Hauling Foreign Corporations into American Courts in the 21st Century

The following is a guest blog post by Myanna Dellinger, a law professor at Whittier School of Law.

For years, the standard for bringing foreign corporations into court in the United States has been notoriously opaque. Personal jurisdiction could only be exercised over the corporation if it had either limited, but specific, or a large number of “continuous and systematic” contacts with the desired forum state. See, e.g., Helicopteros Nationales v Hall (1984) 466 US 408,80 L Ed 2d 404, 104 S Ct 1868; Perkins v Benguet Mining Co. (1952) 342 US 437, 90 L Ed 2d 485, 72 S Ct 413. The Supreme Court is now resolving what the latter amorphous standard really means. Continue reading

When the Honeymoon’s Over

One of the most contentious issues in a divorce case is the date of separation, because that date has potentially huge financial ramifications. Makes me wonder whether that was the impetus behind singer Ben Harper’s recent change to the separation date in his divorce petition against actress Laura Dern. Given its significance, attorneys and parties need to give careful thought when setting the separation date. Continue reading

Beyond the Virtual Law Firm: Thinking Outside the Cloud

The following is a guest blog post by Michael Benjamin Moradzadeh of the Rimon Law Group:

Cloud technology allows attorneys to work anywhere they have a secure internet connection. This provides for greater flexibility, happier lawyers, higher profits, and better-served clients. However, a purely virtual law firm is not the answer. Law firms need to think outside the cloud: Utilize all the benefits of the 21st Century without throwing out the important aspects of traditional law firms in the process. Continue reading

No Pressure, Really

When employees request and take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers need to leave them be. Putting pressure on employees not to take leave or to cut it short is wrong and violates the law. Continue reading

Wage Claims Are Not Subject to Mandatory Arbitration

It was close, but the California Supreme Court in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v Moreno (.pdf) has ruled in favor of employees in a decision holding that arbitration agreements do not preempt administrative wage claim procedures. An employee who has a wage claim against his or her employer, but is subject to an arbitration agreement, can go first through the Labor Commissioner’s administrative processes before the employer can require arbitration. Continue reading

What Does a DUI Bust Really Mean?

We see celebrity DUI cases play out in the media, often with seemingly light or no criminal penalties. Actress Lindsey Lohan’s DUI case comes to mind, although she managed to violate her light probation sentence and thus ramp up the criminal penalties for her DUI. This made me wonder what are the potential criminal penalties for a DUI in California and what is the likelihood of such charges being brought? Continue reading

What’s a Few Square Feet?

A New York real estate developer is learning the hard way that a few square feet matters. The buyer, perhaps not coincidently a lawyer, says the condo he wanted to buy was missing 109 of the advertised square feet and is taking his dispute to trial next month, as reported by the ABA Journal. Such false advertising is clearly prohibited in California and can lead not only to lawsuits, but can also result in steep civil fines and even jail time. Continue reading

Steps Toward a Healthier, Happier (and More Productive) Law Office

In running a law firm there is often little thought given to physical and mental health of employees. Stress and its close companions high blood pressure, obesity, and substance abuse are major risk factors in the development of chronic health conditions. To keep your office healthy, regularly consider the effects of the office environment on your employees’ health. Continue reading

It’s All in the Recovery

Breach of contract actions are all about recovering money to put the aggrieved party in the same position that it would have been in had the other party fully performed. That’s the goal of filmmaker Michael Moore’s suit against the Weinstein brothers for breach of their Fahrenheit 9/11 contract. And, just a Moore’s attorneys will have to do, when you file a complaint alleging breach of contract, you need to carefully analyze and have proof of your client’s recoverable damages.   Continue reading

When Production Is Not Enough: Seeking Inspection of a Computer System

Because documents produced from computers will represent only a small fraction of the electronically stored information that may exist, a request for production during discovery may not be enough. To get at all the relevant documents, you may want to demand the physical inspection of the responding party’s computer system under CCP §2031.010(c). Continue reading