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Homelessness lawsuit challenges California’s authority to impound vehicles

Sean Kayode is shown outside the Next Door homeless shelter in San Francisco on July 26, 2018. Photo Credit: David Gorn/CALmatters as reported on 9/13/18.

Sean Kayode is shown outside the Next Door homeless shelter in San Francisco on July 26, 2018. Photo Credit: David Gorn/CALmatters as reported on 9/13/18.

A lawsuit would halt California from impounding vehicles and leaving residents homeless.

“Sean Kayode said he watched his whole world roll away from him at 3 in the morning,” reports KPBS TV. “Kayode had been living in his car in San Francisco about two years. During the early morning March 5, traffic police towed and impounded his black 2005 Mercedes Benz — for having too many overdue parking tickets.”

Jude Pond of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco helped file a lawsuit on Kayode’s behalf “to challenge the California law that allows cities to tow a car away if that car has five or more overdue parking tickets,” the news station reports.

Kayode now lives at Next Door homeless shelter. He said his car wasn’t just a place to sleep, “it was how he earned a living, he said, delivering food through Uber Eats.”

Companies react to Calif. law requiring female board members

Companies will begin complying with a California law requiring female board members while waging a flurry of expected lawsuits, The Union-Bulletin in Walla Walla, Wash., reports.

“California’s new law requiring companies to include women on their boards of directors may not survive widely expected legal challenges but it has already spotlighted the entrenched practices and barriers that have helped keep women out of boardrooms,” the article notes.

By the end of next year, the law requires at least one female director on the board of public corporations headquartered in California.

“Companies with more than six board members would need three female directors by the end of 2021. Those with fewer than six members would need two women. …” the article explains.

“The law imposes a $100,000 fine for a first violation and a $300,000 penalty for subsequent violations, not huge sums for major corporations. Nevertheless, companies will likely begin efforts to comply with the law even as they keep track of — or participate in — legal efforts to block it, said Wendy Patrick, a professor of business ethics at San Diego State University,” the Union-Bulletin reports.

U.S. Appeals Court sides with Uber, denies class action suits

Image: uber.com

Image: uber.com

Drivers who complained that “Uber misclassified them as independent contractors to avoid having to reimburse them for gasoline, vehicle maintenance, and other expenses,” were dealt a legal setback last month, according to a Reuters report in The New York Times.

“Uber Technologies Inc won a legal victory on Tuesday as a federal appeals court said drivers seeking to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors must arbitrate their claims individually, and not pursue class-action lawsuits,” the news report notes.

In a 3-0 decision on September 25, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court judge’s denial of Uber’s motion to compel arbitration in three lawsuits.

It also overturned the class certification in one of the lawsuits of thousands of California drivers who had driven for the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company since August 2009.

Jurors deadlock in J&J talc powder cancer case

Photo credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press as reported by The New York Times on 7/12/18.

Photo credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press as reported by The New York Times on 7/12/18.

Following a record verdict in a trial in Missouri, litigation against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum powder ended in a mistrial in California.

“A state judge in Pasadena, California, declared a mistrial Monday after jurors deadlocked on Carolyn Weirick’s request for at least $25 million in damages over her mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure,” Bloomberg News reports. “Weirick said she developed the disease from asbestos-laced baby powder.”

Previously, a jury in Missouri awarded a record $4.69 billion in July to more than 20 women who traced the source of their cancer to the company’s baby powder. This verdict is under appeal by Johnson & Johnson.

“The world’s largest health-care products maker faces more than 10,000 other suits claiming its baby powder caused cancer,” Bloomberg reports.

Report: ’Fake dates’ from ICE plague immigration courts

 Photo credit: Dianne Solis/Staff of The Dallas Morning News as reported on 9/16/18: "Raymundo Olmedo, a former Load Trail factory worker, stands outside the Dallas federal courthouse after he reported to immigration court on Sept. 13. Olmedo's name didn't appear on the Sept. 13 court docket, so he was sent away. More than a dozen immigrants caught in the Load Trail raid faced the same situation at the immigration courts."


Photo credit: Dianne Solis/Staff of The Dallas Morning News as reported on 9/16/18: “Raymundo Olmedo, a former Load Trail factory worker, stands outside the Dallas federal courthouse after he reported to immigration court on Sept. 13. Olmedo’s name didn’t appear on the Sept. 13 court docket, so he was sent away. More than a dozen immigrants caught in the Load Trail raid faced the same situation at the immigration courts.”

