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Family Law
Civil Litigation
Probate and Trust Litigation
Public Entity Law
Appellate Law



Karen K. Peabody is a litigator and appellate attorney who has been practicing in Santa Barbara since 1997. As a member of Price, Postel & Parma’s Family Law Practice Group, Ms. Peabody provides counsel and representation to clients during all phases of family law proceedings.  She is dedicated to providing personalized legal services to clients in a cost-effective manner and to working creatively and efficiently to resolve disputes.

Prior to joining Price, Postel and Parma, Ms. Peabody had a solo practice, Peabody Boris Law, emphasizing Probate and Trust Litigation and Estate Planning.  Prior to that she was a partner in her former law firm, Nye Peabody, Stirling, Hale & Miller, LLP (formerly Carrington & Nye) where her practice focused on civil litigation and appellate work in both state and federal courts. From 1997 through 2013, when she retired from the firm, Ms. Peabody specialized in counselling and defending public entity clients in matters involving a wide variety of legal issues including employment law, civil rights, government tort liability, constitutional law, qualified immunity, administrative law and mandamus, criminal law, retirement and pension law, academic freedom, privacy rights, and state sovereignty at the trial and appellate levels.

Ms. Peabody was a member of the University of California Defense Panel in the Employment and General Practice areas and handled or played a significant role in handling more than seventy-five cases as outside counsel for the Regents of the University of California and its campuses and employees. She also represented the County of Santa Barbara, the City of Simi Valley (primarily the Simi Valley Police Department) and the City of Lompoc in litigation involving civil rights and employment law. In many of these cases, Ms. Peabody first obtained dismissal or summary judgment on behalf of her public entity clients at the trial court level and then successfully represented the clients at the appellate court level resulting in the judgment being upheld.

In one case, Mena v. City of Simi Valley, a civil rights action, she represented the City of Simi Valley and several Simi Valley police officers at the District Court level (with her former partner, David Nye), on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and (with co-appellate counsel from Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood, LLP) before the United States Supreme Court, resulting in a number of published opinions. The remainder of her practice involved working collaboratively on large and complex plaintiff’s cases in areas such as employment discrimination and clergy sexual abuse. After retiring from her firm at the end of 2013, Karen served as a workplace investigator for the University of California Santa Barbara campus, investigating employee complaints pursuant to California Whistleblower and Whistleblower Retaliation law and University of California policy. Prior to practicing in California, Karen practiced civil litigation with a law firm in Michigan and wrote legal annotations for American Law Reports.


  • University of California at Santa Barbara (B.A. 1991)
  • University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego (J.D. 1995)


  • California
  • Michigan (inactive)



  • The State Bar of California
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Association
  • Santa Barbara Women Lawyers
  • Santa Barbara Barristers Club
  • Santa Barbara William L. Gordon Inn of Court


  • Muehler v. Mena, 544 U.S. 93, 125 S.Ct. 1465, 161 L.Ed.2d 299 (2005)
  • Miller v. City of Simi Valley, 324 Fed.Appx. 681 (9th Cir. 2009)
  • Mena v. City of Simi Valley, 354 F.3d 1015 (9th Cir. 2004)
  • Mena v. City of Simi Valley, 332 F.3d 1255 (9th Cir. 2003)
  • City of Simi Valley v. Superior Court (2003) 111 Cal. App. 4th 1077
  • Paine v. City of Lompoc, 265 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2001)
  • Mena v. City of Simi Valley, 226 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2000)



  • Karen K. Peabody, Annotation, Constitutional Right to Jury Trial in Cause of Action Under State Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Law, 54 A.L.R. 5th 631 (2004).
  • Karen K. Peabody, Annotation, Products Liability: Admissibility of Evidence of Subsequent Repairs or other Remedial Measures by Third Party Other than Defendant, 64 A.L.R. 5th 119 (1998).