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Dennis E. Wagner Esq.

Dennis E. Wagner, partner, has been practicing law since 1981 and has extensive experience in a wide range of legal areas. He has represented public entities during his entire career.  In Nevada he did work for Clark County and other county agencies.  While working with the law firm of Roberts & Morgan he represented the County of Riverside, City of Riverside, State of California and City of Corona.

Dennis served as Deputy County Counsel for 10 years and after going into private practice was asked to return and serve as Interim County Counsel for the County of San Bernardino Office of County Counsel in 2006. While as a Deputy County Counsel he represented employees and department heads during that time including the representation of the Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino and members of the Judicial Bench. As County Counsel he directed advice to the Board of Supervisors and to all Elected Officials and Department Heads for the County of San Bernardino.

In private practice he formed the law firm of Wagner & Pelayes, LLP in 2004.  This firm then became the law firm of Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP in 2019, He has tried approximately 50 jury trials in both state and federal court and has regularly appeared before the State Appellate Courts, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. He is a member of (ABOTA) American Board of Trial Advocates.  Dennis was a board member for the local chapter of the Federal Bar Association and served as the 2011 President. He has tried many San Bernardino County cases with an outstanding record of verdicts on behalf of the County of San Bernardino.  He has served on the Ninth Circuit’s screening panel for bankruptcy judges. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell.

Dennis also handles employment related matters involving public entities for both the public entities and employees involving civil rights and FEHA type claims.  Dennis also represents employees as Plaintiffs for violations of their POBAR rights, civil rights and concerning Labor Code 1102.5 and FEHA claims .

Areas of Practice

  • Trials and Appellate Practice
  • Police Civil Rights Defense
  • Business Law
  • Employment Law
  • Real Estate
  • Insurance Defense
  • Personal Injury
  • Municipal Liabilities Defense

Bar Memberships

  • 1981 – California State Bar
  • 1983 – Nevada State Bar
  • 1985 – Texas State Bar
  • 1981 – United States District Court, Southern District of California
  • 1982 – Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • 1983 – United States District Court, State of Nevada
  • 1987 – United States District Court, Northern District of California
  • 1987 – United States District Court, Central District of California
  • 2010 – Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • 2011 – United States Supreme Court
  • 2011 – Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal


1972-1977 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI BA- Criminal Justice

1978-1981 California Western School of Law San Diego, CA
Juris Doctorate


  • 1982 – 1987 Clark County Bar Association, Nevada
  • 1987 – 1994 Riverside County Bar Association
  • 1993 – 1995 Leo A. Deegan Inns of Court, Barrister
  • 1994 – present San Bernardino Bar Association
  • 1998 – present Inland Empire Federal Bar Association
  • 2002 – present American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)(advocate)
  • 2002 – 2015 Board of Directors, Inland Empire Chapter,
    Federal Bar Association
  • 2009 – 2016 California Council of School Attorneys
  • 2009 – 2016 California School Boards Association


Instructor- Periodic instructor at the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Academy on civil liability issues for deputy sheriffs and supervisors. 1997- 2011.

Lecturer- Presenter at State Sheriff’s Association on Sexual
Harassment and discrimination issues of employment.

Seminar training for Probation Department management and employees regarding civil liability issues on use of force.

Seminar training for Social Workers regarding civil liability issues.

Seminar – Guest Lecturer – at seminars to attorneys involving issues unique to governmental tort defense and liability issues, GIEMLA, Federal Bar Association and Riverside County Bar Association; seminar on e-discovery issues for trial attorneys for Federal Bar – Inland Chapter.

Arbitrator – Arbitration Panel for the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Bernardino. 1990 – Present.

Mediator – Attorney Settlement Officer for the United States District Court, Central District from 2007 to the present on civil rights and employment cases

Speaker – California School Board Association Education Conference – How to avoid “Serial Meeting” Brown Act Violations and Cutting Attorney Fees in Tough Economic Times

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