Riverside Business Journal
Monday, October 25, 2021
GUEST COLUMNS

Monday, October 25, 2021

The cycle of regulatory ping-pong every four or eight years is not new, but it seems especially pronounced (and absurd) today as we see the vice president from two administrations ago now seeking to redo what the last guy undid from what his prior boss did. The realm of environmental regulation is a particularly apt case study.
The court recently determined that "paramour preference" — an employer favoring a supervisor's sexual or romantic partner over another employee — was not unlawful discrimination and did not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On December 1, after much delay, trial will begin in a lawsuit challenging the validity of Senate Bill 826, California's law mandating diversity on corporate boards.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that includes more than $157 million for Asian Pacific Islander equity in the 2021-22 California budget.
Americans are expected to do much of their holiday shopping online this year even as the pandemic recedes, and criminals are expected to follow them. So here are some tips for safe digital shopping.

Friday, October 22, 2021

When Assembly Bill 5 — the so-called "gig worker law" — was enacted at the end of 2019, it appeared that California lawmakers had finally cemented a worker-classification scheme that was clear and straightforward. Instead, what they seem to have done was fling a pebble at the employment windshield, creating a crack that has spider-webbed across the surface of employment laws across the country.
On Oct. 4, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 390 into law, which amends California's existing law on automatic subscription renewals to impose new requirements on businesses that make automatic renewal or continuous services offers to consumers in California. The changes will become effective July 1, 2022.
The decision to leave a job and stay home with children is often a difficult one. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a rise in stay-at-home parents often fueled more by necessity than by choice.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

In a deeply divided Washington, one thing politicians agree on is that cyber crime is a dark and deepening problem. A new report prepared by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, aka FinCEN, a part of the Department of Treasury, found that ransomware incidents in the first half of 2021 increased 30% over the number of incidents for the entire year of 2020.
Attorneys, jurists, and others throughout the legal profession need to make sure they are cognizant of what is happening within and by the AI and law movement. AI is coming. To some degree, it is already here. Consider the various mindful avenues that can provide you with bona fide content and ensure you get properly up-to-speed on AI and the law.
Willful patent infringement can result in enhanced, and in some case treble, damages but not in every instance.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

It's difficult to understand why any rational person would want to be mayor of Los Angeles, California's largest and in many ways most troubled city.
Footnote 7 of the Supreme Court's ruling in Facebook v. Duguid undermines the "human intervention" standard that was the former bedrock of Telephone Consumer Protection Act jurisprudence, and introduces a narrow rule that is difficult to apply.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The ordinance states that, beginning Thursday, a covered location must display "prominently on its premises" a notification advising all patrons that, starting Nov. 4, proof of vaccination will be required to enter an indoor portion of the establishment. The city may issue regulations that will clarify any conflict in dates soon.
The Washington Department of Ecology allows public employee union representatives to communicate with workers in the building's public lobby but enacted a new policy that bans the Freedom Foundation, right-to-work advocates who also want to communicate with workers in the lobby about their First Amendment rights related to union membership.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought what appear to be permanent social and economic changes and nowhere is that more evident than in California.
I began writing the Wealth Matters column in December 2008. The column was conceived earlier that year, when the economy still appeared to be running high. But by the time the first one ran, the economy was deep in crisis, and Americans were worried about their investments, their savings and, in many cases, their homes.

Monday, October 18, 2021

In recent union actions, the vote was not simply about worker pay. With a record number of job openings nationwide and more employees quitting their jobs, wages have actually increased recently across all sectors of the economy. The workers in these cases were also protesting what they viewed as unacceptable employer incursions into their quality of life.
A few issues to consider when an employee requests a religious exemption from a vaccination mandate.
Do you have a flexible health spending account through your job? Rules for the accounts have changed temporarily because of the pandemic, and that may affect how much you'll want to save next year.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Those who may be opposed to licensing paraprofessionals opine that the failure of these new entrants may negatively impact public perception of the industry as a whole. That is why it is important that this is set up correctly. Accordingly, the California Paraprofessional Program Working Group's Sept. 23 Report and Recommendations endeavors to set up a system aimed at success.
One of the most important aspects to consider while preparing for your new arrival is how your financial habits, responsibilities and goals might change.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

