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  • 05/26/2017 6:32 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Contra Costa Lawyer: May 2017 Issue







  • 05/22/2017 9:39 PM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    The State Bar of California announces the launch of its new website:



    The website redesign and overhaul comes at a time of ongoing reforms for the State Bar, and aims to provide greater accessibility for the public, attorneys and applicants.


    With the agency’s primary mission focused on public protection, the new website provides easier access to attorney discipline information and legal resources. The site is mobile-optimized to reflect the reality that many Californians access the web primarily through mobile devices. The site aims to help the public better find information on how to file an attorney misconduct complaint and other attorney discipline system resources.


    Features and highlights of the new website include:


    Resources for the Public:


    - Information about how to file an attorney misconduct complaint


    - Information about how to avoid fraud from people posing as attorneys, and how to file a complaint against non-attorneys for the unauthorized practice of law


    - Multilingual information: complaint forms and instructions on how to file a complaint are now available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. Additional legal resource translations will also be available online soon. Google translate is also available on many legal resources pages for the public


    - Information about disbarments, suspensions and other attorney discipline


    - Multilingual intake hotline for complaints against attorneys (and for complaints about unauthorized practice of law): 800-843-9053


    Information for attorneys licensed in California:


    - Revamped attorney records (known as the My State Bar Profile feature)


    - Pro bono opportunities and other information about supporting legal aid


    - Information about attorney ethics and other rules of professional conduct


    - MCLE requirements and reporting


    - Information about fees and licensing


    - California Bar Journal and attorney discipline listings are now part of the main State Bar website


    Easier access to information for greater transparency:


    - Public meetings of the Board of Trustees, as well as State Bar committees and commissions   of Board of Trustees meetings


    - Listings of disbarments, suspensions and other attorney discipline now housed directly on the State Bar website


    - Public comment


    - Public records


    - News releases


    Information for prospective attorneys:


    - Better access to registration tools and Bar Exam information


    Information about access to justice:


    - Details about the State Bar’s work to promote access to justice and diversity in the legal system, including the approximately $30 million distributed annual directly to legal aid


    - Resources for those who wish to donate their time or money to helping Californians access the legal system


    - Contact information for the public for legal aid organizations that receive grants from the State bars

  • 05/20/2017 8:15 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Recommendations from Futures Commission assigned to committees to develop proposals for implementation


    May 18, 2017


    Cathal Conneely / 415-865-7740 


    SAN FRANCISCO—Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye today directed immediate Judicial Council action on four recommendations from the Futures Commission that are within the purview of the judicial branch, including Civil adjudication of minor traffic infractions to simplify the process for Californians, the courts, and law enforcement.


    Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said, “I believe that the ultimate implementation of these recommendations is not only forward thinking and responsive to the real needs of Californians, but will also fundamentally improve their interactions and experiences with our justice system, whether it be a traffic ticket, a civil claim, coming to court without an attorney, or wanting to do their court business online the courts will truly be more accessible.”


    The chief justice announced her decisions during the Judicial Council of California’s May Business Meeting and in a letter to the council’s Internal Committee Chairs. The Futures Commission recommendations for immediate action are:


    Civil adjudication of minor traffic infractions—would create a civil model for adjudication of minor vehicle infractions that would free up court and law enforcement resources and simplify procedures for defendants, as well as create online processing for all phases of traffic infractions.


    Revision of civil case tiers and streamlined civil procedures—would increase the maximum jurisdictional dollar amounts for limited civil cases to $50,000, and create a new intermediate civil case track with a maximum jurisdictional dollar amount of $250,000, as well as streamlining methods for litigating and managing all types of civil cases.


    Assistance for self-represented litigants—would create an education program to aid the growing number of self-represented litigants in small claims and civil cases, improve access to local court-based, and provide specialized state-level resources.


    Expansion of technology in the courts—would implement a pilot project to allow remote appearances by parties, counsel, and witnesses for most noncriminal court proceedings, a pilot project using voice-to-text language interpretation services at court filing and service counters and in self-help centers, and a pilot project using intelligent chat technology to provide information and self-help services.

    Each recommendation has been assigned to a Judicial Council advisory committee who must report back at the end of the third quarter of 2017 with the status of their evaluations and proposals for implementation. The balance of the Futures Commission recommendations will be assigned by the Judicial Council Executive and Planning Committee for consideration

  • 05/20/2017 8:13 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Published May 18, 2017


    This video takes a historical look at the country's largest court system and the foundation and purpose of the Judicial Council - policymaking body of the courts chaired by Chief Justice  Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.




