Annie S. Amaral

Annie S. Amaral

Partner / Mentoring Partner

Annie S. Amaral

Partner / Mentoring Partner

Clients rely on Annie Amaral for her complex business litigation and advocacy skills to navigate through federal and state courts alike, both independently and where cases are filed simultaneously in both venues.

Annie has practiced and prevailed at the trial and appellate levels in both systems, as well as in cases that are cross-venued. With each case she applies a mix of smart, aggressive advocacy and efficient work ethic to achieve optimal results for clients. Annie’s complex litigation practice includes banks and financial institutions, healthcare providers, industrial and land use companies, retail distributors, and solo entrepreneurs, to name a few. Her practice also includes defending employers against claims brought by current and former employees, as well as protecting and pursuing trade secret claims that are common in the employment context. Sensitive to the stress that litigation can impose on all business types, Annie uses her in-depth knowledge of how courts work to eliminate as much as possible the worrying that comes with being a litigant.

In addition to her law practice, Annie serves as the firm’s mentoring partner. In this role, Annie helps associates navigate the practice of law (and life at Downey Brand) by partnering them with more senior attorneys within their area of practice, and ensuring they have access to both internal and external resources to aid their professional development. Annie also oversees various internal networking events, designed to help associates integrate themselves into the firm by interfacing with attorneys from other practice groups.


  • Successfully represented a private healthcare provider in a dispute with longtime medical biller, obtaining a nearly $10 million judgment in client's favor following a multi-week federal trial. As second chair, Annie handled direct examinations of multiple witnesses and assisted with all evidentiary presentations, including opening statement and closing argument. Worked closely with multiple expert witnesses who opined on HIPAA matters, medical billing standards, and reimbursement issues by payors, among other things. Annie originally helped manage this complex dispute in state court, its original venue, but tried it as an adversary proceeding in federal court after the defendants filed for bankruptcy.
  • Over four years, defended major timber company in procedurally and substantively complex litigation that involved six consolidated state actions and one federal action and claims seeking an aggregate of approximately $1 billion. Conducted all phases of percipient and expert discovery, including taking and defending depositions, and was one of four-person team that prepared for three-month jury trial of consolidated state actions, which resulted in dismissals with prejudice and judgment for the client immediately before trial began. Obtained terminating sanctions and monetary sanctions against the State of California. Read media coverage on the Moonlight Fire Litigation here.
  • Represent healthcare client bringing constitutional claims against the State of California in federal court. Significant dispositive motion briefing underway.
  • Represent worldwide healthcare client in commercial dispute with vendor regarding sale of proprietary technology. Case began in state court but required multiple federal court appearances when defendant filed for bankruptcy on eve of trial. Drafted successful motion obtaining relief from the automatic stay and case is presently set for trial (again) in state court.
  • Represent local financial institution in commercial litigation matters to pursue defaulted loans. 
  • Defended retail distribution company in national class action wage and hour lawsuit through class certification proceedings; class certification was partially denied. Case subsequently concluded with favorable settlement to defendant.
  • Successfully represented employer in trade secret/noncompete dispute with former employees and participated in all phases of trial preparation, including witness and exhibit preparation and drafting of motions in limine and jury instructions; obtained favorable settlement for plaintiff on eve of trial.
  • Successfully obtained an alternative writ from the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, which prompted trial court to vacate its order denying motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute case that had been pending for more than five years and enter a new order granting the motion.  Subsequently defended writ proceedings on appeal to the California Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.
  • Successfully briefed and argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, pro bono, a section 1983 civil rights claim on behalf of prisoner whose state law claims were prematurely dismissed without leave to amend.
  • Successfully drafted and obtained stay of state court proceedings in class action where plaintiffs filed litigation in multiple venues.
  • Second chair in binding arbitration proceeding; conducted direct examination of witness and participated in all phases of preparation, including witness and exhibit preparation and drafting of arbitration brief.
  • Second chair on federal intellectual property dispute and was lead on all phases of trial preparation, including witness and exhibit preparation and drafting of motions in limine and jury instructions; participated in settlement negotiations that led to favorable settlement for plaintiff on eve of trial.
  • Represented agricultural lending institution in complex collection matters involving multiple defendants and closely held corporations.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Leadership Sacramento, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Class of 2017
  • Junior Achievement of Sacramento, Board of Directors, 2016-present
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for the Northern California Inland Chapter, Board of Directors, 2009-2014
    • Annie has had type 1 diabetes since she was 11 years old.  After attending law school and passing the bar, she decided to put her advocacy skills to use with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a national charity organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness about type 1 diabetes.  Annie joined the board as the advocacy chair in 2009 and campaigned locally and in Washington D.C. to have senators and congresspeople renew government funding for diabetes research.  The Special Diabetes Program was renewed while Annie held this role, and Congress also pushed for special measures to be taken with respect to researching and conducting outpatient trials of the Artificial Pancreas.
  • Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer, 2016-present
  • Sacramento Women in Leadership Symposium, Coordinator, 2016-2017
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Litigation Section, 2006-present
  • Women Lawyers of Sacramento, Former Member 
  • Federal Bar Association, Former Member 
  • Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court, Member 
  • Junior Barristers of Sacramento, Founding Member and Former Officer
  • California Society of Healthcare Attorneys, Member, 2018 

Honors And Rankings

  • Sacramento Business Journal, 40 Under 40, 2017
  • Recognized as one of the area's Young Leaders by Comstock's Magazine, 2017
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Appellate, Litigation Business and Finance, Commercial Litigation, General Litigation, Real Estate, 2015-2019
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Rising Star, General Litigation, 2013-2015
  • Clerkship, District Judge Garland E. Burrell, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 2006
  • Externship, Associate Justice Kathleen M. Butz, California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, 2005
  • Externship, Magistrate Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 2004

The Downey Brand Story

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