Worker Factory

New California Minimum Wage Effect On Split Shift Employees

Split Shift Employees and New California Minimum Wage

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Scales of Justice

Should Lawyers “force” their clients to mediate?

Recently, a litigant refused to mediate their dispute, ultimately losing in court and paying the attorney's fees of the prevailing party.

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Business, Labor & Employment

Employer Class Action Certification

For those employers who had all but given up hope of receiving relief from the courts, the California Supreme Court recently provided a glimmer of hope with its holding in Duran v. U.S. Bank.

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Business, Labor & Employment

Employees Training/Education Cost Repayment Contracts

Many employers train or educate employees at considerable expense. Can employers be reimbursed if an employee leaves shortly (within a few years) after completing the training/education? Can you deduct the cost of training/education from an employee’s wages?

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Anonymous Internet Surfer

Protecting Trade Secrets From Use by Former Employees

The most prudent approach for an employer is to minimize the risk of loss of trade secrets by taking all reasonable measures available to protect the trade secrets.

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What Is An Integration Clause – And Why Should I Care?

Many written contracts include a short paragraph usually entitled "Entire Agreement" or "Integration Clause" that has legal ramifications that the parties should understand.

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Business, Labor & Employment

Contractual Arbitration Provisions Under California Law

If you have ever purchased or sold a home, or seen a medical doctor, no doubt you were presented with a proposed written agreement, possibly on a preprinted form, that contained an arbitration provision.

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Contesting a Petition for Adjudication as a Newspaper of General Circulation

What happens when a newspaper files for adjudication, but it doesn't meet those requirements?

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Construction

Calemine v. Samuelson- Duty to Disclose Prior Construction Defect Lawsuits

A seller's duty to disclose construction defects likely includes the duty to disclose prior construction defect litigation under the California ruling in Calemine v. Samuelson.

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Professional employee

U.S. Supreme Court Delivers Body-Blow To Employee Class Action Litigation

Employers seeking to avoid class action litigation should be encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent counter-punch delivered in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant.

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Tax Law

Tax Issues in Identity Theft

Identity theft is on the rise and is a frustrating process for victims. Some studies estimate that over nine million persons a year are victims.

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Business, Labor & Employment

California Courts Narrowly Construe Covenants Not to Compete

California courts have narrowed an employer’s ability to restrict employee activities after termination.

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Hiring a Disbarred Colleague May Jeopardize Your Own License

Would you consider hiring a disbarred or suspended friend or colleague?

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Circumventing Workers Compensation Preemption

Workers compensation preemption prohibits third parties that allegedly injure an employee from seeking redress against an employer by way of a cross-complaint for indemnity.

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Hiring a Contractor? Make Sure the Contractor Is Insured!

If you'll be hiring a contractor to do work on your property, be certain you review their liability policy carefully.

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Business, Labor & Employment

Arbitrator Disclosures Give Rise To Litigation

Court rules that arbitrators need not live in splendid isolation!

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Service and Repair Contracts – What is Required in California

Before you have a contractor begin any home improvements, there are some things you should know.

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past due debt

Sending a Debt Collection Letter to Debtor’s Place of Employment May Violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Ninth Circuit has ruled that a lawyer (or other debt collector) may not send a debt collection letter to a debtor at the latter’s workplace – even if it’s addressed in the debtor’s name, “care of” the employer and marked “personal and confidential."

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Professional employee

Corporate Officer Liability for Failure to Supervise

Although California law creates a duty to supervise employees by the designated officer of a corporate real estate broker, the Court of Appeal ruled that this duty is owed only to the corporation, not to third parties harmed by the failure to supervise.

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Worker Factory

Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. – Undocumented Workers May Be Precluded From Bringing Claims Against Employers

Employers will want to pay close attention to the California Supreme Court’s pending decision in Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. as it may substantially affect their exposure to liability for certain claims by undocumented employees.

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making a deal

The Property Information Sheet: A Trap for the Unwary Real Estate Broker

A standard real estate form known as the Property Information Sheet may create legal problems if not used properly by commercial real estate brokers.

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Impulsive Use of E-Mails May Trigger a State Bar Inquiry

Rule 5-100 of the State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits an attorney from threatening an opposing party with criminal prosecution or professional disciplinary actions to gain an advantage in a civil matter.

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JURORS GONE WILD! Emotions Run Amok?

Recently, a California jury awarded a fired employee a stunning $167.7 million, made up of $125 million in punitives (emotional distress).... Have we placed our emotions above what remains of our intellects?

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Tired of Residential Tenants Smoking in Your Rentals? Civil Code Section 1947.5

California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 332, adding to Civil Code as section 1947.5, allowing landlords of residential property to ban smoking tobacco therein as of January 1, 2012.

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CEQA Hits Home – Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was enacted to provide the fullest possible protection of the environment when governmental entities make decisions that have the potential of adversely affecting the environment.

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Freedom to Choose Your Roommate: Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommate.com

Can the selection of a roommate give rise to a legal claim for discrimination? The Ninth Circuit recently weighed in.

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past due debt

What You Should Not Do When Trying To Collect On A Debt

Creditors, collection agencies, and even attorneys can be held liable for abusive collection practices under both federal and state law. There are steps you should avoid taking when attempting to collect on a debt:

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Toyota Motor Corporation v. Superior Court – Corporate Person Most Qualified / Knowledgeable Depositions

Corporate employers with employees located outside California will have to decide whether to agree to send any out-of-state employees to California for future Person Most Qualified/Knowledgeable depositions.

