• John P. Dacey Honored

    Posted April 10, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    On April 6, 2013 Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, PLC. Senior Shareholder John P. Dacey was honored at the 9th Annual Alhambra Educational Foundation’s “Service to Education Awards” Dinner with the Foundation’s “Service to Education Award” for his dedication to, and support of, education.

     
    For his “high standards of leadership, outstanding accomplishments, and dedicated service to education” John also received the following honors at the dinner:

    • Certificate of Recognition from the United States Congress;
    • Certificate of Appreciation from the California State Legislature;
    • Certificate of Commendation from the County of Los Angeles;
    • Certificate of Commendation from the City of Alhambra;
    • Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Monterey Park;
    • Certificate of Recognition from the City of Rosemead; and
    • Certificate of Appreciation from the Alhambra Unified School District.

    If Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, PLC. can help you with any of your legal needs, please do not hesitate to contact John at jdacey@bdgfirm.com.

  • Kristi Sjoholm-Sierchio selected to join LCA

    Posted March 5, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Kristi Sjoholm-Sierchio, Of Counsel with Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, has been selected as an Associate Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (“LCA”), a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society. She is an active member of the LCA’s International Institute of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law. Ms. Sjoholm-Sierchio graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy, was Publications Editor of the Environmental Law Journal at the University of Southern California, and has practiced law for over 25 years.

    More information about LCA can be found at www.trialcounsel.org.

  • BDG Proudly Announces 2013 Southern California Super Lawyers

    Posted January 22, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments BDG Proudly Announces 2013 Southern California Super Lawyers

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is proud to announce that shareholders Gregory M. Bergman, John P. Dacey, and Michele M. Goldsmith, along with Of Counsel, Mark W. Waterman, have been selected as 2013 Southern California Super Lawyers. Mr. Bergman was recognized in Business Litigation, while Mr. Dacey was recognized in Construction Litigation. Ms. Goldsmith and Mr. Waterman have been recognized in the Employment Litigation practice area.

    Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyer Magazine recognizes only 5% of lawyers in California. They were selected after considerable polling and peer evaluation with a detailed research process that evaluates each candidate based on 12 indicators of professional achievement.

    For 30 years, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has provided our clients with sophisticated and personalized legal service. We have earned our reputation for litigation excellence and offer our clients seasoned lawyers and knowledgeable advice in the most cost-effective manner. We encourage you to visit our website at www.bdgfirm.com to learn more about our award-winning attorneys and how we can apply our proven strategies for your benefit.

    The Southern California Super lawyer 2013 listing is attached.

    California Super Lawyers 2013

  • California Real Estate Legal Services

    Posted January 16, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Real estate law in California has many unique aspects. The experienced attorneys in the Real Estate Department at Bergman Dacey Goldsmith are on the cutting edge of California real estate law and advise our clients based upon existing law as well as trends in the law. Based upon our extensive experience in all aspects of real estate law and litigation, we offer our clients a broad range of services at very competitive prices. Please review the attached about our skills and services in real estate law and litigation as highlighted in Corporate INTL magazine in December 2012. We also encourage you to visit our website at www.bdgfirm.com to learn more about our firm and our range of services. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

    CORP INTL BDG Real Estate Skills In California 2013

  • County of Glenn v. Foley

    Posted January 9, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    NEW CASE UPDATE
    County of Glenn v. Foley

    Court of Appeal Reaffirms Right of Parties in Eminent Domain Actions to Introduce Expert Testimony on How “Comparable” Sales Data Should Be Adjusted In Light of Differences in Property Improvements.

    In the recent County of Glenn v. Foley decision, 2012 Cal.App. LEXIS 1302, the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, held that while expert opinion on the value of comparable properties was inadmissible in eminent domain motions, expert testimony was admissible to opine on how differences in property improvements on comparable properties could affect the valuation of the comparable properties.

    In Foley, the County desired to take certain land as part of its effort to expand its landfill. The property owner’s expert opined that even though the property was currently used as grazing land, the highest and best use of the property was as orchard land. The property owner’s expert then opined that when sales of comparable orchard land were reviewed and adjustments were applied to these comparable sales to take into account differences in property improvements, such as existing crops, soil conditions, etc., the subject property was worth $1.7 million. The County did not agree with the property owner’s expert’s analysis and argued that the highest and best use of the property was as its existing use, grazing land, and that the property was only worth $637,000.

