Industry Associations

  • Association of California Insurance Companies
  • National Association of Woman Business Owners
  • Litigation Counsel of America 

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • California Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California

Professional Affiliations

Orange County Bar Association (Board of Directors, Finance Committee Member, Business Litigation Section Chair, Labor & Employment Section)

California Bar Association

Los Angeles Bar Association

Community Involvement

Working Wardrobes (Smart Women's Circle)

Women’s’ Association of Villa Park

Education

University of California, Hastings College of Law, J.D.

California State University of Los Angeles, B.S.

Photo of Mona Z. Hanna

Mona Z. Hanna

Office Managing Partner
Orange County
T: 714.557.7990
F: 714.557.7991
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Full Bio

Mona Hanna is Managing Partner of M&R's Orange County office and Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department. A premiere trial lawyer who has been named one of the best in Southern California, Mona takes a unique approach to her caseload. Her focus, from the beginning of any given dispute to its conclusion, is always on the goals of her client, whether that be an early resolution at the pleading stage, a jury verdict or an outcome somewhere in between. Indeed, Mona has been able to achieve a high percentage of successful case resolutions for those she represents by clearly defining their objectives and staying “on-goal.”

What sets Mona apart from so many of her peers is her capacity to deliver innovative solutions in cases of first impression and in matters in which her clients face the potential for catastrophic exposure. This is oftentimes the circumstance in the insurance and consumer class action, labor, employment and commercial lawsuits she handles. That Mona has become an authority in the insurance, advertising and digital media and financial services industries over her long professional career also differentiates her.

Whether defending against claims of unfair competition, unfair business practices, misappropriation of trade secrets, professional negligence, wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination, wage and hour violations or any of the other matters that have crossed her desk, Mona’s results are noteworthy. She has secured countless favorable outcomes in state and federal courts and courts of appeal, many of which have been memorialized in landmark published decisions. Another of her strengths is the use of alternative dispute resolution – mediation and arbitration – to avoid costly litigation.

Beyond her role as Office Managing Partner and head of M&R’s Litigation Department, Mona is former Chair of the firm’s Class Action Group, founder of the Women Attorneys of M&R and a member of the Executive, Recruiting, and Diversity, Multiculturalism and Inclusion Committees.

Community Involvement

Mona is active in Working Wardrobes, an organization helping thousands of individuals overcome obstacles to assimilate back into the workforce. In 2014, she was elected to the Orange County Bar Association’s Board of Directors.

Education

Mona earned a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, where she was nominated for outstanding brief and oral presentation in the Moot Court competition. Before that, she earned a B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, from California State University, Los Angeles. At CSULA, Mona was on the Dean’s List and named Most Outstanding Political Science Undergraduate.

Awards & Recognitions

Mona was selected by Best Lawyers as the 2017 Insurance Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” for Orange County. She was also on Super Lawyers Magazine’s list of “Top Women Attorneys in Southern California” and “Top 50 Attorneys in Orange County” in 2016 and 2017; in 2015, 2016 and 2017, she was named to the “Best Lawyers in America USA Guide” list; and she has been included in the Southern California Super Lawyers list every year from 2006 to 2017.

When M&R's Commercial Litigation practice was “Recommended" by The Legal 500 in 2015, Mona was called an "excellent trial lawyer, one of the best in Orange County" by the esteemed directory. Likewise, she has been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society and the Litigation Counsel of America; thrice nominated for the “Top Women in Business” award by the Orange County Business Journal; and received the Five Year Membership Award from the National Association of Woman Business Owners. Finally, Mona was selected as one of the "Top Women Lawyers" in California by the Daily Journal in 2015, and she led an M&R litigation team that received the Daily Journal's Top Verdicts of 2014.

Representative Matters

  • Unfair Competition Defense: Represented a former executive VP (defendant) of a title insurance company (plaintiffs) against allegations that he breached his contract and stole trade secrets. Defendant was hired by plaintiffs with a promise of receiving a 5% ownership interest in the company, but left to go back to his former employer, a competing title insurance firm, after the promises did not come to fruition. Plaintiffs accused defendant of wooing its customers, claiming $14 million in lost profits and $250 million lost value to the business. After a seven-week trial, a jury found against the plaintiffs and awarded defendant $50,000 on his breach of contract counterclaim.

