The Importance of a Timely Response to a Civil Lawsuit

In California state court, in most civil matters, the person who has been sued (the defendant) has 30 calendar days from the date they have been served to file a written response to the complaint.  Code Civ. Proc. § 412.20.  If the 30th day falls on a weekend or court holiday, the defendant has until… Read More

For certain civil actions, the California Supreme Court Affirms the Use of Civil Theft Remedies Under Penal Code Section 496.

When an aggrieved party is analyzing the causes of action to file against a defendant for a civil claim, in addition to a breach of contract cause of action, the aggrieved party should also consider the possible applicability of Penal Code Section 496.  This law applies if there is theft based on false pretenses or… Read More

Can You Trespass on Property You Own?

You may be surprised to learn that under California law, you can actually trespass on property that to which you hold title.  In certain situations, the interest in property can be divided by a title holder and someone with a possessory interest.  If this occurs, California recognizes the possessory interest over the rights of the… Read More

How is the Date of Separation Determined?

In California, the date of separation has a major impact on your divorce case.  It is a vital factor in how the courts decide to divide up your property, calculate spousal support, and other matters. As a community property state, California considers any property and income acquired during marriage as owned by the “community”.  This… Read More

California Passes 2022 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law (CPSL)

On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 114, known as the Supplemental California Paid Sick Leave Law (CPSL). The new law, set forth in Labor Code section 248.6, is retroactive to January 1, 2022, and requires employers to comply with the CPSL law as of February 19, 2022. The elements of California’s Supplemental… Read More

Am I Required to Keep my Dog on a Leash?

The state of California does not have a universal leash law that requires owners to keep all dogs on leashes.  As such, local governments, such as cities and counties, are allowed to pass their own leash law ordinances and most have enacted their own ordinances. Generally, a pet owner has the legal responsibility to obey… Read More

New Increased Gift, Estate, and GST Tax Exclusion and Exemption Amounts for 2022

For the first time in several years, the annual gift tax exclusion amount will increase for inflation in 2022 from $15,000.00 to $16,000.00 per individual donor and $32,000.00 for gifts made by a married couple who agree to split their gifts.  This increase was announced by the Internal Revenue Service in Rev. Proc. 2021-45, and… Read More

New Laws Affecting Employers in January 2022

At the start of the new year, numerous new laws and regulations will take effect. The following are brief descriptions of some of the new laws and regulations that will affect employment and employers in California as of January 1, 2022. Minimum Wage Order 2022 (MW-2022) The Department of Industrial relations has issued a minimum… Read More

California’s Diversion Program

Effective January 1, 2021, misdemeanor diversion programs have been made available for many non-felony arrests as part of California’s criminal justice reform efforts. This means if your case meets the criteria for diversion, you may be able to avoid jail and possibly even have the arrest wiped from your record. A diversion program is a… Read More

Agricultural Guest Worker Pay Raises in 2022 and the Change to Farmworker Hours

In November of 2020, the Trump administration formally froze wages for guest farmworkers (those here on an H-2A visa) in an effort to assist farmers whose operations were affected by the global pandemic and accompanying shut down.  The rule was to take effect on December 21, 2020.  This rule would have frozen wages at 2019… Read More

VA Apportionment Rules Allow Split of a Veteran’s Disability Compensation

Most family law cases include issues of child and spousal support. If the payor spouse is a military veteran receiving disability compensation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “Apportionment” rules could come into play. In most cases, the courts can reach a spouse’s income by means of garnishment to ensure payment of the… Read More

Understanding Quiet Title Actions

What is quiet title?  Boundary disputes or uncertain property boundaries between neighbors, claims of adverse possession, and unclear ownership of inherited property are just a few reasons that quiet title actions are filed.  A quiet title action is a type of lawsuit that is generally filed to establish title to property or to settle a… Read More


Recently signed into law by Governor Newsom is California Senate Bill (“SB”) 762, which attempts to ‘eliminate corporate delay tactics’ relating to adhesion contracts. Adhesion contracts, also known as ‘standard form contracts’, ‘boilerplate contracts’ or ‘take-it-or-leave it’ agreements, are contracts drafted by one party (often a business or large company) and signed by another party… Read More

Paying Your Employees Under the Table Will Cost You

Some employers think they can pay their employees under the table and save a buck, but this practice will cost many employers much more… In 2018, the California Supreme Court determined in Dynamex Operations W. v. Superior Court that an employee was someone under the direction or control of the employer, someone who performed work… Read More

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors; “Spite Fences” Make Litigants

Throughout English common law history, property disputes have existed.  One of the simplest ways of establishing boundaries of property was the construction of a fence.  This has even led to the expression, “good fences make good neighbors.”  Spite fences, on the other hand, will lead to a courtroom.           What is a “spite fence”?  California… Read More

Why is the Marital Standard of Living Important?

