John C. Manly
Partner and Founder
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University of Southern California, B.A.,1986
Pepperdine University School of Law,
Litigation of civil actions involving
childhood sexual abuse,
sexual harassment and
electronic harassment; Marsy's Law representation of crime victims; legislative advocacy for
the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Sexual abuse cases include
abuse in school, and many more.
- State Bar of California
- State Bar of Alaska
- State Bar of Arizona
- State Bar of New York
- U.S. District Court, Central and Eastern Districts of California
Named one of California's "Top 100 Attorneys" and one of California’s
top 30 Plaintiff Lawyers by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and Orange
County's most "Buzzworthy" attorney by Orange Coast Magazine,
John C. Manly is California's preeminent attorney representing victims
of sexual abuse. Over the past decade, John and his legal team have been
heavily involved in the most significant sexual abuse actions litigated
across the nation, assisting in the recovery of more than a billion dollars—through
trial and settlement—on behalf sexual abuse victims. Additionally,
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi's litigation has effectuated significant
non-monetary changes to the policies and procedures of youth and charitable
organizations, helping to keep kids safe.
Mr. Manly took on his first sexual abuse case in 1997. The case involved
a young man victimized by his priest/high school principal. After 5 years
of litigation, leaving no stone unturned, Mr. Manly was able to achieve
a 5.2 million dollar settlement in the action—still the largest
single-victim pre-trial settlement in history for the type of abuse suffered.
Since that time, Mr. Manly has devoted his time to assembling a powerful
team of attorneys who specialize in litigating sexual abuse civil cases
on behalf of children and vulnerable adults, firmly establishing Manly,
Stewart & Finaldi as the nation's preeminent law firm in the field.
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi specializes in litigation of molestation,
sexual harassment and exploitation actions in religious, employment, educational,
familial and other settings. View our
firm news page for more information.
Mr. Manly's work was predominantly featured in the 2005 documentary "Deliver
Us From Evil," which centered around the civil prosecution of notorious
predator priest Oliver O'Grady and the church officials who protected
him. His exploits in this arena have garnered substantial national media
attention, cementing his reputation as one of the nation's leading authorities
in the arena of sexual abuse litigation.
C.A. v. William S. Hart Union High School Dist., (2012) 53 Cal.4th 861—This
landmark precedent-setting California Supreme Court decision sets the
scope of a California public entity's liability for the sexually abusive
acts of its agents. Mr. Manly represented a minor who sued his high school
district and guidance counselor for damages arising out of sexual harassment
and abuse by the counselor. The District demurred, contending that it
could not be held liable for the negligence or supervisory failures of
administrative personnel who knew, or should have known, of the counselor's
activities. After the trial and appellate courts agreed with the Defendant's
position, Manly, Stewart & Finaldi fought this case to the California
Supreme Court and prevailed. The Supreme Court issued a published decision
holding the minor's claim against the public entity, for negligently hiring,
retaining and supervising the perpetrator, was legally viable.
Mr. Manly has assisted in the recovery of more than a billion dollars on
behalf of his clients. Here is a small representative sample of his trial
- John ZB Doe, et al. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, et al., (“De
La Torre Cases”) (2016) Los Angeles Superior Court– $58,000.00
global settlement of 18-victim child sexual abuse action that included
infliction of emotional distress awards for 19 parent plaintiffs of the
victims. The victims were sexually fondled by Robert Pimental, their teacher
at George De La Torre Elementary School, in the Los Angeles Unified School
District, over the course of several years.
- John KV Doe, et al. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, et al., ("Telfair
Cases") (2016) Los Angeles Superior Court– $23,805,000.00 global
settlement of 10-victim child sexual abuse action. The victims were sexually
assaulted by notorious teacher Paul Chapel III at Tel Fair Elementary
School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. This is believed to
be the largest per-victim documented settlement of a child sexual abuse
action against a public entity.
- John TDC Doe, et al. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, et al., (2015)
Los Angeles Superior Court– $6,195,900.00 jury verdict in a 2-victim
child sexual abuse action after a four-week trial. The victims were sexually
fondled by Paul Chapel III, their teacher at Tel Fair Elementary School,
in the Los Angeles Unified School District, over the course of several years.
- A.M., et al. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, et al., ("Miramonte
Cases") (2014) Los Angeles Superior Court– $139,500,000.00
global settlement of 81-victim child sexual abuse action that included
infliction of emotional distress awards for 131 parents of the victims.
The victims were sexually assaulted by notorious teacher Mark Berndt at
Miramonte Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
This is believed to be the largest documented settlement of a child sexual
abuse action against a public entity.
