Mastagni Law

For decades, the California law firm of Mastagni Holstedt, APC, has served clients throughout California in a wide range of civil law matters. Our attorneys have earned a reputation for professionalism, sharp legal acumen and the dedicated pursuit of justice. Our clients come from all walks of life but share a common need to have their rights protected at a crucial juncture in their lives. We are honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of being their legal advocates, and we fight vigorously to secure the most favorable outcomes possible.

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The State Assembly and Senate recently passed Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), and it now awaits to be signed into law by the Governor. SB 2, introduced by Senators Bradford and Atkins, will establish a nine-member Advisory Board that will review “serious misconduct” by peace officers and make recommendations to suspend or revoke a peace officer’s POST certification. SB 2 also made slight changes to the Thomas Bane Civil Rights Act. SB 2 will not go into effect until 2023 because the definition of “serious misconduct” has not been adopted and the Advisory Board needs to be selected.  Notwithstanding Senator…
 In Wilmot v. Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Assn. (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 631, review denied (May 12, 2021), the California Court of Appeals for the Second District upheld the constitutionally of a portion of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) that mandates the forfeiture of pension benefits if a public employee is convicted of “any felony under state or federal law for conduct arising out of or in the performance of his or her official duties.” (Gov. Code § 7522.72.) Jon Wilmot, an employee of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, submitted his paperwork for retirement in December 2012, prior…
On August 14, a new citizen initiative was filed with the California Attorney General’s Office. The “Elijah McClain Police Accountability Act” (Initiative) contains a wide variety of proposals ranging from eliminating qualified immunity to restricting the rights of law enforcement unions. Although a number of the proposals are problematic, unconstitutional, and impractical, this blog post focuses specifically on the provisions restricting the First Amendment rights of “police unions.”     The Initiative inaccurately asserts that “police unions have limited legal rights, and certainly no right to influence politics.” With that assumption, it proposes that: A police union shall be compelled to…
In Gomez v. Regents of University of California (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 386, the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeals held that the Regents of the University of California have some immunity when it comes to California’s minimum wage laws. At issue in this case was whether the Regents —an independent governing body that oversees the state’s colleges and universities—are a public employer, or whether the University is a public trust, as defined by the California Constitution, making them free to make internal decisions relating to wages and benefits given to its employees. A former employee of the University…
 States/ Local Governments Can Mandate Vaccinations Over 100 years ago, the Supreme Court decided that states can mandate that their citizens get vaccinated. In Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1905) 197 U.S. 11, the Court upheld a local law in Cambridge, Massachusetts requiring inhabitants receive the smallpox vaccine. The Court’s ruling relied on the principles that an individual’s right to liberty and bodily autonomy is not absolute, and that states have the authority to take actions necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens (commonly referred to as states’ “police powers”).   The Supreme Court did not revisit…
Last month, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal challenging the ability of public sector unions to serve as the exclusive bargaining representative of public employees. The case Thompson v. Marietta Education Association(U.S., June 7, 2021, No. 20-1019) 2021 WL 2301972, was brought by Jade Thompson— a teacher at a public high school who was not a member of the union. She filed a lawsuit claiming that the Ohio law that permitted the union to act as the exclusive bargaining representative for all teachers violated her First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, association, and petition. Both the district court…
In Jessica Ferra et al. v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC (July 15, 2021) the Supreme Court of California held that employers must pay employees one-hour meal and rest period premiums based on the FLSA regular rate employers use to calculate overtime premiums rather than the employee’s base hourly rates.  Ferra was a bartender at Loews Hollywood Hotel. The hotel paid Ferra hourly wages in addition to quarterly nondiscretionary incentive payments. If Loews did not provide an employee with a compliant meal or rest period, it would pay the employee an additional hour of pay according to the employee’s hourly wage…
In Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., 594 U.S. ___ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a disgruntled high school cheerleader (B.L.) who didn’t make the varsity squad.  During one weekend at a convenience store, B.L., a public high school student, made Snapchat posts criticizing the school and the cheerleading team. One post showed her with middle fingers raised with the caption: “F— school, f— softball, f— cheer, f— everything.” To no surprise, the other cheerleaders and their moms caught wind of the post and became upset and went to the principal. In response, the school handed B.L.…
In Van Buren v. United States, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the Court clarified an outdated and vague law that was not in conformity with today’s digital age. Van Buren, a former police sergeant, ran a license-plate search in a police computer database in exchange for money with a shady local citizen. The FBI was already investigating Van Buren in connection with other dealings he had with the citizen. Van Buren’s database search violated department policy, which authorized him to obtain database information only for law enforcement purposes. Van Buren was also convicted of a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and…
Assembly Bill (AB) 1506, effective July 1, 2021, amended Government Code section 12525.3(b)(1) to require that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate all officer-involved-shootings that result in the death of an “unarmed civilian”. On June 24, 2021, the California Department of Justice released an information bulletin interpreting some of the ambiguous language in AB 1506.  On July 7th, the DOJ released a more comprehensive package of protocols and guidelines for the investigation of “qualifying events” (officer-involved shootings that result in the death of an unarmed civilian). Prior to the release of these guidelines, the DOJ met with various stakeholders—including…