Supreme Court Oks Fee Enhancement, But Questions Remain

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court in Perdue v Kenny A. (U.S. Sup Ct, Apr. 21, 2010, No. 08-970) 2010 US Lexis 3481 ruled that attorney fees awarded under federal fee-shifting statutes may exceed the “lodestar” amount, i.e., the number of hours worked multiplied by the prevailing hourly rates. But such enhancements are only permissible under rare circumstances, which include superior performance by the attorneys. This is clearly an important ruling, but there are a couple of aspects to the case that haven’t received much notice, yet. Continue reading

Health Care Reform Includes Surprise Tax Increase for High Earners

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub L 111–148, 124 Stat 119). As expected, the health care reform legislation, as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Pub L 111–152, 124 Stat 1029), includes an additional Medicare tax beginning in 2013 on individuals making over $200,000 per year ($250,000 for joint filers), bringing the Medicare tax rate to 3.8 percent for those individuals. In a surprising development, for the first time in the history of the Medicare program, the new 3.8 percent Medicare tax will apply to the net investment income of those individuals. Continue reading

7 Wage and Hour Issues to Be Decided

Think you’re current with wage and hour law? Did you know that the California Supreme Court currently has 7 wage and hour cases on its docket? These cases involve some very interesting and important issues, including Continue reading

Increased Access to Federal Court Records

The Judicial Conference of the United States has approved key steps to improve public access to federal court records. These steps include: 

They also added a pilot program to publish federal district and bankruptcy court opinions via the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System, so the public can more easily search across opinions and across courts. Continue reading

Economy Still Stressed: Foreclosure, Unemployment and Bankruptcies

On April 13, 2010 the Associated Press reported in its Economic Stress Index, that the US economy in February was still under “stress” with a score of 11.8, although the number was slightly down from its all time high of 11.9 in January. The Index calculates a score for more than 3100 counties based on the county’s unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. A higher score means things are worse, and a score above 11 generally indicates economic stress.

The nation’s most economically distressed states were: Nevada (21.4), Michigan (17.84), California (16.94), Florida (16.26) and Continue reading

Any Comment on the Amended Ethics Rules?

Update: A State Bar commission will hold a hearing June 10 in Los Angeles to receive testimony on the new and revised Rules of Professional Conduct.

Now is your chance  to comment on the 69 amended Rules of Professional Conduct set to be adopted by the State Bar’s Board of Governors by September.  California is still the only state not to pattern its ethics rules on the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, but these amendments bring California’s rules closer in both form and content. Continue reading

Hiring Help for E-Discovery

With most data now generated and stored electronically, discovery has significantly changed and a new industry of  consultants looking to assist attorneys in gathering and producing electronic data has developed and grown.  But how does a tech-impaired attorney hire an e-discovery vendor? Continue reading

Profile in Practice: James J. Brosnahan

As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.

This week, we profile attorney and CEB contributor James J. Brosnahan:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Jim: I am a trial lawyer who tries civil and criminal cases. I enjoy the competitive and intellectual aspects of such a practice and that is why I started it 51 years ago.

CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?

Jim: I like best the meeting and working with many different kinds of people and the fueling of intellectual curiosity that it brings.  I like least meeting some of these people. Continue reading

Thank you, Justice Stevens

After 34 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens will retire at the end of this term.  As described by the National Law Journal, Justice Stevens leaves a “diverse legal legacy,” including

…authoring landmark decisions ranging from Reno v. ACLU, the 1997 decision that anointed the Internet with broad First Amendment protection, to Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council in 1984, which has guided the administrative state ever since. Continue reading

Court Overrules FCC Authority Over Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, recently issued an order overturning the FCC’s August 2008 ruling against Comcast. The FCC order would have required the provider to “give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks” according to the Huffington Post. Continue reading

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