The recent $137 million jury verdict against Tesla in a racial discrimination case brought by Owen Diaz, a former African-American subcontractor of Tesla, is a perfect example of how Americans still harken back to ideals and principals enshrined in our Constitution and the words engraved into stone atop the U.S. Supreme Court building: "Equal Justice Under Law."
A California jury last month handed down what has been reported to be the first antitrust jury verdict involving the cannabis industry.
The Ninth Circuit explained that de minimis goes to the amount of copying of a copyrighted work as opposed to any de minimis use or display of any such a work.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

There are a veritable plethora of computer-based natural language processing systems these days, such as the widely popular Alexa and Siri interactive systems. In addition, AI-based natural language understanding has gradually been applied specifically to the legal domain. A new and important means of assessing the proficiency of those law-focused language interpretation systems have been unveiled, known as LexGLUE.
A pair of 9th Circuit cases will examine what the Constitution requires Congress to do when confronted with the present-day effects of systemic racism originating in the past.
California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, adopted in 1960, isn’t working but a new array of bills purports to fix its shortcomings.
As long as unnecessary offshore drilling is allowed to continue, no level of protection can safeguard ocean habitats.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Andreessen Horowitz recently announced its new $400 million seed fund to serve startup founders at the earliest stages of company building. While Andreessen Horowitz has been funding seed stage companies for some time, this new fund represents a deliberate shift in strategy.
Last week, the Congressional Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy issued a scathing report.
Most people I know think about investing the way I do about eating leafy green vegetables: Even though they do not like it, it is something they have to do.

Monday, October 11, 2021

How legal settlements are taxed often surprises people, including many plaintiffs. Most things are taxed, but there is often flexibility, and what you say matters. Even legal malpractice settlements are usually taxed, and there has been a spate of recent tax cases.
As wide-ranging as the practice of law is, so too is the range of potential legal malpractice claims. But, at their core, many claims of legal malpractice arise from similar sources. For that reason, by focusing on risk prevention in those areas, attorneys can limit their risk.
Prop. 19 is making homeownership and passing along small family-owned businesses more difficult for Black communities.
Workers may see more perks, and they also may find that their health plans offer narrower doctor networks and emphasize less-costly telehealth care, as employers seek to rein in health care costs without making workers pay more out of pocket.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Construction defect cases often involve damage claims beyond simply the cost to repair the allegedly defective unit or component. These consequential damages may include damages for loss of use, expenses for mitigation and even attorney fees. For this reason, builders, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors who are faced with such claims should carefully review their insurance coverages, especially their CGL policies.
An Americans with Disabilities Act web-access case went to trial and the result rested on a creative and legally accurate jury instruction. Typically, trial counsel avoid experimenting with jury instructions because it enhances the opportunity for reversal on appeal. So, counsel often stay true to published jury instructions.
At an emotional legislative hearing Tuesday, lawmakers and critics subjected the Newsom administration to blistering questions about the state's oversight of nursing homes.
Even people who can normally afford to charter a private jet at a moment's notice are being forced to be patient and, often, pay more.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Three recent 9th Circuit rulings held that business income and extra expense losses incurred following business closures ordered in response to COVID-19 do not fall within the insuring agreement of property policies that provide coverage for "direct physical loss or damage" to property.
Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Central District Judge David O. Carter's sweeping mandatory injunction against Los Angeles regarding the city's homeless crisis.
If the written description requirement is not met, the patent won't be granted. If the patent has already been issued, it can be invalidated for failure to satisfy the written description requirement.
About 40 years ago, I was driving on a semi-rural road at the northern edge of Sacramento when I was pulled over by a city traffic cop.
Sami Siegelbaum loved teaching art history at UCLA even when his office space was a storage closet.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

