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November 2016 Archives

Contract disputes are best avoided but that's not always possible

Most California business owners understand the importance of clarifying state and federal laws and understanding all related terms before entering any type of legally binding agreement. Even when a business owner has taken all appropriate steps to protect bottom line interests, contract disputes sometimes arise that not only threaten immediate production but also long-term business success. There are several things business owners can to do avoid contract problems, and there are resources available for those who have been unable to do so.

BKCG Nets RICO Victory Against Auto Export Con Artists

In legal terms, RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and refers to violations of 18 USC Chapter 96. RICO cases refer to the prosecution and defense of individuals who engage in organized crime. Although almost exclusively prosecuted as a criminal case, the law permits civil action for money damages.

Car Dealers Beware: Failure to Settle Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act Claims Quickly Can Result in Liability for Huge Legal Fees

A recent Court of Appeals decision, Goglin v. BMW of North America, LLC, et al. reveals the risk to the dealer of failing to quickly settle a consumer demand for restitution under the Song-Beverly Act. BMW and the dealer recently lost an appeal of an award of over $185,000 in attorney fees following settlement of a consumer claim.

Mandatory Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Are Now Prohibited in California

In a recent decision, which affects all employers in California, the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP, --- F.3d ---- (2016) recently outlawed the use of mandatory class action waivers in arbitration agreements in California.

Employer Best Practices: Why You Should Track Your Exempt Employees' Time

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), employers must track and record time for non-exempt (i.e., overtime-eligible) employees. To be classified as exempt, the employee's job generally must satisfy both a salary basis test and a duties basis test. Exempt employees generally must be paid on a salary basis, meaning they must be paid a fixed salary pay period. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) enforces regulations that define the salary basis requirement to satisfy the exempt status tests. Exempt, Administrative, Executive, and Professional employees must be paid a predetermined amount each pay period that is at least the minimum weekly salary required by the regulations. The current federal minimum is $455 per week, but will increase to $913 per week on December 1, 2016; however some states require a higher minimum weekly salary to satisfy this test. The amount paid may not be reduced because of a variation in the quality or quantity of the work performed.

My Employees Are Bad Mouthing My Company on Facebook - I Can Fire Them, Right?!

It is becoming increasingly common for disgruntled employees to air their employer's dirty laundry on social media sites like Facebook, and in so doing, publicly share unflattering information about his or her employer that it wants to remain private. For example, an employee might post on Facebook that his "boss is a jerk", that the company treats its clients poorly, or even discriminates against certain classes of employees or customers. In response to an employee's public disclosure on social media of unflattering company information, employers may want to terminate their loose-lipped employees. However, would such a termination be lawful?

The Resurrection of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 128.5 Combats Frivolous Litigation Conduct

California Code of Civil Procedure section 128.5, dormant since 1995, was revived on January 1, 2015 and authorizes the imposition of monetary sanctions against parties and their counsel for litigation "actions or tactics" that are frivolous or solely intended to cause delay. This section broadened trial courts' inherent authority to impose sanctions upon parties and their counsel for bad faith litigation conduct.

Wells Fargo may have underestimated business litigation costs

Regardless of whether a California business is a small, family-run operation or a huge corporation known worldwide, situations often develop that cause tremendous legal problems for those involved. Some time ago, news of a huge scandal concerning an American international and financial services holding establishment, Wells Fargo & Co., spread throughout the media. Although one settlement was reached regarding the situation, other business litigation remains ongoing.

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