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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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Judge to lawyer suing Uber: Stop filing in California

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 15, 2015

On-demand startups are angry with labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan for suing them, and they’re trying anything to stop her.

 

One of these startups, laundry service Washio, has argued to a court that while Liss-Riordan has filed several lawsuits in California, she’s not actually licensed to practice there (she’s based in Massachusetts). San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn told her on Friday that she wasn’t eligible for admission pro hac vice because she is “regularly engaged in substantial legal activities in California,” according to The Recorder. Admission pro hac vice is usually granted to an attorney who may not be licensed to practice in a particular state but requests for an exception to represent a client in that jurisdiction.

 

Read the whole story at Fortune

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Bar Trustee Says New President Playing Favorites

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

SACRAMENTO — An annual meeting that was supposed to showcase new State Bar leadership and unity after a difficult year ended on a sour note Sunday when a trustee threatened to quit over what he called the organization's "trade association mentality and culture."

Dennis Mangers, the state Senate's appointee to the bar's board of trustees, said that he may resign next month to protest new president David Pasternak's first round of appointments. At the board's meeting on the last day of the bar gathering Sunday, Mangers accused Pasternak of only naming trustees who voted for his presidency to committee chairs and stacking the executive committee with members from the Los Angeles area. Mangers repeated his concerns Monday.

"It's kind of like that old-boy politics where the victor claims all the spoils," said Mangers, who did not receive a committee chair. "This behavior, quite frankly, is very typical of trade association leadership. … I'm beginning to think what [the board] needs is a new preponderance of nonelected members."

Pasternak said Mangers was wrong, that he appointed trustee Gwen Moore, who he said did not cast a vote for bar president in the July election, to a committee chair. Two other committees went to predesignated trustees—the executive committee is traditionally chaired by the president, Pasternak said. The remaining four panels were simply assigned to "the people who I thought would be the best chairs for the committees," he said.


Read the whole story at The Recorder

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Yoga Can't Be Copyrighted, Appeals Court Rules

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 9, 2015

Bikram yoga aficionados can stretch and sweat with impunity following a Ninth Circuit ruling that the practice's signature sequence of poses is not copyrightable.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday found that yogi Bikram Choudhury's series of 26 yoga poses and two breathing exercises is an "unprotectable idea," and that Choudhury cannot restrict its use.

The panel's unanimous opinion reaffirms the "idea/expression dichotomy," a fundamental principle of copyright law that says the expression of ideas is copyrightable, but the ideas themselves are not. For example, the panel pointed out, a surgeon who copyrights a book describing how to perform a complicated surgery does not then have the exclusive right to perform the surgery.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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Jerry Brown signs electronic search warrant law

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 9, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown has rebooted his thinking on protecting personal digital information from police searches.

After rejecting several similar proposals in years past, Brown on Thursday signed the sweeping Senate Bill 178, which will require law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants before accessing someone’s electronic devices or requesting the private communications stored on them, such as e-mails, text messages and geolocation data.

“Tell me how a letter in your mailbox should have more protection than an e-mail in the cloud,” said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the bill’s author. “It doesn't make sense.”

Read the whole story at Sac Bee

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New California Law Cracks Down On Cheating Prosecutors

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 8, 2015

California prosecutors who deliberately withhold evidence from defense attorneys may face harsher punishment under a new law passed after a wave of misconduct scandals.

The law, authored by state Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D) and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) over the weekend, bolsters a judge's ability to boot a prosecutor who withholds evidence from a case. Additionally, if other employees of the prosecuting attorney's office participated or sanctioned the suppression of evidence, the court is authorized to eject the entire office. The law requires the court to report violations to the state bar, which licenses attorneys.

"The bill seems like a step in the right direction," Alex Kozinski, former chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, told The Huffington Post. "It seems to give a great deal of discretion to trial judges, so its effectiveness will depend on the degree to which those judges are willing to exercise that authority."

Read the whole story at Huffington Post

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After struggling, Jerry Brown makes assisted suicide legal in California

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 8, 2015

Caught between conflicting moral arguments, Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student, signed a measure Monday allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their deaths.

Brown appeared to struggle in deciding whether to approve the bill, whose opponents included the Catholic Church.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown wrote in a signing message. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

Read the whole story at LA Times

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State high court set to hear arguments on Citizens United advisory measure

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 8, 2015

California legislators decided last year to ask voters whether they supported overturning a landmark ruling that allowed unlimited corporate spending to support or denounce federal candidates.

A conservative taxpayers group balked, arguing that state legislators lack the power to put advisory measures on the ballot. The California Supreme Court agreed to remove Proposition 49 and to decide in a later ruling whether it could go forward in a future election.

The court will hear arguments on the case Tuesday, generally the last step before issuing a decision. If the Legislature wins, Californians will be able to cast an advisory vote next year on whether Citizens United, a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned campaign spending laws, should be repealed by a federal constitutional amendment.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Supreme Court Plans to Highlight Revisions in Its Opinions

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would disclose after-the-fact changes to its opinions, a common practice that had garnered little attention until a law professor at Harvard wrote about it last year.

The court also took steps to address“link rot” in its decisions. A study last year found that nearly half of hyperlinks in Supreme Court opinions no longer work.

And the court said it would bar “line standers” who hold places for lawyers eager to see high profile arguments.

The move on editing is a major development. Though changes in the court’s opinions after they are issued are common, the court has only very seldom acknowledged them.

Read the whole story at NY Times

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Supreme Court Rejects San Jose’s Bid to Get Oakland A’s to Move

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 5, 2015

The city of San Jose had already swung and missed twice in its attempt to overturn Major League Baseball’s exemption from federal antitrust law and clear the way for the Oakland A’s to move to the South Bay.

Strike three came on Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected, without comment, the city’s appeal of lower court rulings in the case.

San Jose sued MLB in June 2013, alleging team owners had violated antitrust law by refusing to agree to the A’s move to the South Bay. The sticking point in that plan is that Santa Clara County part of the San Francisco Giants’ territory under MLB’s constitution.

Baseball has been exempt from federal antitrust law since a 1922 Supreme Court decision. That ruling, written by Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., essentially found that baseball was exempt from antitrust restrictions that applied to other interstate commerce because it was a game, not a business.

Read the whole story at KQED

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Weil Gotshal's Reines Out From State Bar Cloud

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 1, 2015

Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner Edward Reines will not be disciplined by the State Bar of California over his friendship with former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit referred Reines to the state bar last fall, but according to recently filed documents in other cases, the state bar wrapped up its investigation in July and concluded that no action was warranted.

A representative of the state bar said the bar could not comment on the case. Reines also declined to comment on his discipline case.

The Federal Circuit publicly reprimanded Reines in November for sharing an effusive email from then-Chief Judge Rader with friends, family and at least 35 current or prospective clients. Rader conveyed that another Federal Circuit judge had been impressed with Reines' oral advocacy skills, and signed the email "your friend for life." Rader resigned a few months later after acknowledging "conduct that crossed the lines." The Federal Circuit later chastised Reines, saying he'd implied he held a special relationship with the chief judge.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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