AREAS OF PRACTICE
Religious Liberty →
Traditional Values →
Sanctity of Life →
- University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California, J.D. (2009)
- University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, B.S., Business Administration (2005)
UNDER THE LAW.
Paul M. Jonna is Senior Trial Counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund. Jonna has successfully resolved a wide array of complex and high-profile civil litigation matters. In his work for FCDF, Jonna focuses on constitutional litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. Jonna obtained considerable trial and arbitration experience early in his legal career, including lengthy bench trials, jury trials, and complex arbitration proceedings. He has handled state and federal appeals and has argued before numerous state and federal courts, including before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was selected by the San Diego Business Journal as one of the “Best of the Bar” for 2016 and 2017.
His experience at FCDF includes:
- Successfully representing David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by StemExpress, a broker in aborted baby body parts. The lawsuit sought to prevent Mr. Daleiden from publishing a damning undercover video featuring Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress. FCDF succeeded in convincing the Court to allow the video to be released. As a result, StemExpress ultimately dismissed its case and walked away with nothing.
- Representing David Daleiden and other parties in federal lawsuits brought by the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood. Those lawsuits are ongoing and seek to punish Mr. Daleiden for his brave investigative journalism.
- Representing Tastries Bakery after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sought to force it to make custom wedding cakes for same-sex couples. In a precedent-setting ruling, the Court sided with Tastries and held that the State could not force bakers to violate their consciences by making wedding cakes that express views that are contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.
- Representing parents and organizations in a federal lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District, arising out of its “anti-Islamophobia” initiative.
- Successfully representing a devout Catholic employee of Loyola Marymount University who was suspended by LMU after being accused of committing a “hate crime.” The “hate crime” consisted of engaging in a dialogue with a “gender neutral” woman about basic tenets of the Catholic faith. After our successful representation, LMU restored that employee to her position without any loss of pay or benefits.
Jonna was previously an associate at the national law firm of Gordon & Rees, where he represented a broad range of clients, including major Fortune 500 companies, small and large businesses, and leading national and international insurers in complex commercial litigation and class actions in state and federal courts throughout California. Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Jonna was an associate at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, where he represented institutional investors in complex litigation and securities class actions, including Public Employees Ret. Sys. of Mississippi vs. Merrill Lynch & Co. ($315 million recovery); In re Wells Fargo Mortgage Pass-Through Certificate Litigation ($125 million); and In re AXA Rosenberg Investor Litigation ($65 million).
EDUCATION & COURT ADMISSIONS
Jonna earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, where he was Comments Editor of San Diego Law Review and published “In Search of Market Discipline: The Case for Indirect Hedge Fund Regulation,” 45 San Diego Law Review 989 (2008). During law school, he earned a CALI Award for the highest grade in Complex Litigation as well as a merit scholarship. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, where he was invited to Beta Gamma Sigma, named to the Dean’s List, and earned a merit scholarship.
- State Bar of California
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- 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
LEADERSHIP, MEMBERSHIP & HONORS
- Former three-term President of the St. Thomas More Society of San Diego, an association of Catholic lawyers, judges, and public servants
- San Diego Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2016 & 2017
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- San Diego County Bar Association
- Alliance Defending Freedom Honor Corps
A San Diego native, Jonna resides in his hometown of La Mesa with his wife and five young children.