Our Services

Walter & Prince, LLP is dedicated to providing excellent legal advice and representation to our clients in regards to Cal OSHA regulations, laws, investigations, appeals, and impending litigation. Our approach to representation emphasizes working in partnership with our clients.

Our goals are to solve our clients’ immediate problems; to address their strategic, long-range concerns; and to be the firm that they turn to in a crisis.

We consider our clients to be an integral part of the team, from the inception of a case to the final decision. Two essential objectives of successful teamwork are good communications and clear objectives. We accomplish this by agreeing on realistic goals and action plans. We keep you informed through estimated litigation budgets and timelines, and regular status reports.

Teamwork is the hallmark of our practice. We ensure that each of us is familiar with the essential aspects of every active matter so that our clients are never without support.

Areas of Expertise

Cal/OSHA regulations (California Occupational Safety and Health or DOSH), enforcement policies, and appeals board decisions are challenging California employers as never before to remain profitable while meeting the demands of regulations that are often conflicting, confusing, harsh, and counter-productive. Walter & Prince, LLP navigates this hazardous environment to find effective and economical solutions to Cal/OSHA regulations and related legal problems for our clients. The scope of our practice is within the broad spectrum of labor and employment law.

Our Areas of Expertise include:

  • Occupational Safety and Health [OSHA]
    - California
    - Other states
    - Federal OSHA
  • CAL OSHA Citations
  • CAL OSHA Appeals
  • CAL OSHA Litigation
  • CAL OSHA Regulations
  • CAL OSHA Petitions For Reconsideration
  • Crisis Response and Management
  • Risk Analysis
  • California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
  • “Serious and Willful Misconduct” (Calif. Labor Code § 4553 and 4553.1)
  • Workers’ Compensation Discrimination claims (Calif. Labor Code § 132a)

Federal OSHA and Cal/OSHA citations, if not challenged and allowed to become final, will affect an employer's ability to do business in several ways. The first and most obvious is that penalties affect profitability. Penalties start at a standard $18,000 for a serious accident-related violation and often reach $70,000. Another citation for the same or a similar violation within three years can result in the second or third violation to be classified as Repeat, with standard penalties multiplied two or three times. If Cal/OSHA believes the citation should be classified as Willful, the standard penalty will be multiplied by five.

In the case of death or catastrophic accident, DOSH will refer the matter to its in-house criminal investigation unit (the Bureau of Investigation), or to local law enforcement. Cross-referrals to the EPA, local air quality management agencies, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, and other agencies are now a routine part of the DOSH response to an accident or complaint.

Unchallenged citations can also hamper the employer’s ability to secure new business: All final citations are publicly listed on Fed OSHA’s website. Many entities, especially public agencies and developers, now routinely review a company’s OSHA experience during the bidding process. To search for your company’s history, click here.

In addition, a citation for a serious, accident-related violation can be offered as evidence of serious and willful misconduct (S&W) at the California Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). The penalties for S&W can be severe, and they are uninsurable.

In a crisis, the myriad liabilities faced by employers in California – OSHA and EPA regulations, workers compensation, civil and criminal actions - all may come into play. When a disaster occurs, creating the basis for legal defense is as essential as returning to production. We use the attorney-client communication and work product privileges to protect our clients from the beginning. We also work with our clients’ insurance carriers and brokers to guarantee that proper protections are in place as soon as possible.

For more information, download our white paper on Crisis Management, which is reprinted here from Professional Safety Magazine. In addition, you can read many more articles on Cal/OSHA in our articles section. We also provide our clients with safety audits and risk management services, using the resources of safety and health and consultants with whom we have worked over the past twenty-two years.

Success Stories

We’re ready and willing to go to the mat to protect our clients.

At the same time, we appreciate the value of negotiated settlements. We do not seek to generate lots of activity (and costs) where a more patient “wait-and-see” strategy is called for. Also, we often find that a case that seems hopeless at the beginning can be rescued through the effective use of discovery and negotiations.

The following examples include cases which required high levels of active involvement and litigation, and those which did not.

Cal/OSHA

  • Large Regional Residential Wood Framing Contractor: 

    Repeat Serious citation for alleged violation of Title 8 CCR section 1716.2(e)(1) withdrawn by the Division upon showing of facts proving Independent Employee Act.

  • National Mid-Western Construction Company: 

    Serious, accident-related citation as “controlling employer” for an alleged violation of Title 8 CCR section 1513(g) dismissed following six-day hearing. A worker on an adjacent, un-related project claimed injury from falling debris while he was in an eighteen-inch “dead” space between two structures. The judge rejected Cal/OSHA’s argument that if it was “possible” for someone to enter the space, it was this employer’s responsibility to block any conceivable access.

