• Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, A Professional Law Corporation

    Posted March 2, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    It is with great pleasure that Bergman & Dacey, Inc. announces that as of March 1, 2012, Michele M. Goldsmith has become a named shareholder, and the firm has changed our name to Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, A Professional Law Corporation.

    Michele has a varied and extensive practice for both private and public sector clients, focusing on labor and employment matters, exclusively representing management. She litigates employment matters before Superior Court Judges and the California Labor Commissioner. She also represents school districts in dismissal appeal hearings, involving both certificated and classified positions. Many clients also look to her to represent their interests in labor negotiations.

    Michele has been recognized for her professional achievement, has published appellate decisions, and is a regular speaker for human resource trade-related organizations. Michele is selected to participate as a mediator in the CRASH employment mediation program for the Los Angeles Superior Courts. Michele is regularly published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal on relevant labor and employment issues and was recently named a 2012 California Super Lawyer in Employment Litigation.

    We welcome Michele as a named partner, and wish her continued success.

    Please add our new domain, bdgfirm.com to your address book’s safe sender list so that our announcements and invitations are not filtered out as spam.

  • California Covered: Litigation Capabilities

    Posted February 21, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Successful litigation strategies require having the capabilities to set up a case from “Day 1” through trial for the benefit of the client’s interests. Experience gained through handling hundreds of pre-litigation, litigation, and appellate matters prepares the handling attorneys to assist the client in achieving the best outcome, even in these times. Law firms expert in managing the litigation process (including budgeting, expert drafting, and settlement strategy) can cause a case to resolve favorably for the client early in the proceedings. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law LLP each has the capabilities, experience, focus, and legal expertise and will provide exceptional value for the client’s legal dollars.

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is a full service law firm with offices in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and can serve all the courts and alternate resolution forums in Southern California. We have earned a reputation for offering cutting-edge preventative risk counseling and a full spectrum of litigation and appellate services. Through a diverse caseload, we offer specialty counseling in Public and Private Construction, Labor and Employment, Environmental and Land Use Law, Complex Litigation (including smaller class actions), Attorneys’ Fees Disputes, Business, Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Disputes, Insurance Law, Products Liability, Commercial Litigation, Real Property (including disputes concerning land owned by American Indians), Partnership and Corporate Disputes, Legal and Accounting Malpractice, Unfair Competition and other Business Torts, Administrative and Licensing Disputes, and Intellectual Property Disputes. We serve private and public entities, multi-national Fortune 500 corporations and their officers, entrepreneurs, and individual clients. Each of our Shareholders and Of Counsel attorneys have at least 15 years of experience. Our veteran attorneys routinely participate as part of teams on matters and contribute to achieving our client’s goals by performing “hands-on” litigation with a long-term perspective, advising on settlement strategies, effective case management, and careful drafting of all legal documents. We provide personalized service and exceptional communication and responsiveness by being available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have earned our reputation as a “no surprises” litigation law firm.

    MBV Law LLP provides its clients with efficient, cost-effective and results-oriented litigation services in federal and state courts in California. Our attorneys advocate creative approaches to dispute resolution and have a business-oriented approach to problem solving. We routinely advise clients on litigation avoidance and take into account the client’s legal, financial, and business objectives. MBV offers the full spectrum of litigation expertise to businesses and individuals including: commercial litigation; real estate litigation; landlord-tenant litigation; construction defect and design litigation; debt enforcement; employment litigation; franchise litigation; intellectual property litigation; and mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. Our litigators are aggressive advocates, possess substantial trial experience, and are dedicated to protecting the interests of our clients.

    MBV Law LLP and Bergman Dacey Goldsmith are dedicated to understanding clients’ litigation and strategic objectives to assess issues and provide targeted, cost-effective strategic legal plans. Our firms’ depth and breadth of experience, combined with our knowledge of the judges and courts throughout California, create exceptional legal value.

    When strength and experience matter, you can have confidence that Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law LLP have your litigation needs in California fully covered.