  • 05/20/2017 7:59 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Justice John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture Series


    The inaugural program, honoring the courage and patriotism of the Japanese-American internees in War Relocation Centers during World War II, revisited the oral argument in Korematsu v. US (1944) 323 U.S. 214. Presiding Justice Ramirez said, “Although the Korematsu decision is to be remembered rather than celebrated, the patriotism and courage of the Japanese-American internees is cause for celebration. While Japanese-Americans were herded into detention facilities and stripped of their liberty and property even as their sons, grandsons, and brothers fought in Europe, the internees faced the challenges imposed on them with courage, grace, and dignity. While giving full weight to the opinion’s fallacies, the complete lesson cannot be learned without understanding the wartime context and separation-of-powers rationale that seemed to justify the decision at the time. The Korematsu oral argument re-creation and subsequent discussion, as well as the art display, will appropriately and soberly memorialize the Japanese-American internments while celebrating Japanese-American loyalty to and sacrifice for the United States of America.”




    Presiding Judge Manuel Ramirez Introduces the Justice John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture Series 2:40
    Introduction to the Case 9:38
    Argument Reenactment 13:31


  • 05/20/2017 7:58 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Justice John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture Series


    The second historic oral argument reenactment took place in August 2011 commemorating Brown v. Board of Education (1954) 347 U.S. 483. Presiding Justice Ramirez introduced the program saying, “In 1951, sixty years ago this year, Oliver L. Brown and 12 other parents filed a class action suit against the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, seeking to enroll their children in their neighborhood schools, which were maintained as exclusively white schools by the Board of Education. They were eventually joined before the Supreme Court by parents filing similar lawsuits in three other states. The parents’ causes were vindicated by one of the most important and well known opinions ever issued by the United States Supreme Court. This historic reenactment of the oral argument in Brown will celebrate the courage and perseverance of the children, parents, lawyers, and justices in this famous case, as well as of all those who strove for liberty and equal protection in the Civil Rights Movement.”


    Presiding Justice Ramirez on backdrop of Brown vs. Board of Education 17:35
    Dean Rrwin Chemerinsky, Irvine School of Law 25:00
    Arguments Begin 39:31


  • 05/20/2017 7:57 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    Justice John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture Series


    This oral argument reenactment occurred in August 2015 in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the 50th anniversary of the creation of Division Two of the Fourth Appellate District, and the 70th anniversary of the 1945 filing of the petition in California’s school desegregation case, Mendez v. Westminster School District of Orange County (D. Cal. 1946) 64 F. Supp. 544.

    Although not as well known as Brown v. Board of Education because it was resolved prior to reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, Mendez preceded Brown by seven years and in some respects paved the way for its more famous successor. Presiding Justice Ramirez noted that “The heart of the lawsuit was five fathers and mothers who stood up for their children who, because of their Hispanic surnames, were denied access to the quality public education they had been promised as American citizens. Because of the courage and resolve of those parents, California became the first state in this country to legally abolish segregation in public schools.”


    Program opening by Presiding Judge Manuel Ramirez

    Importance of the case

    Introduction of counsel

    Speaker: UC Dean Erwin Chemerinsky



  • 05/20/2017 7:56 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

     Justice John G. Gabbert Historic Oral Argument and Lecture Series


    The fourth reenactment recognized the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, in which 22 high-ranking Nazi defendants were prosecuted for criminal acts responsible for causing World War II and its most heinous atrocities. In commemorating the Nuremberg trials, the Gabbert Series stepped beyond American constitutional law into one of the seminal events in the development of international jurisprudence. Presiding Justice Ramirez commented, “At the heart of the proceedings was the conviction that justice, not revenge, must guide the Allies’ response to the horrific violations of human rights and dignity inherent in Nazi aggression as exemplified by the Holocaust. Out of the Nuremberg process came the principles further developed in the permanent International Criminal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands, which has continued the mission of punishing those who criminally violate international norms of peace and humanity.”