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Scales of Justice

The Uncertainty of Litigation

Attorneys regularly counsel their clients regarding the unpredictability of juries. Less is said regarding the unpredictability of judges.

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Report Someone to the IRS for Fun and Money

Who are the IRS’s favorite superheroes? The X-Men. The IRS loves to hear from ex-spouses, ex-business partners and ex-employees about taxpayers who may not have fully met their federal tax obligations.

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Why is it Legal Malpractice?

I see another major law firm has been sued for legal malpractice by a hedge fund manager and a distressed investment firm who claim that their lawyers didn't advise them about a particular term in a deal involving tens of millions of dollars, if not more.

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Scales of Justice

Some are Slow Learners

Reprimanded teacher objects to disclosure of the reprimand. The appellate court’s opinion in Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unif. Sch. Dist. (Jan. 24, 2012) No. B231787 is an excellent recap of the California Public Records Act with respect to disclosure of certain records of public employees.

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Unlawful Detainer Complaint - Landlord Tenant Lease

Is There Any Way I Can Get Out of My Lease?

If your business is continuing to suffer, is there any way to get out from under what may now appear to be an unfavorable lease?

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Arbitration Agreement

Employers Beware – Provision in Employment Agreement Requiring Binding Arbitration May Be Unenforceable

Arbitration agreements in employment agreements may not be enforced, absent special care given by employers when hiring employees.

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Paid in Full

Check Marked “Paid in Full”: To Cash or Not to Cash?

I have repeatedly been asked the question from puzzled clients, “should I cash the check or not?” This situation usually arises when the client is owed $2,000 (for example) and the customer mails the client a check for $1,500 with a notation “payment in full” written on the check.

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California Mechanic’s Liens and Bankruptcy

California’s Mechanic’s Lien Law (Civil Code section 3082 et seq.) is littered with short deadlines, which are further complicated by the rules of bankruptcy.

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Construction

Homebuilders: Good News About Your Alternative Nonadversarial Prelitigation Contractual Provision

The recent ruling in Baeza v. Superior Court upheld the alternative nonadversarial prelitigation contractual provision utilized by one homebuilder.

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Alley

Is It Possible To Obtain A Prescriptive Easement Over An Existing Easement?

A recent decision regarding commercial property in Orange County, California addressed one rare situation in which payment of property taxes may be required to establish a prescriptive easement.

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Arbitration Agreement

Not All Arbitration Clauses Are Enforceable

Although it is common practice among retailers to use form contracts presented to consumers for signing without explanation and without an ability to negotiate any of the terms, a court recently held that an arbitration clause in a form contract for the purchase of a used vehicle was unenforceable.

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making a deal

Attorneys Who Enter Business Agreements with Friends Should Use the Same Standards as Business Agreements with Clients

Attorneys should be careful when entering into business transactions with friends that have also been clients, as Rule 3-300 of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a member of the State Bar shall not enter into a business transaction with a client unless certain requirements have been satisfied.

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Foreclosure

A Lender Owes No Duty to a Borrower to Disclose an Intent to Defraud the Borrower

Homeowners sued their lenders, creatively claiming that the lender had a separate duty to disclose to each of them the lender’s intent to defraud them on their loans.

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Work Injury

Finally, A Victory For The “Imperfect” Homeowner!

Individual homeowners, and homeowner’s associations (and HOA management companies), should continue to pay close attention to property conditions that may pose a significant risk of injury to guests and visitors.

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Warning to Contractors and Material Suppliers: Your Workers’ Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Wealth

A flooring contractor was found to have negligently caused a fire started by a worker’s discarded cigarette that damaged a homeowners’ property in the amount of $424,050.

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Foreclosure

Oops! Foreclosing Trustee Has to Eat Error

Foreclosing trustee represented that the delinquency amount was about $22,000. Actually, this was about one-tenth the true amount of about $220000. The Court of Appeal shifted the loss to the trustee, ruling that the buyer could obtain the huge windfall.

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Foreclosure

Developers May Be Liable to Homeowners for Marketing to Sub-prime Buyers

Can homeowners sue a developer for the damages caused by that developer in marketing neighboring homes to sub-prime buyers who presented a high risk of foreclosure? The answer is an uncomfortable “maybe” for housing developers, according to the recent Ninth Circuit decision in Maya v. Centex Corp.

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kitten

What is the Legal Value of a Cat?

A California Court of Appeals recently allowed a cat owner to recover $36,000 in vet costs and punitive damages from their neighbors who allegedly shot and injured the cat, rejecting that only the fair market value of the stray cat could be recovered.

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notary fraud

Dishonest Notaries Can Escape Civil Liability After 6 Years

A dishonest notary can corrupt the chain of title of real property with a void deed by falsely notarizing the forged signature of the grantor, with no recourse if the statute of limitations has passed.

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Unlawful Detainer Complaint - Landlord Tenant Lease

Landlord Responsibilities to Neighboring Properties for Problem Tenants

Whether you are a landlord for a residential or commercial property, you will owe certain legal duties to your neighbors, even if you never actually occupy your property or use it beyond renting it out.

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HOA

HOA Fees are Non-Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

A homeowner should be aware that homeowners association dues, fees or assessments are non-dischargeable in Chapter 7, 11, 12, & 13 bankruptcy under 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(16).

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