Latest from CEB

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…
As California’s hotel and hospitality industry prepares to open its doors for the first time since the pandemic, one person who is happy to check in once again is Walter Almendarez. The former bellman at the Chateau Marmont hopes to return to work since being laid off last March after 23 years on the job. When COVID-19 forced the shutdown of the legendary Hollywood hotel last year, Almendarez and his hundreds of co-workers were given no windfall, no severance pay, and no apology from management. All they got was a standard company email that said their last day at work…
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…
A Contra Costa deputy sheriff who shot and killed an unarmed man during a slow-speed pursuit in 2018 was charged with homicide Wednesday by District Attorney Diana Becton, who recently closed a nearly three-year investigation into the killing. Deputy Andrew Hall was charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of assault with a semi-automatic weapon that led to the death of 33-year-old Laudemer Arboleda, Becton said during a press conference. Hall shot Arboleda nine times on Nov. 18 while Arboleda was driving. Each charge carries an enhancement alleging Hall personally used a firearm and the assault charge…
At some point in the career of most minority attorneys, there’s the feeling of being caught between two battles — one for adequate representation in their field and the other for equal opportunity. Despite what some may think, the two are not one and the same. For decades, an array of studies and programs have been dedicated to show the promise of progress when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (better known as “DEI”). However, putting these types of initiatives into practice always proves harder in the real world. These are the kind of issues that come across Robert…