  • Bergman Dacey Goldsmith Announces California Super Lawyers 2012

    Posted January 24, 2012 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    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 2012 California Super Lawyers. Mr. Bergman was recognized in the category of Business Litigation, Mr. Dacey was recognized in the Construction Litigation field, and 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 over 29 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 California Super lawyer 2012 listing is attached.

  • Bergman Dacey Goldsmith Chosen as 2011 California Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year

    Posted October 17, 2011 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has been listed in the Corporate INTL 2011 Dealmakers’ Handbook as the “California Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year.” The handbook is designed to serve as a valuable resource to allow business owners and other corporate professionals around the world to compile a superior team as needed, regardless of geography.

    For over 28 years, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has been litigation counsel to numerous California public entities, California small business owners, multi-national Fortune 500 companies, and individual clients. We have earned our reputation as a “no surprises” law firm.

    Attached is our firm’s profile from Corporate INTL.


    Posted October 3, 2011 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Employment litigation involves some of the most emotionally charged confrontations between people, and requires specialized insight in order to reach an effective resolution. With claims dramatically on the rise in California, having experienced and well-qualified counsel on your side has never been more important. Mackrell International members, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law have served as legal counsel to numerous Fortune 500 companies, California corporations, public entities, small businesses, entrepreneurs and private clients and understand the unique rules and requirements of California law.

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is a full service law firm based in Los Angeles and can serve all the courts of Southern California. In today’s economic environment, having exemplary labor and employment counsel has never been more important to the success of your business. While we work diligently at minimizing our clients’ exposure to litigation, when a lawsuit does arise, we work quickly to develop a focused and concise strategy with our clients’ budgetary concerns in mind. Our firm defends an array of labor and employment claims including: discrimination, harassment and retaliation, wage and hour, layoffs and reductions in force, drug testing and privacy rights, disability rights, wrongful termination, leave rights, workplace violence, and worker classification. Our veteran attorneys can assist you with internal investigations, workplace audits, educational seminars, risk prevention services, administrative hearings, and alternative dispute resolution services.

    MBV Law is a results-oriented law firm celebrating 26 years as trusted business and litigation counsel to companies and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. We provide a full range of legal services on employment and labor issues confronting employers and managers. Our employment expertise includes advice and counsel on all aspects of the employment relationship, preventative training on legal pitfalls confronting employers in California, advice and drafting expertise on employee compensation plans, advice on wage and hour and employee classification issues, counsel on reductions-in-force, assistance on employment issues related to mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate transactions, representation in union-management negotiations and relationships, and representation in all aspects of employment-related litigation. With deep expertise in litigation matters, MBV Law delivers sophisticated legal services. MBV Law delivers sophisticated legal services.

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law are dedicated to understanding clients’ businesses and strategic objectives to assess issues and provide targeted, cost-effective strategic legal plans. Our firms’ depth and breadth of experience, combined with our knowledge of the judges and courts in California, create value for your clients.

    When strength and experience matter, you can have confidence that Bergman Dacey Goldsmith and MBV Law have your clients’ legal needs in California fully covered.

  • Recent 9TH Circuit opinions better define liability under Clean Water Act and CERCLA

    Posted March 17, 2011 By in Recent News With | No Comments Recent 9TH Circuit opinions better define liability under Clean Water Act and CERCLA

    City of Los Angeles v. San Pedro Boat Works (9th Cir March 14, 2011) No. 08-56163 – lease holders and other holders of “mere possessory interests” are not “owners” for purposes of CERCLA liability

    In San Pedro Boat Works, the City of Los Angeles discovered in 1995 that one of its berths at the Port of Los Angeles was plagued by a variety of contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, copper, lead, mercury, chromium, and other contaminants. The City cleaned up the property, and in 2002 the City filed a lawsuit to seek recovery of its cleanup costs against several parties and under several theories, including the Comprehensive, Environmental, Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). One of the named defendants was a Coca Cola bottling entity, which was named because it had certain possessory rights to use the contaminated berth.

