Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Overview of Ban the Box Laws in California

Individuals with criminal records unquestionably have a more difficult time obtaining gainful employment than individuals without criminal records. In fact, in a 2007 study, only approximately 40 percent of employers in four major metropolitan areas reported that they would “definitely” or “probably” hire applicants with a criminal history.1 In the same study, which also looked at the rates of “call backs” or job offers for applicants with different demographics, job offers for whites with criminal records fall by about half, and are reduced by that much or more for black ex-convicts.2

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The LCLD Fellows Program: Building Relationships and Leadership Skills

I finished my term as Cozen O’Connor’s Fellow in the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity in March of 2017. The mission of this prestige program is to unite attorneys who work in firms and in corporate counsel offices for the purposes of networking, personal and career development, and the promotion of diversity within our profession.

Firms and corporations that are members of LCLD select one fellow per year to represent them in the program, and the selection process within those organizations is often very competitive.

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Dole’s “All Natural” Description On Certain Fruit Products Could Mislead Reasonable Consumers

A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit has highlighted the uncertainty that exists in the food product market about the use and definition of “All Natural” in labeling and advertising.  In Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17733 (9th Cir. Sept. 30, 2016), the Ninth Circuit held that District Judge Lucy H. Koh erred in granting Dole’s summary judgment motion on claims arising from the purported deceptive labeling of Dole’s fruit products.

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You Be the Judge: The Dispute Between Apple and The FBI/DOJ

Under the Constitution, the federal courts are courts of “limited jurisdiction,” which essentially means that, in the absence of a specifically delineated judicial power provided under the Constitution or federal law, the federal courts have no authority to grant relief to a petitioning party, no matter how dire the circumstance or the need for the relief requested. But there is a statute – the All Writs Act (“AWA”) – that has been on the books for over two centuries and that has been a source of controversy and debate over precisely what is meant by the concept of limited jurisdiction, particularly when matters are brought before the court that arguably raise matters of national security. Under the AWA, “all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a). This relatively simple and short statutory phrase, which the United States Supreme Court has described as “a residual source of authority to issue writs that are not otherwise covered by statute,” has proven to be a fertile ground for litigation, most recently in the San Bernardino massacre.

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Controversy on Controversy: Developments in First Amendment Doctrine Respecting Compelled Commercial Disclosures

The First Amendment is well known as a limit on state power to restrain speech. Attempts to censor a newspaper, film, or video game, or to limit discussion in a public forum, are subject to the most exacting — and often insurmountable — constitutional scrutiny1. This concept is so embedded in culture that the Texas Supreme Court recently cited the exhortation by John Goodman’s character in The Big Lebowski that “the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint!”2

Freedom of speech has a less conspicuous corollary: the First Amendment also disfavors laws that compel speech. As the Supreme Court put it: “[t]he right to speak and the right to refrain from speaking ‘are complementary components of the concept of ‘individual freedom of mind.’”3

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Revised California Rules Intended to Streamline Demurrer Process With New Meet-And-Confer Requirements

California courts are tired of hearing your demurrers, and now the state has done something about it. Code of Civil Procedure Section 430.41, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, now requires a meet-and-confer process before a demurrer is filed.

The purpose of these requirements is to encourage parties to cooperate with each other to resolve their demurrer objections out of court. As the author of the bill enacting the changes stated, “some attorneys fail to make common sense, good-faith efforts to resolve conflicts and work out pre-litigation issues, instead choosing to take most or all of the 30 days of time allowed for filing an amended complaint immediately prior to the demurrer hearing, thus wasting court resources.” (California Committee Report, 2015 CA S.B. 383 (Sept. 4, 2015).)

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The Revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Proportionality is King

As most federal practitioners are aware, certain amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure took effect on December 1, 2015. The underlying objective of this year’s amendments is to resolve cases more quickly, more fairly, and with less expense incurred. Specifically, Rules 26 and 37 were amended to rein in out-of-control expenses associated with the collection, processing, review, and production of electronically stored information (ESI). Historically, parties have engaged in the practice of over-collecting and over-producing electronic records comprising millions of pages—a very time consuming and expensive process when one takes into account the corresponding laborious review. Yet, in most instances, only a fraction of ESI produced in discovery is ultimately admitted into evidence. In addition, whether sound or not, many attorneys (in-house and outside counsel) turn over the responsibility of collecting potentially responsive files to someone in the organization who is not an attorney (e.g., custodian of records, etc.). This “self-collection” naturally results in “self-culling.” The Rules Committee has taken note of this tedious and taxing process and, as a result, has embraced efforts to address to bring consistency and efficiency to all new cases, and to a certain extent, cases pending as of December 1, 2015.

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