    The County brought a motion in limine to exclude the valuation opinion of the property owner’s expert on the grounds that the property owner’s valuation method, which made adjustments to the purchase price of comparable properties, included inadmissible opinions regarding the value of comparable properties, when only objective evidence of comparable sales, such as actual sales prices was admissible under California Evidence Code section 822 in an eminent domain action. The trial Court granted the County’s motion and an appeal followed. Reversing the trial court decision, the Court of Appeal held that while expert testimony on the value of comparable properties was not admissible, expert testimony regarding an appraiser’s adjustments to comparable sales prices (to reduce or increase valuations based on improvements on the comparable property) was acceptable if the expert testimony was properly supported.

    The Foley decision will likely be used by defendants in eminent domain actions to defeat public entity attempts to exclude the testimony of property owner valuation experts, but the case may also prove useful for public entities defending the admittance of their experts’ testimony under some circumstances.

    Should you have any questions about this decision or how Bergman Dacey Goldsmith can help your entity in eminent domain proceedings, or any other legal matter, please contact Brian J. Bergman at (310) 470-6110 or at bbergman@bdgfirm.com.

  • Senate legislation passes important changes to employment laws in California

    Posted January 2, 2013 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    In the last quarter of 2012 California Assembly and Senate legislation was passed that make several important changes to employment laws in California. These changes will go into effect no later than January 1, 2013. As an extra value service to our friends, colleagues and clients, BDG provides to you a summary of those bills that may impact you and your business. BDG has an exceptional strong labor and employment practice representing private and public entity clients, and should you require, BDG can evaluate your existing handbook and ascertain what revisions are necessary in light of these changes.

    Have a very happy and healthy New Year.

    ===

    AB 1744—Hiring notice and wage statement obligations for temporary services employers

    This bill amends Labor Code sections 226 and 2810.5, and adds new Labor Code section 226.1. Under the existing Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2011, employers must provide their non-exempt employees a written notice at the time of hiring that contains specified information, such as the rate and basis of the employee’s wages, and the employer’s name, address, and telephone number.

    This bill provides that, for temporary services employers (defined in Labor Code section 201.3), such notices also must include the name, physical and/or mailing address, and telephone number of the legal entity for whom the employee will perform work. Starting July 1, 2013, this bill further provides that temporary services employers must include on itemized wage statements (in addition to the other information required by existing Labor Code section 226(a)), the employee’s rate of pay and total hours worked for each temporary assignment. This requirement does not apply to licensed security services companies.

    AB 1844—E-mail and social media account passwords

    This bill adds new Labor Code section 980, and prohibits an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant to: (1) disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, (2) access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or (3) divulge any personal social media to the employer.

    The bill also prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, threatening to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliating against an employee or applicant for not complying with a prohibited request. Employers may, however, continue to request or require passwords to access an employer-provided electronic device. Also, this law does not affect an employer’s existing right to request access to social media when relevant to investigate suspected violations of the law or employee misconduct. California is the third state to enact a social media policy law.

    AB 1964—Religious dress and grooming practices protected By FEHA

    This bill amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code sections 12926 and 12940, to specify the scope of the statute’s protections against potential religious discrimination. The FEHA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant or employee based on his or her religious creed, including all aspects of religious belief, observance, or practice.

    This bill specifies that these protections extend to: (1) “religious dress practices,” which include wearing or carrying religious clothing, head or face coverings, jewelry, artifacts, and any other item that is part of the person’s religious observance; and (2) “religious grooming practices,” which include all forms of head, facial, and body hair that are part of the person’s religious observance.

    The bill further provides that an accommodation of a person’s religious dress or grooming is not reasonable if it would: (a) require segregating the person from other employees or the public, or (b) result in a violation of the FEHA or other civil rights laws.

    Therefore, the employer must consider addressing this bill (1) by amending handbook provisions that make flat prohibitions regarding dress and grooming practices, and (2) addressing accommodation issues as they arise, similar to addressing accommodations for disabilities.

