Publications Archives

Unused Easements and the Sanctity of Property Rights

Can an unused private easement be extinguished to accommodate a desirable plan of development? Not according to the California Court of Appeal in a recent published decision. In Cottonwood Duplexes, LLC v. Barlow, (2012) WL 5492890, the court held that a developer's need for land burdened by a previously-granted roadway and utility easement did not trump the easement holder's property rights, even though the easement holder arguably had no need for the easement.

Commercial & Retail Leases - What Tenants Need to Lookout For! Publication

Leasing a retail or commercial space to start up a new business requires a significant investment of money and time. Regrettably, many new business owners speed through the leasing process and discover later the harmful lease provisions to which they had unknowingly agreed. The following are some of the important lease provisions and issues that should be identified and carefully negotiated:

Using ASTM Standard E2128-12 to Defend Window Leak Claims Publication

Consider two typical scenarios in construction defect litigation:

Scenario A: In a 35-home construction defect lawsuit arising from a large project in Sacramento, plaintiffs' expert picks six windows at six separate homes for spray testing. Our insured is the stucco subcontractor. Our expert attends plaintiffs' testing. Our expert reports that none of the windows selected for testing showed any evidence of water leakage in the past. There are no stains on the window sills or on the drywall below the windows. When the plaintiffs' expert removes the drywall below the windows, there are no stains on the framing. The plaintiffs' expert runs the spray test. At two of the six homes, water from the spray rack enters into at least one of the stud cavities below the window. Plaintiffs' expert uses this result to claim that 1/3rd of the windows at the litigated homes will require repair, due to the 1/3rd "failure rate" observed during investigative testing.

Joint and Several Liability for Employers and Third Party Advisors for Willful Misclassification Publication

In a previous blog entry, we highlighted the different factors that could be considered to properly classify workers as employees or independent contractors, and the legal consequences of misclassifying such workers as independent contracts by employers seeking to avoid payroll taxes and overtime. In this article, we want to focus on the new California law that makes it unlawful for employers and other third party advisors alike to willfully misclassify an individual as an independent contractor, which further holds such third party advisors jointly and severally liable for such misclassification with the employer.

Governor Signs ADA Access Law Reform

We are pleased to report that during the week of September 17, 2012, Governor Brown signed a bill reforming Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) access law. The measure, Senate Bill (SB) 1186, will curb lawsuit abuse regarding the ADA while promoting increased compliance with building codes addressing disabled access.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a concern for employers whose workers spend time driving on the job, either in a personal vehicle or a company-provided vehicle. Employers can generally be held liable for an employee's negligence while acting within the scope of his or her employment duties or for the employer's benefit. For example, if the employer instructed the employee to stop by the store to pick up some office supplies on his way to work, and the employee caused an accident while driving to the store, the employer could be held liable.

Homeowner Bill of Rights

California homeowners and the California housing market received good news on July 11, 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Effective January 1, 2013, the new law extends homeowner protections previously scheduled to expire shortly. 

Guideline Child Support in California

When parties with children begin the divorce process, the first question they usually have is, "How much do I have to pay?" or "How much will I get?" in child support. In the state of California, the term "guideline support" is often used when referring to the amount of child support due. This term refers to a mathematical formula that California has devised to determine child support. Not surprisingly, California has one of the most complicated Child Support Guideline calculations in the nation. 

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