David deRubertis

Saturday, October 30th, 2021 // From 8:30am to 12:00pm

Subject: Employment

3 hr Case Analysis


David M. deRubertis is the founder and principal attorney at The deRubertis Law Firm in Studio City, California. During his more than decade long career, David has produced numerous settlements and verdicts in excess of one million dollars. He focuses his practice on employment discrimination and wrongful termination. A seasoned trial lawyer, David has successfully argued two landmark cases before the California Supreme Court. He has been repeatedly recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal as one of the state’s top 10 plaintiff employment law attorneys. David has served on the California Employment Lawyers Association executive board, as well as the State Bar’s labor and employment law board. He is a frequent lecturer at continuing education seminars and has published several professional journal articles.

Case Analysis Details

“Zulfer v. Playboy Enterprises Inc”

Voir Dire, Opening Statement, Closing Argument, & Rebuttal

Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation verdict: $6,000,000 compensatory damages with finding for punitive damages; case resolved confidentially before jury decided amount of punitive damages. After 30 years of service, Playboy laid-off its Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller, Cathy Zulfer. Playboy claimed that Cathy’s job had been eliminated as part of a corporate-wide restructuring that saw over 400 employees, including dozens of executives, also lose their jobs. The corporatewide reduction in force reduced Playboy’s workforce from approximately 520 employees to about 150. Playboy explained that Cathy was included in this reduction because most of her duties no longer existed. Playboy had recently undergone a “go private” transaction, meaning it reverted to being a privately held company and no longer had to perform any public accounting functions. athy also handled the accounting functions for Playboy’s Entertainment Division, but Playboy had also outsourced the Entertainment Division such that most of the accounting functions for it were now done by the outside company. While Playboy was no longer a public company and had outsourced its Entertainment Division, it still performed Publishing, Licensing and Online accounting duties in-house. For years, those duties were performed by John McDonald, the Division Controller of Publishing, Licensing and Online. According to Playboy, because Mr. McDonald’s duties remained, and Cathy’s duties no longer remained, it only made sense to eliminate Cathy’s position and retain John McDonald.