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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…
With businesses in many sectors reopening across California as the state relaxes its COVID-19 restrictions, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill requiring employers in the hospitality and business services industries to offer new positions to employees they laid off in response to the pandemic. Under SB 93, employers in those sectors are required to offer new positions to qualified laid-off employees within five days of when the position becomes available, through 2024. Employers covered under the bill include airports, hotels, private clubs, and event centers. The legislation also covers the janitorial, maintenance, and security services that serve…
In a 5-4 per curiam opinion issued late Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that California’s restrictions on private gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely unconstitutional and should be enjoined, overturning the Ninth Circuit’s finding to the contrary at the end of last month. “This is the fifth time the Court has summarily rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California’s COVID restrictions on religious exercise,” the high court’s majority noted in the 6-page opinion. The case arises from a lawsuit brought by a pastor, a congressional candidate, and a group of business owners arguing that California’s restrictions on private…
When was the last time you read your engagement letter line by line, from beginning to end? No, really, when did you do this last? Do you recall the last time you updated your engagement letter? You can answer honestly, because you’re probably reading this in the comfort of your office. Maybe updating your engagement agreement has been at the top of your to-do list for a while. Well, now is as good a time as any. My general advice to clients and friends is to read your template engagement letter from beginning to end, line by line, at least…
The Ninth Circuit held Thursday that the current version of a federal sentencing guideline isn’t the proper legal standard for motions criminal defendants file under the First Step Act, a 2018 law that among other criminal justice reforms expanded prison inmates’ opportunities to have their sentences reduced. The defendant in this case, Patricia Aruda, pled guilty to a drug charge in 2015 and was sentenced to 130 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In June 2020, Aruda filed a motion for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i), which was amended by the First Step Act. She…
It was 2018, and one of Asher Waite-Jones’ clients was making minimum wage working part-time in a warehouse when he was assessed about $2000 in fines and fees for a DUI conviction. To pay those, the client, a young man in his 20s, dropped out of school so he could pick up additional work hours. But not long afterward, he was laid off. The client spent a couple of years looking for other work, but his criminal record made it hard to find steady employment. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his options narrowed even more. When Congress passed the…
With over 200 languages and dialects spoken in California, court interpreters are essential to breaking down the language barriers that inhibit many Californians from accessing our courts. According to the statewide Language Access Plan Report adopted by the Judicial Council of California in 2015, approximately 40% of Californians speak a language that isn’t English at home, and approximately 20% have English language limitations. Given this significant need, the high demand for court interpreters in California family law departments comes as no surprise. But requesting and working with court interpreters in family law proceedings can be tricky, especially if you’re not…