Who’s Responsible for the Sidewalk in Front of a House?

Anyone who walks along tree-lined streets knows that tree roots often cause cracks or upheavals in sidewalks. But who’s responsible for the damage they cause when a pedestrian trips over them? Continue reading

FAQs on Disqualifying an Attorney

The right of a party to be represented in litigation by the attorney of its choice is significant, and disqualification of that attorney won’t be required just because that attorney has represented the opposing party in the past. Rather, there must be a violation or threatened violation of an ethical rule. Continue reading

How to Avoid Disaster When Filed Pleadings Disappear

It’s rare for a filed pleading to go missing, but it happens. An original verified pleading or declaration in a time-sensitive matter is safely filed with the court, but at the hearing, the judge flips though the file and states, “I know this pleading was filed, and I looked at it yesterday, but I can’t find the original in the file and it’s necessary for me to proceed. I can continue the matter so you can provide a new pleading, or deny without prejudice. Counsel, what’s your preference?” What do you do? Continue reading

Law Is Clarified on Using Prior Salary of Job Applicants

In 2017, California enacted a law precluding employers from asking about prior salary history and requiring employers to give applicants, on reasonable request, the pay scale for a position. This law raised many questions for employers, including who’s “an applicant,” what’s a “pay scale,” and what constitutes a “reasonable request?” Now we have the clarifications. Continue reading

Do You Know When to Request a Sidebar?

After a party objects to the admission of evidence, the proponent of the evidence can respond by arguing that the objection doesn’t apply or isn’t valid, or that the evidence is admissible because of an exception to the ground stated in the objection. Where that argument is made can make a big difference—should you argue in open court or in a sidebar conference? Continue reading

Is a Wealth Tax Unconstitutional?

A wealth tax proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren has found favor in certain academic circles, including the University of California, Berkeley. It would be 2 percent of worldwide assets of U.S. citizens and residents in excess of $50 million and 3 percent of assets in excess of $1 billion, in addition to existing income and transfer taxes. It’s claimed this wealth tax would raise an estimated $2.75 trillion in revenue over 10 years. But is it constitutional? Continue reading

8 Ways to Make Calling Witnesses More Dramatic

As a trial attorney, never forget your role as director of the courtroom play. Consider these staging decisions when it comes to calling witnesses. Continue reading

Using Buy-Sell Agreements to Protect Family-Owned Businesses

Family-owned or controlled businesses make up roughly 90 percent of all American businesses. Unfortunately, only a third of family-owned businesses survive the transition from the first generation of owners to the second. A buy-sell agreement can ensure a successful transition by controlling how an interest in the business can be sold. Continue reading

6 Grounds for Objecting to Requests for Admission

A party may respond to an individual request for admission (RFA) by objecting to all or part of it. CCP §2033.230. The right to object is waived if not stated in a timely response, so it’s important to consider objections carefully. Here are the most common objections to RFAs. Continue reading

Creating a Financial Power of Attorney

Sadly, preparing for your client’s potential incapacity is an integral part of estate planning. In doing so, one particularly useful tool is the financial power of attorney, which provides a trusted agent authority to transact business for your client. Here are a few basic requirements for creating this key document. Continue reading