A lack of coordination between federal immigration officials and the courts is leading to instances where immigrants appear for hearings only to be turned away, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Immigrants ordered to be in court by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.arrived for hearings, only for court staff to deem their scheduled times “fake dates,” the news site reports.

“The orders to appear are not fake, but ICE apparently never coordinated or cleared the dates with the immigration courts,” The Dallas Morning News reports. “It’s a phenomenon that appears to be popping up around the nation, with reports of ‘fake dates’ or ‘dummy dates’ in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami.”

The situation is only creating more backlogs in an already overburdened immigration court system, the news site reports.

California shields public sector unions from Supreme Court ruling

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press file photo, 2016, as reported by the Fresno Bee.

Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press file photo, 2016, as reported by the Fresno Bee.

California has found itself in a legal standoff against the federal government and Trump administration over a variety of issues, but one could affect union workers who want to decline union membership.

“California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that aims to give public employee unions legal cover from potentially expensive lawsuits demanding that they repay certain fees to workers that the Supreme Court in June determined were unconstitutional,” reports The Fresno Bee.

“The law, which takes effect immediately, says unions and public agencies cannot be held liable for fees that unions collected before the Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME on June 27 of this year.”

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision ended a 41-year precedent that allowed public sector unions to collect “fair share” fees from workers who declined to join a labor organization but were still represented, according to the newspaper.

Iowa high court raises due process concerns over traffic cams

Photo Credit: By Ctjf83, CC BY-SA 3.0  or GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: By Ctjf83, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Supreme Court has raised concerns about the way cities administer traffic cams, noting that tickets represent municipal fines which require court proceedings, not simply administrative action.

“The point is that the ticket is not just a ticket against your car in the traffic cam picture, it’s a ticket against the driver, as a person. And people, unlike cars, are entitled to due process and a chance to be heard,” notes a FindLaw.com blog.

The blog, which cites a Des Moines Register article, points out judicial concerns over due process.

“The court did not make any rulings on whether traffic cams are legal or not,” notes the blog. “But rather, the court said the city’s current traffic cam ticket process is unjust. The notices that car owners receive advise the drivers of their right to appeal the traffic cam ticket, but then use language describing the ticket as a ‘judgment’ and a ‘final administrative decision’ that can result in collection efforts and legal action, even though the case has not gone through the due process of the court system.”

Courts Monitor Publisher Believes Kavanaugh Accuser

Sara Corcoran is correspondent, contributing editor, and founding publisher of the National Courts Monitor & California Courts Monitor.

Sara Corcoran is correspondent, contributing editor, and founding publisher of the National Courts Monitor & California Courts Monitor.

Based in part on the fact they attended the same Washington, D.C. area high school, Courts Monitor Publisher Sara Corcoran explains why she believes the woman accusing the U.S. Supreme Court nominee of a sexual attack. She posted her story at the Daily Caller website which you can find here.

American Bar Association jumps into immigrant-family fray

ABA President Hilarie Bass posted a short video asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border reported the ABA Journal earlier this summer.

ABA President Hilarie Bass posted a short video asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border reported the ABA Journal earlier this summer.

The American Bar Association Journal is promoting a web page that helps lawyers to volunteer, donate or advocate for detained and separated immigrant families.

The web page,  http://ambar.org/immigrationjustice, was promoted by ABA President Hilarie Bass, who posted a video “asking America’s lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border,” the ABA Journal reported this summer.

In the video, Bass talks about what she saw during her late June trip to south Texas, where she met with immigrant mothers detained at the Port Isabel Detention Center near Harlingen. Some of those women hadn’t seen their children in six weeks, Bass said; some had talked to their children on the phone, but knew the children were far away,” the ABA Journal reported.

“But what really disturbed Bass, she said, was that all of them would give up their asylum claims and return to the violence they’re fleeing if it meant their children would be returned.”

Same-sex partner wins legal standing after girl’s death

A same-sex partner won legal standing to sue for legal distress despite the lack of a state-recognized relationship.

“A woman whose same-sex partner’s biological daughter was killed in a traffic accident can seek damages for emotional distress even though she and the other woman weren’t married or in a civil union at the time, an appeals court ruled,” according to an Associated Press report published in U.S. News and World Report.

In the Aug. 17 ruling, Valerie Benning was given legal standing, reversing the findings of a lower court that found she wasn’t familiar enough with the girl.

“The 2-year-old girl was killed in 2009 when a firetruck and a pickup truck collided while she was waiting with her family to cross a street in Trenton to see a ‘Disney on Ice’ show at the facility now known as CURE Insurance Arena,” U.S. News notes.

Benning had been romantically involved with the girl’s mother for more than a year before the accident, according to the report.