|Bar Admissions:||New York State Bar|
|U.S. District Court Southern District of New York|
|U.S. District Court of Eastern District of New York|
|United States Supreme Court|
|Education:||Hofstra University School of Law, J.D. with Distinction 1998|
|— Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, Managing Editor|
|Boston University for the Arts, B.A. 1994|
|— Cum Laude|
|Published Works:||Proposal for a Model Employee Benefit Program, Benefits Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1998|
|Have You Hit The Glass Ceiling?, Long Island Woman Magazine, Vo. 5, No. 2, 2005|
Awards/Memberships: Selected as a 2018 Super Lawyer; received Hofstra Law’s Center for Children, Families and the Law’s Outstanding Women in the Law Award (2016) and the Long Island Business News Leadership in the Law Award (2016); Member of the National Association of Professional Women, Nassau County & American Bar Associations, National Employment Lawyers Association and other professional organizations.
Sara has devoted over fifteen (15) years of her legal career fighting for her clients’ Civil Rights and against all varieties of employment discrimination (race, gender, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, and religion), sexual harassment/hostile work environment claims, wage and hour disputes and qui tams/whistleblower claims. Sara’s approach to the practice of law it to guide clients towards expedited resolutions whenever feasible, yet utilize her extensive litigation experience when an amicable conclusion is not forthcoming.
Sara honed her litigation skills while working as an Assistant Corporation Counsel, in the Manhattan Trial Unit for the City of New York. While defending the City’s employees and the City itself, Sara conducted and defended hundreds of depositions, participated in extensive motion practice, pre-trial and trial work.
Following her time at Corporation Counsel, Sara moved into private practice representing plaintiffs in employment discrimination disputes. Sara supervised teams of attorneys in the prosecution and settlement of numerous mass action race, gender and age discrimination cases involving thousands of plaintiffs, resulting in multi-millions of dollars in settlements for her clients.
Since co-founding Valli Kane & Vagnini, Sara has focused her practice on the negotiation, mediation and litigation of individual as well as complex mass and class actions. Sara has been appointed lead or co-lead counsel in a variety of mass/class cases throughout the country, often working in tandem with some of the most well respected plaintiffs’ discrimination and wage and hour firms in the nation.
Sara has represented individuals as well as been appointed class counsel in cases against national and international companies throughout the country, in a cross section of employment and wage cases, including but not limited to: Brown et. al. v. Medicis – 1:13cv-01345 (District of Columbia) after participating in a multi-session mediation process, the class wide Hostile Work Environment and Gender Discrimination claims were settled for $7.15M. This was notable as one of the highest per person class sexual harassment settlements. Kudo v. Panda Express – 7:09-cv-00712 (S.D.N.Y.) a settled wage & hour case; Beaty et. al. v. Hillshire Brands et. al. – 2:14-cv-58 (E.D.TX. – Marshall Division) Sara and Co-counsel were Novel in that they framed the charges filed with the EEOC and the Complaint as environmental racism. EEOC issued a finding of class-wide discrimination against Sara Lee and joined the complaint filed by VKV and Co-counsel – settled for $4 million); Romero v. Allstate Insurance – 2:01cv-03047 (E.D.PA) – Representation of over 40 individuals with ERISA and ADEA claims in a mass action which at one point included approximately 500 plaintiffs represented by various counsel (all but four of those represented by VKV have settled their cases); Roberts et. al. v. TJX – 1:13-cv-13142 (D. Mass) (Nationwide (ex. CA) FLSA misclassification case settled training claims for $4,750,000; Conditional Certification granted on remainder of case, litigation ongoing against Marshalls, HomeGoods, TJX; Leach et al. v. NBC et al. – 1:15-cv-7206 (S.D.N.Y.) – One of twelve actions known as “PPA Actions” filed on behalf of PPAs against many major film and television companies, including HBO, Warner Brothers, ABC, NBCUniversal, SONY, FOX, for alleged FLSA and NYLL violations where Sara working with her partners and the team at their firm have recovered approximately $20,000,000 for their clients.
Sara also works with individuals who come forward to assist States and the Federal Government with qui tam/whistleblower claims raised under the False Claims Act and similar state statutes. Some examples of this representation include: United States ex rel. Gallian v. DaVita Rx, LLC, No. 3:16-cv-0943-B (N.D. Tex.) wherein Sara, along with her partners and co-counsel represented two Relators and worked with the Government to obtain a $63.7 million settlement, some of which was attributed to the efforts of the Relators for which the Relators received over two million dollars; and United States of America, ex rel, Hinestroza et.al. v. Ralex Services, et al. – 10-cv-0822 (E.D.N.Y.), wherein Sara and Valli Kane & Vagnini represented the Relator and worked with the Government to secure a $2,200,000 settlement.
Throughout her career Sara has appeared on television to discuss employment discrimination claims generally and specifically regarding cases filed and litigated by the firm She has lectured and appeared as a panelist on issues relating to employment, wages and Civil Rights and most recently with respect to the #MeToo movement. Immediately upon hearing about the ability to offer guidance to women and men coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment, Sara signed up for and has been a member of the Legal Network for Gender Equity aka Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.