Rita Kanno



Rita R. Kanno is a partner in the San Diego office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Labor & Employment Practice. She began her practice with the firm in 2006 as a member of the healthcare and employment/labor practice groups.

Ms. Kanno’s practice focuses on employment-related litigation, including wage and hour class action defense. She has substantial experience representing employers in litigation. Her areas of concentration include wrongful termination, sexual harassment, employment discrimination and wage issues. In addition to litigation, Ms. Kanno has advised employers on various other employment related issues, including employment contracts, employee handbooks, employee privacy rights, employment termination, reductions in force and unemployment benefits; and compliance with the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act, and California Labor Code.

Ms. Kanno also has significant experience in the representation of healthcare practitioners. She has successfully represented the interests of physicians, nurses, and hospitals in medical malpractice lawsuits. She also actively litigates and provide legal support to all types of healthcare providers against adverse regulatory findings taken against them by local, state, and federal agencies in various venues including court and arbitration as well as administrative hearings. 

Recently, Ms. Kanno has been at the forefront of defending nursing homes in matters arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, successfully devising and executing responses on behalf of firm clients since the earliest pandemic-related court actions were filed. She works closely with clients and claims professionals to invoke the protections of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) and other defenses to claims filed in jurisdictions nationwide. Ms. Kanno has extensive law and motion experience, having success in federal and state dispositive motions, Appellate Reviews, and Binding Arbitration Hearings.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Labor & Employment
  • Healthcare Regulatory & Compliance
  • Wage & Hour Class Actions
  • ADA Compliance & Defense
  • COVID-19: Labor & Employment
  • COVID-19 Response Resource Center


State Bar of California

United States District Court, Southern District of California


  • San Diego Defense Lawyers, Board Member
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh Chapter, Alumni


Santa Clara Law School

Juris Doctor, 2002

  • High Tech Law Certificate
  • Business Editor, Computer & High Technology
  • Law Journal


  • As a fundraising advisor for the San Diego Defense Lawyers, Ms. Kanno has raised thousands of dollars to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the South Bay Community Free Clinic.
  • Ms. Kanno was successful in second chairing a binding arbitration where a healthcare facility was being sued for the alleged failure to appropriately and timely diagnose & treat a claimant’s injury that left him unable to perform his job.
  • Ms. Kanno second chaired a binding arbitration where the defense was successful in obtaining an award in favor of healthcare providers sued for medical negligence and injury alleged to have occurred during the delivery of an infant. The child had an undisputed permanent brachial plexus injury. After a one week arbitration, the arbitrator found in favor of the defense on the issue of liability.
  • Ms. Kanno obtained a dismissal of an appeal in an employment case before the Fourth Appellate District, Division One. Plaintiff argued she never received a file-stamped copy of the judgment even though the defense presented a proof of service showing mail service of the document. The court agreed with Ms. Kanno’s argument that it is the date of service of the file-stamped copy of the judgment, accompanied by a proof of service, that triggers the 60-day appeal period, not the addressee’s actual receipt of those documents.
  • Ms. Kanno prevailed on several summary judgment motions in employment discrimination case where plaintiffs alleged termination was related to a disability.
  • Ms. Kanno obtained a defense judgment on a federal Motion to Dismiss a complaint for damages based on claims of assault and battery against a healthcare professional.
  • Ms. Kanno obtained summary judgment in a wrongful death case. She represented the special employer, and the case was barred due to the exclusivity doctrine.


  • Lewis Brisbois Employment Law Newsletter, “You Don’t Control Me” Spring 2008
  • “Controlling Patent Rights In The Industry Standard Context: Micron Technology, Inc. v. Rambus, Inc.”  2001