Justin Reade Sarno

Partner & Appellate Counsel

Justin Reade Sarno

Partner & Appellate Counsel


(213) 228-0400

Justin Reade Sarno is a partner at CR&D and leads the firm’s appellate practice. Justin has successfully briefed and argued countless writs and appeals before the California Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and California Court of Appeal, handling diverse questions of first impression under federal and state law. He specializes in all aspects of civil defense, including constitutional civil rights, government entity liability, anti-SLAPP, and labor and employment.

From 2012-2017, Justin was selected by Super Lawyers Magazine and Thompson Reuters as a “Rising Star” in the area of appellate law and municipal defense. His exacting attention to detail and advocacy skills have garnered attention from the appellate bench as well as respect from his adversaries. Furthermore, his appellate advocacy has induced issuance of numerous Palma Orders and suggestive Palma Orders by the Court of Appeal, often resulting in outright dismissal of civil actions, streamlined issues for litigation, or favorable settlements that greatly benefit public agencies and their precious taxpayer dollars.

Often times, the transition from trial court litigation to the court of appeal can be complex and intimidating. With his appellate expertise and vision, Justin helps clients understand and synthesize the unique issues on appeal. Justin is a cogent and meticulous writer who interweaves passion, intimacy, and focus to all appellate briefings and arguments.

Justin has written a novel of historical fiction entitled “The Laureate,” a cycle of Shakespearean sonnets, and numerous feature length screenplays. In addition, Justin is an avid photographer and tennis enthusiast. He graduated cum laude from UCLA in 2000, obtaining a B.A. degree in English Literature. Further, he obtained a J.D. degree from Southwestern University School of Law in 2003, where he was a member of the Moot Court Honors Program, and received honorable distinctions as an oralist at the Nationals Moot Court Competition, and Robert F. Wagner Labor & Employment Law Competition in New York City. Justin is a proud alumnus of Loyola High School of Los Angeles and is a proud father of two.


B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 2000
J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, 2003

Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Central District of California
Southern District of California

Reported Cases

Haghnazarian v. City of Glendale, et al., B257501 (2016) – Second District Court of Appeal, Division 2, affirmed summary judgment in favor of the City of Simi Valley, a case alleging a constitutionally defective search and seizure of a residence.

Vance v. Apple Valley Unified Sch. Dist. (E059632) (2015) – Summary judgment affirmed in action against school district bus driver relating to allegations of teenage drug overdose following inappropriate sexual relationship with public employee.

Jacobson v. Palmdale School District, et al. (B239582) (2013) – Second Appellate District, Division 5. Obtained reversal of trial court’s denial of Anti-SLAPP special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16. Drafted appellate brief and presented oral argument before the Court of Appeal.

Wattar v. Palmdale School District (B242050) (2013) – Second Appellate District, Division 7. Affirmed trial court’s sustaining of demurrer to Second Amended Complaint, due to failed compliance with California Tort Claims Act (Gov. Code, § 910, et seq.)

Kreitenberg v. Los Alamitos Unified School District (G043933) (2012) – Unanimous decision by Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, holding that parents do not have standing under the Unruh Civil Rights Act to recover tuition costs incurred as a result of voluntarily transferring son from public school to private school in light of allegations that son was subject to environmental discrimination.

Robert White, et al. v. City of Santa Ana, et al. (G045757) (2012) – Unanimous decision by Fourth District, Division Three, affirming the trial court’s grant of a special motion to strike (Anti-SLAPP) in favor of City of Santa Ana in class action litigation, involving allegations that the City of Santa Ana and City Manager failed to comply with notice provisions of Vehicle Code § 21455.5, regarding its municipal red light traffic camera program.

Lindsay v. Kiernan (Ninth Circuit Case No. 09-55652) (2010) – Unanimous decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming entry of summary judgment on behalf of peace officer accused of excessive force through use of X26 taser, on grounds that force applied was objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

McDonald v. Antelope Valley Community College District (S153964) (2008) – Briefed and argued before the
California Supreme Court relative to application of the equitable tolling doctrine in the context of a litigant’s pursuit and then abandonment of an internal grievance procedure with the Community College Chancellor’s Office, pursuant to the California Code of Regulations.

Aderele v. City of Culver City (B188656) – Palma notice issued by California Court of Appeal following successful filing of writ petition relative to trial court’s misapplication of peace officer use of force standards in the State of California; induced settlement in wrongful death matter involving police officer related shooting of mentally ill suspect.

Carrillo v. City of Baldwin Park (B199425) – Palma notice issued by California Court of Appeal following successful filing of writ petition relative to trial court’s misapplication of peace officer use of force standards in the State of California; induced settlement in excessive force matter involving clerk of the Superior Court and traffic stop initiated by peace officers from City of Baldwin Park.

Leadership, Membership & Honors

Mr. Sarno has been selected by Super Lawyers, Rising Stars from 2012-2017.