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Greenberg Traurig Secures Litigation Victory for CORE and Sean Penn, as Judge Dismisses Complaint Filed By NLRB

LOS ANGELES – March 31, 2023 – After two years of hard-fought litigation, global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP achieved a trial victory, led by Shareholders Mathew S. Rosengart and Chuck Birenbaum, and vindication for client CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), wherein upon hearing the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) evidence at trial, Judge Lisa D. Ross dismissed a case filed against the organization by the NLRB, Case 31-CA-272228.

CORE stood at the vanguard of the nation’s emergency response effort to battle COVID-19, quickly mobilizing at the Dodger Stadium site in Los Angeles, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and the LA Fire Department, to administer millions of tests and vaccinations at the height of the once-in-a-century pandemic. CORE’s work received widespread praise from the private sector and government, and its outstanding service was recognized worldwide and locally by former Mayor Eric Garcetti, who awarded CORE’s co-founders Sean Penn and Ann Lee with keys to the City for their dedicated and selfless service.

The NLRB itself acknowledged CORE’s work “in saving lives and strengthening communities impacted by or vulnerable to crisis” but complained about certain remarks in a lengthy letter from Mr. Penn to workers at CORE after CORE had helped transform the Dodger Stadium COVID-19 relief site from a mass testing operation to a vaccination site, indeed in only a few days.

Following extensive litigation and the NLRB’s presentation of its case, Judge Ross granted CORE’s motion for a directed verdict and dismissed the NLRB’s Complaint against CORE. In so doing, Judge Ross rejected the NLRB’s contention that CORE had committed an unfair labor practice when Mr. Penn issued his message at a crucial time in this nation’s history, holding that it was in fact a “rallying cry” appropriately designed to inspire CORE’s staff.

“The Judge unequivocally held that Mr. Penn’s letter was not an implied threat of reprisal or disparagement of employee rights to engage in protected concerted activity under section 7 of the National Relations Act, but was instead a supportive mission statement to praise, support, and thank CORE staff for their extraordinary dedication to disaster relief and emergency services and, consistent with his First Amendment rights, to correct inaccurate assertions by anonymous critics,” Rosengart said.

He added that “it was an honor, as always, to represent CORE and Sean Penn, and to uphold important principles of law.”

In addition to Rosengart and Birenbaum, the Greenberg Traurig team included Shareholder Jonathan S. Sack.

About CORE: Founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee, CORE is a global crisis response organization dedicated to empowering underserved communities in and beyond crisis. CORE responds immediately to fill gaps, mobilize resources, and establish trust and partnership. Driven by a diverse, female-led team, CORE listens and learns to adapt its critical, equity-focused efforts to save lives and strengthen communities for the future. For more information, visit and follow CORE on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice: Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice includes a team of more than 700 attorneys. The firm’s trial lawyers regularly appear in state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as in appellate courts and before international arbitration panels. They work closely with in-house counsel to develop a strategy that best fits a litigation cost and proficiency model appropriate to the client’s unique needs and goals.

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2650 attorneys in 44 locations in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. The firm is a 2022 BTI “Highly Recommended Law Firm” for superior client service and is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law Global 100 and NLJ 250. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab. The firm is recognized for powering its U.S. offices with 100% renewable energy as certified by the Center for Resource Solutions Green-e® Energy program and is a member of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program. The firm is known for its philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono. Web: