John Mendoza, an expert in workplace legal issues, has been named as the disgruntled law firm partner who shot and killed another partner in Long Beach, California at their law firm’s Christmas party.
The coroner has now identified Major A. Langer, 75, as the victim, and fellow partner John Mendoza, 58, as the shooter in the frightening incident that police are labeling workplace violence, according to Rick Montanez of NBC LA.
Mendoza is accused of shooting and killing Langer, a respected, veteran attorney with PLBSMH law firm, when Langer tried to fire him. Langer was the law firm’s senior managing partner. Mendoza then shot another partner, Ron Beck, who is still alive, before shooting himself, according to the Santa Monica Observer. The shootings led to reports of an active shooter at the Long Beach law firm. The Grunion, a Long Beach publication, also reported, through a source, that the shooter was a male attorney on the firm’s masthead but didn’t name Mendoza.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. All Three Lawyers’ Names Are in the Firm’s Name & All Three Were Listed as Partners
Mendoza, Beck, and Langer are listed among the law firm’s partners on its website. The law firm’s website says that “The attorneys of Perona, Langer, Beck, Serbin, Mendoza and Harrison have dedicated their careers to helping all people have the same access to our justice system. Our attorneys have been successful in hundreds of jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and administrative hearings. We serve our clients and their families in serious injury claims, wrongful death cases, employment disputes, workplace injuries, business litigation, construction defect claims landlord tenant issues, immigration and appellate work.”
The firm also has multiple associate attorneys. According to the Santa Monica Observer, the firm is tied to a famous legal commercial pitchman. “In the 1990’s, Los Angeles personal injury attorney Larry H Parker became locally famous for his pervasive TV ads with the tag line “I’m Larry H Parker, and I will fight for you!” If he could not settle cases prior to filing suit, he would refer the case to the Perona, Langer firm. Eventually the two firms moved in together,” the newspaper reports.
2. Langer Was Trying to Fire the Suspect When the Shooting Occurred
The shooting, which is being called an act of workplace violence, occurred when Langer, 75, tried to fire the suspect, according to the Orange County Register. Beck, who was also shot, was driven to the hospital by his son and is expected to survive, the newspaper reported.
“The shooting apparently occurred as workers were enjoying an annual holiday party that involved spinning a wheel and winning prizes,” the newspaper reported, adding that police, scouring the building to make sure there was not an active shooter roaming through it, discovered terrified employees still hiding throughout the building.
Police confirmed in a news conference that all three of those shot were male employees of the law firm. The mayor, Robert Garcia, wrote on Twitter, “Have been briefed on shooting in law offices in North Long Beach. Appears to be a workplace homicide. Both the shooter and a victim are dead. One other person was shot but is in hospital in stable condition. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
Long Beach Police Department wrote: “Not an active shooter. This was a workplace violence incident, resulting in a homicide investigation, which remains ongoing.” The police also confirmed, “Earlier active shooting incident in LB is now a murder investigation. Suspect is also believed to be deceased at the scene.”
3. John Mendoza Handled Industrial Injury Cases After Attending Pepperdine University Law School
Mendoza also had a law firm called the Law Offices of John A. Mendoza. The firm’s Facebook page identifies him as a workers’ compensation attorney. The most recent post on the page wishes people a Merry Christmas: “Merry Christmas and happy holidays from everyone here at The Law Office of John A. Mendoza! #JAM #Merry #Christmas #Happy #Holidays #Attorney #Lawyer #Law #Office.” The firm also recently shared information on workplace stress, adding, “Survey finds that holidays create extra stress for workers.”
The website of the Perona website says in its bio for Mendoza that “John has successfully litigated thousands of industrial injury cases over the past 20 years. Many of these cases involved trial court decision being overturned, resulting in changes to California laws benefiting not only his clients, but all Californians.”
The website continues: “Most recently, John was successful in overturning the trial court in a case where the reviewing court held that employees have the freedom to select their own physician in cases involving industrial injuries, even if the employer has formed a Medical Provider Network. This decision dismantled the restrictive manner in which California Administrative Law courts and insurance carriers had previously applied the provisions of the 2005 reform legislation.”
Mendoza received his undergraduate education at UCLA, the website bio says, “earning a bachelors degree in political science, with a focus in international relations. His postgraduate education was conducted at Pepperdine University, School of Law and at the University of La Verne, School of Law. While earning his juris doctorate, John was the recipient of two American Jurisprudence Awards.”
The law firm biography says that Mendoza was also interested in civil rights issues. “In addition to his twenty plus years prosecuting industrial injury cases, John has two decades of civil liberties litigation experience before both the federal bench and the courts of the State of California, including the landmark case of Van Schoick v. ‘Saddleback’ Valley Unified School Dist. (California Supreme Court, writ denied),” the site reported. “John’s work in this area led to the Pacific Justice Institute, Attorney of the Year Award in 2006. John has sat on and chaired several board of directors of national and international, non-profit charitable organizations. John has guest hosted, guest paneled or appeared on numerous television and talk radio programs, including Fox News, KABC 7, KNBC 4, KTLA, KFWB radio, KKLA radio (LA Live), amongst others.”
4. Langer Once Represented the Actress Pamela Anderson & Beck Is Also a Well-Known Attorney in Long Beach
According to the Orange County Register, “Langer was well-known in legal circles, having practiced law for 51 years and tried 75 civil and criminal cases to verdict, the firm’s website said. He handled Weber vs. the city of Rolling Hills, a 14-month trial that is believed to be the longest trial in the history of California, represented actress Pamela Anderson in a breach of contract lawsuit and won numerous six- to seven-figure verdicts.”
The Perona website says that “Langer is the senior managing partner of Perona, Langer, Beck, Serbin, Mendoza and Harrison. He has tried over 75 civil and criminal cases to verdict. Mr. Langer handled the case of Weber v. The City of Rolling Hills as a result of the Rolling Hills Landslide. This case was believed to be the longest trial in the history of California, lasting 14 months before a successful jury verdict. He has also successfully represented actress Pamela Anderson in a breach of contract lawsuit and has won numerous 6-7 figure verdicts.”
Major Langer “is a member of ABOTA, which is a prestigious National Trial Lawyers organization. He has also received Lawyer of the year ADL Award in 2011,” reported the website.
“Mr. Langer was admitted to the New York bar in 1966 and California bar in 1967. Mr. Langer is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central and Southern Districts of California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court. Mr. Langer is a member of Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and the American Association for Justice,” it read.
The website says that Langer practiced in the areas of Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Construction Litigation, and Insurance. He attended St. John’s University Law School of New York – L.L.B., the University of North Carolina, and State University of New York at Buffalo – B.A.
The surviving victim, Beck, “has practiced his entire legal career with Perona, Langer, Beck, Serbin, Mendoza and Harrison. He was named partner in 1983,” the law firm website says. “Mr. Beck specializes in personal injury, real estate, and business litigation cases, trying numerous successful cases including jury cases, court cases, and binding arbitrations. Mr. Beck is also a managing partner of the firm and manages the day to day activates such as oversee cases, employees, and financial matters.”
Beck “received the American Jurisprudence Award for Civil Procedure in 1976, and was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta fraternity. He was a member of the Board of Governors of Consumer Attorneys of California. In 2014 and 2015 Ron Beck was named Super Lawyer, a distinction only 5% of Southern California Attorneys are awarded,” says the website, adding that Beck “is admitted to practice law before the California Supreme Court, United States District Court, and United States Court of Appeals.” He graduated from the University of San Diego and Claremont Men’s College.
5. People on Social Media Expressed Shock Over the Shootings
“OMG, just found out that the shooter in the Long Beach Law Office shooting is my Lawyer John Mendoza,” wrote one man on Facebook. Another woman wrote on Facebook, “John Mendoza shot Langer! I have cases with this firm! Damn it, when will the violence end!!”
Another man wrote, “This is a shocking story, lot of people doesn’t know who they are but in the community of Workers’ Comp and Personal Injuries are well known, this is people that we see almost in a daily basis walking on the hallways of courts. My condolences and support to their families and employees of this law firm.”
Not everyone was a fan of the law firm.
The Mendoza law firm website has many positive reviews from former clients. “The Law Offices of Mr. Mendoza represented me and got me the benefits that I diserved! From the very first day until the end, Mr. John A. Mendoza stood by my side strongly and fighted for all of my rights. Thank you Mr. Mendoza for all of your help and mostly for all of your incredible staffs that assisted me with great professionalism. I recommend the Law Offices of Mr. Mendoza 100%,” wrote one man.