There are many ways to answer the question of whether the drug wars are racist, and all of them are "yes." In California, specific historical examples of racism are baked into the original purposes of drug prohibition, which is not 50 years old but 150. Racially targeted enforcement certainly followed from the laws' prejudicial intent.
A recent appellate opinion addresses the statute of limitations on bringing an action under Business and Professions Code Section 7031 when an unlicensed contractor performs work requiring a license.
In some ways, Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent decision to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all schoolchildren as early as next year is straight out of the California pandemic playbook.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

What state taxes apply if you are stuck in California or another state during the pandemic? Do you pay taxes where you are sheltering in place, even if you don't normally live there? Do you pay taxes in your usual home state, even though you are not sheltering there? Do you get stuck paying in both? Some states have come out with rules or policies, since sheltering in place can put your tax strategy at risk.
Mexican-Americans faced horrifying discrimination in this country. In her book "All For One & One For All," author Amy Waters Yarsinske wrote that more Mexicans were lynched in the Southwest between 1865 and 1920 than Blacks in other parts of the South in the same time frame. It was Mexican-American veterans who launched a lasting struggle to attain civil rights for all Hispanic and Latino Americans.
We could not imagine the hardships of being a student in 2021. Today, students face numerous hurdles in pursuing higher education, including competitive acceptance rates, the lack of jobs after graduation, delayed degree completion and disjointed resources for housing, basic needs and mental health.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Supporters of a push to require companies to report workplace coronavirus outbreaks publicly say they plan to keep fighting despite recent setbacks that they say allow big businesses to keep outbreaks secret.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of false advertising food and beverage class actions cases were filed in 2020. These lawsuits are part of a growing trend: 177 actions were filed in 2019, up from 164 in 2018. Class actions in this area have more than tripled over time: only 53 of these cases were filed in 2011.
On Sept. 9, the California Court of Appeal issued a significant decision of first impression that provides employers with a rare victory and a defense against representative actions under the Private Attorneys General Act, based on manageability.
Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Keck Medicine and other major hospital systems in California say they are well on their way to meeting Thursday's deadline for the state's COVID-19 vaccination mandate, with several citing vaccination rates of 90% or higher.
In In re: OnePlus Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd., case number 2021-165, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit validated a possible framework for courts and plaintiffs in patent cases to significantly speed up the process of serving complaints on foreign defendants.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

An oft-repeated myth is that the Dodgers forsook their loyal Brooklyn fans and swooped into Los Angeles, literally bulldozing a poor Mexican-American community to build Dodger Stadium. The truth is deeper and worth pondering.
Perhaps it's a sign that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, or that it has stretched on far longer than we ever expected, but two key pandemic-related safety net programs are soon coming to a close.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Recent court cases are testing the liability of companies and their directors for data breaches suffered by their vendors or service providers.
Cryptocurrencies may be the next great global revolution, but in the United States they're as predictable as Whack-a-Moles.
Wildland firefighters don't admit to fearing much, but lightning is one terror that even the most experienced veterans say they hope to never encounter.
With so much financial information available online, who needs paperwork cluttering your desk? But some members of Congress want Americans to get at least one financial document on paper: their annual Social Security statement.

Monday, September 27, 2021

This week, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of a Grubhub driver who had originally sued the company in 2015 for misclassifying him as an independent contractor and denying him minimum wage and other employment benefits.
Assembly Bill 701, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, affects warehousing distribution and storage operators, merchant wholesalers, and electronic shopping and mail-order houses with 100 or more employees at a single location or 1,000 or more at one or more such centers in California.
Despite an initial slow rollout of rent relief money, the state of California is extending and more than doubling its deal with the outside contractor it hired to get the money to tenants and landlords.
President Joe Biden is leaning into his push to increase taxes on the rich as he seeks to unify Democrats in the House and Senate behind a $3.5 trillion bill that would expand federal efforts to fight climate change, reduce the cost of child care, expand educational access, reduce poverty and more.
New York Times News Service
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies via videoconference before a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

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