In the News

Title IX Sex Discrimination Case Against SDSU Moves Forward Again: Court Holds All Women Athletes Can Sue For Damages, Future Discrimination Can Be Barred 

Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is proud to co-counsel on this landmark case with Bailey & Glasser, LLP and Casey Gerry.  

Press Release from Bailey & Glasser: 

The precedent-setting Title IX sex discrimination case against San Diego State University for discriminating against its female-student athletes continues to move forward. On April 12, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Todd W. Robinson confirmed female student-athletes deprived of equal athletic financial aid can sue their schools for damages—and held ten of the women suing SDSU could do so. Late Friday afternoon, September 15, 2023, ruling on SDSU’s motion to dismiss in part Plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint, Judge Robinson held that all seventeen of the women suing SDSU can seek such damages. 

The court also rejected SDSU’s argument that, because the case had already taken so long that the women are no longer student-athletes, they could not seek a court order stopping the school from discriminating in the future. It held that, if the case went forward as a class action, those who were student-athletes when the case was filed could also seek a court order protecting future student-athletes. 

“This is a huge victory for the women athletes and everyone who cares about stopping sex discrimination at SDSU and nationwide,” said Arthur Bryant of Bailey Glasser, LLP, in Oakland, CA, lead counsel for the women. “The school has cheated its female student-athletes out of millions of dollars of equal athletic financial aid in the past few years alone—and it still hasn’t changed its ways. Now, all the women who decided to stand up and fight can make SDSU pay. And the school won’t be able to keep discriminating in the future just because it’s delayed judgment day so far. “ 

“This critical ruling confirms what we’ve said all along—these brave women deserve their day in court to hold SDSU accountable for its past discriminatory behavior and to prevent it from engaging in discriminatory behavior in the future,” said Joshua Hammack of Bailey Glasser, LLP in Washington, DC, who took the lead in briefing and arguing the issues. “This order ensures Plaintiffs can pursue both goals in court, which is an important victory for them, for justice, and for women everywhere.” 

“We hope and believe this ruling will make a big difference,” said Plaintiff and former SDSU rower Natalie Figueroa. “A key point of our suit is that women were not given an equal opportunity to receive athletic financial aid. That was discrimination. I and other female student-athletes could and would have gotten more aid if we were given an equal opportunity to do so.” 

In addition to Figuero, the lawsuit was filed by past and then current SDSU student-athletes Madison Fisk, Raquel Castro, Greta Viss, Clare Botterill, Maya Brosch, Olivia Petrine, Aisha Watt, Helen Bauer, Carina Clark, Erica Grotegeer, Kaitlin Heri, Kamryn Whitworth, Sara Absten, Eleanor Davies, Alexa Dietz, and Larisa Sulcs. 

In addition to Bryant and Hammack, the women are represented by Bailey Glasser’s Lori Bullock in Des Moines, IA, and Cary Joshi in Washington, DC, along with co-counsel Amber Eck and Jenna Rangel of Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, and David S. Casey, Jr., and Gayle Blatt of Casey Gerry in San Diego. 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits all educational institutions that receive federal funds, including SDSU, from discriminating on the basis of sex. It requires schools to provide male and female student-athletes with equal participation opportunities, athletic financial aid, and treatment, and prohibits them from retaliating against anyone for challenging sex discrimination at the school. In the SDSU case, the women are suing for equal athletic financial aid, equal treatment, and retaliation. 

Haeggquist & Eck named 2023 “Best Places to Work in San Diego” by the San Diego Business Journal

The San Diego Business Journal’s Best Places to Work Awards program recognizes outstanding companies whose benefits, policies and practices are among the best in the region. HAE is truly honored to win this award because it cannot be bought. The Best Places to Work award is based on an extensive review process and anonymous surveys of our employees.  

Creating a great workplace where employees are eager to give their best effort every day is challenging. Being named to the list demonstrates that our organization has what it takes to recruit and retain a highly engaged workforce. 

