Law Office of Daniel S. Kozma
2120 L. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
I provide first-rate litigation services, in both trial and appellate courts, and top quality legal counsel to those I represent. I have a reputation as a successful trial lawyer and I am well known and respected in the legal community.
I work closely with those I represent, to achieve the best possible outcome. I am a committed, experienced lawyer and I take my responsibilities seriously, knowing that the results I achieve for those I represent may have a lasting impact on their lives.
I have considerable experience and particular expertise in Employment Law, including race, sex and other forms of unlawful discrimination and unlawful harassment; Employee Benefits, including pension, health insurance and disability benefits disputes; Wrongful Termination; Disputes involving denial of tenure and revocation of tenure; Labor Law, including Arbitrations; Personal Injury claims, especially lead poisoning in children; and Professional Malpractice.
- Employment Law
- Employment Discrimination (race, sex, age, etc.)
- Sexual and Other Harassment/Hostile Work Environment
- Employee Benefits Law (401K’s, pension, health, disability and life insurance, etc.)
- Tenure disputes in the University setting, including denial of tenure and revocation of tenure or dismissal
- Labor Law, Grievances, Arbitrations
- Airline Labor Law, Grievances, System Board of Adjustment Arbitrations
- Lead and Lead Paint Poisoning cases
- Professional Malpractice
- Defamation and other Intentional Torts
- Litigation, Trials & Appeals
In recent years, I have had a number of successes that are worth mentioning.
- Private Mediation resulting in a substantial six-figure settlement in a denial of tenure case.
In November 2021, I represented a professor at a major local university in a denial of tenure case claiming race, religion and national origin discrimination. With the pandemic and the effect on the courts, pursuing his claim in court would have likely taken at least two to four years, if not longer, if we were successful at trial and the university appealed.
So, after fully briefing his claim in two briefs totaling twenty five pages with thirteen attached exhibits, we offered the university private mediation in an effort to quickly settle my professor’s claims. The university accepted and at the conclusion of the private mediation, we agreed to a mid-six figure settlement (hundreds of thousands of dollars!!). As the settlement is confidential, I can’t say any more, but my client and I were pleased with the outcome!
- Jury Verdict for $582,400 against Howard University affirmed for a Professor Denied Tenure.
On February 23, 2012, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest Court in the District of Columbia, affirmed a jury verdict for $582,400.00 in favor of my client, Professor Sybil Roberts-Williams for Howard University’s breach of contract in not providing her required written evaluations of her performance and progress towards tenure during more than ten years teaching as a Professor at Howard University.
I tried the case to a jury in a six day jury trial which ended with a judgment in favor of Ms. Roberts-Williams on October 1, 2010. Howard University appealed but its appeal was denied and the jury verdict and judgment were affirmed. Howard University v. Roberts-Williams, 37 A.3d 896 (DC Court of Appeals, 2012). A copy of the decision can also be found here:http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?q=Roberts-Williams+v.+Howard+University&hl=en&as_sdt=2,5&case=5909255175812180198&scilh=0
- Successfully Defended a Professor Against Charges to Revoke his Tenure.
In 2013, I represented a Professor who had been tenured for twenty years against charges brought against him by the university’s administration to revoke his tenure and dismiss him from the university. Because of the required confidentiality of the proceedings, I cannot identify either the professor or his university, except to say that it is a major and well known university in the area. The university was represented by one of the largest law firms in DC.
Under the Faculty Handbook, which is part of the contract of every faculty member, the first step in such a proceeding is a hearing before a committee comprised of six faculty members from departments other than the charged faculty member’s department. Four of the six members must recommend that tenure be revoked. If four members of the committee do not recommend revocation of tenure, that is the end of the matter, and the professor retains his tenured position on the faculty.
The charges against the professor claimed that he had committed serious violations of “scholarly integrity” and had demonstrated neglect of his professional responsibilities. Several days of hearings were held before the hearing committee. The university called eight witnesses and introduced over sixty exhibits during the hearing. On behalf of the professor, we introduced over forty exhibits. At the conclusion of the hearing, the university’s lawyers filed over eighty pages of proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. On behalf of the professor, my submission was eighteen pages. The faculty Committee’s unanimous decision rejected the university’s charges against my client and ordered the university to pay all of my attorneys fees, over $100,000.00!
We won! And my professor retained his tenured position at the university.
- Settlement and Severance Package.
A few years ago, I represented a woman who had been employed for thirty years in a large, national non-profit organization. She is a lawyer and had risen to become a Vice President, the only woman Vice President in the organization’s history. A new, younger, male President had come in and wanted to fire her. The organization offered her six months’ severance and that was about it. My client was, at the time, in her late 50’s and earning over $200,000.00 a year.
Although my client didn’t want to sue, we threatened age and sex discrimination claims and negotiated a much better severance package. We ended with a full year’s severance, and the settlement agreement also included an additional full year of credit under the defined benefit retirement plan. The total package meant an additional $200,000.00 to my client. The organization also agreed to allow us to write a letter of recommendation which it was required to provide to prospective employers.
But here’s the best part. One of my client’s duties was running the organization’s largest and most important interest group. When the members of my client’s interest group found out that my client was leaving, they raised Hell with the new President. He came crawling back and asked my client to stay, with the title of Vice President. She agreed but, at my suggestion, on one condition. During the next year, if she decided to leave, or if she was again fired, the severance package would take effect, giving her a full year of severance from the date she quit or was fired, an additional full year of credit under the defined benefit plan from that same date, and all of the other provisions we had negotiated in the settlement agreement. I negotiated and drafted a new settlement agreement with those provisions.
That meant my client was fully protected, and that the new President had to treat her well to make sure she stayed and to keep the organization’s members in my client’s interest group happy. If the new President didn’t keep my client happy after her return, she could walk out at any time fully protected by the severance package I negotiated for her!
- Settlement of a Case Claiming Sexual Preference Discrimination by a Bisexual Woman
I recently assisted a woman who had been fired from her position with a law firm, after she complained about harassment and verbal abuse concerning her bisexuality. I assisted her in filing a Complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights claiming discrimination based upon her sexual preference and retaliation. This was the first time I had filed a Complaint based upon sexual preference discrimination.
The case went to mediation and because my highly competent client had found another job paying her more than she had been earning, we were able to settle the case just a few months later for a substantial five figure amount, which is confidential. The client was very happy with the settlement and with how quickly I was able to resolve the matter. Such quick resolutions are, however, the exception, not the rule.
- AV Rating, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell
Once again, in 2022 and as it has for the last 26 consecutive years, Martindale-Hubbell has given me its prestigious AV Preeminent Rating, based upon its confidential surveys of my peers, other lawyers and members of the bar. Martindale-Hubbell is the most highly respected attorney rating service. AV Preeminent is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest achievable rating and is coveted by practicing attorneys.