Edward P. Zappia, Principal and Public Litigation Chair
Edward Zappia has over 20 years of in-depth trial experience, and specializes in representing public sector management on a wide variety of labor issues and employment litigation, from initial analysis and investigation, to administrative hearings and high-profile trials, to writ petitions and published appellate decisions. His experience includes over 70 employment trials; hundreds of arbitrations and administrative hearings; over 30 appeals before the California Court of Appeal; a variety of federal cases and appeals; three published California Court of Appeal decisions; and over 50 personnel and police internal affairs investigations. His substantive scope of experience is extremely broad, spanning every variety of wrongful termination and disciplinary action; wage disputes; claims of discrimination; harassment; retaliation; whistle-blower violations; civil rights/excessive force defense; countless POBRA and PERB cases; and numerous MOU negotiations and disputes, including the current state-wide issue over the scope of AB 646 (single-issue fact-finding), on which the Zappia Law Firm is lead counsel.
Prior to opening The Zappia Law Firm, Ed worked for three years at the law firm of Rushfeldt, Shelley & Drake, directly for Linda Miller-Savitt, one of Los Angeles’s preeminent employment trial attorneys. Ed then worked at Liebert, Cassidy & Frierson for 5 years, where he specialized in public sector labor & employment law on behalf of management. In 2002, Ed transferred to the Los Angeles office of the national labor & employment law firm of Jackson Lewis LLP, where he soon became an equity partner, and rose to Jackson Lewis’s National Director of Public Sector Litigation. Ed served in that capacity for several years, overseeing all public sector law and litigation, until he started the Zappia Law Firm, APC, in 2009. He earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his JD from Southwestern University School of Law, while working as a professional musician. He remains an avid guitar player and Harley-Davidson rider.
Anna Zappia, Appellate Chair
Anna Zappia has over 20 years of employment and business litigation experience, in a wide range of cases involving wrongful termination; harassment; racial, age, and pregnancy discrimination; retaliation; significant whistle-blower lawsuits; and business disputes regarding copyrights, trade secrets, and unfair competition. She earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and graduated from Northwestern University School of Law, magna cum laude, where she also studied at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. After graduating, Anna clerked for the Honorable David Nelson on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and proceeded to hone her appellate skills at Kirkland & Ellis. After rising to partnership in a Century City firm, Anna was rewarded with a two-year graduate scholarship to Oxford University. While overseas, she augmented her law firm experience with management consulting, and returned to serve as U.S. General Counsel for an international business conglomerate.
Ms. Zappia excels at appellate writing and advocacy, has taught intellectual property and appellate advocacy courses, and has written numerous state and federal appeals on behalf of significant public entities and Fortune 500 companies. She successfully litigated the Cheers case (defining juncture between federal copyright law and state rights against misappropriation of personality) up to the United States Supreme Court; successfully represented several elected public officials; and successfully obtained an Emergency Appellate Stay on the eve of trial (granted in 1/1000 cases). Anna is currently lead appellate counsel on the highly contested multi-jurisdictional AB 646 litigation contesting the scope and constitutionality of mandatory factfinding under the Government Code. Besides having practiced in numerous state and federal courts throughout California, Washington, Colorado, and Texas, Ms. Zappia is a member of the bar associations for the Sixth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
Brett M. Ehman
Brett Ehman has 13 years of litigation experience, and has specialized in labor and employment law for the past 7 years. Brett has successfully tried cases before California Superior Courts and the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). He has also successfully handled employment arbitrations arising out of collective bargaining agreement disputes, and consults both public and private employers on a variety of labor and employment related issues, including disciplinary matters and terminations, the interactive process and accommodations, leave matters, wage disputes, harassment, retaliation and the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act. Brett also specializes in consulting and defending public employers in disability retirement matters. In addition to his trial work, Brett has worked on numerous appellate cases and argued before the California Courts of Appeal.
Prior to moving to California in 2006, Brett worked for Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP in Maryland and Washington, D.C. where he practiced general business and insurance litigation. Brett remains licensed in those jurisdictions. In all, he has successfully resolved over one hundred lawsuits filed in state and federal courts. Prior to practicing law, Brett graduated with honors from Clemson University and earned his JD, cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Brett then clerked for the Honorable James T. Smith and the Honorable John G. Turnbull II in the Baltimore County Circuit Court.
John Calvagna joins ZLF after a lengthy career in both litigation and management. John has litigated numerous commercial, business and labor disputes in both state and federal courts from inception through trial and appeal. John has also counseled clients on a variety of labor and business matters, including compliance with administrative regulations and best practices. As general counsel for CSK Group, Inc., John’s responsibilities included regulatory affairs as well as labor and employment issues. John has also handled complex litigation while managing in-house and outside counsel. Prior to joining ZLF, John was a principal in The Calvagna Group, a finance and real estate consulting firm. John earned his J.D. from USC, and is a lifelong resident of Southern California.
Gail E. Wise
Gail Wise has been litigating for 10 years, and has been advising and defending private and public-sector employers in all aspects of labor and employment law for the past eight years, including matters involving discrimination, wage and hour disputes, the interactive process, reasonable accommodations, reasonable modifications, harassment and retaliation. Gail also has several years of experience handling housing discrimination matters. Gail received her law degree from UCLA. Prior to her legal career, Gail obtained a doctorate in German Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, CA; was a Fulbright Scholar at the Free University in Berlin, Germany; and received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Tufts University.