Haeggquist & Eck celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2023. In addition to the amazing insurance benefits we provide, here are some additional benefits to working at HAE: 

  • We focus on quality of cases, not quantity. As an attorney, you will have a relatively small number of cases, so you can go dive deep into each case and provide the best possible representation and service for your clients. 
  • We have no billable hour requirements. Litigation is stressful by itself. You don’t need to add the stress of billable hours. 
  • We support your development as an employee, as a person, and as a citizen. Any type of continuing education you want to take that advances your role at the firm and provides you with the opportunity to better serve your clients, we will support you and help make it happen. 
  • You will be joining a high-energy team of professionals who are passionate and excited about their work and their mission in the world. 
  • We proactively recruit women, people of color, and people from the LGBTQIA+ communities. We believe that people from historically marginalized communities have a special insight into the experiences and oppression that our clients have faced in their workplaces. 
  • All work is collaborative. You’re never on your own. Your work will never be static. We all care about bettering our careers, bettering the firm, and bettering our client experience. 

If you are interested in joining our team, let us know. 

Haeggquist & Eck Attorneys voted Best Lawyers in America 2024 and Alreen Haeggquist is voted Lawyer of the Year for 2024. 

We’re honored to announce that Haeggquist & Eck attorneys Alreen Haeggquist, Amber Eck, and Aaron Olsen have been voted Best Lawyers in America for 2024. Alreen Haeggquist was additionally voted Lawyer of the Year for 2024. This award is particularly impressive, as it is presented to a single lawyer in each practice area and geographic region. 

At Haeggquist & Eck, we strive for excellence in all that we do to provide our clients with the best legal representation possible. These awards are meaningful to Haeggquist & Eck because they are the result of multiple peer review surveys. To be recognized by other lawyers as one of the Best Lawyers and Lawyer of the Year is truly gratifying and says a lot about our team.  

“Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication company in the legal profession. 

Recognition by Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by their peers. For more than four decades, our publications have earned the respect of the profession, the media and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere. 

Our lists of outstanding lawyers are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for a lawyer are positive enough for recognition by Best Lawyers, that lawyer must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.” Source: 

Four Haeggquist & Eck Attorneys Named California Super Lawyers; Alreen Haeggquist & Amber Eck Named to Top 25 Women, Top 50 Attorneys Lists

We are proud to announce that Haeggquist & Eck attorneys Alreen Haeggquist, Amber Eck, Aaron Olsen, and Jenna Rangel have been selected for the 2023 California Super Lawyers list. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers statewide are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

In addition to being named Super Lawyers, Alreen Haeggquist and Amber Eck were each selected for inclusion in the Top 25 Women San Diego Super Lawyers list and the Top 50 San Diego Super Lawyers

Alreen has been named a San Diego Super Lawyer every year since 2016 and was selected for inclusion in the Top 25 Women Super Lawyers and Top 50 San Diego Super Lawyers every year since 2019.

Amber has been named a San Diego Super Lawyer every year since 2017 and was selected for inclusion in the Top 25 Women Super Lawyers and Top 50 San Diego Super Lawyers every year since 2020.

Aaron has been named a San Diego Super Lawyer every year since 2015.

Jenna was named Super Lawyers Rising Star 2019-2020 and named San Diego Super Lawyer 2022-2023.

Why is Being Named Super Lawyers an Honor?

Super Lawyers is not a list you can pay to be included. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and
professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer
reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Please join us in congratulating Alreen, Amber, Aaron and Jenna for this incredible honor!


Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is representing former San Diego County Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nick Yphantides (known by the community as “Dr. Nick”), in his claims that his wrongful termination was due to discrimination. Dr. Nick was the Chief Medical Officer for San Diego County for over 11 years. He was one of the County’s first public faces responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, frequently appearing at televised press conferences to inform, guide, educate, calm, and empathize with San Diegans. But Dr. Nick’s all-consuming fight against the fear, confusion, and death sweeping the world came at a great personal cost. 

