Publications Archives

Cochran v. Schwan's Home Services, Inc.: Employer Must Reimburse Reasonable Percentage of Employee's Cell Phone Bill

Posted on September 25, 2014

By: Laura C. Hess and Sachiyo Miller

On August 12, 2014, the California Court of Appeal issued a sweeping opinion in Cochran v. Schwan's Home Services, Inc. (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1137. The Court discussed the issue of whether an employer must reimburse an employee for the reasonable expense of mandatory use of a personal cell phone for work purposes, or whether the reimbursement obligation is limited to situations in which the employee incurred an extra expense that he or she would not have otherwise incurred absent the job. The answer is that partial reimbursement is always required.

Understanding Successor Liability

Posted on October 7, 2014

By: Richard C. Hatem

In acquiring some or all of the assets of another entity, companies must be careful to avoid being exposed to liability as a successor to the predecessor entity. Structuring the transaction as an asset purchase had been an effective method of protecting a buyer from a seller's liabilities. However, buying a business in this fashion is no longer a sure way of acquiring the assets free of all liabilities. The courts have now identified several exceptions which could lead to unintended liability.

Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Nevada

Posted on September 9, 2014

By: Justin R. Taruc

Nevada's rule on the admissibility of expert witness testimony is codified in Nevada Revised Statute 50.275, which states that a qualified expert witness may testify as to matters within that expert's scope of knowledge, so long as such testimony will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue. While the Nevada Legislature laid the foundation to allow expert testimony to be presented and granted judges the discretion as to whether to allow such testimony, it was not until Hallmark v. Eldridge (2008) 124 Nev. 492, that the Nevada Supreme Court gave further clarification on the factors judges were to consider when admitting expert testimony evidence.

The California Supreme Court Adds Another Hurdle For Employees Seeking Class Certification

On May 29, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision inDuran v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Assoc., (2014) 59 Cal.4th 1, making clear that before a court can certify a class action, it should require the plaintiff to have a trial plan addressing manageability of the class claims.

No Duty to Reasonably Accommodate Employees for Medical Marijuana Use

By: Kyle D. Kring and Grace Pak

The increased decriminalization of marijuana use raises questions of whether employers are required to reasonably accommodate employees who use it for medical reasons, and whether they can terminate the employee for failing a drug test. As prudent employers, it is always a good idea to contemplate how the change in law will affect the workplace. Although sixteen states have legalized medical marijuana, along with two states that legalized recreational use, marijuana is nonetheless an illegal drug under federal law. Consequently, employers are not required to accommodate the use of marijuana, especially during work hours or on the employer's property.

Design Professional Liability

By: Brendan J. Coughlin

The California Supreme Court has agreed to review a case greatly affecting construction defect litigation. All working contractors and subcontractors know how difficult it can be to force design professionals to be involved in construction litigation, even when their work is clearly at issue.

Breaking News: California Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Employers in Regards to Class Action Waivers, But Not In Regards to PAGA Claims

Posted on July 10, 2014

By: Allyson K. Thompson

On June 23, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a long awaited opinion in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (2014 WL 2808963). Long awaited is an understatement, as the underlying case was filed in 2006. The issue of whether class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable has been ruled on differently by several courts over the past several years, based on reliance on Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443. In Gentry, the California Supreme Court previously ruled that class action waivers in arbitration agreements were unconscionable and against public policy, and were not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

Defending Against Requests for Taking Depositions of Apex Witnesses

An "Apex Witness" is the person that sits at the highest level of a large organization, such as the Chairman of the Board, President of the Company, or Chief Executive Order. Most courts throughout the country recognize that deposition notices directed at an official at the apex of a company creates tremendous potential for abuse or harassment. Celerity, Inc. v. Ultra Cleaning Holding, Inc., 2007 WL 205067 (N.D. Cal. 2007). As such, it is prudent to file a Motion for Protective Order to prevent the deposition of the apex witness, especially when it is clear that there are other less intrusive means of obtaining the same discovery.

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