Analyst at the McGeorge Center for Legislative Research.
Following are examples of cases Mr. Keiner has handled on behalf of clients:
- Mr. Keiner and Chelsea Olson-Murphy recently filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association in Vergara, et al., supporting the Vergara plaintiffs in the State's appeal of the trial court judgment invalidating certain teacher employment statutes.
- Mr. Keiner and Chelsea Olson-Murphy have also filed friend of the court briefs for the California School Boards Association in FTR International Inc. v. Rio School District, (2015), 233 Cal.App.4th 838 and a successful defense of school administrator immunity from federal lawsuits (Corales v. Bennet (9th Cir. 2009) 567 F.3d.554).
- Mr. Keiner successfully defended a school district’s reduction in force, which included “skipping” less senior teachers (Bledsoe v. Biggs Unified Sch. Dist. (2008) 170 Cal. App. 4th 127).
- Wells v. One2One Learning Foundation (2006) 39 Cal.4th 1164 – In this case he successfully represented respondent Camptonville Union Elementary School District before the California Supreme Court, a case in which the court found that agencies of state and local government, including public school districts, may not be sued under the California False Claims Act.
- Woodbury v. Brown-Dempsey (2003) 134 Cal.Rptr.2d 124 — In this case, he obtained an appellate ruling that the issuance of subpoenas during student expulsion hearings is not mandatory upon request.
- PLANS, Inc. v. Sacramento City Unified School District (9th Cir. 2003) 319 F.3d 504 — On remand, he and other firm attorneys successfully defended the school districts’ innovative Waldorf Methods instruction in public schools.
- Cole v. Oroville Union High School District (9th Cir. 2000) 228 F.3d 1092 — He successfully defended a Northern California school district’s decision not to allow graduates to deliver a sectarian invocation and proselytizing co-valedictorian speech.
- Board of Administration v. Wilson (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 1109 [impairment of contract]; Board of Administration v. Wilson (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 967 [denial of attorney fees] —Mr. Keiner represented the Governor of California in defending constitutional litigation brought by CalPERS attacking two annual State Budget Acts, which deferred the timing of State Employer contributions.
- County of Los Angeles v. Sasaki (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1442; San Miguel Consol. Fire P. Dist. v. Davis (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 134 — On behalf of the CSBA Education Legal Alliance, Mr. Keiner successfully represented community colleges and school districts in Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Marin counties in constitutional cases challenging the multi-billion dollar State property tax shift in favor of public schools.
- Sands v. Morongo Unified School District (1991) 53 Cal.3d 863, cert. denied (1992) 112 S.Ct. 3026 — In 1991, Mr. Keiner argued a district’s defense of its traditional graduation ceremony before the California Supreme Court, a case California Lawyer magazine ranked one of the “Top Ten Cases of the Year.”
- Hayes v. Commission on State Mandates, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Real Party in Interest, (1993) 11 Cal.App.4th 1564 — He was co-counsel in the successful multi-billion dollar special education State mandate test case
- Del Percio v. Thornsley, Capistrano Unified School District, et al. (9th Cir. 1989) 877 F.2d. 785 — He successfully defended a school district in teacher credential revocation litigation.
- McPherson v. Public Employment Relations Board, Carlsbad Unified School District, Real Party in Interest (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 293; on remand (1989) PERB Decision No. 778 — He was successful in the defense of confidential employee selection processes.
Professional Activities and Affiliations
Mr. Keiner actively participates in conferences, workshops, and speaking engagements, and has published numerous education-related articles. His articles have been published in the Pacific Law Journal, BYU Journal of Public Law, California School Boards Journal, California State Bar Labor and Employment Law Quarterly, UCLA Journal of Education, CFIER’s Viewpoints, and Education Legal Alliance’s Alliance Report. He has presented on constitutional issues before groups such as the County Counsels Association, and on radio programs including Christine Craft (KFBK Sacramento), Michael Jackson (KABC Los Angeles), and Gloria Allred (KABC Los Angeles).
His professional affiliations (past and present) include:
- 2015 Vice Chair and 2014 Treasurer, Sacramento County Bar Association, Appellate Law Section
- Adjunct Professor of Law, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- Member, Anthony M. Kennedy, Inn of Court
- Member, Center for Collaborative Solutions Advisory Committee
- Member, California State Bar Association
- Board Member, California Council of School Attorneys
- Board Member, California Foundation for Improvement of Employer-Employee Relations
- Instructor, Labor and Management Certificate Program for U.C. Davis Extension
- Member, U.C. Davis Extension Labor-Management Program Advisory Committee
Admitted to Practice
- All California State Courts
- United States District Courts, Eastern, Northern, and Central Districts of California
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- United States Supreme Court
J.D. McGeorge School of Law, 1980
- Graduated with Distinction
- Member, Order of the Coif
B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1977
- Graduated with High Honors