The long hours, coupled with the misery and death encountered every day, caused him to suffer from insomnia and major depression, which evolved into hypomania, forcing him to take a medical leave of absence on recommendation from his doctor. Dr. Nick’s lawsuit further alleges that soon after his return to work, the County failed to accommodate Dr. Nick’s condition, forced Dr. Nick to take a second leave of absence, then San Diego County officials unlawfully fired him before he could return from his second leave. 

In March 2023, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled that Dr. Nick’s discrimination lawsuit against the county can move forward. Judge Curiel wrote that Dr. Nick has successfully shown his “supervisor and colleagues were directly informed of his mental breakdown due to the excessive work hours and high level of stress in his position.” Other employees have sued the county over disability-related allegations. Before workers can file a lawsuit against their employer for any form of discrimination — whether that be race, age, or disability-related — they must first seek permission from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. From 2015 through May of 2020, the state gave 15 San Diego County employees the right to sue. Of those 15, seven employees alleged discrimination due to some kind of disability, according to state records.1 

In an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune, Dr. Nick Yphantides said, 

“From March until October of last year, I focused on issues related to COVID-19 around the clock,” Yphantides, 55, said during a remote press conference Wednesday morning. “But I must be transparent and admit that eventually the stress became overwhelming for me. I couldn’t run from it. I began suffering from depression and overwhelming anxiety. I lost my ability to sleep. And so, in that situation, I did what I believe any of us would tell our loved ones to do. To take a brief leave of absence.”  

“They threw him away because of his disability and because he took time off to treat it, and that cannot stand,” Haeggquist & Eck attorney Jenna Rangel said. 

“The county fell victim to the biases and stigmas of mental health” struggles, Haeggquist & Eck attorney Aaron Olsen said.  

Disability Discrimination and Perceived Disability Discrimination are Against the Law 

Disability discrimination and perceived disability discrimination violate workers’ rights in California. Both federal and state laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to work, as long as they can perform essential functions of a job, with or without a reasonable accommodation require employers to engage in an interactive process in good faith with employees to find effective accommodations and reasonable accommodation. Disability anti-discrimination laws require employers to engage in an interactive process in good faith with employees to find effective accommodations and prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against employees due to a real or perceived disability.  The laws also prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against employees for conduct caused by a disability.  

At Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, we firmly believe in equal rights for all and fight tirelessly for the rights of people with disabilities. If your employer has failed to make reasonable accommodations for you, or if you believe your employer has discriminated against you based on your disability or perceived disability, reach out to us for help seeking fair and just compensation. 


  1. San Diego Union Tribune 

California Employment Law Firm Fights to Give Women A Voice 

In this interview by Law360, Alreen Haeggquist shares how her abuse as a child was the catalyst to her determination to stand up to bullies and how she wanted to build a different kind of law firm, owned by women. Alreen shares how the team she has built has fought and won cases against some of the biggest bullies and institutions such as Donald Trump, Kaiser Permanente, the San Diego Sherriff’s Department, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.  

Jenna Rangel, Partner at Haeggquist & Eck, shares the challenges of going up against prestigious institutions and how Haeggquist & Eck will investigate everything as much as possible, talk to as many people as possible, and gather as much evidence as possible to build their case.  

Law360 also interviewed Haeggquist & Eck client Louise LaFoy about her case against the San Diego Sherriff’s Department. “Each day, I left that courtroom feeling a little bit more proud that I was standing up for myself and I had these women by my side,” LaFoy, told Law360. When that case became public, two more women came forward and asked Haeggquist & Eck to represent them. 

While helping women stand up for themselves against gender discrimination and sexual harassment has become a large portion of the cases Haeggquist & Eck litigates, we stand up for all genders and non-binary folx.  

When You Stand Up For Yourself We Stand With You!

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