Wendy Hillger, Founder & Special Counsel
Wendy L. Hillger is a partner and co-founder of Ad Astra. She represents both plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state court, primarily in the areas of breach of contract, partnership or company ownership disputes, unfair competition, theft of trade secrets, real estate and employment issues.
Ms. Hillger is also proud to be a mentor for legal cannabis companies participating in the Gateway Incubator.
Ms. Hillger received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with high honors, in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1991. Ms. Hillger graduated with distinction from McGeorge School of Law in 1995. While at McGeorge, Ms. Hillger was named “Best Comment Staff Writer” for her work at the Pacific Law Journal, and her Comment article was published at 25 Pac.L.J. 1387 (1994).
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
- Panelist, “Safeguard against Employment Retaliation claims,” The Knowledge Group CLE (February 2016).
- Panelist, “Employer Compliance with Wage & Hour laws,” Filice Insurance (July 2015).
- Panelist, “How to Effectively conduct an Adverse-party Deposition,” Ad Astra Law Group CLE (May 2015).
- Panelist, “Mitigating the Risks of Employment Discrimination and Retaliation lawsuits,” Filice Insurance (March 2015).
- “C.C.P. Section 998 Offers to Compromise and Recoverable Costs: 10 Tips for Trial Attorneys.” San Francisco Barrister Law Journal (January 2001).
- Law review article on Borelli v. Brusseau (1993) 12 Cal.App.4th 647, regarding the intersection of contract law and family law, at 25 Pac.L.J. 1387 (1994).
Ms. Hillger is a member of the California State Bar. She is admitted to practice in all of the California state courts, the U.S. District Court Northern District of California and the U.S. District Court Eastern District of California. Ms. Hillger is also qualified to perform Fee Dispute Arbitrations as established by the State Bar.
SOME REPRESENTATIVE CASES
- Prepared and argued a winning Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the Firm’s client who had sued by a competitor. This competitor in the wholesale paint business alleged claims for unlawful interference with a contract, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. The parties both sold paint to auto body shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. The client was sued when it began selling to a former customer of the competitor. The competitor alleged that it had an exclusive written contract with the body shop and asserted that the client should cease its sales. Ms. Hillger successfully asserted that there was no liability, as the written contract between the competitor and the auto body shop was no longer enforceable. The Firm’s client had the right to compete, and further, the body shop sought out the client, so there was no poaching. The Order from the Complex Civil Litigation department of the San Mateo County Superior Court can be found here.
- Obtained a binding Arbitration award, with prevailing party attorney’s fees, following a hearing on behalf of a property owner against another Tenant in Common, for failure to abide by the agreed-upon rules of the Tenant in Common agreement.
- Successfully rebuffed a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by an employer against the Firm’s client, the plaintiff in an unlawful discrimination/retaliation employment case. As a result, the case proceeded to a jury trial, and after two weeks, the jury found in favor of the Firm’s client and she obtained a sizeable monetary recovery. The attorney’s fees/costs award under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) was granted.
- In a trademark infringement action, Ms. Hillger represented a defendant in a binding arbitration hearing in Orange County. Even with the client’s admitted liability for passing off its energy drink product as the plaintiff’s protected mark, Ms. Hillger was able to keep the damage award below 10% of the $2 million award sought by the trademark holder/plaintiff.
- Ms. Hillger negotiated a settlement on behalf of a property owner who asserted the architect he hired for a substantial residential remodel failed to abide the contract specifics. As a result, the home’s garage was constructed for one car, instead of two cars, which he needed for his growing family. Attorney’s fees and costs were also included in the settlement.
- Represented a Tenant in Common owner in a binding arbitration over a dispute with co-owners related to proposed condominium conversion CC&Rs.
- Obtained defense judgment in week-long Arbitration claim brought by commercial property owner who sought to recover a $1.5 million construction repair bill against general contractor client.
- Represented defendant bowling alley in a substantial personal injury case and obtained a dismissal of the negligent security case by way of a Demurrer. Judgment in client’s favor was upheld on plaintiff’s appeal to the California Court of Appeal.
- Represented a prospective property purchaser, and obtained a release of the escrow deposit within one week, after client had tried in vain to recover the money for months.
- Represented purchasers of a 4 unit property in San Francisco, and the Tenants in Common (TIC) pursued claims against the real estate agent and seller for fraud and misrepresentation.
- Represented defendant trucking company in an action brought by bicyclist rider who suffered severe injuries after being run over by truck. Ms. Hillger obtained a dismissal before discovery started by retention of expert who demonstrated that plaintiff caused the accident by failing to yield.
- Represented a major retailer when a customer claimed there was insufficient security to prevent an assault in the dressing room. The Superior Court granted Ms. Hillger’s Motion for Summary Judgment based on the lack of foreseeability of the criminal attack.
- Represented defendant home inspector in claims made by the property purchaser for undiscovered defects. The Superior Court granted Ms. Hillger’s Motion for Summary Judgment because the statute of limitations barred the claims.
- Represented defendant property owner in a claim made by a handyman who fell off the roof. The property was occupied by a commercial tenant who hired the handyman. The County Superior Court granted Ms. Hillger’s Motion for Summary Judgment based on the written lease.