    Program Highlights:
    Sgt Alex V. Lopez, U.S. Army 79th Infantry Division, Nuremberg Military Police
    Sgt Edward Goeppinger, U.S. Army 12th Armored Division
    Melisse Banwer, Tolerance Education Center (Rancho Mirage)
    Nazi Legal System (1933-1945)

    Liebe Geft, Director, Museum of Tolerance (L.A.)
    Renee Firestone, Holocaust Survivor
    Dissecting the Case and Historical Importance of Nuremberg War Crimes Trials:
    Professor John Barrett, St. John's School of Law (New York)
    Christian Buckley, Esq.
    Don Burris, Esq.  


  • 05/20/2017 6:00 AM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

    May 20, 2017



    By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer


    The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether streaming music services such as Pandora must pay royalties to artists under state law.


    The justices, at their weekly conference in San Francisco Wednesday, unanimously accepted a certification from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which said the state high court’s answers would resolve an appeal now pending before the federal panel.


    Pandora Media, Inc. is appealing a ruling in favor of Flo & Eddie, Inc., a company created by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, founding members of the 1960s folk rock group The Turtles. The company alleges that it owns the rights to a number of the group’s pre-1972 sound recordings, and that Pandora violates California statutory and/or common law by using pre-1972 sound recordings without obtaining permission from the owners.


    The 1972 date is significant because newer recordings are protected by the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, while pre-1972 recordings are protected, if at all, by state law, until 2067.


    Copyright Act


    Before Congress passed the Copyright Act, California Civil Code §980(a) provided for a “common law copyright,” that granted the “author or proprietor of any composition in letters or art . . . an exclusive ownership in the representation or expression thereof as against all persons except” cover artists. Another statute divested any common law rights once “the owner of a composition in letters or arts publishe[d] it.”


    Following passage of the federal act, California repealed the divestiture-by-publication rule and amended §980(a). One subsection of the amended section grants the authors of pre-1972 recordings “exclusive ownership” of the works until 2047.


    Flo& Eddie allege that owners of pre-1972 recordings have an exclusive right of “public performance,” either under §980(a) or California common law.


    The company has filed similar lawsuits against SiriusXM Radio, Inc. in federal courts in California, New York, and Florida. The California case settled last year on the eve of trial, while New York’s highest court told the Second Circuit the plaintiff did not have the asserted rights under that state’s law, and the Florida Supreme Court agreed earlier this year to answer certified questions from the Eleventh Circuit and is set to hear arguments later in the year.


    Pandora, which filed an anti-SLAPP motion in the case, argues that under the old divesture-by-publication rule, the Turtles’ recordings entered public domain when they were published, that the Legislature did not intend to convey any protection for such recordings, and in any event did not intend to create a public performance right, when it enacted the 1982 legislation responding to the changes in federal law.


    Motion Denied


    U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez denied the motion to strike, rejecting Pandora’s interpretation of the statute. He concluded that the legislation, read in the context of the historical protection of sound recordings by the common law, gave Flo & Eddie a property right in the public performance of the recordings it owns.


    The judge held that the plaintiff showed a sufficient likelihood of success on its claims for misappropriation, conversion, and unfair competition to survive the anti-SLAPP motion, leading to Pandora’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The panel certified the questions of statutory and common law protection to the California Supreme Court in March.


    Noting the Second and Eleventh circuits responses in the SiriusXM cases, the Ninth Circuit said in its request:


    “We agree with our sister circuits that certification is the best way to proceed on these issues, especially in California. As an incubator of both musical talent and technological innovation, California has a significant interest in the appropriate resolution of the certified questions. Resolution of these questions will likely affect the state and industries within the state in a variety of ways, and is therefore best left to the California Supreme Court.”


    Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company

  • 05/19/2017 5:30 PM | Denise Bashline (Administrator)

     Employment Issues Facing Clients with HIV/AIDS –
    Sponsored by the State Bar’s Labor & Employment Law Section

    • Wednesday, June 14, 5:30 – 7:00pm
    • Presented by Sonya Smallets, Esq. (Minnis & Smallets LLP)
    • Bar Association of San Francisco, 301 Battery Street, 3rd Floor, Board Room, San Francisco, CA 94111
    • 1.5 General CLE Credits
    • Overview: This training will cover employment issues facing employees living with HIV/AIDS, with a particular focus on reasonable accommodations, medical leaves, and some of the practical issues (such as privacy concerns) that arise when employees need accommodations.


    This is a free training open to all attorneys, paralegals, law students, and those interested in the legal field. We hope to see you there!


    To sign up e-mail MCLE@ALRP.ORG





    This event is categorized as:


              *MCLE Trainings

              * The AIDS Legal Referral Panel was founded in 1983

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