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In workers’ compensation cases, the amount of an injured employee’s temporary disability payments are calculated based on the employee’s average weekly earnings (AWE). When an employee is temporarily totally disabled, payments are calculated at two-thirds of the employee’s AWE during the period of disability. (Lab. Code, § 4653.) When an employee is temporarily partially disabled, payments are calculated at two-thirds of the employee’s “weekly loss in wages” during the period of disability (Lab. Code, § 4654), and the weekly loss in wages is defined, in turn, as the difference between the worker’s AWE and the weekly amount that the injured…
With the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions, California now starts on a path of “return to normal.” However, without a doubt, our “new” normal will not exactly match the old. The pandemic proved the viability of the remote workforce for many industries, with VPNs, phone forwarding, and videoconferencing replacing the traditional office environment. For the estate planner, virtual client meetings became not just a business strategy but a survival necessity. Post-COVID, such practices are likely to continue, not only for cost reduction but also to increase a geographical reach and allow client retention in an increasingly mobile world. And virtual…
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and employers consider plans for phasing their workforces back into the office, members of the legal community have been watching BigLaw firms’ every move toward pre-pandemic operations. Who will have to come back in, and how often? Will they keep their existing office space, or renegotiate their leases and downsize? Will vaccines be required? But for California’s small law firms — thanks to a nascent agility that proved to be a major asset during lockdown — the transition to post-pandemic business is presenting fewer and smaller headaches. “I think, in a way, our…
Picking up from last year’s failed wealth tax bill (AB 2088), California legislators have introduced a new and seemingly more ambitious wealth tax measure in AB 310 and ACA 8. Predictably, the proposal has garnered popular support among progressives and fervent objection from conservatives. But what would the “California Tax on Extreme Wealth” actually entail—and would passage be any likelier this year than the last? The basic rules. If passed, the proposed wealth tax would impose an annual 1 percent tax on “worldwide wealth” in excess of $50 million per household ($25 million for married persons filing separately) and an…
As e-commerce has continued to expand and evolve, courts have grappled with determining who is liable when a product is defective. Jurisdictions remain divided over whether online retailers are immune from suits when a third party sells a product on its marketplace. However, California courts have not only affirmed this possibility, but recently broadened that liability. In August 2020, California’s Fourth Appellate District published the first state appellate court decision to find that Amazon.com LLC (Amazon) could be strictly liable for third-party products sold on its marketplace where the product was “Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA). (Bolger v. Amazon.com (2020)
In September 2016, after a five-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division made an announcement: it had reached an agreement with Los Angeles County Superior Court to resolve allegations that the court was discriminating against its users based on their national origin. The department launched the federal probe in response to an administrative complaint filed in 2010 by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), which claimed the court was failing to provide meaningful access to its services for individuals who spoke limited English — in a state where 20 percent of the population fit that…
If you’ve read my prior articles for CEB, you may have recall my first post on reframing your relationship with your rules of professional conduct. I specifically discussed California Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 1.1, “Competence,” encouraging readers to pay close attention to the concept of “legal services.” Legal services incorporate everything that a lawyer utilizes to represent their clients and run a law firm. On March 22, the California Supreme Court adopted new language in comment 1 to include a lawyer’s duty to have competence in their use of technology. Comment 1 specifically states: “The duties set forth in…
One thing unchanged by the COVID-19 pandemic is California’s hesitancy to join the now nearly two-thirds of U.S. states authorizing some form of remote online notarization, or “RON,” whereby notaries and document-signers can communicate online using audiovisual technology rather than meet face-to-face. California’s latest attempt to authorize RON—the “California Notary Protection Act,” or AB 1093—is stuck in the Legislature, suggesting that for at least another year, California notaries must continue to perform their duties in signers’ physical presence. Socially Distant Notaries in 2020 As CEB reported last year, California lawmakers proposed, but never enacted, emergency COVID-19 notary legislation
As of April 16, 2021, at least 1831 lawsuits regarding denials of insurance benefits for COVID-19 claims have been filed nationwide. Rather than slowing, the number of lawsuits filed each month has increased every month since March 2020. Insurance policies with Business Income, Extra Expense, or Civil Authority coverage typically afford coverage for “direct physical loss of or damage to” insured property or property located within a specified distance from the insured property. See ISO form CP 00 30 10 12 (Business Income And Extra Expense) or ISO form BP 00 30 07 13 (Businessowners Coverage Form, Business Income).…
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 first recognized the viability of the so-called “ministerial exception,” an affirmative defense that forecloses discrimination claims against a religious entity when the plaintiff plays a central role in the entity’s core religious mission. As with many legal questions, however, the trick is delineating the scope of the exception. Although the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on this question is scant, its two decisions unmistakably show a tendency toward expanding the exception’s reach, particularly in light of the court’s current makeup. Side note: Don’t confuse the ministerial exception with statutory provisions in federal antidiscrimination statutes that expressly…