John JS Doe v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton, et al., (2013) San Joaquin County Superior Court– Consummation of
$1,750,000.00 settlement of child sexual abuse action, at the precipice of trial, in a case involving
the sexual abuse of a young boy by notorious Bay Area Roman Catholic priest
Reverend Oliver O'Grady, by successfully arguing threats by the perpetrator
tolled the statute of limitations on his claim.
John MG, PH, DM, AE Does v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, et al., (2013) Los Angeles Superior Court–
$9,990,000.00 global settlement of four child sexual abuse actions, at the precipice of trial, in cases
involving sexual abuse by notorious Los Angeles Roman Catholic priest
Father Michael Baker.
Diana C. v. Lodi Unified School District, et al., (2013) San Joaquin County Superior Court– Jury verdict of 90% liability against public school district, after
four-week first phase of trial, in a case involving the sexual molestation
of a mentally disabled child by her school bus driver.
$4,750,000.00 settlement achieved during the second phase of the trial.
John TZ Doe v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton, et al., (2012) San Joaquin County Superior Court– Unanimous jury verdict on all counts against Defendant Father Michael
$3,750,000.00 settlement against Diocese of Stockton, after 10-week trial in a case where the Plaintiff alleged, after recovering
his 25-year-old repressed memories, he was sexually abused by Fr. Kelly
as a child.
John VG Doe v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, et al., (2011) Los Angeles County Superior Court– Consummation of
$1,500,000.00 settlement on behalf of victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of Father Fernando
Lopez-Lopez, an extern priest serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
by way of Tivoli, Italy.
In Re: Delaware Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases, (2011) Delaware Superior Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court– Participation in, and consummation of
$109,000,000.00 (approx.) global settlement of over 145 claims on behalf of victims of sexual abuse in the State of
Delaware, involving the Diocese of Wilmington, the Brothers of the Holy
Cross, and the Capuchin Friars.
Doe v. Doe, (2010) Orange County Superior Court;
Doe v. Doe, (2010) Los Angeles County Superior Court– Consummation of
$2,200,000.00 settlement on behalf of victim alleging childhood sexual abuse at the hands of notorious
priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles—Father Michael Stephen
Baker—on the eve of trial.
110 Separate Actions Against the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, (2007, 2011) Various Superior Courts in the State of Alaska and U.S. Bankruptcy Court– Consummation of
$216,000,000.00 global settlement of 110 separate sexual abuse claims against the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province.
Jane CR Doe v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, et al.; Jane ALS Doe v.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, et al.; Jane KE Doe v. Roman Catholic
Diocese of Orange, et al.; Jane A. Doe v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, et al., (2007) Orange County Superior Court– Consummation of
$6,685,000.00 global settlement of four high-profile cases involving the sexual abuse of students at Roman
Catholic high schools and parishes in the County of Orange, during the
third week of trial in the
Jane C.R. Doe matter.
In Re: The Clergy Cases II (JCCP No.: 4297), (2007) San Diego Superior Court– Participation in, and consummation of
$198,100,000.00 global settlement of 144 sexual abuse claims during the sixth month of Chapter 11 bankruptcy
proceeding. The Diocese had filed for Chapter 11 protection just days
prior to Manly, Stewart & Finaldi commencing trial in the
John B. v. John Doe 1, et al. matter.
In Re: The Clergy Cases I (JCCP No.: 4286), (2007) Los Angeles Superior Court– Participation in, and consummation of
$660,000,000.00 global settlement of 508 sexual abuse claims just days prior to Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
commencing trial in the
John Doe v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Los Angeles, et al. matter.
In Re: The Clergy Cases I (JCCP No.: 4286), (2004) Orange County Superior Court– Participation in, and consummation of
$100,000,000.00 global settlement of 87 sexual abuse claims filed on behalf of individuals sexually assaulted
by priests and agents of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, California.
Ryan DiMaria v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Orange, et al., (1997) Orange County Superior Court–
$5,200,000.00 settlement on behalf of Plaintiff who alleged sexual abuse at the hands of a Mater
Dei High School Principal and Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Harris.
Born in San Mateo and raised in Southern California, in 1986, John obtained
a Bachelor's degree in international relations and a certificate in defense
and strategic studies from the University of Southern California. In 1990,
John received his
J.D. from Pepperdine University Law School, and thereafter served as a law
clerk to the General Counsel of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
in Washington, D.C. John also served 10 years in the United States military,
as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer. A member of the California, Arizona,
New York and Alaska Bar Associations, John is admitted to practice in
numerous federal district courts.