    AB 2103—Overtime rate for non-exempt, full-time salaried employees

    This bill amends Labor Code section 515 to prohibit private agreements that contravene the overtime regular rate calculation required for non-exempt full-time salaried employees. Under existing Labor Code section 515(d), to calculate overtime wages earned by such employees, the regular hourly rate used must be 1/40th of the employee’s weekly salary. This bill specifies that payment of a fixed salary to a non-exempt employee must be deemed compensation only for regular, non-overtime hours worked, “notwithstanding any private agreement to the contrary.”

    AB 2343 – DOJ Criminal History Reports

    This bill requires agencies, organizations, and individuals, that received criminal history information from the California Department of Justice to give notice to an applicant or employee who is the subject of an adverse employment, licensing, or certification decision based on the information obtained. This new reporting requirement models those already found in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act.

    AB 2386—Breastfeeding protected under FEHA

    This bill amends the definition of “sex” under the FEHA, Government Code section 12926. Existing law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of “sex,” defined to include gender; gender identity and expression; and pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This bill clarifies that for all purposes under the FEHA, “sex” also includes breastfeeding and related medical conditions. The bill provides this amendment is declaratory of existing law; thus it may be applied retroactively and takes effect immediately.

    AB 2396 – Employment of infants in the entertainment industry

    This bill extends the current law which restricts the employment of infants in the entertainment industry, by requiring the completion and submission of a medical certification and approval before a temporary permit for the employment of the infant may be issued.

    AB 2674—Employees’ right to inspect personnel records; wage statement retention

    This bill amends Labor Code section 1198.5, which gives employees the right to inspect their personnel records at reasonable intervals and times. AB 2674 provides the employer must make the records available for inspection by any current or former employee or his/her representative, and provide a copy of the records, within 30 calendar days from receipt of a written request, or if the parties agree in writing, within no more than 35 calendar days. Employers must make available to the current or former employee or representative a form that can be used for the inspection request. The bill further specifies other time, place, and method obligations for inspection and delivery of the records.

    The bill requires employers to keep a copy of the employee’s personnel records for at least three years after termination of employment. The bill provides that if a current or former employee files a lawsuit against the employer regarding a personnel matter, his or her right to inspect or copy personnel records ceases during the pendency of the lawsuit. The bill further provides that an employer may: (1) designate the person to whom records requests are made, (2) take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the employee or representative making the request, and (3) redact the names of nonsupervisory employees contained in the records.

    AB 2674 also amends Labor Code section 226 with respect to the obligation for employer retention of wage statements. Existing law requires employers to keep copies of wage statements for at least three years, either at the employment site or a central location within the state. This bill clarifies that “copies” may include duplicates of the statements provided to the employee, or computer-generated records that accurately show all information required to be included on the wage statement.

    AB 2675—Written contracts for commission pay: exceptions

    This bill amends Labor Code section 2751, which requires a written contract of employment for services rendered in the state and paid for by commissions. The current statute excludes from its obligations two types of compensation: (1) short-term productivity bonuses such as are paid to retail clerks; and (2) bonus and profit-sharing plans, unless the employer offers to pay a fixed percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work to be performed. This bill adds a third exclusion category for “temporary, variable incentive payments that increase, but do not decrease, payment under the written contract.”

    It is advised that an employer set forth in writing to employees the material terms of all types of compensation paid, including the rates and methods of computation.

    SB 1193 – Human Trafficking

    This bill will require specified employers to post a notice that contains information related to slavery and human trafficking in a conspicuous area, readily visible to employees and the public.

    SB 1255—Remedies for failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements

    This bill amends Labor Code section 226(e) to specify the circumstances when employees may recover penalties under that statute for failure to receive accurate itemized wage statements. Section 226 generally requires employers to provide employees with accurate wage statements showing nine specific categories of information, e.g., gross and net wages earned, deductions, and inclusive pay period dates.

    If an employee suffers “injury” as a result of an employer’s “knowing and intentional” failure to comply with these requirements, the employee can recover certain penalties for each violation, plus costs and attorney’s fees.

    SB 1255 specifies that, for purposes of entitlement to these penalties, an employee is “deemed to suffer injury” in two instances: (1) if the employer fails to provide a wage statement; or (2) if the employer fails to provide accurate and complete information for any of the nine items required, and the employee cannot promptly and easily determine the information from the wage statement alone.

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