February Legal Roundup

The most important headlines in business, employment, and insurance from California and around the Globe.

By Matthew Harvey

Business —

1) Los Angeles City Council decriminalizes street vendors; Board of Public Works to regulate & issue permits

“We look forward to working with the Council and city staff to ensure any new sidewalk vending regulations are fair, reasonable and take into account the wide variety of neighborhoods and business districts in Los Angeles.”

2) CA Wine Institute claims CA wine exports reached record-highs in 2016

“US wine exports, 90% of which come from California, reached a record value of $1.62 billion in 2016.”

Employment —

1) California Senate Bill proposes expansion of required Parental Leave to companies with 20-49 employees

“Any new parent knows that the birth of a new baby comes with a host of changes and challenges, but losing a job should never be among those challenges.”

2) Judge rules in Delta’s favor in class-action; ruling holds out-of-state employees, temporarily stationed in CA, are not governed by CA wage-and-hour laws

“Plaintiffs argued that anytime a flight attendant flew in or out of a California airport, California wage and hour laws applied, even if the flight attendant was a non-California resident whose work was primarily out-of-state.”

3) Good for the Silicon Valley; bad for Google. CA’s non-enforcement of non-compete agreements might just be what makes the CA Tech industry so competitive.. and so innovative

“In Boston-area technology companies, engineers expected to work for one company for life. In the San Francisco Bay Area, by contrast, it was common for workers to hop from one company to another — and even to found new startups that competed with their old employers.”

4) Using criminal history in hiring & firing employees in CA subject to updated requirements

“The regulations allow a candidate to bring a discrimination claim if the employer’s use of conviction records results in an ‘adverse impact’ on those in protected classes, such as race, national origin and gender.”

Insurance —

1) Consumer Watchdog Group claims Insurance industry attempt to use occupation in setting auto-insurance rate is discriminatory

“A recent Consumer Federation of America report reviewed premiums in 15 cities nationwide and found that GEICO and Progressive overcharge drivers of lower economic status by 92% and 80%, respectively, the worst record of the companies reviewed.”

2) Insurance companies advertising “accident-forgiveness” programs (not allowed in CA) sued by 3 county district attorneys; legal reform group questions DA motivations

“In both cases, where there does not appear to have been an actual complaint, no showing of any consumer harm, and an unfortunate situation created by California regulators, insurance companies are sued by public entities with a financial motivation to file suit.”

Los Angeles & California —

1) San Fernando Valley/Porter Ranch Gas Leak public meeting ends early after tumultuous protestors shouted down pro-reopening speakers

“’Shut it all down! Shut it all down!’ the audience of around 300 chanted at one point.”

2) LA-OC region generated the most business startups in the US, Economic Innovation Group finds

“Los Angeles has one of the strongest dynamism rates in the nation as more startups are forming than businesses are closing.”

3) CA Bullet Train construction may be delayed due to a new law suit filed by opponents

“The suit was amended Tuesday to take aim squarely at the legislature’s approval of AB1889, a bill with the specific purpose of clarifying the intent of the bond act [approved by voters in 2008].”

4) Study finds “Litigation Tourists” — plaintiffs who don’t reside within CA — make up 66% of CA litigants bringing lawsuits against Pharmaceutical companies

“’It appears that the law firms bringing most of the pharmaceutical product-liability cases in California are actively searching for plaintiffs in other states and funneling those filings to California,’ wrote [Mark] Behrens.”

5) LA Times reports that Californians are paying for more electricity than needed in the state; finds the state’s plants, by 2020, will produce a 21% power-surplus

“Although California uses 2.6% less electricity annually from the power grid now than in 2008, residential and business customers together pay $6.8 billion more for power than they did then.”

6) SoCal Nightlife may extend its bed-time: Proposal may allow CA bars to extend alcohol-serving hours to 4am

“The Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night Act, which was proposed Tuesday, would allow municipalities to set their own last-call times.”

Legal Updates —

20 CA Law School Deans call for the CA State Bar Passing Score to be lowered temporarily

“They’re not learning how to be better lawyers, they’re learning how to beat the test.”

2) CA Courts discussing making social media communications (Snapchat/Facebook messages) public record for government employees and entities

“A city manager sends a message, either through email or messaging apps like Snapchat, to his brother regarding Walmart’s application for a permit. In the event that the public records act asks for information about the message regarding Walmart’s permit request, the city manager, along with all the employees’ private devices are subject to investigation.”

3) GOP-led House blocks CA retirement-security savings program; state-sponsored retirement in the crosshairs

“The state laws generally require employers with no retirement plans to automatically invest a small percentage of each worker’s pay in a state-sponsored retirement account. Employers are not required to contribute anything and workers can opt out of the program if they choose.”

4) CA “IMDB Age Law” blocked by judge; Screen Actors Guild “disappointed” in ruling

“’It’s not clear how preventing one mere website from publishing age information could meaningfully combat discrimination at all,’ the judge said.”

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