  • Large National Construction Firm: 

    Ten citations following two inspections for asbestos violations dismissed after hearing. This decision overturned Cal/OSHA’s interpretation of its regulations regarding enforcement at “trace” exposure levels.

  • Regional Auto Parts Chain: 

    Serious accident-related citation withdrawn by the Division for waiver of costs after discussions on the morning of the hearing.

  • Multi-State Joint Venture: 

    Serious accident-related citation dismissed by motion for nonsuit following the Division’s presentation of evidence.

  • Regional HVAC Contractor: 

    Serious accident-related violation withdrawn following extensive settlement discussions.

  • Logging Company: 

    Serious accident-related violation dismissed after hearing.

  • Large Labor Broker: 

    Serious citation following amputation withdrawn by Cal/OSHA during discovery after appeal was filed.

  • Large Local Meat Processing Company: 

    Two serious citations following accident dismissed after two-day hearing. This result severely weakened the injured worker’s companion S&W claim. See discussion of effect of Cal/OSHA citations on S&W claims in our article on Serious and Willful Misconduct in Articles.

  • National Industrial Services Company: 

    Following six investigations in two years by Cal/OSHA’s High Hazard Unit, negotiated withdrawal of all citations.

  • National Scrap Metal Handler: 

    Citation for death-related violation withdrawn following investigation and discussions.

  • County Children’s Home: 

    Alleged serious training violation with $9,000.00 penalty reduced to general with $300.00 penalty in middle of hearing.

  • Local Beverage Distributor: 

    Citations for serious violations following carbon monoxide exposures negotiated to two general violations with penalties reduced by 97.5%.

  • Large Fruit Packing Plant: 

    Death-related citation for inadequate forklift training withdrawn after negotiations with Cal/OSHA.

Federal and Other States' OSHA

  • National Construction Firm: 

    Two serious citations withdrawn by Fed/OSHA before hearing in exchange for a waiver of costs.

  • Large National Construction Company: 

    Coached client on negotiations with Arizona OSHA after three serious citations were issued. All citations were withdrawn before appeal needed to be filed.

  • Large National Construction Company: 

    Citations regarding barge operations reduced in number and classification, with reduction of penalties before appeal had to be filed.

Safety Audits

  • International Food Machinery Manufacturer: 

    Supervised safety/product liability audit of leased equipment. Report was protected by the attorney-client communication privilege.

Serious & Willful Misconduct

  • Regional Steel Erection Contractor: 

    Claim settled for 25% of value, despite serious accident-related Cal/OSHA citation.

  • Regional Steel Erection Contractor: 

    Claim settled for 25% of value, despite serious accident-related Cal/OSHA citation.

  • Regional Wood Framing Contractor: 

    Claim settled day before trial for 20% of value, despite serious accident-related Cal/OSHA citation.

  • Large Concrete Contractor: 

    Passive defense resulted in dismissal of claim in connection with settlement of normal compensation issues, with minimal cost to client.

Discrimination Claims

  • Convalescent And Rehabilitation Facility: 

    Aggressive defense resulted in settlement for 10% of demand.

  • Convalescent And Rehabilitation Facility: 

    Aggressive defense resulted in settlement for 10% of demand.

  • Large Winery: 

    Advised client on safe procedure for termination of employee following an industrial injury (termination was for reasons unrelated to the injury). No claim was filed.

  • Large Winery: 

    Passive defense resulted in withdrawal of claim at settlement of compensation issues, with minimal expense to client.

  • Local Carpet Cleaning Company: 

    Claim withdrawn with no money paid and mutual waiver of rights to further litigation.

  • Large Winery And Non-Profit Agency (two matters): 

    Advised on interrelationship between 132a and ERISA re: termination of benefits following industrial injuries.

  • National Prosthetics Manufacturer: 

    Coached client in successful termination of employee with potential 132a and workplace violence issues.

Crisis Management

  • Large Local Construction Company: 

    On-scene and follow-up supervision of incident involving a worker’s death, liaison with Cal/OSHA and local law enforcement, resulted in no citations and no criminal charges.

  • Large National Construction Company: 

    Supervised investigation of electrocution death in Virginia; coordinated contacts with Virginia OSHA and local authorities. No citations were issued.

  • Local Roofing Contractor: 

    Supervised investigation and discussions with Cal/OSHA following explosion and injuries. No citations were issued.

  • Small Winery: 

    Provided crisis management services following discovery of drug abuse issue.