Tony M. Sain


Tony M. Sain is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the General Liability and National Trial Practices. He focuses his practice on high exposure, high-stakes, high-profile matters in a wide variety of catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases across a number of practice areas, including personal injury, tort litigation, as well as police civil rights and public entity defense. Throughout his career, Mr. Sain has served as lead trial attorney in multiple high-profile jury and administrative trials, consistently securing defense verdicts, complete dismissals of claims, and other favorable outcomes on behalf of his clients, as well as racking up an impressive number of wins as an appellate court advocate. 

Outside of his practice at Lewis Brisbois, Mr. Sain serves on the panel for prosecuting criminal cases for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office on a pro bono basis. He has also trained multiple public entities on the legal implications of changes to key statutes affecting policing, and he has served as a lead lecturer for the California Peace Officers' Association’s (CPOA) seminar series. Moreover, Mr. Sain is the author of "The Pitchess Privileges: A Guide to Understanding Police Officer Personnel Record Procedural Protections In Civil Cases,” a leading resource manual on the intricacies of California’s complex officer privacy laws and their intersection with the California Public Records Act. 

Mr. Sain is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Side Bar program. Named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2013-2017, he is currently recognized by that publication and by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a top-rated civil rights attorney in Los Angeles. Before practicing law, Mr. Sain served as a senior executive in a variety of corporate and non-profit organizations, where he specialized in high-stakes organizational overhauls and community outreach. 

Mr. Sain is a graduate of Princeton University’s elite School of Public and International Affairs, where he learned executive-level governance. He is also a graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles’s prestigious Hobbs Trial Advocacy Program, and the Williams Civil Rights Litigation Program, and in law school, he also won the Best Advocate in California award in the National Moot Court competition for appellate advocacy.


  • GBI and the CPRA: Debate over ‘great bodily injury’ heats up,” Daily Journal, 03.22.2022
  • “The Pitchess Privileges: A Guide to Understanding Police Officer Personnel Record Procedural Protections In Civil Cases” – available on Amazon and Google
  • "Emerging Exception to Pitchess discovery requirements" – Daily Journal, 07.15.2020 

Media Coverage

Professional Presentations

  • Speaker, “Handling the Aftermath of a Critical Incident,” California Lawyers Assn. (CLA) - Law Enforcement Practices & Liability Conference, 05.25.2023
  • Speaker, “Cross-Exam Survival Tactics,” California Joint Powers Risk Management Assn. (CJPRMA) & Nor. Cal. Cities Self-Insurance Fund (NCCSIF), 05.18.2023
  • Speaker, “California Public Records Act Legal Updates,” California Police Chiefs Assn., 03.15.2023 
  • Professor, Trial Advocacy, Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, Spring 2023 
  • Speaker, “Cross-Exam Survival Tactics,” PARMA Annual Conference for Risk Managers, 02.28.2022
  • Speaker, “Cross-Exam Survival Tactics,” F.B.I. National Academy, Southern California, 10.06.2021
  • Speaker, “Police Records—One Year Later,” 2020 Open Meetings and Open Records Digital Conference for the California Lawyers Association (CLA), 05.13.2020 
  • Panelist, “California Public Records Act (CPRA): Legal Updates & Debates,” California Peace Officers Association speaker series, March-October 2019
  • Panelist, “Cops, Cameras, and Race in America,” 05.12.2015 
  • Speaker, PARMA’s 40th Annual Conference for Risk Managers, 02.09.2014 


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Central District of California
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • United States Courts of Appeals
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court


Los Angeles Chapter’s ABOTA Side Bar program

Awards & Honors

  • 2019 Top Litigator and Trial Attorney – Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star 2013-2017
  • Best Advocate in California award — Scott Moot Court Board (competitive appellate advocacy)


Loyola Law School, Loyola Marymount University

Juris Doctor, 2007

Princeton University

Bachelor of Arts, Public & International Affairs (Mgmt), 1993

Representative Matters

  • Mr. Sain and his team won a defense-favorable verdict for the Riverside County Sheriff and Sheriff’s Department in a federal civil rights jury trial arising from allegations of excessive force and wrongful death associated with prone restraint of a methamphetamine-intoxicated subject, where plaintiff alleged death by restraint/positional asphyxia in the spirit of George Floyd.  After a two week trial against some of the nation’s top police/civil rights plaintiffs’ attorneys, the jury unanimously found that the deputies’ handcuffed prone restraint was reasonable/lawful.

  • Mr. Sain and his team won an overwhelming defense verdict for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in a state civil rights jury trial involving allegations of excessive force arising from an officer-involved shooting of a knife-armed subject.  After a six-week trial in California state court, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants: one of the first pro-police verdicts after the anti-police demonstrations of 2020.

  • Mr. Sain and his team won a unanimous defense verdict for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in a federal civil rights jury trial involving allegations of excessive force arising from a police canine bite. After a five-day trial and less than 90 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.  When the district court later amended the defense judgment into a judgment for plaintiff, Mr. Sain and his team successfully restored the defense judgment by a reversal on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Mr. Sain and his team obtained an appellate victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court's dismissal of a civil rights case involving an alleged Fourth Amendment violation, concluding that the suit was time-barred. The court also affirmed judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendants in the same action alleging that the plaintiff was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted. The case established new precedent that: (1) California Code § 356 does not toll the statute of limitations while a criminal appeal is pending; and (2) a reversal on appeal does not necessarily support a malicious prosecution cause of action.
  • Mr. Sain and his team secured a win for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department against claims of negligence, excessive force, and wrongful death in an officer-involved shooting case involving a teen suicide-by-cop suspect armed with a knife. During the six-day trial, the defense team established that the defendant deputies had reasonably followed their training. The jury ultimately rendered a unanimous defense verdict after three hours of deliberations.
  • Mr. Sain and his team secured the affirmance of summary judgment in favor of the City of Gardena when a California appeals court held that the promulgation provision of Vehicle Code § 17004.7, which provides immunity for public entities that adopt and implement appropriate vehicle pursuit policies, "does not require proof of compliance by every officer with the written certification requirement as a prerequisite to immunity." The California Supreme Court subsequently adopted this ruling, emphasizing that immunity depends upon agency compliance with the statute, not officer completion of the certification mandate.
  • Mr. Sain and his team obtained a unanimous defense verdict against a high-profile plaintiff's attorney in a matter where the plaintiff became paralyzed from the waist down after an encounter with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department involving a TASER.
  • Mr. Sain and his team secured a win for two Manhattan Beach officers in a case alleging excessive force that ended in a mysterious fatality. The decedent incurred a skull fracture of unknown origin during a pursuit following a traffic stop. Plaintiffs' counsel made a damages demand of eight figures. Following a week-long trial, with jury deliberations split over two days, the jury rendered a complete defense verdict for both officers.
  • On behalf of a California government entity, Mr. Sain and his team secured the denial of a petition filed pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) following the death of a suspect in police custody. Citing to provisions that temporarily exempted from disclosure the police investigatory materials that the plaintiffs sought, the defense team assembled clear and convincing evidence that justified the client's withholding of records. The court also denied the plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees.
  • Mr. Sain and his team successfully convinced the plaintiff to dismiss her case with prejudice for zero dollars and to sign a full release of claims in a matter involving wrongful death and excessive force claims against police officers. After successfully convincing the court to dismiss the wrongful death claim for lack of standing, the defense team prepared a persuasive motion for summary judgment on the excessive force claim, which ultimately prompted the plaintiff to stipulate to the dismissal of the matter. 
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