Felicia Medina - Sanford Heisler, LLP
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Felicia Medina
Felicia M. Medina

San Francisco Managing Partner


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Felicia Medina is the Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of Sanford Heisler, LLP, a national law firm with offices in Washington, DC, New York and California. She received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2006.

Ms. Medina has managed all aspects of litigation, including pre-suit settlement, discovery, summary judgment, and trial in a variety of discrimination and wage and hour matters. She is currently Lead Counsel in Wellens et al. v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., a national gender discrimination class action filed on behalf of pharmaceutical sales representatives and district managers; Fretter v. Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corp., a national gender discrimination class action filed on behalf of female sales employees; McCarthy et al. v. Valero Energy Corp., a national wage and hour class action filed on behalf of gas station workers; and Peterson et al. v. Alaska Commc’n  Sys. Grp. Inc., a statewide misclassification matter filed on behalf of sales and marketing employees. During her time at the firm’s California office, Ms. Medina has negotiated and secured significant monetary awards and changes in corporate practices for clients from all walks of life, including C-Suite executives and lawyers, with discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims in the technology, pharmaceutical, professional services, and public relations industries. She successfully argued an appeal before the Sixth Circuit in a race discrimination suit.

Ms. Medina was also Trial Counsel representing approximately 6,000 women in Velez v. Novartis. The presiding federal judge described the case as having been “brilliantly tried.” After a seven-week trial, the Firm secured the largest employment verdict ($253 million) in United States history. The Firm obtained a court-approved settlement of $175 million on behalf of the class that the judge described as “extraordinary” and “one of a kind.”

Presently, Ms. Medina is a board member of the BASF (Bar Association of San Francisco) – Justice and Diversity Board, LAS-ELC (Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center), BALIF (Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom – SF’s LGBT Lawyers Association) and FAIR (Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion, and Resources), a non-profit designed to increase diversity in the plaintiffs’ employment bar and to raise public consciousness about workers’ rights. In conjunction with FAIR, and the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, Ms. Medina launched the Sanford Heisler Kimpel, LLP Public Interest Diversity Fellowship.

Ms. Medina was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star and by Law360 as a Minority Powerbroker and a Rising Star.  She often speaks on panels regarding various aspects of employment litigation and diversity in the legal profession.


Before joining Sanford Heisler in January 2009, Ms. Medina worked in the securities litigation, employment & labor practice groups of Morrison & Foerster, LLP. She was on the board of the Tom Homann Law Association, a LGBT lawyers’ organization.  While at Yale, Ms. Medina was involved with the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and provided civil legal services to the Latino and immigrant communities in Fair Haven, Connecticut.  Prior to attending YLS, Ms. Medina was a political consultant and a public school teacher.


J.D.   Yale Law School, 2006
Editor, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
B.A.   USC, Los Angeles, 2000


Student Supervisor, Community Legal Services

Bar Admissions

California 2008

Court Admissions

The United States District Court – District of Nevada as of August 4, 2010
The United States District Court – Middle District of Tennessee as of September 17, 2010
The United States District Court – Southern District of New York as of January 22, 2010
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit as of October 7, 2009
The United States District Court – Central District of California as of June 24, 2009


    In the largest gender discrimination case to ever go to trial, Sanford Heisler successfully represented a class of 5,600 female sales representatives of Novartis Pharmaceutical Company in their gender pay and promotion and pregnancy discrimination claims. A unanimous decision by a jury of nine found Novartis liable for gender discrimination in pay and promotion and pregnancy-related matters and awarded 12 former Novartis sales reps $3.36 million in compensatory damages and the class of 5,600 women an additional $250 million in punitive damages In addition, the verdict from the jury meant that the remaining 5,600 women in the class were also entitled to additional awards of backpay and to seek compensatory damage awards up to $300,000 each. The verdict and the resulting monetary awards was the largest ever in the U.S in an employment discrimination case. Read More


    Sanford Heisler is investigating claims that through the use of a long and confusing set of Terms and Conditions issued to each sales representative with his or her compensation plan, Oracle unlawfully and retroactively reduced the commissions of sales representatives based on grounds, criteria, and methods not defined in a signed commission contract. Read More


    Former Google contract employee Tymuoi Ha filed the complaint in Santa Clara Superior Court against Google, Inc. and Urpan Technologies (UrpanTech), one of the many staffing agencies through which Google acquires temporary and contract workers.  The complaint alleges that Defendants violated the California Labor Code by denying employees compensation for all overtime worked, failing to pay owed wages upon separation from employment and not furnishing accurate wage statements. Read More.


    Sanford Heisler represents sales employees on a class and collective action complaint in U.S. District Court in Anchorage against Alaska Communications Systems Group, Inc., and Alaska Communications Systems Holdings, Inc. (Alaska Communications). Plaintiffs allege that Alaska Communications failed to pay sales employees overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Alaska Wage and Hour Act (AWHA). In December 2014, the court granted conditional certification of the collective action and authorized notice to the class under the FLSA. Read More


    In addition to monetary relief, the settlement requires Qualcomm to institute comprehensive programmatic relief, which will ensure that female employees working, for example, in STEM and related positions will enjoy equal job opportunities at the company. The settlement on behalf of a class of approximately 3300 women was reached before Plaintiffs filed suit. Read More


    In February 2013, six current and former female pharmaceutical sales professionals filed a $100 million class and collective action gender discrimination lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging discrimination in pay, promotion and other terms and conditions of employment based on gender, pregnancy and family responsibilities. The case was settled for $8.2 million in 2016. Read More


    In March 2015, class representatives Denise Fretter and Maria Korsgaard filed a $50 million nationwide class and collective action against the Valencia, CA-based medical device manufacturer, Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corporation (BSNC), in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The Plaintiffs allege systemic violations of the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act stemming from the company’s treatment of women who worked in its sales force hierarchy. Read More


    Sanford Heisler filed a class action gender discrimination lawsuit on behalf of high level Human Resources representatives alleging pay and promotion discrimination. The case was settled privately in 2009 with non-public terms.


    In March 2015, Plaintiffs Elyse Dickerson and Dr. Susan Orr filed a Title VII and Equal Pay Act case against the pharma giant Novartis and its Alcon division in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit seeks $110 million, company-wide changes to redress gender discrimination, and individual relief.  Read More

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I contacted Felicia because she has a stellar reputation as a champion for workplace gender equality. Upon taking my case, it became clear that that reputation is well-deserved; she is a deft negotiator, a veracious advocate, and - most importantly - she knows how to get results. Through her counsel, I achieved a settlement that allowed me to get out of a toxic, discriminatory work environment. We sent a strong message to the company that such unequal treatment of women will not be tolerated in this day and age.

Former client and VP of a major technology company


Felicia and Sanford Heisler have taken the pharmaceutical industry by storm. They are shattering the glass ceiling imposed on women by pharma's old boys' club. Sanford Heisler is steadfastly committed not just to its clients, but to the cause of women's equality. That dedication, combined with their remarkable knowledge and skill, allows them to attain the momentous verdicts and results that set Sanford Heisler apart from other firms.

Jacqueline Pena, Named Plaintiff in Wellens et. al. v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.