  • Breach of Contract, Implied Covenant of Good FaithSuccessfully defended an insurance company in a breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith, fraud and violation of public policy lawsuit. Eliminated eight causes of action, resulting in a nominal, discounted cost-of-defense settlement after establishing fraud on the part of plaintiffs and demonstrating justification for voiding plaintiff’s insurance policy.

  • Class Action Defense: Successfully defend seven insurance companies in King v. National General Insurance Company, et al., in which the United States District Court for the Northern District of California stayed a case of first impression alleging violations of “good driver discount” laws, finding that fundamental issues in the litigation – specifically, determination of Super Group exemption and Affinity Group status – should be addressed by the Department of Insurance pursuant to the primary jurisdiction doctrine.

  • Harassment, Discrimination, Wrongful Termination: In a case brought by six employees all alleging harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination against their employer, devised a litigation strategy to dismiss several of the plaintiffs' claims through dispositive motions, obtained a unanimous defense verdict on the remaining actions and recovered costs for client at trial.

  • Insurance Consumer Class Action: Successfully defended a national insurance brokerage against a class action alleging that the recording of customer telephone calls without proper disclosures was a violation of California statutes. At the time, California courts were interpreting this type of conduct as illegal and holding to the statutory damages of $5,000 per call. In this case, there were approximately 600,000 alleged calls and potentially billions of dollars in statutory damages. Designed a defense predicated on the legislative intent of the statute dating back to 1967, arguing that the law at issue was designed to protect against “industrial espionage.” After intense argument, the court agreed with the defense and dismissed the case in favor of the brokerage.

  • Insurance Employment Class Action: A prominent insurance brokerage was held liable for violating California’s wage and hour overtime laws, among related issues. With the client facing a $42 million judgment, designed a defense around the argument that the judgment should be reduced to $1.2 million because of a conflict in federal and state employment laws that were being misapplied by plaintiffs' lawyers. Litigation turned on the question of legislative intent, which led federal court to limit the judgment, as suggested, to $1.2 million. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling.

  • Malicious Prosecution: A national insurance company was sued for malicious prosecution by a former customer who the company had reported to the Department of Insurance for fraud. The insurance company had previously been represented by another attorney who attempted to obtain a dismissal of the action but failed. After being substituted in as counsel, prevailed on a motion to strike and in the subsequent appeal, recovering all attorney fees incurred by client.

  • Media Company Derivative Shareholder LitigationA founder of one of the largest media companies in its space was under attack from shareholders seeking to take control of the company. In a strategy designed to retain control or force a lucrative buyout, filed a lawsuit that was eventually resolved, with an approximate 40 percent premium over the value of the founder’s shares.

  • Shareholder/Partnership Dispute:Shareholders filed suit alleging $140 million in damages against a company’s CEO, executives and board members, alleging that they were “duped” into selling their shares just prior to the sale of the company for greater value. The clients were on the eve of settling for approximately $40 million when they decided to retain M&R. Led team that redesigned clients’ defense, and after two years of litigation, obtained a dismissal of the entire lawsuit the day prior to trial. 

  • Trade Secrets: An owner of a small insurance brokerage was sued by two longtime former employees for wrongful termination. After determining the plaintiffs were wrongfully using the brokerage’s client list to solicit customers, filed a cross complaint for misappropriation of trade secrets. Subsequently established through depositions of the parties and client’s expert that the plaintiffs’ claims were not viable, leading to a successful summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ complaint. At trial on the cross complaint, received a unanimous jury verdict for $500,000 in compensatory damages.

  • Wage & Hour:  Represented a metal supply company facing a putative wage and hour class action lawsuit brought by a former employee. Filed a strong petition for arbitration, which forced plaintiff to accept mediation, where it was demonstrated that should it go to trial, the case would not be a class-wide arbitration, and that it would likely be limited in scope. This led to a successful settlement of the case for pennies on the dollar (encompassing 265 current and former employees).

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