There is no set guideline calculation to determine spousal support, but rather the factors set forth in Family Code section 4320 are evaluated to determine an appropriate amount of support.  Divorce courts have wide discretion in determining the marital standard of living and are not under any obligation to define it by a specific dollar… Read More

COVID-19 and the Workplace: An Update

As we enter the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the guidelines for employers as we transition from physical distancing and face masks to normal operations?  On June 17, 2021, Cal/OSHA voted to adopt their revised COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS).  On that same day, Governor Newsom signed an executive order immediately… Read More


Though many laws, rules and regulations often take effect on January 1st, employers in California need to be prepared for the following effective dates and deadlines in June and July 2021. COVID RESTRICTION REMOVAL Most of the State’s restrictions for indoor and outdoor settings are being removed on June 15, 2021.  Vaccine verifications and COVID… Read More

Where There’s a Will, You Might Rest Easier

Many individuals often ponder whether it is necessary to begin estate planning. It is generally unpleasant to think about the events that would make estate planning essential. Mortality is scary. The problem is that death and taxes are inevitable. Facing this proposition, it is important to consider those that will survive us. Over the course… Read More

Don’t Text and Drive!

It is already the law that you cannot get caught with your phone in your hand while driving, regardless if you are talking or texting, but now the punishment is getting a little stricter. Starting in July 2021, two (2) convictions within 36 months will add a point to your record.  Assembly Bill No. 47… Read More

Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment

We hear words and phrases such as “freedom of speech”, “my right to assemble”, “my religious rights” uttered every day.  But where do those rights come from, and to whom do they apply? The first ten (10) amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights, and were ratified by the… Read More

Country of Habitual Residence: The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

When a court in California makes an order regarding child custody and visitation, one of the first statements on the order will always be a finding that the country of habitual residence is the United States. This finding is required by the implementation of an international treaty formally known as the Hague Convention on the… Read More

Personal Jurisdiction: The Court’s Power Over the Defendant

A court must have both personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction over a case.  Subject matter jurisdiction is the court’s power to hear the subject matter of the case involved in the lawsuit.  On the other hand, personal jurisdiction is the court’s power over the person or business being sued.  A state court must have… Read More

New Laws for 2021

California has passed new laws that take effect in 2021.  From criminal justice reform, Covid-19 exposure notification, changes to paid family leave, to the diversification of corporate boards, it is important to keep these changes in mind. Family leave – Expansion to include more workers Previously, employers with 50 or more employees were required to… Read More

Initiating an Age Discrimination Case

California presumes an employment relationship to be “at will.”  This means that the employer-employee relationship can end at any time, by either the employer or employee for any lawful reason.  However, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on his or her age.  California’s laws protect employees over forty years old from age discrimination. … Read More

When you promise to do nothing: illusory promises.

Most of us engage in contracting almost every day. Whether it is your purchase agreement for a streaming service, a contract for sale of a house, even a cup of coffee on your way to work is a contract for the sale of goods.  Contracts in their simplest form are just an exchange of promises…. Read More

Do Grandparents Have Rights to Visitation With A Grandchild?

Unfortunately, a dispute may arise between a child’s parents and grandparents, to the point where a parent may refuse the grandparent to see their child. In California, courts have the ability to order visitation for a grandparent.  Parents have constitutional due process rights to make decisions about who, how and when their children should see… Read More

Remote Depositions

With the onset of Covid-19 and its accompanying changes to how we work, what do you do when it comes to taking and defending depositions?  Many attorneys and their clients are reluctant to conduct in person depositions.  As a result, video conferencing services, such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Skype, are now the new normal… Read More

Determining Child Support When a Parent(s) is a Military Member

Veterans Day is a federal holiday celebrated each year on November 11th as codified in Title 5, U.S. Code, section 6103. It was originally established as Armistice Day to recognize the signing of the armistice ending World War I, which was executed in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in… Read More

The Applicability of a Force Majeure Clause in Lease Agreements

Force majeure clauses allocate risk between the parties when an unanticipated event makes performance impossible or impracticable.  The principle underlying the doctrine is simple and is set forth in California Civil Code § 3526, which states that “[n]o man is responsible for that which no man can control.”  Generally, a force majeure clause is triggered… Read More

Why a Homestead Exemption?

For most Americans, their home is their most valuable asset.  One of the biggest questions that any person who is considering bankruptcy or is facing mounting debts with aggressive creditors will ask is, “Will I lose my house?” Filing a homestead exemption may provide protections from certain creditors and keep the equity in your home… Read More

COVID-19 and the Statute of Limitations

How has the pandemic, COVID-19, affected a person’s ability to file a lawsuit?  Governor, Gavin Newsom issued shelter-in-place orders on March 19, 2020.  And from those orders, some counties shut down their courthouses, and some did not.  Our local court, Kings County Superior Court, remained open throughout the spring and summer.  But since, some courthouses… Read More

New Statewide COVID-19 Tenant and Landlord Protection Legislation on August 31, 2020

On August 31, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California legislature enacted the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020.  This legislation has been touted to protect millions of tenants from eviction and property owners from foreclosure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.  It is important to note that these… Read More

Temporary Emergency Rules on Evictions and Foreclosures are Set to End on September 1, 2020

The Judicial Council of California voted on August 13, 2020, to end two (2) temporary emergency rules governing evictions and judicial foreclosures at midnight on Sept. 1, 2020.  Emergency Rule 1 has made it nearly impossible to evict tenants during the current COVID-19 pandemic, which was originally set to remain in effect until 90 days… Read More

What is Eminent Domain?

