Biography Details

Kenneth S. Kawabata

Kenneth S. Kawabata

Kenneth S. Kawabata is a partner in the San Diego office of Manning & Kass, where he specializes in the defense of employment litigation matters with a particular focus on discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination claims. Mr. Kawabata has also handled matters involving breach of contract claims, wage and hour disputes, and class actions in the areas of business litigation, employment law and consumer statutory claims.

Mr. Kawabata’s practice involves litigation in a variety of forums including mediation, binding arbitration and trial in state and federal courts, as well as administrative forums including the DFEH, EEOC, DLSE, and the Unemployment Appeals Board. Mr. Kawabata has litigated cases under Title VII, the ADEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. section 1983, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Unruh Act, and the California Labor Code.

Mr. Kawabata provides legal counsel to a wide variety of Fortune 500 and middle market companies, including in the hospitality, retail, biotech, telecommunications, ATM, insurance, and defense industries.

In addition to his employment law background, Mr. Kawabata has extensive experience in the areas of general civil litigation, premises liability, products liability, civil rights, government entity litigation, and professional errors and omissions liability. Mr. Kawabata’s experience also includes representation of government entities, including public school districts and charter schools, for counseling and litigation.

Mr. Kawabata’s community involvement includes active participation as a member at large of the Asian Business Association of San Diego, and prior service as a member of the Board of Directors for the Asian Business Association of San Diego. Mr. Kawabata is also a Director to the Board of the Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego and is involved in PALSD’s program to mentor new lawyers and law students. Mr. Kawabata has been named a 2014–2018 Super Lawyer.

Mr. Kawabata received his BA in economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1987. In 1990, Mr. Kawabata earned his JD from the California Western School of Law where he received the American Jurisprudence Award for Civil Procedure II, Immigration Law, and Appellate Advocacy. Mr. Kawabata was also named to the Dean’s Honors List in 1989. Mr. Kawabata is admitted to practice before the State Bar of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Court for the Southern, Eastern, Northern and Central Districts of California.

His notable representative matters include:

  • Obtained a defense verdict in federal court as trial counsel for a national amusement park company against claims of denial of access under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Obtained a defense verdict as trial counsel for a telecommunications company against claims of wrongful termination, racial discrimination, and breach of contract.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a defense contractor against claims of same sex harassment and discrimination.
  • Settlements of California-wide class action cases for alleged violations of U.S. Banking Laws for improper fee surcharges on ATM machines.
  • Settlement of a multi-million dollar wage and hour class action case on behalf of a national retailer.
  • Defense verdicts as lead trial counsel in general and premises liability cases.



  • Asian Business Association of San Diego
  • Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego
  • Japanese American Bar Association, San Diego Committee
  • San Diego Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League