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News for, and by, our local legal community, curated and created by the Santa Clara County Bar. The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, its members, its employees, or its governing board.

 

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Lawmakers Bring Pitchforks to Bar Hearing

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lawmakers on Tuesday took aim at the State Bar of California, comparing the agency to a sinking ship and equating bar leaders' repeated promises of change to the cartoon character Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown once again.

"I'm convinced this year that the state bar is the Titanic," Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, told colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. Chiu, a former civil rights attorney, called the bar's new roster of executives "well-meaning" but said the "organization is too far gone at this point" to avoid significant changes by the Legislature.

The committee was discussing the annual bar dues bill, which, in its current draft, keeps dues at their current levels for active and inactive members. But the discussion quickly turned to a debate currently engulfing the bar—whether the agency should be split into two new organizations, one focusing primarily on admissions and lawyer discipline and the other dealing with advocacy for the profession. Tuesday's conversation was fueled by a 19-page committee analysis detailing the bar's recent history of missteps, from securing a San Francisco building loan with members' future dues—without the Legislature's knowledge—to failing to act on hundreds of consumer complaints about the unauthorized practice of law.


Read the whole story at The Recorder

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In Trump University Case, Donald Trump’s Attorneys Argue No Trial is Needed

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

There is no need for a trial now; that’s what Donald Trump’s California-based legal teams have told the U.S. District Court in San Diego, hearing a federal class-action lawsuit against Trump University.

Two different lawsuits allege Trump’s school engaged in deceptive practices and scammed thousands of students who enrolled in response to claims the school would make them rich in the real estate market.

Click here to read more about the Trump University lawsuits.

According to the newly-filed court documents, Trump’s attorney claims enough “undisputed facts” have been submitted so the “causes of action” in the case can be decided. In the documents, they are asking for either a full or partial summary judgment.

Read the whole story at NBC San Diego

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Supreme Court strengthens free-speech rights of public employees

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just in time for the election season, the Supreme Court has strengthened the rights of the nation’s 22 million public employees to protect them against being demoted or fired for supporting the wrong political candidate in the eyes of their supervisors.

“The Constitution prohibits a government employer from discharging or demoting an employee because the employee supports a particular political candidate,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Tuesday.

This applies, he said, even if a supervisor mistakenly assumes an employee is supporting a particular candidate. What counts is “the employer’s motive,” Breyer said.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Former Berkeley law school dean blasts new sexual misconduct review against him

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A former UC Berkeley law school dean who was disciplined for violating the university’s sexual harassment policies has lashed out at a new review of his behavior, calling it an unjust attack on his legal and academic rights.

Sujit Choudhry, who resigned as dean last month but remains on the faculty, has asked the disciplinary committee of Berkeley’s Academic Senate to drop the second review, according to documents released by his attorneys Monday. Depending on the findings, Choudhry’s tenure and continued employment at Berkeley could be in jeopardy.

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Top Prosecutor to Leave Sacramento Post

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 26, 2016

After 6-1/2 years as the top prosecutor in California's Eastern District, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner will resign at the end of the month, his office announced this week. Wagner didn't announce his next career stop other than to say he'll seek work at a law firm somewhere in Northern California.

"Serving as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California has been the most fulfilling and exciting experience of my professional career," Wagner said in a written statement. "I have the greatest respect for the women and men in this office who seek to do justice each day, and I am proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together."

Some of the best-known cases of the Obama appointee's tenure were tied to the national financial crisis occurring when Wagner took office. Eastern District prosecutors helped secure multi-billion dollar settlements with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase for the securitization and sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities. His office also secured the conviction of nearly 300 defendants in mortgage fraud cases.

 

Read the whole story at The Recorder


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State court rules prisoners can’t be punished for hunger strike

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A state appeals court says a California prisoner who took part in a mass hunger strike protesting long-term solitary confinement should not have been punished for disorderly behavior because he did not disrupt prison operations or endanger anyone.

Although the 2013 hunger strike, which involved as many as 30,000 inmates across the state, may have affected the workload of prison staff members, there was no evidence of “a breakdown of order” or any threat of violence, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said in the case of a former inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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CALIFORNIA JURORS MISUSING THE INTERNET COULD FACE FINES

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Jurors who threaten to derail trials by researching them on Google or posting comments about them on Twitter are often dismissed with nothing more than a tongue-lashing from a judge.

But that may soon change in California. Legislation supported by state court officials would authorize judges in some counties to fine jurors up to $1,500 for social media and Internet use violations, which have led to mistrials and overturned convictions around the country.

 

Read the whole story at AP

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'Failed Us All': 3 Officials Hit With Charges in Flint Water Crisis

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The man who ran the city treatment plant and two state environmental officials were hit with felony charges Wednesday for allegedly misleading regulators about the poisoned water supply — and prosecutors promised more charges are coming.

Mike Glasgow was charged with tampering with evidence and willful neglect of duty for allegedly filing false reports to the state about water quality. Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby were charged with misconduct, evidence tampering, conspiracy and violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act for allegedly altering water test results.

Read the whole story at NBC News

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Appeals Court Favors Transgender Student in Virginia Restroom Case

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weeks after a new North Carolina law put transgender bathroom access at the heart of the nation’s culture wars, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled on Tuesday in favor of a transgender student who was born female and wishes to use the boys’ restroom at his rural Virginia high school.

Advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people note that the ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit applies to North Carolina, where the controversial law approved last month limits transgender people to bathrooms in government buildings, including public schools, that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Read the whole story at NY Times

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DoorDash Brings On First GC

Posted By Paula Collis, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Food delivery startup DoorDash Inc. has hired Keith Yandell as its first general counsel. Yandell comes from Uber Technologies Inc., where he was recently promoted to director of litigation.

Yandell will have some familiarity in his move from on-demand rides to on-demand meals. Last month, Uber rolled out a stand-alone app for UberEats, a service in 13 cities that lets customers make delivery orders from nearby restaurants.

"Keith's diverse background and extensive experience makes him a strong fit for DoorDash," said Tony Xu, the company's co-founder and CEO in a prepared statement. "As DoorDash continues to grow, we're proud to be building out our management team with experienced managers and leaders in their fields."

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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