Important Lessons Employers Should Learn from the Supreme Court to Avoid Class Action Wage and Hour Liability

CaliforniaOn April 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court handed down the much anticipated decision of Brinker Restaurant Group v. Superior Court.  The media immediately touted the decision as a victory for California employers, which to an extent is accurate.  However, the lesson employers should take away from Brinker is that they must carefully review their policies and practices regarding rest and meal breaks to ensure that they are in compliance with the Supreme Court's holdings.  Failure to do so could result in exposure to serious class action wage and hour claims.

California Construction Law: Expanding the Prohibition on “Type I” Indemnity Agreements

CaliforniaAs of January 1, 2013, "Type I" indemnity agreements will no longer be enforceable in most construction contracts. On October 9, 2011, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed into law Senate Bill 474, which relates to indemnity provisions in commercial construction contracts. The new law, which will apply to contracts entered into on and after January 1, 2013, expands the class of indemnity provisions that are unenforceable under California law. It also imposes stricter limitations on the ability of developers and general contractors to require their subcontractors to cover litigation defense costs.


2012 Seagull Charity Golf Tournament Recap

Seagull_Tournament_logo-v2The sun was out and spirits were high for the 25th Annual Seagull Golf Tournament, sponsored by WFBM. The tournament's silver anniversary saw a sold-out field of 150 clients, attorneys, friends and supporters who hit the links to enjoy a day of friendship, and more importantly, to raise funds for juvenile diabetes. What started many years ago as a softball team golf event for Ron Bevins and his teammates has evolved into an annual tournament, dinner, and silent auction that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity.

WFBM is very proud to sponsor this event, and cannot thank enough the clients, friends, and supporters who make this day possible, as your generosity of spirit fills the day. This year's winners were long time friends who traveled from their homes on Catalina Island to take home the first place trophy in the gross division, Bob Konigsmark, Chino Rodriguez, John Leonardi, and Nick Grant. In the net division, the winners of the Dennis Weiss Perpetual Cup (an original member of the Seagull softball team who passed away in 2011) were our own partner, Nick Cipiti, along with clients and friends Robert Carey, Susan Long, and Leo Vasquez.

Thank you to all for making this such a memorable and successful day!

Here are the big winners...


Hydraulic Fracturing: Green Solution or Red Flag?

CaliforniaWhat's green and red and controversial all over? If you ask people from California to Pennsylvania, the answer will likely be hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for natural gas and oil.  Hydraulic fracturing is a technique that has been used in the United States since 1947 and involves the high pressure injection of millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into ground wells in order to extract natural gas or oil from fissures deep within shale deposits below the Earth's surface.  Once the liquid and sand are deposited into the ground the gas or oil is released and flows out of the well.  In recent years the debate over hydraulic fracturing has reached a fever pitch and the question remains, is fracking a green solution that reduces our carbon footprint and creates jobs across the United States, or is it a process that harms both the environment and humans alike?


Recent Developments

recent_developments_logo-new-smallOn May 1, 2012, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee approved AB 1875 which would limit depositions in California state cases to one day of testimony of seven hours (or seven hours of testimony over two or more days if the witness is ill or over 65 years of age). Under the bill, the court would allow additional time if necessary to fairly examine the deponent, and parties could stipulate that the limitations would not apply to a specific deposition or to an entire proceeding.

AB 1875 would adopt the language of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which limit depositions to seven hours unless otherwise so stipulated or ordered by a court. Currently, California law allows for depositions of parties and witnesses as part of pre-trial civil discovery, but there is no time limitation on such depositions.


Meet the Attorneys


       • Charles T. Sheldon

       • Derek S. Johnson

       • Katherine P. Gardiner


Premises Defendant Held Not Liable For Take Home Asbestos Exposure

CaliforniaThe California Court of Appeal, Second District, in a unanimous opinion, recently held in, Campbell v. Ford Motor Company that, "an employer has no duty to protect family members of employees from secondary exposure to asbestos used during the course of the employer's business."


Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees: Who is Covered by the Professional Exemption?

CaliforniaThe classification of employees as exempt vs. non-exempt frequently presents challenges for employers. The risks of classifying an employee as exempt if that exemption is found to be incorrect are substantial, because both state and federal law are strict and impose substantial penalties. These penalties can be enforced by private litigants. Lawsuits (including class actions) over wage and hour issues have become common in California.


Recent Results


       • Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Products Liability Action

       • Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Asbestos Case