California Employment Arbitration Agreements Remain Subject to Unconscionability Analysis
CaliforniaA 2010 landmark California Supreme Court decision upheld the right of California employers to require employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, as long as the agreements meet certain requirements. In Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc., the court set forth the unconscionability standards for assessing whether employment arbitration agreements are unconscionable. That is, to be conscionable, arbitration agreements must be mutual, they must not limit damages, they must be fair, they must provide both sides the ability to conduct adequate discovery, and they must not require employees to bear any type of expense that the employee would not be required to bear if he or she were free to bring the action in court.

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California’s New Limited Liability Company Act
CaliforniaOn January 1, 2014, a new law will take effect which will apply to all California limited liability companies ("LLCs"). The new law is called the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Act ("RULLCA") and will replace the existing California act governing LLCs.

How will the new RULLCA affect existing California LLCs? This is somewhat unclear since one provision of RULLCA states that it will apply to all California LLCs existing on January 1, 2014, and all actions of managers or members after that date.

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WFBM San Francisco Brings Home 2nd Softball Championship
softball_guyWEBThe WFBM softball team took home the Championship trophy for the Spring 2013 Lawyers League. The team consists mainly of Walsworth employees, however it has always welcomed a few players from other area companies. While the team has won several division titles in its 14 year run in the Lawyers League, this is the team's second overall championship.

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Will The FDA Undo Protection For Makers Of Generic Drugs? Regulations Might Reverse Effect Of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions
CaliforniaIn a June 2013 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that federal law bars states from imposing tort liability on the manufacturer of a generic drug for providing allegedly inadequate warnings relating to the potential health risks associated with use of a drug.

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WFBM Trial College Kick-Off
The WFBM inaugural Trial College took place on August 9-11, 2013 with two goals: To cultivate superior trial skills in WFBM's Associate attorneys - and to pass along proven best practices from the firm's experienced trial attorneys. WFBM has always been a trial-ready firm, and being a trial attorney is a skill which, like any skill, requires a lot of work to develop. WFBM's Trial College provided the opportunity for our best associates to fine tune and hone that skill, on their own time, under the direction of equally hard working and generous senior trial attorneys.

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Judgment Granted in Favor of WFBM Client in High Profile Environmental Groundwater Contamination Case
recent_results_logo-new-smallAssociate Jennifer N. Rankin and partner Karen P. Agelson recently obtained judgment in favor of the firm's client, a manufacturer of valve components, in a multi-party complex environmental groundwater contamination case which has recently garnered media attention in Orange County.

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Limitation Of The Sophisticated User Defense To Be Decided By The California Supreme Court
CaliforniaThe California Supreme Court recently decided to review a case that involved the "sophisticated user defense," a doctrine that just took a recent beating in the Court of Appeal for the Second District. By way of background, the sophisticated user defense applies to both negligence and strict liability claims based on failure to warn. Under such a defense, a manufacturer is not liable to a sophisticated user of its product for failure to warn of a risk, harm, or danger, if the sophisticated user knew or should have known of that risk, harm, or danger. Because sophisticated users are charged with knowing the particular product's dangers, the failure to warn of those dangers is not the legal cause of any injury that product may cause.

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Recent Superior Court Decision in Proposition 65 Case a Victory for Defendants
CaliforniaIf you live in California, you have probably seen the warnings, signs or labels informing you that chemicals "known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects" are present in a given location or product. These signs are required by the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (the "Act"), commonly known as Proposition 65, and pop up seemingly everywhere: at the gas station, in the parking garage, at your hotel, or even at the grocery store.

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Will California Follow Two United States Supreme Court Decisions Favoring Employers In Retaliation And Harassment Cases?
CaliforniaIn June 2013, the United States Supreme Court decided two cases that favored employers sued in retaliation and unlawful harassment cases brought under federal law. In the first decision, the Court held that a "mixed motive" retaliation claim is subject to a "but for" burden of proof. In the second decision, the Court limited the scope of who is a supervisor for purposes of imposing strict liability upon an employer for unlawful harassment. The question left open by these decisions is whether they will be applied to employment disputes involving California law. Depending on how California courts interpret these federal decisions, it is likely that they will not change California employer liability in retaliation and unlawful harassment claims brought under California employment laws.

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