    CERCLA imposes liability on “any person who at the time of disposal of any hazardous substance owned or operated any facility at which such hazardous substances were disposed of.” (42 USC §9607(a)(2)). In the instant case, the issue was whether Coca Cola’s possessory rights to the use of the berth made Coca Cola an “owner” under the statute, and therefore subject to CERCLA liability for the cleanup.

    The 9th Circuit held that mere possessory interests in property, for example easements, permits, or licenses, do not make a party an “owner” of property for purposes of CERCLA liability. As the Court stated, “if Congress intended to impose no-fault, no-cause liability on the holder of a mere possessory interest in real property, the least it could do is speak clearly…In establishing ‘owner’ liability, Congress did not say ‘de facto owner,’ or ‘possessor,’ or ‘person with some incidents or attributes of ownership,’ as it has in other legislation.”

    The 9th Circuit decision represents a split from the 2nd and 4th Circuit. While the 9th Circuit has articulated a bright line rule on whether possessory interests qualify for “owner” status under CERCLA, the 2nd and 4th Circuits have applied a more “nebulous and flexible analytical framework” that looks to various factors to determine if an individual is an owner; for example who actually controls the site at issue.

    The Court’s decision will likely significantly cut down the number of named defendants in CERCLA actions in the 9th circuit, as Plaintiffs will no longer be able to sue every party who may have had a possessory interest in the contaminated property at issue.

    NRDC v. County of Los Angeles (9th Cir. March 10, 2011) No. 10-56017 – Municipalities are on the hook for polluted stormwater

    In NRDC v. County of Los Angeles (9th Cir. March 10, 2011) No. 10-56017, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Santa Monica Baykeepers sued the County of Los Angeles over its failure to prevent polluted stormwater from entering the Santa Clara River, the Los Angeles River, the San Gabriel River, and Malibu Creek (collectively the “Watershed Rivers”) in violation of the County’s Clean Water Act (“CWA”) storm water National Pullutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit

    The case presented two issues. First, can a municipality be held responsible under the CWA for polluted storm water discharges where the municipaaliity only conveyed the polluted storm water without having actualy caused the storm water to become polluted? Second, what level of proof must a Plaintiff show to get past summary judgment on a CWA violation claim?

    As to the first issue, the District admitted that its storm sewers were conveying polluted storm water, but the County contended that the mere fact that its storm sewer infrastructure conveyed polluted storm water, without the County actually causing the storm water to become polluted, prevented the County from being held responsible for the polluted discharges under the CWA.

    The Court noted that while EPA had attempted to exempt municipal storm sewers from CWA requirements in the past, those exemptions had been struck down in the 1970’s as not being supported by the language of the CWA. Instead, it is now unchallenged that the CWA does regulate storm water discharges from municipal storm sewers. Further, although the County argued that merely channeling pollutants created by others should not create liability because the County was not an “instrument of addition or generation,” the Court reaffirmed that the CWA does not distinguish between those who add pollutants to water and those who simply convey pollutants in water – “the [CWA] is indifferent to the orginator of water pollution…[The CWA] bans the discharge of any pollutant by any person regardless of whether that person was the root cause or merely the current superindedent of the discharge.”

    As to the second issue, the 9th Circuit upheld the grant of summary judgment against the Plaintiffs as to the Santa Clara River and Malibu Creek claims because the Plaintiffs had provided no evidence that polluted storm water from the County storm sewer system had polluted those rivers. The difference between the two sets of rivers was that the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers had emission monitoring stations in the storm sewer just prior to the outfalls into the rivers, while the emission testing for the Santa Clara River and Malibu Creek occured in the river itself, and away from the storm sewer outfalls. The Court felt that it was not possible to determine if any emissions from the storm sewer had contributed to pollution into the Santa Clara River and Malibu Creek as there was absolutely no data in the record that the County storm sewers had discharged polluted storm water into those rivers.

    The Court’s decision reaffirms the responsibility of municipalities operating under a NPDES permit to prevent the discharge of contaminated storm water into a water of the United States. The most likely effect of the Court’s decision is that municipalities will have to spend significant amount of monies controlling pollution from storm water discharges, a cost which will in turn be passed on to the taxpayer.

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