Eminent Domain is the power of the government to acquire private property for public use under the theory that this power is an attribute of the sovereignty of the government. The private landowner, however, is protected by the Fifth and Fourteen Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which states that “nor shall private property be taken… Read More

Bankruptcy: You may be able to keep your home and car

Have you been thinking about bankruptcy? You are not alone.  While employment statistics reported in June of 2020 were slightly better than May, California’s unemployment rate was still at 16.3% and over 3 million fewer Californians are currently employed compared to last year (source: California’s Employment Development Department press release, June 12, 2020).  In economically… Read More

Small Business Benefits Under the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was signed into legislation on March 27, 2020, and was intended to redress some of the economic pain our nation is suffering as a result of COVID-19.  This article will address three sections of the CARES Act aimed at helping small businesses during these… Read More

The Families First Act: The Federal Government’s Response to COVID-19

In response to the escalating spread of the COVID-19 virus, and to reduce the impact of the virus on families and the economy, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Known as the Families First Act, the law creates expanded employee benefits and protections related to COVID-19, including… Read More

Owner Liability for Dog Bites in California

Overview of Recent Changes in Employment Law in California for 2020

Overview of Recent Changes in Landlord-Tenant Laws in California for 2020

Employers: Do You Have to Reclassify Your Independent Contractors in 2020?

The new year is fast-approaching and employers should be aware that several new labor and employment laws will become effective when the clock strikes midnight and the last of the confetti falls.  In fact, the California legislature and Governor Newsom passed several significant laws this year that will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

California’s New DUI Law and Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is a blood alcohol testing device similar to a breathalyzer that is wired into a vehicle’s ignition system. The device requires a breath sample from the driver in order to start the engine.

Living In A Social Media World: How Social Media Can Cause a Business to Be in Violation of the Law

              Over the past decade, social media and its numerous platforms have grown exponentially.  While social media, undoubtedly, has its perks, it has proven to have a number of pitfalls.

Settling Divorce Actions Between Military Service Members by Default

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law (50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043) that provides a wide range of benefits and protections to those in military service.  The SCRA also provides certain benefits and protections to dependents and, in certain instances, to those who co-signed a loan for, or took out a loan with,… Read More

Modifying an Irrevocable Trust: An Introduction to California’s Uniform Trust Decanting Act

            Generally, an irrevocable trust, by its terms, is one that cannot be modified.  However, the Probate Code identifies limited circumstances in which modification is allowed,

Can an Employer Be Found Liable For The Sexual Harassment of Its Employees By Customers or Clients?

When one thinks of sexual harassment at work, the visual that comes to mind is a boss or co-worker being the offender.  However, a customer or client may be the person treating the worker improperly. Depending on the situation, reporting such issues to management may be even more difficult than reporting on a supervisor or… Read More

Drug Testing for Parents in Family Court

When parents divorce or partners separate and children are involved, custody often becomes an issue.  As such, the court’s main concern is the best interest of the child.  Many factors can be considered by the courts, including substance and alcohol abuse.

New Changes to Response Times for Unlawful Detainer Actions

          In California, when a landlord wants a tenant to vacate their leased premises, a landlord may have to have court involvement and file an unlawful detainer (“UD”) action to have the tenant removed.  A UD action can be initiated for a variety of things, but the most common actions stem… Read More

Wage and Hour Expanded – Do You Owe Your Salaried Employees Overtime?

There’s a commonly held belief among both employers and employees that salaried employees are not entitled to be paid overtime, however, this isn’t always true. In fact, the amount you have to pay an overtime exempt employee from year-to-year has probably changed a lot since the last time you thought about making your valued employee a salary man… Read More

What Happens to Our Pets During Divorce?

Going through a divorce can be a difficult process. No one enjoys dividing their property and it is especially emotional discussing custody plans for your children, but what about your family pet(s)? Because California is a community property state, the courts recognize pets as personal property and when a couple divorce, each spouse is entitled… Read More

Post Judgment Relief in Criminal Matters, Part One

Everyone makes mistakes…but they don’t have to stay on your record forever. Many criminal defendants who are charged with crimes spend a lot of time and effort to fight the case. However, the fight does not end when the criminal defendant is convicted.

Wage and Hour Claims

As an employer, state and federal laws establish how much an employee can work and how an employee must be compensated for those hours worked. Failing to follow these laws allows an employee to sue the employer, and in some instances, the employer could be subjected to civil and/or criminal penalties.