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Yearly Archives: 2014

  • An e-mail signature can be a thoughtful closing to a mundane correspondence, or a mindless addendum to an otherwise critical message. Some are automatically placed at the foot of every message we send, while others are customized for a particular recipient. Does an e-mail signature constitute a legally binding signature? And if so, is this e-mail signature sufficient to bind parties to a settlement agreement? The California State Court of Appeal addressed the issue of when an e-mail signature amounts to an electronic signature, and when an electronic signature is sufficient to enforce a settlement agreement in J.B.B. Investment Partners, Ltd., […]

  • “Does my company really have to worry about the ADA?” Whether you are a brick-and-mortar store, exclusively online retailer or any other business with a website or mobile app, the answer appears to be “yes.” Many businesses are surprised to learn that they may be in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws by using a website or mobile application that are not accessible to those with disabilities. As a recent series of threatened lawsuits and Department of Justice press release indicate, all companies that have a web and mobile presence may be targets for claims that they fail to comply with Title […]

  • Internal Dispute Resolution (“IDR”) and Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) procedures were adopted by the California Legislature in an effort to minimize the cost and to increase the efficiency of resolving disputes between associations and their members. Recently, the California Legislature adopted Assembly Bill 1738 which undermines this purpose by allowing either party to participate in the IDR process with the assistance of an attorney or other representative. I suspect that the outcome of this change will be to increase both the cost and effectiveness of IDR, and foreseeably, will increase the frequency of litigation. For more information contact: Matthew L. […]

  • California Legislature recently adopted Assembly Bill 968 (“AB 968”) which amends Civil Code §4775 of the State’s common interest development law; the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act so as to clarify the allocation of responsibility between the Association and its members for the maintenance, repair and replacement of a community’s components. Unless otherwise provided in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions, the Association is responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the common areas, other than the exclusive use common areas, while the owner of each separate interest is responsible for maintaining such separate interest. AB 968, which becomes effective […]

  • In a recent federal court lawsuit against Costco, the warehouse retail giant is being charged by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for creating a sexually hostile workplace for failing to protect a female worker from “unwelcome advances” from a customer. John Rowe, EEOC’s district director in Chicago, said the agency’s investigation found the employee had repeatedly complained to managers at one of its stores. She was “pursued, approached, and confronted in the Costco by the man,” stated an EEOC release. “One of her managers apparently told the young woman that he agreed the man was ‘not right’ and that Costco would monitor the […]

  • The good news keeps coming. In its Construction Outlook report, Dodge Data & Analytics says that following an estimated 5% increase to $564 billion for construction starts in 2014, the overall value of U.S. construction spending will rise 9% to $612 billion as financing for projects becomes easier to obtain, investors shift to real estate and more construction bond measures are passed. Specifically, the report predicts that commercial building will increase 15%, institutional building will advance 9%, single family housing will rise 15%, multifamily housing will increase 9% in dollars and public works construction will improve 5%. Forbes reports that Texas, New York City […]

  • On November 13, 2014, the Second Appellate District for the California Courts of Appeal ordered published In Re Walgreen Company Overtime Cases, – Cal.App.4th, – 214 DJDAR 15213. Walgreens was sued in a class action in which the lead plaintiff charged that Walgreens violated its employees’ rights to meal breaks. The plaintiff moved for class certification on the theory that while the company’s stated policy on meal breaks was proper, Walgreens actual practice departed from its stated policy in an illegal and class-wide way.     The Walgreen court analyzed the law on meal breaks which was established in the landmark 2012 […]

  • Recently, the Office of Inspector General (the “OIG”), the enforcement arm for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”)¹ , released its Fiscal Year 2015 Work Plan. Therein, the OIG “summarizes new and ongoing reviews and activities that OIG plans to pursue with respect to HHS programs and operations during the current fiscal year and beyond.” Each year, the OIG publishes its Work Plan to categorize those areas of focus due to “limitations in the money appropriated to OIG.” The full Work Plan can be found online at: http://oig.hhs.gov/reports-and-publications/archives/workplan/2015/FY15-Work-Plan.pdf. In 2015, the OIG will focus primarily on the billing, […]

  • A California Appellate Court has recently ruled that common interest communities must accept partial payments of delinquent assessments from their members pursuant to Civil Code Section 5655(a). The Court in Huntington Continental Townhouse Association v. Joseph A. Miner also confirmed that such obligation continues after a lien has been recorded against an owner’s separate interest for collection of delinquent assessments. The Court noted that if the association had accepted payment from the delinquent owner, the total amount of unpaid assessments would have been less than $1,800.00, which would have protected the owner from foreclosure under California law. Permitting an association to reject […]

  • A controversial California appellate decision was rendered this summer in GOLDEN STATE BORING AND PIPE JACKING v. EASTERN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT (SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY) affecting suppliers, contractors and public entities on California public works of improvement. I previously posted about the significant ramifications of the GOLDEN STATE BORING case which you can find here and here.  After a coalition of construction industry organizations (including the American Subcontractors Association) called on the California Supreme Court to review or, alternatively, to depublish the case so it does not set a precedent, on November 12, 2014, the California Supreme Court officially depublished the decision. This is a […]