CFPA’s Anticipated Effect on Litigation

In our Winter 2015 E-Newsletter, we discussed the California Fair Pay Act (“CFPA”), which became effective January 1 of this year.  That article summarized the CFPA and how it amends section 1197.5 of the California Labor Code.  Section 1197.5, which was enacted in 1949, prohibits employers from paying employees  “less than employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.”  In this article we discuss the CFPA’s anticipated effect on litigation.

Continue reading

Update regarding Uber Drivers – Litigation over Employment Status averted by Settlement

In the Fall 2015 issue of our newsletter included an article about Uber, and how it classifies drivers providing services using its online “service on demand” platform. As reported in that article, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, following an administrative hearing in Berwick v. Uber Technologies, Inc., rejected Uber’s position that the drivers were independent contractors, and found instead that they are employees. Although Uber appealed the case to the California Superior Court, the question argued before the court was not whether the plaintiff was an employee but whether an agreement she signed with Uber required her to submit her dispute to arbitration. The trial court decided that question against Uber, and the matter is now pending before a First District Appellate Court.

Continue reading

Using the New Defend Trade Secrets Act to Protect Confidential Business Information

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the first federal trade secret law, the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016” (DTSA), which is similar to the Uniform Trade Secret Act that many states have adopted, but also broadens available venue and remedies to protect trade secrets. (See “The New Federal Trade Secret Act and What It Means to Your Business,” published by NAMWOLF).

With this expansion, now is a good time to reassess what you can do to protect your company’s trade secrets. Implementing the following best practices will help to safeguard against trade secret misappropriation, as well as ensure you have the most available remedies available in the unfortunate event of misappropriation.

Continue reading

California’s No Aid Clause and Religious Endorsement: Davies v. County of Los Angeles

On April 6, 2016, several local religious leaders and scholars obtained a permanent injunction against the County of Los Angeles, which had approved a measure in 2014 altering the official County Seal to include a Christian cross. Davies, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al., Case No. 2:14-cv-00907-CAS-FFM (C.D. Cal. Apr. 6, 2016).  The arguments presented in this widely-publicized case concerned a fundamental principle upon which both our federal and state constitutions are based: the separation of church and state, and when the actions of state or local government fail to respect that barrier.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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).)

Continue reading