CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

CA Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments Tomorrow in Landmark Meal and Rest Break Case

By Todd Roberson on 11/07/2011 @ 10:48 PM

Tags: Employment Law

Tomorrow morning the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court, a monumental case that will determine an employer's obligations in regards to meal and rest break periods for their employees. This a long-awaited development, as it has been over three years since the Supreme Court granted review of the case.

At issue is whether employers are required to ensure that their employees take meal and rest period breaks or only required to make these breaks available to employees and not force them to work through the break periods. Also at issue is whether a case brought by employees alleging meal and rest break violations by their employers should be certified as a class action.

CJAC submitted an amicus brief in August 2009 on this case, which you can read here. In our brief we argue that employees are free to choose whether to take a meal or rest breaks "provided" to them by their employer and to waive their rights to these breaks for their own reasons. If an employee decides to not take a break it does not mean their employer is in violation of Labor Code provisions requiring it make the breaks available. We also argue that employer liability for off-the-clock work requires proof that the employer knew or should have known employees were doing this contrary to express company policy, so class certification is not appropriate in this case.

Tomorrow's hearing will be broadcast live on the Cal Channel website at 9:00am.

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2011 Civil Justice Leadership Awards

By Todd Roberson on 11/03/2011 @ 11:48 PM

Tags: Legislature

We are excited to announce that we have selected the recipients of our 2011 Civil Justice Leadership Awards. We are extremely appreciative of these legislators' efforts to reduce excessive litigation in California and will be giving them their awards at luncheons in each of their districts. The dates are below and if you or someone from your organization would like to attend please contact Marie Ortega at 916-443-4900 or mortega@cjac.org for more information.

Our awards are going to:

Senator Lou Correa (D-34th Senate District)
Tuesday, November 29th in Anaheim

Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-31st Assembly District)
Wednesday, November 30th in Fresno

Assemblymember Don Wagner (R-70th Assembly District)
Wednesday, December 7th in Irvine

Assemblymember Alyson Huber (D-10th Assembly District)
Thursday, December 8th in Sacramento

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CJAC Op-Ed on Orange County D.A. and Plaintiffs' Attorneys

By Todd Roberson on 10/27/2011 @ 11:48 PM

Tags: Plaintiffs Lawyers

We continue to draw attention to the Orange County district attorney's office partnering with plaintiffs' attorneys, as it has made a new agreement with famed plaintiffs' attorney Tom Girardi, that it has not yet released, for the prosecution of Toyota over unintended acceleration claims.

Read the latest from CJAC President Kim Stone in an op-ed that was posted on Fox & Hounds, which explains the different motivations of public prosecutors versus plaintiffs' attorneys.

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Summing Up California's Hostile Economic Climate

By Todd Roberson on 10/25/2011 @ 11:48 PM

Tags: Legal Climate

Recently Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal did a fine job of summarizing California's economic downward spiral in this Wall Street Journal column: How California Drives Away Jobs and Business. Not surprisingly he identifies lawsuit abuse as one of the main factors, calling our state's legal environment "a mess". And a letter from David Houston, Co-Chair of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, ran in today's Wall Street Journal supporting and reinforcing Malanga.

What is particularly noteworthy is how the policy and regulatory burdens our state has created are impacting the tech and green energy industries, which have been touted by many as the foundation of our economic future and renewed prosperity. Have a look at the numerous examples Malanga provides of businesses in these industries choosing to expand in other states.

There is clearly some validity to the many surveys of business leaders that show California as an unattractive place to bring business now. Malanga points to another survey in which 84% of executives and owners said if they weren't already in California they wouldn't consider starting up here.

California has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation, and changing that means we have get business leaders to believe that it makes sense for them to hire in California.

They decide where to hire. They decide whether Californians will get jobs with their companies. They are telling us what they base these decisions on. We may want to start listening more closely.

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Lawyer sues to stop fireworks show; now wants $756K in fees from taxpayers

By Todd Roberson on 10/21/2011 @ 11:48 PM

Tags: Frivolous Lawsuits

Here's a fascinating story from the San Diego Union-Tribune that was posted yesterday - Enviro lawyer seeks $756k in fireworks case.

An environmental lawyer sued the city of San Diego for failing to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the permitting for a July 4th fireworks show (CEQA can be enforced through citizen lawsuits).

Now it turns out that the lawyer, who says he filed the lawsuit to protect the public (from a fireworks show), would now like the people of San Diego to pay him $756,000 in attorney's fees for his service to them.

Check out CJAC President Kim Stone's comments in the article. As she points out, this is a fine example of the danger in allowing private lawyers to sue on "the public's behalf".

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